Wednesday, June 22, 2011

BBC Reports Jerusalem Court Sentence Dog To Death By Stoning

Of course, the fact that the BBC reported this is by itself an indication that the story is false--just an example of sloppy reporting.

The Christian Science Monitor reportsthe BBC was gullible enough to report that a Jewish court wanted to stone a dog, thinking it was someone's reincarnation:

Jerusalem rabbis 'condemn dog to death by stoning'

A Jewish rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a stray dog it feared was the reincarnation of a lawyer who insulted its judges, reports say.

The dog entered the Jerusalem financial court several weeks ago and would not leave, reports Israeli website Ynet.

It reminded a judge of a curse passed on a now deceased secular lawyer about 20 years ago, when judges bid his spirit to enter the body of a dog.

The animal is said to have escaped before the sentence was carried out.
Forget checking out the story--after all this is Israel.
This story has it all. Religious zealots! Animal rights activists! Blood libel! Children! Ingredients that tend to nourish the more primitive regions of our minds and starve the rest. Best of all, it runs under 200 words and stars a dog.
There was a handful of other newspapers that could not resist printing the story either.

Even Yediot Ahronot fell for it--although they also reported the court's denial, something the BBC could not be bothered with. The newspaper also reported, unlike any of the others, that instead of an official ruling, a rabbi told some kids to throw rocks at a dog.

The truth is somewhat less dramatic--another Israeli newspaper that fell for this later printed an apology and reported what actually happened: After a dog walked into a courtroom, someone called the dogcatcher.

CSM also notes another, recent, example of the media doing the exact same thing:
Just a few weeks ago, The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, BBC, Agence France Presse, and Reuters all reported the discovery of dozens of bodies buried on a farm outside Houston. It turns out that police were investigating a tip from a self-described psychic, who not surprisingly turned out to be completely wrong.
We know that the media is not immune from making mistakes and failing to check on the veracity of a story--but somehow the false stories they report about Israel seem to have a tendency of being more grotesque than others.

The media really should do something about that.

Also check out the Backspin Blog about BBC's Dogged Denial

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1 comment:

NormanF said...

Once falsehoods are reported about Israel, they tend to be taken as the gospel truth.

A later retraction by the media doesn't correct the damage that's already been done.