MSNBC graphic during COVID-19 news shows ‘Palestine’ in list of countries

‘The facts are clear: ‘Palestine’ is not, and has never been, an independent state,’ said an analyst at CAMERA.

By Jackson Richman, JNS

A background graphic on MSNBC last week showed “Palestine” in a rolling list of countries depicting numbers associated with the coronavirus pandemic, despite it not being an independent nation.

The graphic was displayed during “The 11th Hour With Brian Williams” on April 16 while internal medicine physician Lipi Roy was analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as discussing the debate over whether or not some parts of society should reopen.

Media critics criticized MSNBC for the background listing “Palestine” as a country.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important for the media to engage in careful and thoughtful reporting,” Sean Durns, senior research analyst at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, told JNS. “And the facts are clear: ‘Palestine’ is not, and has never been, an independent state.”

He said “that’s what negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are about — negotiations that the media has reported on for years, and which the PA [Palestinian Authority] has, in recent years, declined,” he continued. “MSNBC’s decision to grant de facto recognition of statehood is but another example of careless reporting at a time when we can least afford it.”

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HonestReporting CEO Daniel Pomerantz told JNS, “When news outlets prematurely recognize a Palestinian state, they are not only being factually inaccurate, but also undermine prospects for peace by rewarding unilateralism and intransigence by the Palestinian government. Journalists have a duty to behave responsibly and to ground their work in factual reality: Israelis, Palestinians and news audiences deserve nothing less.”

Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, a media watchdog group, told JNS that “even the ‘breaking news’ on MSNBC ends up as propaganda.”

“There is no place called ‘Palestine,’ yet MSNBC wants to include it in the official list of places because it’s not news, it’s agenda,” he said. “The interesting question is what place does MSNBC consider to be part of Palestine? Gaza? Or is it claiming Jerusalem?”

An MSNBC spokesperson told JNS that the listing was “an error that has been corrected and will not be included in the graphic moving forward.”