ABC World News Misidentifies Photo of Palestinians as Suffering Israelis

Diane Sawyer
Diane Sawyer
 ABC

During an ABC World News report on Tuesday about the escalating crisis in the Middle East, Diane Sawyer described a photo as Israelis "trying to salvage what they can" after a Palestinian missile attack. The image, however, actually shows Palestinians walking through rubble with their belongings following an Israeli air strike (see the photo below).

The mistake was identified by pro-Palestinian journalist Rania Khalek late on Wednesday.

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Sawyer showed a second image that also appears to be from the Gaza Strip. Although she didn't describe this one as depicting Israelis, the surrounding context of the image's presentation roughly suggested such.

Early on Thursday ABC World News posted a statement to its Facebook page acknowledging the error:

"On Tuesday night "World News" aired a report on the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis, including attacks from both sides. In the introduction to the story, we mistakenly identified a family depicted in a still photo. They are Palestinian, not Israeli. We regret the error and will correct it."

On Thursday, Sawyer apologized on air.


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The original photo, taken by Associated Press photographer Khalil Hamra, was correctly identified on the news service's website with the following description. 

"Palestinians try to salvage what they can of their belongings from the rubble of a house destroyed by an overnight Israeli airstrike in Gaza City Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Israel launched what could be a long-term offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the military said, striking at least 50 sites in Gaza by air and sea and mobilizing troops for a possible ground invasion in order to quell rocket attacks on Israel."

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