January 09, 2009

Anatomy of a Media Hoax

As the IDF campaign in Gaza continues, so do attempts by Hamas and Hamas sympathizers to use the western media as an often willing propaganda tool.

Yesterday, media critic Charles Johnson commented on Little Green Footballs about a 2-minute CNN story that purported to show the death of a Palestinian child in Gaza that was captured on film by his brother.

Here is a copy of that CNN story.

The video purports to show a truly horrific series of events. A boy and his friend are said to be struck down are struck down while they play, deliberately targeted by an Israeli drone aircraft armed with missiles. As doctors frantically perform CPR, the child apparently dies in front of his horrified brother, who continues filming. The boy is taken home, where he is cradled in the arms of a grieving family member. The video then cuts to the roof of the family home, where a family member shows where he claims the Israeli missile strike took the life of the two boys. The video then shows the family taking the boy to a local cemetary in a shroud, where he is to be laid to rest.

It is a truly horrible story, and one no doubt played out by heart-broken families on both sides of this conflict far too many times.

The only significant difference in this story, however, it that it is an obvious fake, featuring a series of images that any credible news editor should have quickly recognized.

But what marks this story as a hoax, and what elements point to media collusion in promoting this video as propaganda? Please watch the video above again, and we'll go through those elements step-by-step.

They are:

  • basic medical procedures are poorly faked
  • known propaganda actors are used in this film
  • the site of the attack is poorly-constructed and inconsistent with a military attack.
  • the body doesn't act like a body

First, let's return to the hospital, and take a look at our medical doctors and the life-saving procedures they are performing.

Narrated by Michael Holmes, the video opens with a Palestinian and European doctor hovering over what the narrator claims is a "victim of the violence."

The Palestinian doctor, on the right side of the camera frame, is shown to be mimicking a series of fast and shallow chest compressions as the doctor on the left examines a monitor.

The obvious problems? This is not how CPR is performed.

There is never an attempt to get the child to breath or to provide him with life-sustaining oxygen, and the chest compressions are far too shallow to be of any medical value at all. Real chest compressions performed during CPR are violent by necessity. For the lungs to fill with air heart to pump blood, they it must first be forcefully compressed using hard and deep pressure that uses a significant amount of upper body strength on the part of the person doing the compressions. The amount of forced used to successfully compress the chest would be very painful to a conscious victim, as the compressions often crack or even break the ribs. The doctor in this video is being very careful not to cause the out-of-frame victim any harm.

Such delicacy would not be practiced if desperate life-saving measures were actually needed. Nor would such care be wasted on a corpse used in such a re-creation. As we will discover later, this so-called victim seems very much alive and healthy, and they take great care to make sure he remains that way.

But enough about our Palestinian doctor poorly faking chest compressions. Let's have a look at our dashing Norwegian doctor on the left of the frame.

Sadly, the image quality is lacking i this still-frame from the video, but you get a much better shot of him accompanying this print story that happened to be running at the same time as CNN's video.

Isn't he quite the photogenic soul?

The BBC, CBS, CNN, Sky News, and other news outlets sure seem to think so, as they've all featured him and his special brand of spin:

International media reports, including those from the BBC, CBS, CNN and FOX’s sister station Sky News, present Gilbert as an ordinary doctor.

But a look at his record shows that Gilbert, 61, is a political activist and member of the Norwegian Maoist "Red" party, and he has been involved in solidarity work for the Palestinians since the 1970s. He has criticized the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders for refusing to take sides in conflicts.

Gilbert volunteers at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza with the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC), an aid organization funded by the Norwegian government, and he has been interviewed by the media on a variety of issues. Israeli government officials have said Hamas hides weapons in the hospital where Gilbert works.

NGO Monitor, an Israeli human rights watchdog group, says Gilbert presents one-sided criticism of Israel to the media and has accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians in its Gaza offensive to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Israel.

In addition to being supportive of the terrorist organization Hamas, Gilbert has voiced support for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

What makes mad Mads appearance in this video all the more shocking is that he can't be bother to even help make this bit of theater mildly convincing by even going through the motions of giving the victim air, a complaint quickly voiced by doctors who viewed the clip.

