After UK Media Watch complaint, Independent furtively corrects false claim.

An article published in the Independent (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames Palestinians for lack of peace in region, Sept. 23) summarized Netanyahu’s speech thusly:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Palestinian leaders are “poisoning the future” and are to blame for the continued Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Mr Netanyahu said Israel is prepared to revive peace talks, but rejected a freeze on Israeli settlement building, saying the issue has “always been about the existence of a Jewish state”.

“I am ready to negotiate all final status issues, but one thing I will never negotiate is our right to the one and only Jewish state”, the prime minister said.

“He also rejected the 1967 borders as the basis for talks and denounced what he called Palestinian incitement.”

However, if you read the transcript of the speech, it’s clear the Indy’s claim that “he also rejected the 1967 borders as the basis for talks” is not true.  At no point during the speech does he say such a thing.

We contacted Indy editors, and they upheld our complaint.

However, instead of removing the false claim in the sentence, they instead merely tweaked the wording.  

It now reads:

Mr Netanyahu has previously rejected the 1967 borders as the basis for talks and denounced what he called Palestinian incitement. 

The words added (“has previously”) to the sentence are quite curious to say the least.  

Editors, in an effort to render the false claim accurate, used the past tense, reflecting the fact that Netanyahu has previously (prior to this speech) rejected 1967 borders as the basis for talks.  Of course, his previous statements have little relevance in an article which narrowly focuses his speech to the UN, and this one (newly revised) sentence now represents the only reference in the entire article to the previous positions of either Netanyahu or Mahmoud Abbas.

Additionally, no where in the article are readers informed of the change.

Once again, we see the extraordinary lengths British media outlets will go to avoid admitting error.

10 replies »

  1. I guess the Oslo Accords, written in the 1990s, don’t quite count because Arafat rejected them while Israel signed them. And Israel signed them despite the assassination of Rabin.

    Fuck off, Indy. You’re a joke.

  2. It is an interesting question as to whether the Indy prefer to spend more time attempting to avoid admitting error or to spend more time researching their facts in the first instance. Time and again with this publication they shoot first and ask questions afterwards…………or rather wait for someone else to ask the questions afterwards.Their unprofessionalism is of course predicated by their prejudice. Well, at least these days they are no longer threatening the rain forests.

  3. Can one not complain to some industry body, such as what used to be the Press Council, about this underhand and weasely behaviour?

  4. Demonstrates the prejudiced ignorance of the Indy. The 1967 borders – post the Six Day War – include the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank). Perhaps someone could point this out to the Indy.

    They could also point out that the West Bank was occupied and subsequently annexed by Jordan in 1949 and was accepted as being part of Jordan by the international community, none of whom protested about this occupation/annexation. Only 2 countries officially recognised it as part of Jordan – Pakistan and Britain.