After an explosion in Gaza this week, Hamas asserted that an Israeli airstrike had targeted a hospital, killing up to 500 civilians. Outraged at this evidence-free claim, news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post and Associated Press all repeated it, without confirmation or investigation. Several members of Congress, including Palestinian sympathizers Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, condemned the “attack,” again, without waiting for confirmation.
As evidence began to mount that Israel had not committed this act, the New York Times began to stealth-edit their original story — updating their original headlines several times. Later, the Biden administration seemed to verify video evidence on Twitter/X that it was an errant rocket launch by Islamic Jihad within Gaza that landed in a parking lot adjacent to the hospital, which remained almost completely intact. “Our current assessment,” said an NSC spokeswoman, “is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday.” At the time of writing, the death toll is unclear. Evidence for the “500” number is also unclear.
We’ve seen this movie before.
In August 2014, eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. Before any facts about the shooting had been assessed, activists were in the streets, local media reports had gone national, and national political figures were weighing in. Soon, even national broadcast networks were running with unconfirmed accounts that Brown had surrendered with his hands up when he was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson. “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” became a rallying call for national rioters inflicting damage for innocent property owners. Several reporters made their careers on events in Ferguson. A CNN panel of anchors held their hands up on air in solidarity with the protesters.
The Obama administration and the Eric Holder Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation. It was the event that kicked off a powder keg that continues to be exploited to this day by national protest organizations like Black Lives Matter.
As it turned out, however, very little about the original reporting turned out to be true. Brown had assaulted and choked a bodega owner after shoplifting from him. Brown’s shooting came in an ensuing scuffle with the responding officer, in which Brown attempted to grab the officer’s firearm and ignored orders to surrender. Wilson was later cleared of any wrongdoing by Holder’s DoJ. But none of that mattered. Our media immediately took the side of what they believed (or wanted to believe) to be an oppressed minority, a pattern which continued through the events of 2020 that caused billions of dollars’ worth of riot damage.
The reporting that has come out of Gaza by major news outlets and young journalists who seem biased towards the idea a Palestinian struggle for freedom has mirrored coverage of the Black Lives Matter rallies of Ferguson, and 2020 in general. In August 2020, Jacob Blake was shot in the back several times by Kenosha, Wisconsin police officers. Shortly thereafter, the storyline that another unarmed black man had been targeted by a heavy-handed police response took hold. Blake was paralyzed in the shooting and while hospitalized, was visited by now Vice President Kamala Harris. Once again, in an attempt to shape a story and ensure that more violence and chaos erupted, early media reports got it wrong. Blake was violating a restraining order while trying to kidnap his kids from his estranged wife. At the time of his shooting, and after a physical struggle with police, Blake was returning to his vehicle, where a sharp knife was found.
In the last week, several BLM supporters have declared that the Palestinian struggle is also their struggle, and several propaganda tactics that Hamas uses have been adopted by BLM activists to foment violence, whether it be here or at embassies around the world. That our national media sides with these unconfirmed reports is not accidental — and it should stop being treated as such. They are attempting to advance a cause and narrative in support of Hamas and Palestine and paint police officers and Israel as state-sanctioned aggressors and occupiers.
They are not publishing inaccurate information out of a rush to judgment. They have already judged — and are simply attempting to confirm their priors, no matter how much blood is spilled, or damage is caused, or buildings are burned in the process.
US EDITION OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST MAGAZINE