Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: CNN used old footage to fake images of 'Palestinians dancing in the street' after the terrorist attack on the USA.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Origins: No, CNN did not air decade-old footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets. Eason Jordan, CNN's Chief News Executive, confirmed that the video used on CNN was in fact shot on Tuesday,
(The argument that the footage CNN used could not possibly be real because it showed Palestinians in broad daylight not long after the attack — even though Palestinian territory is several time zones ahead of New York — is not valid. Eastern Daylight Time in the United States is six hours behind the area of the Middle East referred to as Palestine. Thus, when the first attack occurred in New York just before
Reuters, the international news agency whose camera crew shot the footage, issued the following statement:
Reuters rejects as utterly baseless an allegation being circulated bySaid CNN of the matter:
Reuters welcomes a statement by the Universidad Estatal de Campinas-Brasil (UNICAMP), one of whose students was the author of the original e-mail, setting the record straight.
The videotape in question was shot in East Jerusalem by a Reuters camera crew on
There is absolutely no truth to the information that is now distributed on the Internet that CNN used 10-year-old video when showing the celebrating of some Palestinians in East Jerusalem after the terror attacks in the U.S. The video was shot that day by a Reuters camera crew. CNN is a client of Reuters and like other clients, received the video and broadcast it. Reuters officials have publicly made the facts clear as well.Certainly CNN wasn't the only news organization to report on the reaction of some Palestinians to the events of
The allegation is false. The source of the allegation has withdrawn it and apologized. It was started by a Brazilian student who now says he immediately posted a correction once he knew the information was not true. This is the statement by his university — UNICAMP — Universidad Estatal de Campinas-Brasil.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT by Universidad de Campinas-Brasil
UNICAMP (Universidad Estatal de Campinas-Brasil) would like to announce that it has no knowledge of a videotape from 1991, whose images supposedly aired on CNN showing Palestinians celebrating the terrorist attacks in the U.S. The tape was supposedly from 1991, and there were rumors that the images were passed off as current.
This information was later denied, as soon as it proved false, by Márcio A. V. Carvalho, a student at UNICAMP. He approached the administration today, 17.09.2001, to clarify the following:
Palestinian Authority actions to confiscate film footage of Palestinians celebrating the terror attacks on the US were logical to prevent the media from painting the wrong picture of Palestinian sentiment, Bassam Abu Sharif, an adviser to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.The footage was real. It's a shame, in fact, that its provenance was doubted because the lives of journalists who have attempted to capture similar acts on video have been threatened. That this tape made it out at all is a miracle. But CNN's reputation was besmirched by a single person, a Brazilian student who reported (without verification) that the footage in question actually came from a 1991 report
"This was a normal preventive act . . . we don't want to give more to the Zionist propaganda which portrays all Palestinians as terrorists," he said. "The idea is that these people were not allowed to film, because a small group of people on film would represent the Palestinian people as a whole."
Subsequent rumors that the "Israeli Defense Agency" sent a film crew to hand out candy to Palestinians in order to induce them into staging a "celebration" for the cameras appear to be equally unfounded. However, this issue does emphasize a point that appears to have been overlooked in the debate over whether video was re-used from a previous year or not: that images themselves are not the whole story. A news report can be accompanied by stock footage and still be fair and accurate, but a news report accompanied by current footage is not necessarily either fair or accurate. A simple news clip doesn't always provide us with enough context to discern what the people depicted in it are reacting to, why they're reacting the way they are, or whether their actions are representative of a large group of people or a very small one, as an Italian journalist in Beirut reported:
Trying to find our bearings, my husband and I went into an American-style cafe in the Hamra district, near Rue Verdun, rated as one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world. Here the cognitive dissonance was immediate, and direct. The cafe's sophisticated clientele was celebrating, laughing, cheering and making jokes, as waiters served hamburgers and Diet Pepsi. Nobody looked shocked, or moved. They were excited, very excited.Last updated: 8 March 2008
An hour later, at a little market near the U.S. Embassy, on the outskirts of Beirut, a thrilled shop assistant showed us, using his hands, how the plane had crashed into the twin towers. He, too, was laughing.
Once back at the house where we were staying, we started scanning the international channels. Soon came reports of Palestinians celebrating. The BBC reporter in Jerusalem said it was only a tiny minority. Astonished, we asked some moderate Arabs if that was the case. "Nonsense," said one, speaking for many. "Ninety percent of the Arab world believes that Americans got what they deserved."
An exaggeration? Rather an understatement. A couple of days later, we headed north to Tripoli, near the Syrian border. On the way, we read that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who donated blood in front of the cameras, was rejecting any suggestion that his people were rejoicing over the terrorist attack. "It was less than
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