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The Iraq Execution Video That Fooled MeWhen a reporter for a respected newspaper says they've seen a video execution of someone they know personally, there's little reason to believe they are wrong. But I don't completely fault the reporter - the video was low quality, and the power of suggestion is strong. I certainly believed Jaber's story, although when questions were raised about this story I was also the first to pass those doubts on. Rusty Shackleford was able to "complete the investigation" within hours of the appearance of the orginal Times account. Such is the strength of "new media".
Hala Jaber, foreign reporter of the year for the past two years, explains how she was hoaxed over the death of a friend
THREE weeks ago in these pages, I reported that I had seen a video recording of a friend and colleague, Atwar Bahjat, one of Iraq’s top female journalists, having her throat cut and then being decapitated.
I was mistaken. It was a hoax, and I apologise to her family for the pain I have caused them and to the many readers who were distressed by what I wrote.
The video was not of Atwar but of a Nepalese male hostage decapitated two years ago. How could I have got it wrong?
As noted here previously, none of this diminishes the horror of either event - the killing of this man or the murder of Atwar Bahjat. But this is a perfect reminder that sometimes even the most convincing reports are simply wrong.
And there's a lesson to be learned in this statement:
Although the video came from a group that had been reliable in the past, the insurgent who sent it was new to me.Always consider your sources. Perhaps the truth is not their main concern?