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June 12, 2017

The Washington Post: We Print ‘Commonly Used’ Falsehoods

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The Washington Post defends its use of inaccurate language on the grounds that its use is frequent.

As CAMERA has noted (“The Washington Post’s Troubling Trend Towards Israel”) a May 29 Post report (“A daily commute through Israel’s checkpoints”) claimed that “The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip began 50 years ago in June [emphasis added].”

However, as CAMERA pointed out to Post staff: The status of the territories is disputed and no Palestinian state has ever existed. The Post itself noted as much in a Sept. 5, 2014 CAMERA-prompted correction, among other instances. That correction stated, in part: “The Israeli-occupied territories are disputed lands that Palestinians want as a future state.”

Despite this acknowledgement, the paper continues to inaccurately describe the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as “Palestinian land”—including in a Jan. 2, 2015 article that appeared within three months of the correction noted above (“When is a Correction an Error? When The Washington Post Says So,” CAMERA, Jan. 9, 2015).

When CAMERA contacted The Post about the May 29, 2017 report, it pointed out that a story in the June 6, 2017 edition rightfully stated, “The status of Gaza and the West Bank are still in dispute, with the Palestinians hoping the two territories will eventually make up an independent state."

Yet, as it has done on some previous instances, The Post declined to correct its May 29th report. The reason? The phrase “Palestinian territories” is “informal” and “widely and commonly used to refer to the West Bank and Gaza; there have been more than 1,000 such references in The Post alone in recent years.”

As CAMERA pointed out in a June 8, 2017 Times of Israel Op-Ed “The Washington Post’s Cognitive Dissonance,” the paper has a habit of contradicting itself and displaying an alarming inconsistency when it comes to using precise—and accurate—language.

The Washington Post’s own publishing guidelines claims that the paper “always seeks to publish corrections and clarifications promptly after they come to our attention.” Except, it might be added, when falsehoods are “widely and commonly used.”

Posted by SD at June 12, 2017 08:08 PM

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