'It's very complex to accurately cover the Middle East''It's very complex to accurately cover the Middle East'

MSNBC apologizes for ‘completely wrong’ maps of Israel

US network says it regrets mistake showing ‘Palestinian loss of land,’ noticed error after live segment aired

Raoul Wootliff is a former Times of Israel political correspondent and Daily Briefing podcast producer.

The US television network MSNBC apologized Monday for using maps that were “not factually accurate” in a segment last week on the violence sweeping Israel.

Anchor Kate Snow and Middle East correspondent Martin Fletcher admitted that the maps gave “the wrong impression” of the region and did not reflect the demographic reality.

Last Thursday during a live on-air discussion between Snow and Fletcher, a series of maps were displayed entitled “Palestinian loss of land 1946 – present.”

The first map pertaining to 1946 labeled the entire territory as “Palestine” with the vast majority of the map colored green, denoting Palestinian control. The following maps dated “UN Plan 1947,” “1949-1967” and “Present” showed Palestinian-controlled territory decreasing dramatically in size over time.

The maps and subsequent analysis gave the impression that a state of Palestine had existed in 1946 when in fact the area was under British Mandatory rule until May 14, 1948.

Screenshot of maps labled "Palestine" displayed during MSNBC coverage of ongoing unrest in Israel, October 15, 2015 (YouTube)
Screenshot of maps labled “Palestine” displayed during MSNBC coverage of ongoing unrest in Israel, October 15, 2015 (YouTube)

As the maps were displayed Fletcher told Snow, “I must say it’s pretty shocking when you present it in this way.”

“What is clearly shows is that if there’s no peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel, more of those green areas, more of that Palestinian land will be eaten up by Jewish settlements,” he said.

In Monday’s apology, Snow told viewers that the mistake had become apparent after the segment aired and the network regretted using the maps.

“The bottom line is it was completely wrong; there was no state called Palestine,” Fletcher said.

In an attempt to explain the mistake, Snow and Fletcher went on to say how it highlighted the challenge of reporting on Israel.

“It’s very complex to accurately cover the Middle East,” Snow said.

Fletcher seemed to argue that inflamed passions in the region made accurate reporting hard.

“Well, the passions are so high. It’s such a tiny area,” he said. “You know, you’ve got this one tiny piece of land which is basically the Jews and the Palestinians – the Jews and the Muslims both believe that God gave them the land. It’s that one piece of land for two peoples. That’s what the conflict has been all about for a very long time.”

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