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December 16, 2014

AP Said Settlement Population Growth "Surged" (Oh, and "Slowed")

Former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman points out a bizarre contradiction by the AP yesterday:

If I tried to point out every instance of press dishonesty I'd literally be doing nothing else. But I think this a good example. This story from the AP informs us in the first paragraph that the number of settlers has "surged" under Netanyahu. The problem is that reporters who actually cover the settlements (like Tovah Lazaroff of the Jerusalem Post) know the opposite is true -- though Netanyahu is certainly pro-settlement, population growth in the settlements has actually decreased since he came to power. And indeed, in the sixth paragraph, the AP reporters remember that actually growth among settlers has "slowed slightly" under Netanyahu. So which is it, guys? "Surged" or "slowed"? And does anyone actually take this stuff seriously anymore?

Indeed, the story as it appeared for some time yesterday opened with the announcement that "The population of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank has surged during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s years in office." That article's original headline relayed the storyline so many journalists are drawn to: "Netanyahu years see surge in West Bank settlements."

But indeed, AP explained deeper in the story that settlement growth during those years slowed from 31 to 23 percent.

(And yes, AP describes this as a "slight" drop in population growth. By contrast, the wire service once stated Mexican population growth slowed "dramatically" after it fell from 3.5 to 2.4 percent, though in percentage terms that drop is nearly the same as the decline in settlement population growth.)

ap headline settlement surge.jpg

The language was eventually changed, and the final version of the story asserts that "The population of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank has continued to surge" during Netanyahu's tenure.

Posted by GI at December 16, 2014 12:29 PM

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