Red Faces at the Guardian Again: Al Grauniad Admits that Organ Harvesting Headline a Serious Editing Error

Ha’aretz is reporting that the Guardian has been forced to admit yet another foul-up when it comes to their biased anti-Israel coverage of Israel.

According to the Guardian’s “corrections and clarifications” page al Grauniad admits

We should not have put the headline “Israel admits harvesting Palestinian organs” on a story about an admission, by the former head of the Abu Kabir forensic institute near Tel Aviv, that during the 1990s specialists at the institute harvested organs from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers without getting permission from the families of the deceased (21 December, page 15). That headline did not match the article, which made clear that the organs were not taken only from Palestinians. This was a serious editing error and the headline has been changed online to reflect the text of the story written by the reporter.

Serious editing error. You don’t say.

As ModernityBlog pointed out in his excellent post on the subject earlier this week which we cross-posted here (and for which he can probaly take partial credit for the Guardian’s emabarassing admission of wrongdoing),

“the Guardian can write considered and thoughtful articles on the Alder Hey scandal, but when a similar situation arises in Israel it is used as a political stick to beat Israelis with, and any notion of thoughtful journalism is thrown out of the window.’

The fact of the matter is that the Guardian’s subsequent retraction buried in an obscure place in its website or in the back pages of its newspaper is too little, too late as the damage has already been done. The vile antisemitic commentary on the Antony Lerman thread this week only served to confirm this and I’ll wager that we’ll continue to see in the comment threads allegations of havesting of Palestinian organs along with the long list of blood libels such as the so-called “Jenin massacre” that are regularly trumpeted on “Comment is Free”.

And can we expect any change in the Guardian’s editorial policy? Not one that I can foresee and I tend to agree with CAMERA’s assessment on the subject who in their response to the Guardian’s retraction stated:

It’s unfortunately safe to expect that, with respect to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the newspaper we’ll continue to see won’t be the Guardian that corrected a distorted headline, but the Guardian that so frequently distorts the conflict, and the Guardian whose culture allows an editor to unblinkingly announce that “In Israel they murder each other a great deal” only because “they don’t like their political style and what they’ve got to say.”

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10 replies »

  1. And so 2009 ends with an editor of the Guardian finally, belatedly, angrily admitting that the Guardian lied about Israel. It is typical with the Guardian that when it finally has to admit error, it does so begrudgingly, unhappily and belatedly.
    But with the Guardian, the correction should be seen as the iron fist inside the velvet glove. Because the Guardian had to admit error, there is sure to be a “let’s throw it back in Israel’s face” attitude. We can look forward to a series of wildly exaggerated articles about the West Bank and Gaza and the Guardian’s editors and reporters will say to Israelis and to supporters of Israel:”You got us once and you made us print a retraction but now wer’e coming at you fast and furious and don’t expect any corrections”. Any newspaper with White, Lerman, Freidman and Bella Rusbridger on staff will not go quitely into the night.

  2. Well, live and learn. I didn’t know the Guardian had a “corrections and clarifications” page.

    It should be the largest section of their miserable paper and blog.

    Of course, the most significant correction is missing.

    That would be a correction to the header of that column of corrections, since it is demonstrably not their policy to correct errors about Israel (despite the header: “It is the Guardian’s policy to correct significant errors as soon as possible.”) unless absolutely pushed into a corner and facing a TKO such as Modernityblog handed them.

    If they corrected the “significant errors” by contributors to their their I/P section, they might as well have a separate paper or blog for the purpose.

    Note the rare apology on 22 Dec 2009 that actually lists the people affected. Given the tone and content of the apology, and its high profile, one suspects a little pressure may have been applied since it is one of the few that is not buried innocuously under the date the error was committed:

    Our article ‘Island dream swept away in Caribbean bay of despair’ (22 Nov, Cash) may have been understood to mean that Harlequin Property had duped investors, through the use of deceitful financial projections and misleading advertising, into parting with their money and that investors were unlikely to see a return on their investment. The article may also have been understood to suggest that Harlequin were in financial difficulty and that resorts may not be completed. We accept that there is no truth to these claims, which it was not our intention to make. We apologise to Harlequin and its Chairman David Ames.

    or this one, apologizing for merely accusing someone one of genocide, a daily accustaion hurled at Israel on CiF .

