Tabloid Journalism at CNN: “Palestinians are eating grass”

Sometimes, bad journalism can’t help but announce itself in the headlines. Such is the case in a January 31 CNN article by Sana Noor Haq and Rosa Rahimi entitled “‘We are dying slowly:’ Palestinians are eating grass and drinking polluted water as famine looms across Gaza.”

One would think, based on this headline, that the network has the goods to show that Palestinians are, indeed, resorting to eating grass to survive.

But in fact, the evidence amounts to hearsay from a single Gazan who does not appear to have even witnessed it himself.

The sole evidence for the sensationalist claim comes from just two sentences in the nearly 2,000-word article:

“Unfortunately, many relatives and friends are still in the northern Gaza Strip, suffering a lot,” Hamouda, a father-of-three, told CNN. “They eat grass and drink polluted water.”

Notably, Hamouda is not himself in the northern part of Gaza. According to the article, Hamouda is in Rafah, which is in southern Gaza. Best case scenario, based on this information, is that someone told Hamouda his family was doing so, not that he actually witnessed it himself.

To make such an eye-popping claim in the headline based solely on one man’s hearsay is irresponsible journalism. It comes across as either clickbait or an effort to advance a partisan narrative.

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