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July 23, 2014

Robert Mackey's "Open Source" Journalism Anything But

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New York Times journalist Robert Mackey has weighed in on the video broadcast yesterday by the International Solidarity Movement and sadly, despite his reporting, we are no closer to the truth of what happened the day the video was made than we were when it was first released.

The video, which was released on July 21, 2014, purports to show the death of a young Palestinian man at the hands of an unseen and unknown sniper. CAMERA and other commentators have raised questions about its reliability suggesting that it may be a faked footage broadcast with the intent of demonizing Israel, AKA, “Pallywood.”

Mackey gave the video something akin to a seal of approval in an article published late yesterday that does more to inoculate the video from scrutiny than it does to advance the story.

In his piece, Mackey reports that a Palestinian family discovered the fate of their missing son after seeing the video on Youtube.

Mackey reports that the video

was edited by the International Solidarity Movement Palestine’s West Bank media office, which posted the video on YouTube with a headline assigning blame for the shooting to an unseen Israeli sniper. The activists provided 15 minutes 45 seconds of raw footage to The New York Times for review, and although it bears no apparent signs of manipulation, it also offers no clear evidence of the gunman’s identity.

The irony is that Mackey’s column is published alongside the blog title, “Open Source,” but his reporting is anything but. Mackey does not provide any link to the raw footage in questio, does not even describe what the rest of the video shows and expects his readers to trust his judgment as to its reliability.

In his treatment of the video, Mackey does not tell his readers that people have cast doubt on the video itself. He does, however, draw attention to the anti-Zionist publication Electronic Intifada, which calls the alleged shooting a “war crime.” He also provides a link to Human Rights Watch which condemns Israel. Why is there no reference to organizations that provide an opposing point of view?

CAMERA, for example, has challenged the reliability of the video, an issue that Mackey addressed in the article, but Mackey provides no acknowledgement of this fact.

He also also omits any reference to the anti-Israel animus exhibited by Joe Catron, the ISM activist who posted the video for the world to see. Catron, readers will remember, has referred to Zionists as “scum” in the Tweet below.

Catron Tweet Zionists Racist Scum.jpg

Take a look at that Tweet again. Catron is implicitly calling on his supporters to harass Zionists in both the public and private spheres. This is totalitarian and yet, Mackey refers to Catron as a “human rights activist” a moniker that Catron himself questions in favor of the title “solidarity activist.”

Catron makes it perfectly clear he has cast his lot in with the Palestinians and that he hates Israel and its supporters with a purple passion.

Why does Mackey omit this information from his report?

This is “Open Source” journalism? Is he kidding? Mackey is acting more like a filter designed to keep information out of the heads of his readers than a reporter intent on educating them.

Reporters are supposed to “advance” the stories they cover and educate their readers about the credibility of the sources they quote. Instead, Mackey has behaved more like a stenographer and a PR flack for the ISM and Joe Catron, a movement and an activist with some ugly attitudes about Israel.

The challenge remains: Will the ISM post the full, unedited version of the video on the Internet for the world to see or will it merely shop it around to compliant, on-side reporters like Robert Mackey at the New York Times?

If the ISM has nothing to hide, it will post the video, in its entirety, on the internet.

Posted by dvz at July 23, 2014 09:10 AM

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