I'm no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child's sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can't make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there's no point in doing chest compressions if you're not also ventilating the patient somehow. In this video, I can't tell for sure if the patient has an endotracheal tube in place, but you can see that there is nobody bag-ventilating him (a bag is actually hanging by the head of the bed), and there is no ventilator attached to the patient. In a hospital, during a code on a ventilated patient, somebody would probably be bagging the patient during the chest compressions. And they also would have moved the bed away from the wall, so that somebody could get back there to intubate the patient and/or bag him. In short, the "resuscitation scene" at the beginning is fake, and it's a pretty lame fake at that.

Frankly, we need Foreman and House on this. If we're going to have fake CPR, we need to have fake doctors who can pretend to do it more convincingly.

Now, let's look at the impact site of the alleged Israeli drone's missile attack.

For reasons never explained in the video—or perhaps for obvious reasons—the narrator never quite explains why the Israeli drone found this incongruous pile of cinder blocks to be worth firing upon, nor does it explain why the drone stopped firing only after mortally wounding the one cinder block, leaving the other largely intact and still capable of posing a threat. I kid, of course.

The cinder blocks are the heart of the video segment filmed on the rooftop where the two boys were said to have been killed. A frame-by-frame review of this segment as the camera pans across the roof shows no evidence of scorch-marks, shrapnel, or scoring consistent with shrapnel in the area around the blocks that the brother suggests is the impact point.

There is no evidence of any penetration or contact with into the roof surface itself at that point or anywhere else shown— not a single mark, despite the fact that drone-class warheads typically have impact-dependent fuses that means they would have detonated on impact, or if delayed, would have penetrated into the home before exploding.

As the camera pains across the rooftop, confirming no evidence of blast damage, it pans past the kind of cheap resin chairs that grace so many homes and apartments worldwide, thanks to the magic of Chinese industry. You've probably had one like this yourself.

You've also probably thrown away your fair share of chairs exactly like this one as well.

One thing we have learned from years of foreign imports is that you can have "cheap," or you can have "quality," and this kind of chair is decidedly cheap. Flimsily made, they bend and break with little provocation, and perhaps just as interesting for our context, they are tossed violently a considerable distance with even a moderate wind.

Somehow, we're expected to believe that an Israeli missile detonated on this roof without causing any obvious shrapnel, or enough concussive blast damage to shatter a simple resin chair or even knock it over, and yet still have the power to kill two boys, including at least one that was on the far side of that chair (where the "blood" stains are) or shred the clothes hanging on the clothesline just feet behind the that.

Despite all the fiction so far, there is some actual truth in the video on the rooftop, when the narrator notes that the roof is "pock-marked." There are holes in metal panels and chipped concrete, as you can see in the images below.

You'll also note that the metal panels are corroded around the edges of the holes, which is interesting in that recent perforated galvanized metal shows up bright, only to corrode much later. The pockmarked concrete, likewise, shows the weeping of rust from the exposed iron rebar inside.

This rooftop does indeed show signs of damage, but it is far less obvious if the damage is a sign of substandard construction materials or from combat. In either event, the corrosion evident on both the metal and concrete assure us that the damage was done long ago. No missle impact here during this war, if ever.

Lastly, rest assured that our young victim is doing far better than his pretend treatment and shroud would indicate.

As he is about to be laid to rest, the shroud falls away, leaving his arm exposed to gravity. Conscientious even as a corpse, the young victim holds his arm tightly against his woundless body as the camera pans away. I suspect his family is celebrating his miraculous resurrection even as you read these words.

And what of his family?

His brother's grief was never too strong to keep him from documenting his brother's death, and he will cope by burying himself in his work. Considering that he is the general manager of the company that runs web sites for Hamas while they are at war, I'm sure he is quite busy, indeed.

As for CNN, they have carried on exactly as you would expect they would as the kind of company that would hide the torture of even their own employees just to retain favorability among despots.

