Daily Mail Distorts Scarlett Johansson Quote to Impute Greed to SodaStream Role
We typically don’t spend too much time monitoring the Daily Mail, but the tabloid had a story about the Scarlett Johansson/SodaStream row which is worth a quick look.
As you may recall, Johansson recently stepped down as Oxfam ambassador after the group – which has come under fire for demonizing Israel and placing ‘a clearly political agenda above any humanitarian concern’ – criticized her decision to become global ambassador for the Israeli-based company SodaStream.
Here’s the headline and strap lines in their Feb. 1 story:
The claim that she “hankers after wealth” (a word referring to ‘the strong, relentless desire for something;) is repeated in the text of the story:
When Scarlett Johansson chose her lucrative SodaStream contract over her charity work with Oxfam, it appeared to be an unusual choice.
The 29-year-old issued a strong public statement backing the controversial company which operates in the West Bank, despite Oxfam’s claim that the firm profits from illegal trade that harms Palestinians.
But The Mail on Sunday has learned the clues to her outspoken position may lie in her family’s struggle with money.
The blonde star of The Girl With The Pearl Earring and The Island admits she hankers after wealth and squanders money.
So, did she say that she hankers after money? Well, here are the only quotes they use to support this curious characterization:
‘It’s nice to have money. I didn’t grow up with it so it’s nice to have it,’ she told The Mail on Sunday.
‘I’m not at all frugal and I don’t save – to my business manager’s dismay. I like to be generous. I can’t stand people who are tight with their money, it drives me crazy.
‘It’s different if you’re scrimping and saving because you need to, to save up for something. But I cannot stand cheapness.’
Far from “hankering” for wealth, the quotes released by the Daily Mail appear to suggest something closer to the opposite – that the Jewish actress is generous, and not too concerned with accumulating money.
The Daily Mail’s narrative on the alleged monetary reasons for Johansson’s decision is of course further undermined by the series of events leading to her resignation. She only stepped down as ambassador to Oxfam after the group condemned her association with SodaStream. Based on most reports, it seems that she would have preferred to remain affiliated with the NGO, but simply refused to be bullied by BDS activists into ending her position with SodaStream.
Either way, it appears as if Daily Mail editors – in their decision to frame the story as one of greed – failed in their professional responsibilities “not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information”.
Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).