Accuracy in Media


Al Jazeera Arabic, the sister network of Al Jazeera English, removed a story published on its website last week that questioned the “legitimacy” of the videos showing the execution of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff,  calling them a “Hollywood” fabrication.

According to Al Arabiya News, the story suggested that Foley likely fabricated the video and that the masked executioner did “not have the features of common jihadist figures, but he was rather similar to a Hollywood actor.”

The report also questioned what it said was the lack of blood when the knife was moved on the neck, as it appeared when playing the video in slow motion.

In a statement on the Al Jazeera English website, the network explained why they removed the story and reiterated their position on the kidnappings and killings:

In respect to families of the victims and as we share their grief, Al Jazeera Arabic’s website decided to retract an inaccurate article that questioned the legitimacy of Foley and Sotloff’s beheading videos after a theory surfaced on a number of American social media sites claiming they were produced as a pretext ahead of a US invasion of Syria.

We want to take this as an opportunity to reiterate Al Jazeera previous position in condemning the kidnapping of the two journalists and condemning their killing as a heinous crime.

That’s nice to say, but call me skeptical, since they published the outrageous story to begin with and only removed it after it was brought to light by Al Arabiya News.

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