See bottom of post for update.
Wendover Productions is a YouTube channel with close to 300,000 subscribers. Its videos have close to 15 million views. They describe themselves as being “all about explaining how our world works. From travel, to economics, to geography, to marketing and more, every video will leave you with a little better understanding of our world.”
Their latest video is part 2 of a series going through every country of the world on a map. And it contains some glaring errors.
In case you missed it, he first refers to the Golan Heights as “Israeli controlled Syria,” before proceeding to mark all of Israel that is showing on the screen at the time as “Israeli controlled Syria”!
As of the time of this post, the video has close to 42,000 views since being published yesterday.
Whether this is the result of the creator’s personal bias or just general sloppiness, I do not know. But given the channel’s reach, I am drawing it to your attention so you can join me in contacting him and informing him of this damaging lie. Not to mention informing others.
Update: After tweeting Wendover, the owner quickly got back to me.
I’m aware of concerns that some may have about Golan Heights. The reveal of the graphic over Israel when I said “Israeli Controlled Syria” was just an unfortunate timing error. I can completely understand how it’s misleading that Israel is revealed when I say “Israeli Controlled Syria.” The reason the UNDOF zone is larger than reality in the graphic was just a graphical choice since it would have been difficult to depict given its small size and it was a bit of a consolidation between the DMZ to the west and the UNDOF zone to the east. Again, I see the confusion this could cause. For a lot of these facts included in the video I had to skirt over them quickly without going into much detail just based on time, and it was probably too ambitious to try and touch on Golan Heights in the 15-20 seconds I could devote to it.
Looking back on this video, I clearly tried to do too complicated of a video in too little production time (I normally do two videos a month but I tried to do three this month) and because of that I cut corners on sourcing so in the future I’ll be devoting more time to making sure I tell the whole story and I’ll also be hiring a fact-checker/researcher to make sure everything I say is accurate.
Also, I put an annotation up over the video to specify some of the confusions people may have about Golan Heights.
I hope you understand that being objective in these issues is very difficult because no matter what you say someone is going to think you’re wrong. I assure you that I’m not anti-israel and I understand the importance of certain wording since it can mean a lot. As I mentioned, in the future I’ll be devoting more time to focusing on small details like that since I know with my (rather new) large audience I want to make sure that as few people as possible are offended by what I might say.
And if I do mention Israel in one of my future videos I’ll make sure what I say is accurate and I may reach out to you to make sure what I’m saying is objective.