Arafat is still dead

Probably my favorite headline of the week. Credit to Adam Levick at CiFWatch for tweaking the Guardian’s tail (or should that be tale?) due to its inept, not to say conspiracy minded, coverage of the glowing corpse of the former PLO leader.

Yasser Arafat has been dead for nine years, but attempts to resuscitate old libels suggesting that he was murdered by Israel will likely continue to periodically grace the pages of the Guardian – at least as long as someone, somewhere, claims to have new, previously unrevealed evidence.

On November 6, the Guardian devoted five separate articles…encompassing over 3200 words to a ‘stunning’ new report by Swiss scientists on their autopsy of Arafat’s remains. (Details of the Swiss report were originally obtained by the Guardian’s ideological ‘sister-site’ Al-Jazeera.)

As I posted at the time:

So, ignoring the issues like a chain of custody for the samples – which is a mess upon mess – the facts do not support the theory of such poisoning. But since conspiracy theories need nothing but a willing audience – especially since Israel’s being fingered for it – do not expect this one to wither and die. (Or fade away…)

So, As Adam points out, what’s the Guardian to do when a report comes out that says Arafat wasn’t poisoned? Put that on the front page? Say sorry for pointing a crooked finger at Israel? No way.

The French report found that Arafat’s death in 2004 was caused by the effects of “old age following a generalised infection”, and ruled out the possibility that he was poisoned. In contrast to the paper’s saturation coverage of the Swiss findings, Sherwood’s latest story on the new report was not featured on the Guardian’s home page, and was consigned to page 19 in the print edition of the paper.

Read the full CiFWatch piece here. And, yes; Arafat is still dead.