Truth behind The Intercept’s selective report on Saudi ambassador to US

Full six-minute video of Prince Abdullah al-Saud encounter with Intercept and In These Times reporters disputes reporting that al-Saud ‘avoided’ questions. (via Youtube)

A full video of an encounter between Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and journalists from The Intercept has emerged showing earlier reports of the conversation to be inaccurate.

A short 13-second clip of Prince Abdullah al-Saud shows the ambassador responding to The Intercept’s Zaid Jilani and In These Times Eli Massey’s questions on whether Saudi Arabia will continue to use cluster bombs in Yemen with the answer “This is a question like ‘Will you stop beating your wife?’”

“The infamous loaded question, ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ … implies that you have indeed been beating your wife. How do you answer without agreeing with the implication? How do you not answer without appearing evasive?” corporate presentations coach Jerry Weissman wrote on The Huffington Post.

The question, which is internationally accepted as a cliché example of a loaded question, was quickly picked up by media outlets after The Intercept’s Jilani wrote of their encounter.

British daily newspaper The Independent and Kremlin-backed Russia Today both accused al-Saud of “clumsily dodging and avoiding” the question.

The viral video, uploaded by Jilani on YouTube On October 28, was cropped to only 12 seconds short. A full six-minute video was later uploaded on Youtube by the Capitol Intelligence showing the full encounter.

What is not reported in the Intercept’s article is al-Saud’s full response to the question of whether Saudi Arabia’s uses cluster munitions by saying, “I think that this is greatly exaggerated” after he employed the clichéd “wife beating” question as an example.

“You want to talk data and facts, we can show you,” al-Saud told Jilani earlier in the clip. The ambassador then looks to one of his embassy aides asking him to provide the journalists with fact sheets and information on the war.

“We appreciate this interest. We have to live with the Yemenis forever. We are not doing this for fun and showing our muscles,” he says.

When Massey asks another question, the ambassador requests the reporter to stop using the term “Saudi regime” and instead what he deemed the proper term of “government of Saudi Arabia”.

“You’d be upset if we called it the Obama regime. The other thing is I’m sure you’ve come here with questions you have already [formulated answers] in your mind.”

Massey then responds quickly with the same question using the “Saudi regime” term which prompts the ambassador to respond: “You’re a heckler.”

Al-Saud questioned throughout the encounter whether Jilani and the second reporter were journalists or “political operatives,” and responded to their questions by disputing the notion that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the majority of causalities in Yemen.

Jilani then bizarrely tells al-Saud: “I don’t work for Iran, I’m Sunni in case you accuse me of working for Iran.”

The ambassador never mentioned Iran during the filmed encounter.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47