“We are aiming to go beyond just facts, to create a narrative... [W]e think bringing journalism to a new level is exactly what people are looking for.”
- Arianna Huffington, October 20, 2009
"[At HuffPost] there are guidelines that have to be followed -- and they include a prohibition on... inflammatory claims..."
- Arianna Huffington, Feb. 1, 2010
On Thursday, June 30, 2011 HuffPost published the following "news" story near the top of its World page:
So is there any truth to the story? Did Israel really sabotage this boat? What's the proof?
Answers: No, no, and none. How do we know that? And why do we allege HuffPost knew that, before it published the story? Because it's all right there in the story itself.
See if you can find a single shred of evidence, a single scintilla of proof that Israel "sabotaged" this vessel, as that blaring HuffPost headline claims. Here is the entire copy of the article, on the HuffPost story page:
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — An Irish ship on Thursday dropped out of the pro-Palestinian flotilla planning to break Israel's blockade of Gaza, citing sabotage, and a U.S. ship declared it may set sail from a Greek port for Gaza without permission, activists said.
Up to 400 international activists had been due to sail this week to Gaza aboard 10 ships leaving from Greece to protest the naval blockade that Israel imposed on the Palestinian territory after Hamas militants overran it in 2007.
An Israeli raid on a similar flotilla last year killed nine activists on a Turkish ship and each side blamed the other for the violence.
The Irish ship MV Saoirse had to abandon plans to set sail because of what it called Israeli sabotage. Activist Huwaida Arraf told Israel's Army Radio that the ship's engine was damaged while in port and could have lead to deaths on board.
"When the engine was started, it completely bent," Arraf said. "While out at sea, if this would have happened, if it would have bent in this way, the boat would have started taking on water and it could have led to fatalities."
The alleged sabotage occurred at the Turkish coastal town of Gocek where the MV Saoirse has been berthed for the past few weeks, organizers said.
Earlier this week, activists said Israeli agents damaged the propeller of a Swedish ship in the Greek port.
Israel has refused AP requests for comment on the allegations.
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner — asked to comment Thursday on the alleged sabotage — said there was no proof it had taken place due to a lack of "independent confirmation."
Toner, speaking to reporters in Washington, said State Department opinion is "the flotillas are a bad idea," and there're other ways to get this kind of assistance to Gaza.
"Our bottom line is, we don't want to see anyone put at risk. And that would include any action to sabotage these boats but also the boats themselves — the flotillas themselves — will put these individuals at risk."
On Thursday, American activist Ann Wright said Greek authorities were bowing to Israeli pressure and deliberately stalling the departure of 53 passengers and crew — including 11 journalists — aboard a ship named the Audacity of Hope from a port near Athens.
"We're fed up with it already, we've already waited seven days. We were ready to go a week ago," Wright said.
She wouldn't say how long activists would wait for the all-clear before the 33-meter (108-foot) ferry begins its journey. But she said the Greek coast guard would "probably" stop the boat shortly after departing.
Audacity of Hope passenger Alice Walker, author of the acclaimed novel "The Color Purple," on Thursday read to journalists letters and cards that American children are sending to Gaza residents via the ship.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the flotilla at Thursday evening at a graduation ceremony for new pilots in central Israel, praising the action of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
"Sometimes we are required not only to repel physical attacks by our enemies but also repel the attacks against our right to defend ourselves. In that regard, I want to thank the many world leaders who spoke out and acted lately against the flotilla provocation," he said.
"Israel has the full right to act against attempts to legitimize the smuggling of missiles, rockets and other weapons to the terror enclave of Hamas," he added.
The U.N.'s top human rights official on Thursday welcomed the Israeli government's decision to drop its threat to issue deportation orders against journalists on the flotilla.
"I'm always taking the view that the blockade of Gaza is illegal and must be lifted, since it results in a disproportionate use of force against civilians," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told reporters in Geneva.
Do you notice anything missing? Bingo - not a single kernel of proof anywhere that Israel sabotaged this vessel. None. Zero, zip, nada.
So where would HuffPost have gotten the idea that Israel did this? Did other news media play the story that way? Let's take a look, at the original AP feed, and how other news media played the same story.
Other (real) news media played the story "straight," as the AP delivered it
Perhaps because they are not as interested in "getting beyond facts, and writing a (false) narrative," other news media played the AP story "straight," right down to the headline it supplied:
"Irish boat drops out of flotilla, cites sabotage"How do we know that? Here's the proof. Clockwise, from upper left: (1) The raw AP feed; (2) Washington Post; (3) FindLaw; (4) Seattle Post-Intelligencer
So why would HuffPost deliberately manipulate the headline of this story, in a way that could only serve to incite hate against Israel, on a false, proof-less basis?
Is it really possible that this was an honest mistake by HuffPost's army of "hundreds of editors and reporters"? No. If this was the first time HuffPost had done something like this, or the second, or the third, or the tenth, or the twentieth... that'd be one thing. But it isn't. This is merely the latest example in HuffPost's pathological incitement of hate against Israel on false and misleading grounds.
See our complete archive for example after example of documentation that proves our allegation, and then some (such as how HuffPost just as pathologically acts as a PR shill for Hamas and other militant Islamist terror gangs).
Perhaps one day, someone in a position of influence will ask HuffPost to explain itself. And while they're at it, they can ask why it does the same thing, with clockwork regularity.
As the comments section of its story page shows, HuffPost apparently achieved exactly the outcome it desired: inciting hate-filled reactions from radical leftists and cyber-jihadis against Israel and Jews (better look soon, before HuffPost "sanitizes" the thread after this story comes out).
"If you're going to produce great journalism, you have to build a team of people who are working together and driving toward the same goals editorially.”
– Arianna Huffington, April 7, 2011 --- two months after being put in control of all of AOL's "news" and "content"
"AOL's acquisition of HuffPost has allowed us... to continue to change the culture here."
--- Tim Armstrong, Chairman, AOL, the genius who bought HuffPost and put Arianna in charge of all "news" and "content" --- May 14, 2011
“[T]oo many reporters have forgotten that the highest calling of journalists is to ferret out the truth, consequences be damned.”
- Arianna Huffington, July 29, 2008
Conclusion & Action Items
Was this HuffPost's latest effort to incite more hatred against Israel and Jews among its 700,000* unique monthly visitors who originate in Muslim-majority nations? Among the 250,000 per month from the world's three primary incubators and exporters of Islamist terror and anti-Semitism: Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan (*up from 350,000 six months ago)?
Or was it merely HuffPost's effort to use its status as the #1 most-read blog on Earth, and a top-ten U.S. “news” site, to continue inciting hate against Israel and Jews throughout the world?
Do you think HuffPost's advertisers really know what it is that they are enabling?
Action Items: If you'd like to make your voice known on this matter, write to HuffPost's senior management here, and its advertisers here.