Reasoning: Poor Sourcing, Propaganda, Failed Fact Checks
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in February 1998, according to its about page, MEMRI or Middle East Media Research Institute states its purpose as distributing English translations of Middle Eastern media. MEMRI describes itself as “Independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization” and they state that they cover “original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends.”
MEMRI is based in Washington DC and its founder is a former Israeli military intelligence officer Yigal Carmon. Memri also launched MEMRI TV news channel which is described by Know your Meme as “the channel has gained much notoriety for its absurd translations of news programs, many of which have spawned photoshops of screenshots showing false or edited subtitles.”
Funded by / Ownership
MEMRI is a nonprofit 501(c) organization. Funding is derived from around 250 private donors, including other organizations and foundations. Some donors include The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc., The Randolph Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation.
Analysis / Bias
According to Source Watch “Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is a Israeli propaganda organization that selectively translates materials from the Arab/Muslim/Iranian press purportedly demonstrating hostility against Israel/Jews.”
In review, the articles on MEMRI are supposedly direct translations from other languages, however, almost all translation favor Israel and denigrate Muslims. According to The Guardian, MEMRI is a pro-Israel propaganda site. MEMRI frequently uses strongly emotional wording such as this: Hamas Political Bureau Member Fathi Hammad Calls On Palestinians All Over The World To Slaughter Jews, Says: If Israel Doesn’t Lift The Siege By Next Friday, We Will Kill The Jews With Explosive Belts And Knives. Again, this story is relying on MEMRI’s translation, which we cannot verify. In general, MEMRI is a pro-Israeli propaganda source.
Failed Fact Checks
- ISIS called for the assassination of Barron Trump in November 2017. – MIXTURE
- Did Iran’s parliament approve a ‘different’ Iranian nuclear deal? – FALSE
Overall, we rate MEMRI a Questionable source based on the promotion of Israeli propaganda, poor sourcing, and a few failed fact checks. (M. Huitsing 3/24/2018) Updated (7/22/2019)