A Guardian/Reuters report (Palestinians in raptures as as Yaqoub Shaheen wins Arab Idol TV contest, Feb. 26th) focuses on a Palestinian from Bethlehem who won this year’s Arab Idol.
Palestinians have taken to the street to celebrate the victory of their compatriot Yaqoub Shaheen in the hugely popular Middle East television talent show Arab Idol.
This year’s final, filmed in Lebanon, was between a Yemeni, Ammar Mohammed, and two Palestinian competitors, Shaheen from Bethlehem and Ameer Dandan.
Here’s the problem: contrary to the Guardian’s suggestion, runner-up Ameer Dandan is actually an Israeli born resident of the US. He’s from Majd al-Krum in the Upper Galilee and is currently a university student in New Jersey.
How do we know this? Well, in addition to checking other reports on the Arab Idol contestants (and reviewing Dandan’s official Facebook page), we reviewed the original text of the Reuters story published by the Guardian.
Here’s the relevant passage:
This year’s final, filmed in Lebanon, was between a Yemeni, Ammar Mohammed, and two Palestinian competitors, Shaheen from Bethlehem and Ameer Dandan from the town of Majd al-Krum in Israel but resident in the United States.
It appears that Guardian editors erased Dandan’s Israeli citizenship and US residency from the original Reuters report, misleading readers into believing that he (like the winner of the contest) is from the Palestinian territories.
This of course isn’t among the most egregious errors we’ve posted about, but it does represent yet another example of how, at the Guardian, facts are often subservient to the central goal of emphasizing the desired narrative.