November 25, 2007

Poller on Al Dura

Nidra Poller, writing at Contentions, reports that the 18-minute video shown in a Paris courtroom on 11/14 not only failed to show the obvious staging of casualties that media members who had seen the original 27-minute segment say they observed, but it also inexplicably left out the scenes that Charles Enderlin said would vindicate him. Like the scenes of the boy's death throes, which were said by Enderlin to have been edited out of the original because they were so shocking. Edited right out of existence, I guess.

The screening of the raw footage proved that the al-Dura news report was baseless. For seven years, Charles Enderlin has claimed that the raw footage would prove, on the contrary, that the report was accurate, authentic, verified, and verifiable. And yet he was able to stand before three judges and recite a monotonous tale of intifada as the images unfolded.

Is it possible that no one remembered what was supposed to be contained in that cassette? Eighteen minutes or 27, that’s not the issue. This was supposed to be the raw footage of the al-Dura ordeal that, according to the cameraman and the boy’s father—sole living witnesses—lasted 45 minutes.

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In conclusion: nothing of what has been said about the incident can be seen in the 55-seconds of sole existing footage. No crossfire, no shots hitting the man or the boy, no duration of the ordeal. There is no footage to substantiate the report or the framing human interest narrative that accompanied it.

Can this be responsible journalism? Could it be so widely practiced that professionals, and particularly French media, do not consider it noteworthy? Is there no difference between a news report based on ample verifiable evidence and a news report based on an inconclusive snippet of what appears to be a clumsily staged one-minute scene? How is it possible to obtain total compliance with an unwritten law to the point that no one in French media will break ranks and give the facts about this controversial affair?

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How is it possible that a Palestinian faction (or individual or authority…we don’t know who) could produce false news and inject it directly into international media without encountering the slightest resistance, while the exposé that shows that the news report does not respect any normal journalistic criteria knocks its head against a stone wall and cannot reach the general public?

It's the "fake but accurate" doctrine that makes it possible. Journalistic ethics are trumped by the importance of maintaining a narrative focused on Palestinian victimhood and Israeli oppression. Facts optional.

Related: Lots of Al Dura links at this post.

Posted by dan at November 25, 2007 2:39 AM