Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lies on Sunday

According to the Mail on Sunday today, "more than a thousand Israelis have been killed" by rockets fired from Gaza. Bad typo or massive, shameless lie?

Would an editor placidly accept an article saying that four people only died in the 7/7 attacks? Would someone be allowed to write that over 900 people died in the Hillsborough disaster? Is throwing random numbers around alright? What's the official policy for gross 'inaccuracies' on print?

Today's Mail on Sunday carries such a massive mistake that it's impossible not to think of it as either outright stupidity or a textbook example of shameless lying.

Referring to Hamas' infamous Qassam rockets fired into the south of Israel, Suzanne Moore writes that "since 2004 more than a thousand Israelis have been killed by such rockets". And then this, "the death toll must be reaching that number now in Gaza in less than two weeks. Does one dead Israeli child equal one dead Palestinian child? Is it a numbers game?"
A numbers game? Imagine how the Mail's churnalist would feel if she found out that one dead Israeli child actually equals 10 Palestinian ones. Exact figures may be difficult to get hold of, but according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the number of Israelis killed by rockets or mortars since 2001 amounts to 23, whereas Wikipedia talks of 18 to 21 people for the period 2000-2008.

Terrible figures, surely, and the result of some appalling terrorist activity. But nowhere near the "more than a thousand killed by such rockets" reported by Suzanne Moore.

But the occasional reader of "the best press in the world", or someone without much prior knowledge of the Israel/Palestine conflict will automatically absorb the notion that Israel are simply retaliating against a massive one thousand deaths in four years. More from Britain's quality tabloids to come.

1 comment:

socialist sam said...

Why the surprise? It's the Daily Mail! As always, ignorance of the problem, any problem, is at the root of it.