While they quickly dropped the video from their site after being caught in this lie, leaving what must have been an uncomfortable void where the video used to be, they did so with no explanation, no correction, and no retraction.

It must have been a very interesting meeting when decided that the best way to handle this obvious farce was to double-down and continue to pretend this story was real, replacing the fradulent video with the print script of the story read by Michael Holmes.

The story is no less fraudulent, and the cover-up is far more damning.

This, truly, is CNN.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 9, 2009 10:31 AM

One obvious thing in the video - @00:19, the 'doctor' on the right isn't doing compressions, that is, until he gets the signal from a person just out of frame on the left.

Watch it again, you'll see what I mean.

Posted by: DMartyr at January 9, 2009 02:29 PM

The resucitation scene is clearly a hoax, and that roof was clearly not hit by any missile BUT that doesn't mean they aren't parading around an actual child's body. I take issue with the charge that the hand isn't flopping out, and therefore the child is alve: in wrapping the body, the hands are often tied together at the wrist. This would effectively prevent the hand from flopping out, and the arm would have the posture depicted in the clip you posted.

This IS journalistic fakery, for sure, but I suspect it involves a real dead child. Simply because parts are faked does not mean the whole thing is a fake: the most effective lies are half truths.

Posted by: One thing at January 9, 2009 03:12 PM

speaking of "Faux News".

Who buys this crap?

Posted by: skating on glue at January 9, 2009 03:15 PM

I noticed that the older brother who is purportedly filming all of this certainly holds the camera very steady throughout the video.

Also isn't that the good doctor at 1:46 helping out as a pallbearer?

Posted by: Dr. Eszterhazy at January 9, 2009 03:22 PM

And millions will never read this blog and believe the evil Jews killed an innocent on purpose. I can not tell you how disheartened I am. When or how will sanity overcome the msm? Are we doomed to suffer the propaganda and lies forever? God have mercy!

Posted by: mekan at January 9, 2009 03:38 PM

You wanted to know who's buying this crap? The left. Comments from Left Field; Juan Cole... the whole bunch of them.

Posted by: lawhawk at January 9, 2009 04:21 PM

Look at the doctor's scrubs and gear. lawhawk has more pics of Gilberts.
They've been working on this kid and their scrubs are immaculate. Their gloves look like they came right out of the box. In fact, in those pics at lawhawk's in every one Gilbert looks like he just got on shift.

How did he manage to work on a kid and not get anything on himself or even on his hands?

Posted by: Spade at January 9, 2009 04:48 PM

It's obviously a fake, but if I may comment on your observation:
"... For the lungs to fill with air, they must first be forcefully compressed using hard and deep pressure..."
The purpose of the chest compressions is not to empty the lungs (they will empty naturally due to their elasticity and the positive pressure) but to provide pressure to the heart and pump the blood.
I don't mean to step on any toes, I just think it's important that we remain accurate when calling these goat humping motherless scumbags out.
Thank you.

Posted by: Paul at January 9, 2009 04:56 PM

Paul, you are of course correct about the purpose of the chest compressions. Not sure what I was thinking there. Fixed in-line.


Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 9, 2009 05:03 PM

Did the dead boy blink around 1:07 when he was held in the arms of his brother at home?

Posted by: Skye at January 9, 2009 07:32 PM

Isn't it strange, that a brother who wants the world to know about his younger brother, never shows his brother?!??!

I still have no idea how he died (what wounds) or what he looked like.

And, how long till rigor sets in?

And, haven't these people heard of mortuary services? From other grave-parades I have seen, they have really bundled up the body wrapping it up real nice and tight in adorned wraps. Typically Hizballah green or the Pallie flag. But, this kid is buried in a loosely wrapped white.... thing?

Also, at the hospital. what is the deal with the colorful towel or blanket on the hospital gurney? Wouldn't that be one of the first things removed after a dying person is brought in?

And, if the kid was dead, wouldn't the monitor NOT be beeping, but a steady tone?

Posted by: captainfish at January 9, 2009 11:30 PM

It appears your comment submission form has some bugs.

