In this case, however, journalists begin to show some signs of forensic awareness. To be fair, she to us, and we to them, both the NYT’s Jodi Rudoren and AP’s Karen Laub actually mention the anomalous evidence: the explosion was too small to have been fired from a plane; the clean-up crew visited the site before the journalists.
This is obviously a huge step forward over the Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg’s appraisal on October 1, 2000, of the wall behind barrel that Muhammad al Durah and his father had hidden behind, the previous day.
From Nahum Shahaf’s archive.
Told that the Israelis had fired “bullets like rain” for 40 minutes until they killed the boy, Goldenberg looked at the dozen or so bullet holes that looked suspiciously like they were shot from “head on,” rather than the 30% angle an Israeli bullet would have to travel to leave marks on the wall, and pronounced the cluster “proof that the Israelis had targeted the boy.”
Apparently, now, almost thirteen years later, some journalists have at least problematized the Israeli-Goliath/Palestinian-David framing story: maybe that doesn’t cover all the cases. It is, after all, a journalistic task to give us the relevant evidence. Obviously more investigation is called for, but thanks for the allusive scraps. Those who argued that Israel should have let journalists into Gaza for Operation Cast Lead (OCL) in 2008/9, because they would have provided quality control over the kind of footage that would come out of Gaza from unsupervised Palestinian “journalists,” have evidence for their claim in this kind of reporting.
Similarly, watchdog groups like NGO Monitor have read the riot act even to Palestinian NGOs, notorious for their anti-Israel advocacy brand of “human rights” defense. Notes Elder of Baker Street
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights , which is keeping track of everyone killed in Gaza (and which admits that most of the dead have been “militants,”) did not list Mahmoud Sadallah or Aiman Aby Wardah in their list of victims of Israeli airstrikes, although they even include one person who died of a heart attack.
Now not to grade elementary school students by too high a standard, but an alert journalist’s antennae should quiver at the comment, “no one appeared to have witnessed the strike.” In one of the most densely populated neighborhoods of “one of the most densely populated areas in the world”? No one noticed?
Omerta? Possibly. Probably, if it were a Hamas explosive. How many journalists or readers even think of the role of intimidation in shaping the news they get?
And yet, another datum corroborates this hypothesis: Laub informs us that “local security officials quickly took what remained of the projectile.”
Two questions: 1) Are we sure it was all “projectile”? What if part of it was the mangled body of a rocket launcher that blew up on the launchers, killing the neighbors, including the four-year-old boy?
2) Does one imagine all these cleaners did was run in, remove the item(s) in question, and leave without also informing those watching them not to speak about the event? Indeed, I wonder who was the brave person who reported about the clean-up crew.