Visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on February 3rd found a headline telling them that “New Israel settlements ‘may harm’ peace”.
The same headline remained on that page on February 4th, 5th and 6th.
That headline relates to a statement put out by the White House press secretary on February 2nd. The words ‘may harm’ do not however appear anywhere in that statement.
We know that the BBC knows that too because the article to which that headline directs readers runs under the accurate title “New Israel settlements ‘may not be helpful’ to peace, says US” and in the body of the report readers are told that:
“Building new Israeli settlements “may not be helpful” to achieving peace with Palestinians, the White House has said. […]
In the statement on Thursday, the White House said: “While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.””
The phrases ‘may harm’ and ‘may not be helpful’ clearly do not mean the same. Nevertheless, that partial, inaccurate and misleading headline has been in situ for four days – and counting.