Al Jazeera Story Deleted From Web After Claiming Beheadings Were Staged

Remember a few years ago when now-former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said American media should be more like Al Jazeera? Well, if she plans a run for president in 2016, those words may come back to haunt her after you read what the Qatar-based network did recently.

According to Mediaite, the Arabic version of the media company’s website claimed that the beheadings of journalists Scott Foley and Sotloff were staged.

Now, before you go thinking you read that wrong, just stop yourself. You read it right. A major news organization posted a story saying that the videotaped beheadings of two journalists were faked.

The Al Jazeera story was deleted, but not before the story made waves across the Middle East and started to trickle into the west.

Al Arabiya, a competing Middle Eastern cable news channel, spoke with a Lebanon-based media critic about the Al Jazeera story that was deleted. Magda Abu-Fadil said the writer of the now-deleted Al Jazeera story claiming the headings were nothing more than Hollywood special affects and all a show had come up with “quite a scenario.”

The question is why? If, as he claims, it’s all staged, can he prove that without a shadow of a doubt? Does he have tangible proof it didn’t happen, or is he just rehashing others’ suspicions? In a court of law, one would need solid data, not just circumstantial evidence. Were there witnesses?…

“While I have no way of proving or disproving the horrifying Foley and Sotloff beheadings, I can say that in the last week we’ve had two Lebanese citizens who were beheaded by extremists and their bodies handed back to their families. Those weren’t Hollywood productions. It would be absolutely cruel to tell their loved ones that it was all a TV show…

“As for ethical journalism, I’m despairing at the bestiality of some media in their aim for ratings and how low they’re willing to stoop for scoops. Insensitivity to bereaved relatives and victims of terrorism seems more the rule than the exception. It’s truly revolting.”

For its part, Al Jazeera was quoted by Mediaite as saying that it was an error that the story was even released.

In respect to families of the victims and as we share their grief, Al Jazeera Arabic’s website decided to retract an inaccurate article that questioned the legitimacy of Foley and Sotloff’s beheading videos after a theory surfaced on a number of American social media sites claiming they were produced as a pretext ahead of a U.S. invasion of Syria.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]