Round-up of media errors in their coverage of the war – Dec. 20

The unprecedented multi-front attacks on Israelis carried out by the terror group Hamas on October 7th included thousands of missile attacks, the indiscriminate murder of over 1,200 Israelis (mostly civilians) and the wounding of thousands more. It also included rape, mutilation and torture – including against children.  The October 7 attack was the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

This is our latest compilation of British media errors, omissions, distortions and propaganda in their coverage of the war:

Channel 4 News ‘fact check’ gets the facts wrong

A Channel 4 News ‘fact check‘ written by Georgina Lee on the two-state solution (“What is a two state solution and do Israelis and Palestinians want one?”, Dec. 18) included a short history of the proposal which managed to omit the three Israeli two-state offers turned down by Palestinian leaders.

Guardian omits IDF denial of latest unevidenced accusation

The outlet has, for the second time in two days, reported the claim that IDF soldiers killed two civilians at the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, without noting the military’s emphatic denial.

Guardian erases the women and children held hostage in Gaza.

Guardian Jerusalem correspondent Bethan McKernan used language in a recent article designed to obscure the fact that there are still fourteen women and two children being held hostage in Gaza.

Financial Times falsely suggests that civilians held hostage in Gaza are combatants.

Financial Times used language in a recent article – attributed to Mehul Srivastava, James Shotter and Andrew England – suggesting that many of the civilians captured by Hamas and still held hostage in Gaza are actually combatants. Here’s the relevant sentence:

Hamas is seeking a longer truce than the previous agreement, and has said it wants all of the Palestinians held in Israeli prisons — a number that has swelled past 10,000 in recent weeks — to be freed before it releases the 129 hostages, mostly soldiers and reservists, it is still believed to hold.

As we noted in a complaint to editors, according to customary IHL, reservist “are civilians until and for such time as they are called back to active duty”.  As such, most of those being held by Hamas are civilians.  The mere fact that, for instance, young women captured by Hamas and taken hostage during the Nova Music Festival massacre may be in the reserves doesn’t change their status as civilians.

Evening Standard journalist decides against engaging in journalism 

A reporter for the Evening Standard, Melanie McDonagh, decided that Israel is guilty of the unevidenced charge that its soldiers killed two civilians at the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, based solely on the fact that she met the man who leveled the charge, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem twice, and trusts him. Yes, really! Her article also conveniently omitted the IDF’s denial of the charge.

Independent corrects misleading language

Independent editors upheld our complaint about a recent article by adding language clarifying that the Gaza casualty figures they cited were provided by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.  The original wording didn’t attribute the figures to the terror group.

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  1. says: Grimey

    Very little BBC tv reporting on the Houthis drone bombardment of neutral shipping in the Red Sea – so presumably the Iranian backers have instructed the BBC not to mention this latest aspect of its international campaign against Western society.

  2. says: NEIL WEISFELD

    Wrote to the BBC re.the accusation of M.Nzzal having bern beaten in prison in Israel when there is clear video evidence to the contrary
    This is there reply….nobretractionnor correction!!

    Thank you for contacting us about BBC News coverage of the release of prisoners from Israel. We shared your feedback about these events and our reporting with senior colleagues and relevant editors.

    We’ve received a range of reaction about claims made by Mohammed Nazzal after his release about his treatment, as well as the disputing statements made in turn by the Israeli Prison Service. The treatment of prisoners has been a notable issue, worthy of investigation.

    These substantial claims of physical abuse and collective punishment were reflected and clearly attributed to Mr Nazzal and others who supported the allegations, like the Palestinian Prisoners Society. In the same way, we included counter-claims from the IPS and other critics who offered an opposing narrative, together with their video evidence. We included the assessment of two UK doctors who confirmed the diagnosis of Mohammed’s X-rays and gave the Red Cross an opportunity to comment on this specific case (which was declined).

    All feedback is appreciated and shared with the right people, so that they are aware of audience concerns.

    Thank you for making your views known.

    Kind Regards,

    BBC Complaints Team

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