The Contagious #FakeNews Epidemic Infects Times Of Israel

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This is the news I see soon after I get to my office this morning. Fortunately you only needed to read as far as the second paragraph to know you could disregard the rest of this report as #FakeNews:

The Palestinian Authority has reportedly received assurances from Trump administration officials that the promised move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would not take place unilaterally.

The embassy move is not on the agenda at the moment, an unnamed Palestinian source was quoted as saying Wednesday in the London-based Arabic-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Did you spot the problem? The not-so-subtle clue is in the “unnamed Palestinian source”. Experienced grown up news watchers know how problematic “unnamed Palestinian sources” are. Let’s be honest, the named ones are a credibility disaster too.



Lori Marcus completely and quickly deconstructed the report, where it came from and how it happened:

A story in the Times of Israel quoted a report in the Arabic media outlet Asharq Al-Awsat. That report mentioned that assurances were given to Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas and the PA’s perennial negotiator Saeb Erekat in a meeting held on Tuesday with “David Blum,” of the US Consulate in Jerusalem.

But there is no David Blum in the US Consulate in Jerusalem.

The US Consul General in Jerusalem (serving “Jerusalem, Gaza and the ‘West Bank,’ that is, not Jewish Israelis) is Donald Blome. In other words, there must have been a mistranslation going from Arabic to either Hebrew or English.

A quick search of the actual American diplomat in Jerusalem, Donald Blome, reveals that he was appointed in July, 2015 by President Barack Obama, not by President Donald Trump. Given that Blome’s alleged message of reassurance to the Palestinian Arabs that the new administration was bowing to their pressure, it beggars the imagination that Blome was speaking on behalf of Trump.

Obviously someone at The Times of Israel took another look at the story and it’s now been re-written completely. Even the URL of the old article now forwards to the new one which is now headlined:

Palestinian sources deny report US assured PA it won’t move embassy

In addition the by-line changed from “Times of Israel Staff” to “Avi Issacharoff and Times of Israel Staff”. When the byline reads just “Times of Israel Staff” that usually means “stuff we found on the web and copy pasted to our own site”. Adding Issacharoff is, therefore, a key change because Avi has all the connections with Palestinian officials and can speak Arabic! It’s clear he made a few phone calls:

The opening paragraph is now:

Senior Palestinian sources denied Wednesday a report that Ramallah had received assurances from Trump administration officials that the promised move of the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would not take place unilaterally.

So what is the moral of this story? Yet another destructive blow to journalistic credibility comes from clearly biased outlets like Times of Israel rushing to publish ANYTHING that confirms their hopes and dreams for their utopian world.

They so desperately want Trump to fail and/or not carry through on his promises. And this comes through in their news publishing decision-making process. Anyone in this part of the world knows that you do not believe the Arab press without substantial verification.

Here’s my prediction: as far as double guessing the Trump administration goes, an increasing number of people will ONLY believe direct statements from Trump’s own Twitter account or his press spokespeople. The smartest will also make sure to reference original video or statements rather than the second hand reporting about what they said. Because the news media is proving to be completely unreliable on Trump.

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