From Honest Reporting:
Following up on Michela Moni — the Italian journalist who duped Israeli political leaders and soldiers into interviews which subsequently appeared on a Hezbollah TV station — YNet columnist Smadar Perry reports that Moni was suspended from his job at Italy’s ANSA News Agency.
I assume that expressions of contrition will not help Moni in his disciplinary hearing. He acted dishonestly. When he requested the interviews (with the aid of an Israeli official with ties to the media), he made two promises: The first was that the interviews would be shown on the BBC and Al-Jazeera. The second was that it would be broadcast on “international media” outlets. It just so happened that politicians, experts, and one IDF major general casually fell into the trap. Who would give up an opportunity to speak to the “international media,” after all?
This embarrassing episode is an important lesson in media. I assume the politicians’ spokespeople fell for this trick because Moni used the respected ANSA name. Had they made even a single phone call to the Rome-based news agency’s Jerusalem offices, this fiasco could have been prevented. Nothing would happen to a spokesperson if they insist on finding out whether this interview really was on the up and up (again, it could be done in as little as one phone call). And to be honest, professional spokespeople should have been suspicious when they heard about an alleged cooperation between Al-Jazeera and the BBC.
Palestinian TV producer Ahmad Barghouti – who solicited Moni’s services to get the interviews, paid , and started this whole mess – cannot be found. He’s not responding to cell phone calls and has disappeared.