    Corrections and clarifications: Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin
    9 Dec 2009:

    • Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin: we apologise for publishing allegations that he was part of a group that abducted people in East Pakistan and was involved in the commission of genocide (Prosecute Bangladesh’s war criminals, 7 October, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin has never been prosecuted, charged nor even arrested in connection with these events. Mr Mueen-Uddin has consistently denied the accusations made against him as utterly false. We are sorry for the distress our article caused him.

    Of course, in line with the GWV, no such clear an public admission is provided for the “trivial error” of accusing Israel, once again, of “admitting to harvesting Palestinian organs”. That is buried under a December 22 dateline:

    Nevertheless, it appears you can make the bastards back down if you’re prepared to fight them. There is a lesson here for Israel (“Jenin massacre”) and British Jewry (various articles about the Jewish lobby).

  3. Lon Bannon – you are probably correct about their attempt to “get back” at Israel for some daring to defend it. That might explain why there have been about 10 -15 articles condemning Israel for this that or the other in the last week or two.

  4. It’s a pity their retraction wont be followed by others reproducing their original take on the story. Not to rain on anyone’s parade but I doubt ModenityBlog’ post, good though it was, had much if any effect on the Guardian. Busier blogs have caught the Guardian out time and again only to be studiously ignored. Where Israel is concerned, the Graun usually back step only if they consider their position too weak in the face of heavy pressure – not of the sort small blogs, good as some of them are, are able to generate.

  5. Here is the correction that I have yet to see in the Guardian:

    “The Guardain erred when it allowed Tony Lerman to refer to Israel as “the neighborhood bully”. Mr. Lerman should have referred to Syria as “the neighborhood bully” given Syria’s 35 years of destroying Lebaon’s independence and killing dozens of Lebanese politicians who dared to question Syria’s brutal occupation of Lebanon. Mr. Lerman should have referred to Syria as “the neighborhood bully” for the Syrian murder of Fuad Hariri, an elected Lebanese Prime Minister and for Syria’s intimidation of United Nations investigators who have attempted to investigage the murder of Fuad Harira. We at the Guardian also condemn Syria’s intimidation of jounalists in Lebanon and the Syrian government’s refusal to allow Syrian citizens full acess to the internet and to the world media.
    Mr. Lerman regrets his errors”

  6. Hawkeye

    Your headline is wrong: Last time when the Guardian editors’ felt the slightest shame (or anger) getting caught on false accusations against Jews in general or libelous lies about Israel in particular – if it happened at all – must have occured about forty years ago. At the present they supply a platform to the anglo-speaking Jew haters to vent their frustration seeing the successes of Israel as it can be seen here. Who else but John Lee Barnes of the BNP is using this Guardian abomination as reference saying this:

    “First the IDF goes into an Israeli controlled concentration camp called Gaza, shoots the people in that concentration camp thereby providing a new supply of fresh corpses and then Israeli ‘doctors’ harvest the dead for their organs to benefit other Israeli citizens.”

    Do you really think that Rusbridger and his clan has any shame or ability to self-criticism???

  7. Well tried Jonathan. The Guardian are serial offenders in their pronouncements against Israel and they are experts at wriggling out of things.

  8. Hawkeye

    Tell a lie enough times and…. The Guardian is only too happy to spread lies because the truth is not the goal of the lying left. It never has been. The goal is the delegitimization of Israel – no matter what underhanded methods are employed, no matter how many lies are used and no matter how many second rate journalist are hired to lie on their behalf. The Guardian is a card carrying member (leader, actually) of the lying left………

    Every word written by the Guardian, or on behalf of the Guardian needs to be studied for motive.

  9. Jonathan, wasn’t Red-faced Rustbucket himself on the PCC at that time? I wonder whether he recused himself if he was?

    Perhaps his subsequent resignation from the PCC’s Code Committee – see – was more as a result of his primitive stage of moral development than because of shame or a sudden attack of conscience – for such people something is wrong, dishonest or whatever only when they catch you at it rather than in and of itself.

    Did Rusbridger fall, so to speak, or was he pushed from the Committee? If the latter then he’ll have been among the first to have been booted out because of infringements of their Code. No doubt people will let us know if there have been other cases where editors have been forced to do the decent thing.