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December 11, 2014 11:49 am

Guardian Omits ‘Minor’ Detail in Story: Alleged Palestinian Plot to Kill Obama

avatar by Adam Levick

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The Guardian newspaper's London offices. Photo: Derek Harper.

The Guardian tradition of tendentious, misleading editing in stories involving Israelis and Palestinians is again revealed in a comparison between a December 9 Associated Press (AP) story on an American Christian indicted in Israel on charges of trying to blow up Muslim holy sites, and the Guardian version of that same story.

The suspect, Adam Everett Livix, allegedly conspired with his Israeli roommate “to obtain 1.4 kilograms (3 pounds) of explosive material to blow up the unidentified Jerusalem holy sites.”

However, that’s far from the only dramatic information in the Israeli indictment, as the second paragraph of the original AP story (Israel indicts American in plot to bomb Muslims) reveals:

Israeli police and the Justice Ministry identified the man as Adam Everett Livix, 30. Police said he faces drug charges back in the U.S. and that he once turned down an offer from a Palestinian to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama during the leader’s visit to the Holy Land in 2013.

The Guardian’s version of the AP story (Israel indicts Texas Christian for plot to attack Muslim sites in Jerusalem) completely omitted the shocking news about the alleged plot to assassinate Obama.

Further, as you can see by this screenshot of a Google search using words about the plot against Obama from the AP story, other news sites – including MSNBC and Al Arabiya – included information about the planned assassination.

So, why did the Guardian editors omit this from their report?

Well, while anyone who follows this blog wouldn’t of course be surprised by such an egregious example of the media group’s bias, former AP Jerusalem correspondent Matti Friedman argued that such selective coverage reflects a larger pattern by which stories are used by journalists as a “weapon to be placed at the disposal of the side they like.” While every Israeli action is analyzed, criticized, and “aggressively reported,” Friedman added, “Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate”.

If anyone can think of an alternative explanation for the determination by Guardian editors that a reported Palestinian plot to murder a sitting U.S. President isn’t newsworthy, we’re all ears.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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  • I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this info for my mission.

  • Julian Clovelley

    I feel there is something else that needs to be said. I would like to openly complain about the constant attacks on the Guardian Newspaper made by Mr Levick in the Algemeiner Newspaper. I think they are often extraordinarily unfair and liable to divert the attention of many readers from another very important news and comment source. For the record I recommend Algemeiner to Guardian readers myself. There is a great deal in this journal too that is of interest to a wider audience. Whilst it publishes “Zionist” views I do not regarded is as a monoculturally “Zionist” source. I regard it as a very good online newspaper with general appeal.

    On every occasion a proper assessment of attacks on the Guardian have demonstrated them to be without proper foundation in terms of Guardian editorial responsibility and standards. In my opinion on many attacks what seems to be attacked is a higher level of journalistic integrity than that applied by the critic.

    On several occasions, in Mr Levicks case, I have tried to clear the air by asking Mr Levick to state his own position relating to the timetable for ending the occupation and closing the West Bank settlements – or at least to state openly that it is his opinion that this should never occur. I do this because I firmly believe any attacks he makes on other media outputs should clearly be against a background of his own stated bias. I don’t really mind what the bias is – it should be stated when criticising the comments of others

    The Guardian is a newspaper that publishes a vast variety of opinions – including Mr Levick’s own article in their “Comment is Free” section. Its editorial section clearly states that it does not endorse all of them, any more than the Algemeiner editorial necessarily endorsed all persons – again including Mr Levick – whose comments are published in their media outlets. The role of responsible media is to report, not to campaign for one faction

    Somehow this reality in relation to all media publication seems to be getting lost. No paper has published more articles on matters such as the Holocaust and antisemitism thatn the Guardian has over many decades. In addition Mr Levick might like to note the Guardian’s almost unique ownership structure – unlike most newspapers there is no “Press Baron” with a personal agenda lurking in the background. Mr Levick is as entitled to submit articles to the Guardian as anyone else is. So why doesn’t he do so? – and if they are turned down let us actally see what he feels should have published

    Monitoring media is an absolutely vital role – I commend Mr Levick’s team for doing it but I do feel that it is presenting its reports of its monitoring in a rather one sided factional manner

    It would greatly help if Mr Levick stated his personal bias. I don’t understand what the problem is here.

  • Julian Clovelley

    The crucial sentence in the AP report is “Police said he faces drug charges back in the U.S. and that he once turned down an offer from a Palestinian to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama during the leader’s visit to the Holy Land in 2013.”