Posted by: SPW at January 10, 2009 12:01 AM

This is so clearly phony I wonder how anyone can buy it.
It certainly isn't the way I was taught CPR.
More importantly, I don't know of any hospital anywhere that would allow a family member to be present during actual emergency procedures. I also don't know of any hospital anywhere that would allow anyone to make a video of any procedure without prior permission.

Posted by: Trish at January 10, 2009 12:28 AM

The very best part: ready made crypt for the kid within an hour of his alleged departure. I'm guessing it had to be within the hour otherwise rigor would have started setting in. Oh, and I'm fairly certain that they bath the body before the bury them. So much for the latent bloodstains.

Thanks for posting this and keep up the good work.

You sir, are a BlogGod.

Posted by: The Sniper at January 10, 2009 12:30 AM

Having family members present during resuscitations is frequently done in the United States and there have been many studies showing that parents appreciate being able to be present. I always allow parents and family members in the room when I am running a code. Your contention that family members being present during this resuscitation means it is fake is totally unfounded. In terms of the video, yes no U.S. hospital would allow that. But it's friggin' Gaza.

Posted by: SPW at January 10, 2009 09:30 AM


I've never known a hospital in the USA to allow family present during resuscitation efforts, ever. If you do, you are very unusual. And yes, I wanted desperately to be present when the hospital was running a code on my father, but I was not allowed to be. So your contention that this is SOP is suspect.

And I don't care if it's "friggin' Gaza," no real doctor would allow that video camera in.

Posted by: Trish at January 10, 2009 01:49 PM


From a the paper entitled:

Report on the National Consensus Conference on Family Presence During Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Procedures

Author: Henderson, D.P. et al,

Publication: Pediatric Emergency Care 21(11):787, November 2005

Results: General recommendations included consideration of FP (family presence) as an option during pediatric procedure and CPR, and offering this option to family members when the child's care will not be interrupted, after assessment for combative and threatening behavior, extreme emotial volatility, apparent family member intociation or altered mental status, disagreement among family members and apparent threats to the safety of the healthcare team (which should be considered at all times). If FP is not offered, the reasons for this action should be documented. Written policies and procedures regarding FP should be in place for in-hospital transport and transfer settings, with items to include definitions of all relevant terms, preparation of family members and processes for escorting family members in and out of the treatment area, handling of disagreements and staff support. FP policies should be subjected to legal review and education should be provided for healthcare personnel.

**My contentions are not suspect. They are the most recent recommendations from numerous medical authorities. Is it done in every hospital in the US? No, especially if they are ignorant of current trends.

Go ahead and pull that article, it refrences all the most recent literature on the matter.

Posted by: Trish at January 10, 2009 03:37 PM

The above comment was made by me, not Trish, which would seem to be evident. Strange bug I guess.

Posted by: SPW at January 10, 2009 06:25 PM

News to me and I work in a Chicago hospital as a telemetry nurse . Nobody in their right mind would want a family member inside the room during an active code situation . Code Blues are extremely stressful on the staff and having the family in an active code puts more stress on the staff to not screw up or more likely ,undue stress and worry due to the likelihood that the family might sue them for not doing enough for their loved ones . Aside from the obvious , there are a lot of people inside the patient's room during a code . The team leader which is usually the Attending/Consult/Fellow or the charge nurse , the compressor , the bagger , the medication nurse , the recorder , the respiratory therapist , lab tech , the reliefs , the runner , medical residents and other nurses going in and out of the room helping the code team in their task of saving the patient . Now, where would you propose to put the family during the controlled chaos of an active code ?

Nice study , problem is , did they happen to asked the people running the codes especially involving pediatric patients on how they feel of having the Damocles sword hanging above their heads when they let distraught family members in an active Pedia code blue . And about medical and nursing studies , 60% is pure BS , 20% is biased . 10% is useless , 5% is pure propaganda and the remaining 5% are just plain common sense .

Posted by: Wil at January 11, 2009 01:22 AM

I'll add that the patients color (of the skin of the exposed arm at the cemetary sequence) is of an unusually flush color far a several hours old body.

Posted by: douglas at January 11, 2009 03:01 AM