August 19 update follows.
July 28, 2005
Three news outlets in two days misreported the amount of aid Israel received from the U.S. to help compensate for damage caused by Iraqi missiles during the Gulf War. Each claimed Israel received $3 billion, whereas the country actually received $650 million. Thus far, only one of the outlets has corrected the error.
Referring to Israel’s reported request for American aid to pay for the relocating of settlers and military bases in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reporter Dan Williams wrote:
The Gaza plan funding could be the biggest U.S. aid package to Israel since 1992, when Washington paid $3 billion to make up for damage sustained from Iraqi missile salvoes in the Gulf war. (“Israel seeks $2.2 billion from U.S. for Gaza pullout,” 7/11/05)
During the July 11 broadcast of CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, correspondent Lisa Sylvester similarly claimed:
The resettlement aid, if this is approved, would be the largest supplemental assistance to Israel since 1992, when Congress approved $3 billion to pay for damage from errant missiles during the first Gulf War.
The following day, reporter David Sands stated in the Washington Times:
It would be the largest single aid request from Israel since 1992, when the United States provided some $3 billion to compensate Israel for damage caused by Saddam Hussein’s missiles during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Each of the outlets were presented with detailed documentation demonstrating that Israel actually received $650 million.
Only the Washington Times, to its credit, has published a correction. On July 23, the newspaper noted:
Due to erroneous information supplied by Reuters news agency, a story in the July 12 editions incorrectly reported the amount of supplemental aid Israel received from Washington to compensate for damage from missile attacks from Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The correct figure was $650 million.
Will Reuters and Lou Dobbs acknowledge their mistake and clear the record?
Reuters has updated the story with the correct information. A new dispatch noted:
The Gaza plan funding could be the biggest U.S. aid package to Israel since 1992, when Washington paid $3 billion, including some $650 million in extra funding to make up for damage sustained from Iraqi missile salvoes in the Gulf war.
Although Reuters did not clear the record as promptly and prominently as did the Washington Times, it finally did make the necessary changes. CNN, on the other hand, has not yet notified viewers of its mistake. CAMERA is still in contact with the news agency. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: August 19, 2005
CNN has finally corrected its error, at the same time clarifying that the reference to “errant missiles” was meant to describe U.S. Patriot missiles, not Iraqi Scud missiles. During the August 18 broadcast of Lou Dobbs Tonight, reporter Kitty Pilgrim stated:
On July 11th, we reported on Israel’s request for U.S. funds to help pay for the relocation of Israeli settlers from Gaza. Lisa Sylvester reported that Israel received $3 billion in 1991 for costs related to errant Patriot missiles during the first Gulf War. The actual amount of emergency supplemental assistance Israel received from the United States in 1991 was $650 million.