Early Sunday morning it was found that Time magazine had included in one of its video reports the lie that Israeli soldiers were selling the organs of dead Palestinians on the black market. To its credit, by that afternoon the magazine had apologized and edited out the classic blood libel claim.
Media watchdogs HonestReporting.com had discovered the lie in a Time-produced video on the history of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The video was appended to an Associated Press report on a recent Israeli air strike in Gaza.
At one point in the video, Time insisted that “the IDF is not without controversy.”
As an example of such “controversy,” the video goes on to say, “in 2009 a Swedish report came out exposing some Israeli troops of selling organs of Palestinians who died in their custody.”
But, the fact is there was no such exposé. In truth, the claim in the Swedish newspaper was revealed to be a fraud.
“The reference is to a completely made up tabloid style article in an obscure Swedish paper, that even the author admitted was not based on any evidence,” said Honest Reporting, adding that the repetition of the myth was entirely predictable at the time: “Unfortunately, we also wrote at the time that despite the author’s own admission that he had no evidence to back up his horrendous accusation, the story would continue spreading.”
On top of all that, HonestReporting also found that “the story was further undermined as one of the Palestinian families interviewed said they never told any reporter that their son was missing organs.”
After HonestReporting exposed these facts, Time magazine did the right thing and edited out the false claims from its video. The magazine also posted the following notice of the correction at the end of the video:
Correction: The original version of this video cited a contested allegation in a 2009 Swedish newspaper report as fact. The allegation has been removed from the video.
It is good that the magazine excised this lie from its video and also good that it owned up to the edit instead of just quietly sending it away.
But that this un-sourced lie was so easy for Time‘s reporters to believe and that they so quickly included the lie in their report without bothering to check it – that really shows the anti-Israeli bias at the heart of the media.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.