The palpable revulsion – even in some parts of the Arab world – at the animalistic Hamas October 7th massacre was promptly offset by their bald assertion that Israel had targeted a Gazan hospital resulting in the deaths of more than 500 civilians. The mainstream media, led once again by the New York Times, built their initial reporting upon the wholly unverified and speculative Hamas version of events after the IDF said – as they had to – that they would have to investigate in order to give a definitive answer.

Of course, as we now all know, the hit on the hospital came from the misfiring of a Palestinian missile as Israel, the United States, European agencies and others in the media soon were able to demonstrate.


Yet the fallout was swift – as Hamas doubtless contemplated. Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic protests broke out all over the world. Sympathy for the Jewish victims of the Hamas atrocity quickly evaporated. Israel was once again the pariah with Hamas suddenly becoming the “good guys” – all despite the Hamas pogrom.

Why did The Times invest so heavily in an account coming from those they knew to have cynically tried in the past to use the deaths of their own people in order to discredit Israel? Hasn’t Hamas notoriously long-positioned their rocket launchers in civilian areas? Shouldn’t The Times have been a little bit more suspicious and have taken greater care to emphasize that the information was unverified and came from an otherwise biased source?

It is somewhat comforting that The Times knows that it misled its readers and that most of them know that it did. Plainly The Times is feeling heat. In an extraordinary “Editors’ Note” in this past Monday’s edition, in pertinent part, The Times said this:

On October 17, The New York Times published news of an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City, leading its coverage with claims by Hamas government officials that an Israeli air strike was the cause ad that hundreds of people were dead or injured. The report included a large headline at the top of The Times’s website.

Israel subsequently denied being at fault and blamed an errant rocket launch by the Palestinian faction group Islamic Jihad, which has in turn denied responsibility. American and other international officials have said their evidence indicates that the rocket came from Palestinian fighter positions.

The Times’s initial accounts attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast. However, the early versions of the coverage – and the prominence it received in a headline, news alert and social media channels – relied too heavily on claims by Hamas, and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified. The report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.

Given the sensitive nature of the news during a widening conflict, and the prominent promotion it received Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified.

But The Times’s mea culpa is not enough. It must also resolve to cease serving as Hamas’s amen corner and take with more than one grain of salt anything that band of miscreants tries to peddle.


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