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Sunday, October 11, 2009

How an Arab rumor gets started

Palestine Today reports that Republican congressional candidates were shooting at pictures of Yasir Arafat at a gun range in Florida on Sunday.

It illustrated the story like this:

If you look at the actual article and video, though, you would see that members of the Southeast Broward Republican Club held a meeting at a shooting range, and one of the targets had a rocket-propelled grenade and a keffiyeh , that the reporter helpfully said was "the kind of headdress worn by the late Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat." Here is what it really looked like:

Now, I personally would have no problems shooting at a target picture of Yasir Arafat. Still, this is a prime example of how false rumors get started in the Arab world and how poor some Arab media is at transmitting the truth (which is hardly unique to Arabic media, admittedly.)

Some of these rumors stick and some don't, but the ones that stick sometimes have deadly results.