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March 11, 2015

Will WaPo's Liz Sly Admit Error in Light of Tablet Article?

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress about the threat of Iran’s nuclear program on March 3, 2015, Liz Sly, The Washington Post’s Bureau Chief in Beirut, conveyed some misinformation to her followers on Twitter.

Sly essentially told her followers that Netanyahu told a falsehood when he attributed an antisemitic quote to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The quote, she indicated through a retweet and two tweets of her own, was a fabrication.

Her first foray into the controversy was a retweet of Nicolas Noe, who said the quote was fabricated in a (now corrected) article posted on his blog. In the article, Noe stated that Netanyahu used a quote from Nasrallah that was likely fabricated.

Here is the tweet Sly retweeted:

Sly’s retweet caught the attention of Middle East analyst Tony Badran from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who responded with a Tweet of his own, which was pretty blunt:

badran tweet.jpg

As it turned out, Badran was right, and to his credit, Noe said so. Noe admitted that Badran “found and pointed to a link to the FULL speech by Nasrallah in October 2002 where he says roughly what PM Netanyahu says he said.�? Noe admits that “Nasrallah has made a handful of anti-jewish [sic] comments over the last three decades, an aspect of Hezbollah’s history in general that is vital to understand clearly.�? [Update: Badran has since stated on Twitter that his response was directed at Noe, not Liz Sly.]

In response to Badran’s challenge, Sly responded by stating that the quote was “highly contentious�? and had been “refuted by Hezbollah.�? In another tweet she linked to a 2012 article in Mondoweiss that stated the quote was likely a fabrication. (Mondoweiss relied on a 2006 article that appeared in the London Review of books for its information.) Here are the tweets in question, which appear to be her last word on the subject.

Sly Tweets 2.jpg

On Monday, March 9, 2015, The Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg weighed in with a summary that provided link to audio of a speech Nasrallah gave in 2002. And in the audio, Rosenberg reports, Nasrallah “certainly says the words Netanyahu cited.�?

It’s been two days since Rosenberg provided proof in the Tablet that Netanyahu got it right, but there does not appear to be any correction on Liz Sly’s twitterfeed.

With her silence, Sly is leaving her 5,000-plus followers in the dark about her error, letting them think that Netanyahu was misinforming his listeners. In fact, it is Sly who is guilty of broadcasting misinformation.

Will she correct? And when?

Posted by dvz at March 11, 2015 11:18 AM


When looking at Noe's blog, he consistently writes "anti-jewish" without capitalizing the 'J;" I can't imagine this is simply a repeated, coincidental oversight-- his capitalization seems otherwise correct in every instance.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 12, 2015 04:01 PM

So what? They are mortal enemies and Religion/Race is irrelevant. It's weird that some people are trying to turn a land-grab and occupation into a racial bigotry.

Posted by: Khalid at November 12, 2015 03:31 AM

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