Big Media walks back all those claims about the shelling of the Gaza hospital
Looks like it's crow time for the big media, which had fallen over itself to publish claims that Israel bombed a hospital in Gaza. That never happened, but Hamas told them it did, so that got reported as news. That's some source to take one's news from.
On Oct. 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 airstrike was the cause and 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.
Not much of an apology to readers, actually. More like a pleading note to the professional blacklisters at NewsGuard, though I doubt they have much to worry about.
NPR, in couched language made excuses for more of the mainstream media miscreants, and noted that there were a lot of them who had some explaining to do:
The initial coverage of a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital last week offers a fresh reminder of how hard it can be to get the news right — and what happens when it goes awry. The list of those news organizations that fell short is long and illustrious, including The New York Times, the BBC, Reuters, The Associated Press and more.
NPR did point out at least one reason why:
The news coverage was said to help inspire furious protests across the Middle East that scuttled some of President Biden's efforts at easing tensions through diplomacy. The Israeli government accused the BBC of a "modern blood libel," invoking centuries-old slanders against Jews as killers. That came after the BBC's Jon Donnison told viewers just hours after the incident, "The Israeli military has been contacted for comment and they say they are investigating. But it is hard to see what else this could be, really, given the size of the explosion, other than an Israeli airstrike or several airstrikes."
The BBC later issued a statement citing the full breadth of its coverage but saying that the degree of speculation in his report was, in retrospect, wrong.
In other words, their "news," courtesy of Hamas as their source, set the world's crazies off to rioting and ripping down 'missing' posters of those kidnapped and held hostage by Hamas, screaming in the streets, beating up people, vandalizing cities, and making other messes, showing us who they are and inspiring other crazies to do likewise. It also upended Joe Biden's trip to the Middle East. Responsible reporting? You decide.
But everyone at these outlets bought it lock stock and barrel because Hamas said it. Which tells us a lot about the problem here: Unlike, say, the stone-age freaks of ISIS, Hamas has a lot of fans in the West -- and they want to believe whatever claptrap the terrorist group, fresh with Jeiwsh blood on its hands and hostages in its dungeons, can spew through its propaganda machine. Their bias is showing.
It certainly shows here in this example:
🚗Read how journalists can cut through climate misinformation as it evolves from outright denial to one of delay. @GerhardMaier_ for our 'How to fix climate journalism' essay serieshttps://t.co/erv4kBfODV— Reuters Institute (@risj_oxford) October 20, 2023
Not a drop of skepticism about the repeatedly bad claims of the global warmers of the establishment, just faith and belief in the theology. The reporter making the claim about AI doesn't seem to understand much about AI, that it's only as good as its input. Garbage in, garbage out, and Reuters right there to dine on the scraps.
Meanwhile, while on the topic of confirmation bias, the Times even hires people who share Hamas's worldview. NPR noted that the Times has guys like him on its staff:
An Israeli diplomat chastised the paper for employing Soliman Hijjy as a freelance videographer in Gaza to document the conflict. On numerous occasions over the past 11 years, Hijjy has praised Adolf Hitler or invoked the Nazi leader in social media postings. A spokesperson for the Times says the paper reviewed those "problematic" postings last year, when the issue was first raised, and took actions "to ensure he understood our concerns and could adhere to our standards."
The statement says Hijjy has done so and "has delivered important and impartial work at great personal risk during this conflict."
They couldn't get anyone better than a guy who praises Hitler to their prestigious outlet? Maybe it's not surprising that they take statements from the Hamas "health ministry" as reportable truth.
Facts are less important, or at least, less important to press until they get caught and have to paddle back.
Is it any coincidence that public confidence in the press has fallen?
Terry Jones at Issues & Insights has a piece on that, citing a TIPP poll:
Americans’ trust in the U.S. media has plunged to its lowest levels ever, the latest I&I/TIPP Poll data show.
Both big, mainstream “traditional” media outlets and mid-sized “alternative” media outlets continue to suffer from declining revenues as their audience and readership numbers shrink. The October I&I/TIPP Poll shows that a loss in underlying trust is a key cause of media industry decline.
The poll was taken Sept. 27-29 from among 1,378 adults around the country and has a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.
Yet there they go again, taking the Hamas press release and reporting it as straight news. They weren't skeptical at all. Any questions as to why the public no longer trusts them?
Image: Twitter screen shot