The New York Times took the “rare” step of releasing a “stand-alone editor’s note” Monday addressing a controversial report about a deadly attack on a Gaza hospital, Mediaite reported.
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The statement centered on a truly sobering report from last week — coverage of an explosion during which hundreds were purportedly killed at the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza. The tragic event came as the Israeli war was heating up after Hamas slaughtered 1,400 Israelis in a surprise Oct. 7 attack.
The immediate reaction in media and among activists across the globe was to speculate about the cause of the deadly assault, an event impacting countless children and families.
And that’s where The Times’ report comes into play.
The newspaper stated in its editor’s note that coverage of the deadly event on Oct. 17 was led by “claims by Hamas government officials that an Israeli airstrike was the cause and that hundreds of people were dead or injured.”
The New York Times has published an editors’ note about its early coverage of an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City. Read the note in full here.https://t.co/v5zQmY0euN— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 23, 2023
But, while many around the world began to blame Israel for the hospital blast, the Jewish state was quick to deny responsibility, stating, instead, evidence showed the rocket came from the Palestinian side.
In fact, Israel said Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian group, was liable, with U.S. and other intel finding evidence to back Israel’s claim.
As a result of the initial coverage and debates that followed, some critics asserted media outlets relied too much on Hamas’ original account and didn’t hold back or properly frame the potential the blast could have come from within Palestinian territory. The Times addressed this in its lengthy editor’s note.
“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,” it read. “The report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.”
The Times noted it continued to update its coverage as details became available, but conceded the outlet’s editors “should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified.”
Media reports and social media misinformation have fuelled continued claims Israel was responsible for the hospital blast. As CBN Digital reported, “The Middle” actress Patricia Heaton recently lambasted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) after the congresswoman accused Israel of bombing the hospital.
“Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital, killing 500 Palestinians (doctors, children, patients) just like that,” Tlaib wrote on X, with the message still live and on her account when this piece was published. “@POTUS, this is what happens when you refuse to facilitate a ceasefire [and] help de-escalate.”
Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital killing 500 Palestinians (doctors, children, patients) just like that. @POTUS this is what happens when you refuse to facilitate a ceasefire & help de-escalate.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) October 17, 2023
Your war and destruction only approach has opened my eyes and many… https://t.co/mZYoifT7bj
She continued, “Your war and destruction only approach has opened my eyes and many Palestinian Americans and Muslims Americans like me. We will remember where you stood.”
Heaton took issue with Tlaib’s X message, publicly rebuking the politician in a strongly worded message of her own Wednesday evening.
“Hello @RashidaTlaib – this tweet is a straight-up lie, yet you refuse to take it down despite knowing it is causing rioting around the world,” the actress wrote, “Is it your goal to foment violence and divide people? Shame on you.”
Read more about that story here.
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