The Gaza Strip scandal has had its secondary fallout. Enderlin, the journalist without whose credulity or dishonesty the Muhammad al Durah affair would never have seen the light of day, and with whose expert help it lit up the world of anti-semitism and Jihad, ran this latest Pallywood footage with his usual professional negligence. One viewer, Emilie Dorra, 23, a close reader of Philippe Karsenty’s Media Ratings, a (rare) media oversight organization in France which has taken on the Muhammad al Durah affair with great courage, immediately sensed something was wrong. She called France2 to complain and they promptly invited her and another citizen critic, Michel Cohen, to come take on Charles Enderlin and Eric Mounier, two France2 professionals, in the studio. (For the francophones who read this blog, you can see the debate here, and the transcription here. I recommend watching the emission since everyone should see Enderlin prevaricating in action.)
The problems for Enderlin started when Michel Cohen, another critic, mentioned the al Durah affair. The comments are Emilie Dorra’s posted at Media Ratings:
Once we were live, everything went well, except for when, at a certain point, M. Cohen began to speak of the affair al Durah. A friend behind the scenes told me later that the producer of the show exclaimed, “No! why is he speaking of the al Durah affair? We have a court case in process, it shouldn’t be mentioned.”
[Note, this is one of the ways that France2 has protected itself from any controversy -- while the case is in court, nothing can be said.]
At that point, Enderlin responded, as he often does, not by dealing with the issue, but by invoking the opinion of others, often by distorting their meaning if not their content. Here, he recalls a court decision last month in a Tel Aviv court.
Now, Mr. Cohen evoked the Mohammed al-Dura Affair from the beginning of the Intifada. Well let me remind you that last mongth a Tel Aviv court produced a judgment according to which the Israeli army investigation [which argued that the Israelis could not have shot the father and son), after the death of the “little Mohammed,” well this investigation was not scientific, not professional, started with with preconceived ideas. Therefore, we consider the Israeli army’s investigations as having the same credibility as other investigations. We are journalists, not scientists. We act in function of the reactions of one to the other. [Here Enderlin is claiming that the NGO spokesman Marc Garlasco's investigation is as credible as the Israeli one, so who knows what's going on?] When the Israeli army starts by saying, “yes it’s an Israeli shell” [which no Israeli army spokesman ever said], and then says, “it’s not us,” then launches an investigation, we follow such things with a great deal of caution [i.e., skepticism].
As the transcriber of this debate, Menahem Macina, wrote in his multiple and extremely interesting notes, this reference to the Israeli court case seems highly suspicious and worthy of investigation. Another news agency in the forefront of the Al Durah affair, the Metulah News Agency (MENA) did just that. Their findings reveal the characteristic ways that Enderlin spins his comments dishonestly. At MENA’s request, the Israeli army issued the following statement:
“The court did not call into doubt the Israeli army’s investigation but declared that the inquiry undertaken by Mr Duriel — who was a member of the team conducting the research, but was dismissed from his functions by general Yom Tov Samia who was in charge of the team — was unprofessional. For this reason [the court] declared that Mr Hauptman’s assertions concerning Mr Duriel did not constitute defamation.
In no way did this court consider the quality of the definitive investigation undertaken by the Israeli army [in the Al-Dura case] and, moreover, it specifically rejected a proposal requesting it to examine this inquiry, even though it was requested to do so by the defending party.
The court only gave its decision concerning the subject that was limited to Mr Duriel’s inquiry.”
MENA goes on to comment:
The readers of the Ména will appreciate the fact that Charles Enderlin, not content with voluntarily confusing the army’s commission of inquiry with Mr Yossef Duriel, a civilian that it dismissed for serious professional misdemeanor, [ed: he gave a premature interview with 60 Minutes in which he argued that the Palestinians shot al Durah on purpose which was not the conclusion of the investigation], establishes, on the basis of his own untruth, the reason for which journalists should place the credibility of Tsahal’s inquiries on a par with other inquiries. That means on the same level of reliability as inquiries undertaken by the Palestinian Authority, by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP — which are, is it necessary to remind France 2, considered to be terrorist organizations by the USA, the United Nations and the European Union — as well as those made by any NGO that call into doubt the conclusions of the Israeli experts.
At this point both MENA and the participants in the program should have added that, given the history of Pallywood, the most suspect of all sources in the Middle East conflict are Palestinian, and now given what we know about Mr. Garlasco, so are the “independent” NGOs in the area. Enderlin, however, has not processed the existence of Pallywood, even though he admits “they do it all the time.” As a result he can just plunge forward into the thicket of error from which uninformed viewers could not possibly find their way out:
“Therefore we consider the inquiries of the Israeli army with the same credibility as other inquiries ; we are journalists, we are not scientists. We react according… we react according to each others’ reactions.”
This is precisely the kind of Alice-in-Wonderland logic that he used with me about trusting the Palestinians on al Durah (who did no investigation) “as much as” the Israelis. When journalists like Enderlin are as skeptical of Israeli sources as they are credulous of Palestinian sources, we all have a problem because the filter that the media should use to rid the system of poisons works exactly in the opposite way. More AIDS infected needles plunged into the body social of an unsuspecting European public.