    The vital words are “Police said”. The original AP article is not from a basic News Agency wire in the form which it likely left the Jerusalem office, but from something closer to a newspaper page. That page informs us that after leaving its source in Israel the AP news item also passed through the hands of two other journalists, one on Cairo and one in Chicago, and was amended on both occassions. The involvement of the named correspondent “Peter Enav” also raises a couple of questions (see below)

    The Guardian – quite in accordance with high journalistc standards relayed only that which could be sourced, the actual indictment of the suspect by the Court in Israel as officially notified by the Israeli Ministry of Justice. All other matters remain to be introduced and proven in Court, and are not part of the indictment as yet – which relates to overstaying a visa and possessing an illegal weapon. The accused has not been charged with entering a plot to kill the American President – in fact according to the AP report he clearly refused such a suggestion

    If, as the AP article suggests, the police are satisfied such a plot was refused by their supect, then it can hardly appear as part of an indictment. The Guardian has acted correctly in removing elements of predjudicial hearsay from their article. These include conspiring with an Israeli(sic) soldier to obtain explosives for an attack on Jerusalem Holy sites – the reasonable implication here being that they were sites regarded as Holy by muslims. This is made a little suspicious since his alleged military co-conspirator has apparently not been charged and court-martialled for a serious offence, nor has he been presented in the form of a witness. There has to be a suggestion of either framing or entrapment here.

    The nature of the weapon that is the subject of the indictment has not been named. The AP article might seem to suggest it is a sniper rifle, but there is no actual information presented. It may equally have been a pistol, tear gas canister or an illegal knife so far as we know

    The Guardian correctly relays the Justice Ministry’s report that their prisoner has undegone a Psychiatric evaluation.

    The original AP report is full of holes that make if fall far below the standard I would expect from a News Agency. I rather doubt that this was the fault of AP’s Jerusalem office but rather the fault of the later contributors to the original article doing what News Agency desk staff are usually strictly told never to do – beat up a story on the basis of minimal information, much of which is hearsay

    The Guardian was responsible to strip those possible elements. I note incidentally that despite the fact Peter Enav, the correspondent named as the main correspondent in this article has contributed a number of articles relating to Israel, he is descibed on his own Linked in Web page as “Correspondent at Associated Press, Taipei City, Taiwan.

    Either his Linked in Page is out of date or the original source of the AP article remains a little confused and therefore correctly subject to cautious handling.

    • Tuvia Fogel

      What are you, a Guardian shareholder?

      • Julian Clovelley

        Actually I have no idea what the full details of ownership of the Guardian Media Group are except that the Group is administered by a Trust that openly publishes its accounts. If you are interested then they appear on the web “Tuvia”

        In my understanding it is the Trust that oversees orientation and standards.

        My only connection with the publication is as a reader. I first encountered it in my schooldays in London as a Manchester produced newpaper, “The Manchester Guardian”. Its particular interest lay in the fact that, being not a Fleet Street newspaper, it published a different and often more detatched view. That was over fifty years ago.

        I continued to read it from time to time over the years, and regularly purchase the Guardian Weekly from Newsstands. In fact I prefer the international edition to the daily newpaper – which, living in Australia, I see very rarely

        I use the Guardian’s excellent online site and recommend it highly – as I do the Algemeiner, in part for the same reasons – the courage to publish, and the will to allow free discussion. I expect propaganda to creep into both, via commentators, but I expect that to be balanced with discussion.

        Politically I find that the only reason the Guardian could be regarded as “Left Wing” would be the political orientation of the assessor. The Right is so extreme at the moment that anything left of Mussolini or the KKK must look pretty radical. To me the Guardian has always been centrist and social democratic in nature

        The Guardian has unendingly defended press freedom and responsibility, and the public’s right to know. It informed the public properly on Climate Change, and environmental issues, long before most other journals recognised the severity of environmental problems. Its attention to historical context has always been of a very high standard – and I find it vehemently anti racist and against any form of prejudice, including antisemitism

        I exrect it to come under attack from modern Zionism because to me that stream of thinking has largely degenerated into a Right Wing extremism, right down to its abusive application of mythology and creation of pseudo history with no known basis in actual events. A centrist media organ, to such people will always appear to be – or attacked tactically as – “left wing” in order to disguise how close their own extremist version of particluar ideological ethos is to Apartheid, Racism, and I fear Fascism.

        Most left wing people see the Guardian as a bit of an old fuddy-duddy, a moderate friend who, because of his moderate nature, can be relied on more than many some readers might call “comrade”

        One particular success of the Guardian has been to bring potential conflict into the discussion arena. One could learn much from it – and indeed from publications such as Algemeiner. Peace and reconciliation begin with listening and talking to each other

  • david freilich

    Well, that would be the second US president killed by a Palestinian……

  • Reform School

    While the phenomenon bemoaned by ‘Mr. Entertainment’ has only mushroomed stateside over the quarter-century since he first wrote about it, DUMBTH is in no way restricted to the United States of America. The runaway epidemic appears to have sprouted from an occupational disease of journalists.

  • Leo Toystory

    As long as British and European reporters continue to be supplied recreational females or boys, hashish and cash by the Paleos what else can one expect? The Guardian clan particularly dig the boys.