In late January, Ha’aretz reported (from my post):
A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.
Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu has instructed the four health maintenance organizations to stop the practice as a matter of course.
The ministry and other state agencies had previously denied knowledge or responsibility for the practice, which was first reported five years ago.
Gamzu’s letter instructs all gynecologists in the HMOs "not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”
Today, Ha’aretz issued a correction, and rewrote the article:
This article, which was updated on March 6, 2013, reported on Health Ministry director-general Prof. Roni Gamzu’s instruction to gynecologists not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera if there is any doubt that recipients did not understand the implications of the treatment. The original version failed to state that this instruction was issued “without taking a stand or determining facts about allegations that had been made,” and referred to all women and not just women of Ethiopian origin.
My post, and others, had shown that Ha’aretz had twisted the facts in reporting the story originally. CAMERA/Presspectiva in particular pointed out the errors to Ha’aretz and is responsible for the correction.
I showed that it is likely that the Ethiopian women actually wanted the Depo-Provera, and it is a popular contraceptive in Ethiopia itself becuase it allows women to have control over their bodies without their husbands knowing. I also pointed out that it is unlikely that any woman who took it would admit that she did so voluntarily in an Israeli newspaper.
But this correction shows that things were worse - Ha’aretz purposefully misquoted and ignored a key part of the memo itself, that it used as its smoking gun!
Instead of the memo stating, as Ha’aretz originally wrote:
not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.
it really said:
Without taking a stand or determining facts about allegations that were made, I would like to instruct, from now on, all gynecologists in the HMOs not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian – or any other – origin, if there is the slightest doubt that they have not understood the implications of the treatment.
Ha’aretz properly re-wrote the article, but the damage has been done by their blood libel - just as it was for their previous libels, notably that the Israeli Finance Ministry admits ”a situation of apartheid exists” in Israel, and that a poll showed that "Most Israeli Jews support an apartheid regime in Israel."
Perhaps Ha’aretz has a better correction policy than other newspapers, but its policies on reporting the news initially are nothing short of reprehensible. No fact checking, no editing, and virulently anti-Israel reporters are allowed to lie and purposefully twist facts with impunity. The pattern is unmistakable.
Each of these libels spread far and wide immediately in the mainstream media, not to mention the Arabic media. The corrections will never reach even a tiny fraction of the world audience that read, believed and internalizedthe initial lies.
One can only hope that the editors of major media outlets are taking notice and understand that any Ha’aretz article that makes anti-Israel claims is automatically suspect, and needs to be verified before it is repeated.
I am not optimistic, though.