- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2004


The airing of a fake video showing a purported American hostage in what seemed to be the process of beheading is the latest example of how media outlets rush to publish information under competitive pressure before verifying its authenticity, analysts said.

“This is indeed not the first time and I think it is more alarming,” said Steve Livingston, associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.

The fake video that appeared on an Internet site and was described Saturday by many media organizations, including AFP, turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by a San Francisco resident.

Two similar incidents occurred in May. The Boston Globe published a redacted photo purportedly showing U.S. soldiers raping Iraqi women, only to find out later that the picture’s origin was a Hungarian pornography Web site.

That disclosure came after Britain’s Daily Mirror published what turned out to be fake pictures of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners.

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