On Monday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, as host Keith Olbermann and NBC News correspondent Richard Engel discussed the apparent murder of 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan by Iranian government forces as part of the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters, and the possibility that she will become the visual symbol for her country’s pro-democracy movement because her death was recorded, Engel brought up the infamous Mohammed al-Dura video clip from September 2000 and claimed that the Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli troops – as if this story were not in dispute – even though many who have examined the case closely over the years believe not only that the boy was not hit by Israeli bullets, but that the video purporting to document his shooting and death was likely a hoax.
The exchange from Monday's Countdown show, in which both Engel and Olbermann assumed the al-Dura story to be undisputed:
KEITH OLBERMANN: To the point of Neda Soltan, I don’t know that there’s ever been a revolution, or even a near revolution, that did not have an identifiable face, a martyr, you think of everything from Tiananmen Square to Lexington and Concord-
RICHARD ENGEL: I was thinking more, remember Mohammed al-Dura, the boy who was shot in Gaza-
OLBERMANN: Yes, yes.
ENGEL: -in his father’s arms-
ENGEL: -and who became a symbol of injustice? I think this is a similar moment.
When France 2 TV helped stoke a new wave of anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment and violence by presenting the world footage it claimed to show the Israeli military targeting and killing a Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, a scene that has been invoked by Osama bin Laden and many other terrorists and suicide bombers, the American news media also ran the story, showing the footage numerous times on major television news shows. But evidence has mounted over the years that Israeli troops likely were not the ones producing the gunfire seen in the video. And the sources of the footage at France 2 TV are under increasing fire for their role in the matter, last week losing a court battle to media critic Philippe Karsenty, who goes so far as to charge that the al-Dura footage was actually a staged scene, and that the boy may still be alive, part of what has become a reportedly common practice of Palestinian film makers as they record scenes of fake violence to be used as propaganda. A look at such filmmaking and acting has been examined in the documentary Pallywood, complete with a corpse in a fake funeral procession that gets up on its own after falling off the stretcher after the "Jenin massacre" hoax, and an ambulance that arrives immediately next to the body of a man literally two seconds after he is supposedly shot. CBS's 60 Minutes was among those accused of being duped into using scenes of staged violence as if they were real. (Transcripts follow)
An important trial in France revealed the Pallywood fauxtography machine and its media pipeline. Last week, expert testimony supported media critic Philippe Karsenty's claim that France 2 reporter Charles Enderlin's coverage of the Mohammad al-Dura affair was doctored and staged.
Karsenty appealed a verdict that he libeled Enderlin when he questioned the claim that Israel killed the boy who was crouching behind his father during a gunfight between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian shooters.
Al-Dura's iconic image sped around the world and sold stamps, T shirts and the Second Intifada. It inspired violence, riots, terrorism and became a 21st century Blood Libel. On March 3, Israel's Haaretz reported the stunning news that if the boy and his father were actually shot at all, the bullets could not have come from Israel's position, only the Palestinians' (bold mine throughout):
Remember that touching picture of Yassar Arafat donating his blood to the 9/11 victims that was conveniently published after CNN ran footage of Palestinians cheering and handing out candy to celebrate the destruction in New York? Now France 2 journalist Charles Enderlin says that photo was staged; Arafat never gave blood.
The photos were taken by an AP photographer with a history of biased journalism and given captions that read like “a press release covering talking points.” Power Line's Scott Johnson reported Enderlin's revelation in a January 24 Weekly Standard article (bold mine throughout):
As Joel Pollak recounted online at the site Guide to the Perplexed [ed. link here], Enderlin told his Harvard audience "that Yasser Arafat had faked his blood donation to the victims of the September 11th attacks. Enderlin said the event had been staged for the media to counteract the embarrassing television images of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks."
The "winners" included Christiane Amanpour for “God's Warriors,” the BBC for covering up an internal investigation into its Mid East reporting, US government funded Al-Hurra TV's former 'director Larry Register for dhimmitude, a UNC Daily Tar Heel article about breaking up with a boyfriend because of Israel and of course Charles Enderlin and the Mohammad Al Dura Fautography that launched the Second Intifida. See how many of the stories over at Honest Reporting you know:
Dishonest Reporter of the Year (Christiane Amanpour)
This year's Dishonest Reporter voting marks a change for HonestReporting readers. Previous awards went to large, impersonal news services, but not so this year. One journalist made herself such a lightning rod in 2007 she easily defeated BBC and Reuters – the traditional disfavorites.
The famous picture of a terrified Mohammed al-Dura hiding behind his father enraged millions of Muslims and became such an iconic image of Palestinian martyrdom and Israeli occupation that it caused violent rioting, inspired some UK Muslims to commit to radical Islam and was even used in suicide bomber propaganda.
It took a defamation case to get France2 to fork over the raw footage, but Media Backspin reported portions are missing (bold mine throughout):