A brief clarification
The appropriate way for the media to have handled the story would have been to state in headlines that there was a blast or explosion at a hospital in Gaza. The body of the story could have then cited Hamas’s claim while also noting that Israel was investigating the matter.
If the 'Leader' of Hamas were to come out and announce that he himself had fired the rocket that hit the hospital, his own followers would believe it was a Zionist conspiracy. These people cannot be reasoned with...
Major news organizations spend more time fact checking RNC statements than they do Hamas.
Frankly it’s the authoritative statement of “more than 500” that’s the most egregious.
That would be one of the highest death tolls from a single airstrike in the history of warfare. Is it impossible? No, but with 500 to 2000 lb bombs, it would be extremely unlikely, the kind of statement if I were in a newsroom I’d say “we need way more evidence on this”.
For context, the Oklahoma City bombing was around 5,000 lbs and killed 168, and on the higher scale, the Beirut bombing in 2020 was, on the low estimate, 0.3 kilotons of TNT equivalent and killed 218.
This to me is a good example of the rot that has happened in newsrooms, especially the younger hires just not having any real world experience, all being from extremely privileged backgrounds, going to Ivy League schools to get degrees that teach them absolutely no critical thinking skills, and at least in this specific case, having a kneejerk hatred of Israel. This caused multiple mainstream media outlets to immediately single source believe Hamas(!) a Jihadist group whose main motivation is to maximize claimed casualty counts, regarding what would be one of the single deadliest individual airstrikes, ever.
One thousand years ago, when I was a journalism student, a classmate who prefaced a statement with, "I think...." would face the Kiss of Death from our professor.
The professor's response was, "No one gives a damn what you think. What do you KNOW?"
I adopted that policy when I became an editor.
Works for me.
It should work for the NYTimes.
Didn’t we also learn (Shellenberger) that The NY Times put a “stock photo” of decimated bomb site that wasn’t in fact the actual hospital?
A blame neutral NYT headline would have been proper. You just asserted in your previous piece that Israel didn't do it (i.e., "it never happened"), conclusively. What is that assertion based on?
Read The Grey Lady Winked. NYT’s very long history of lying, and supporting Nazis. I’m surprised they survived that alone.
Who would have the most to gain in the international political/opinion arena by an attack on a Palestinian hospital? Who would suffer world condemnation?
Since "the first casualty of war is the truth,” something I've seen play out over & over, & since both the Palestinians & the Israelis both have their own agendas, as does the US & Europe & Saudi Arabia & Egypt, etc., etc., what is the point in bickering about this shit? No one on here knows what "the truth" actually is. And no one will know for a long fucking time, if ever.
- Sorry, but I’ve seen this movie before.
I saw it in New York in 2001.
America had been attacked. It was time to come together as Americans, to put aside our political differences, to rally around the flag, and the president, and go and kill a whole lot of people who had absolutely nothing to do with it.
You might be too young to remember that time. I remember it vividly. I remember it in detail. I remember how the nation “came together.” I remember how the Western world “stood with America.” I remember how we declared a “Global War on Terror,” how we “took the gloves off,” both at home and abroad, how the government and the media whipped the public up into a bloodthirsty, jingoistic frenzy. I remember being called a “traitor,” a “Saddam apologist,” a “terrorist sympathizer,” because I wouldn’t wave the flag, and “stand with America,” and get on board with murdering hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children.
So, forgive me if what follows seems a bit cold. As I said, I’ve seen this movie before. -
- I am not going to condemn the Hamas attack, as hideous as I think it was. I do not condemn things on command, or perform any other kind of tricks on command. If that’s what you’re looking for, get a dog.
That said, I am not going to call the Hamas attack “resistance” or try to justify it. I refuse to justify mass murder. If you’re OK with mass murdering civilians for your cause … OK, but own it. Call it what it is. And spare me the “legitimate resistance” bullshit.
Same goes for Israel. If you “stand with Israel” as it murders civilians, fine. Own it. Give me a break with the “Israel has the right to defend itself” bullshit, and own it.
Whatever “side” of this conflict you are on, at least have the integrity to call things what they are.
Here is what things are, in a nutshell.
Israel is a nation-state. It is doing what a lot of nation-states have done throughout the history of nation-states. It is wiping out, or otherwise removing, the indigenous population of the territory it has conquered. It has been doing this for 75 years. The indigenous population, i.e., the Palestinians, have been trying not to get completely wiped out, or otherwise removed from their indigenous territory, and lashing out at Israel in a variety of ways (i.e., from throwing stones to committing mass murder).
That is what is happening. The rest is PR. Public relations. Propaganda. - CJ Hopkins
It may not be "known absolutely for certain" what happened, but there is credible evidence, the veracity of which has not been questioned by anyone in any meaningful public way, versus "Hamas says..."
Here's part of an exchange I had with a leading journalist in the summer of 2017. The topic: standards at the NYT.
"That’s a good question. Can they get any lower? We’ve had roughly 8 years of extremely high quality reporting on the arts and sciences and I fully expect that to continue. It shouldn’t have taken Hillbilly Elegy and other tomes, to get wage stagnation before the public eye. The San Jose Mercury is one of the few papers to inform readers that 3/4 African-American males of high school age can’t read or write. That sure sounds like news to me, and would be were the NYT and other ‘liberal’ outlets actually concerned about the plight of minorities and the poor.
It’s a joke. I correspond with folks of your stature now and then. I’m a big fan of Dexter Filkins and he’s been good enough to reply on occasion. But getting Iraq wrong? My favorite NYT headline of the Obama years was ‘The Invisible Poor-how did we miss them?’ Eyes tight shut, perhaps? If you want to get a sense of just how out of touch the media is go and watch the network/cable coverage of election night 2016 available on Youtube. If you haven’t you should.
Clue-free right right up to Florida going for Trump and long after that in many cases. I’ve paid for TNR, Mojo, and others over the years, not to mention academic journals. The notion advanced at the NYT and elsewhere that the last thing we need these days is an objective paper of record tells me (anyway) all I need to know about where this mess is going. The ‘golden shower’ dossier is the new gold standard of reporting in 2016-17. Sad!
I read RCP, as I’m sure you do. You’ll have caught Mollie Hemingway’s latest. She’s not neutral, but she’s not far wrong. http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/29/cnns-latest-retraction-just-tip-fake-news-iceberg/
Glad you’re still in the game.
Nice to chat once again,"
If we're talking about "standards" at the NYT, the paper has none. That's been abundantly clear. Just ask Bari, Don, et al. That's why so many former subscribers are here.
Keep up the great work, Matt and the Racket News team!
Matt, you and your readers would do yourself a favor by reading Chris Hedges newest article "Israel's Culture of Deceit." Much like Chris, I spent time in the West Bank and Gaza. There is a very high probability that Israel was behind the Hospital explosion, but aside from that let's not lose sight of the fact that already Israeli had blown up schools, other medical facilities and UN safe haven locations.
Yes, no doubt Ilhan Omar will agree with an “independent investigation”...🙄.
I mean Taibbi claims that Israel did not bomb the hospital as a fact (“The Times obviously never “knew” Israel bombed the hospital, because that never happened.” ~Matt Taibbi), despite the fact that we don’t know what happened.
Big old OOPS all around I guess.
We do know that Israel said they were going to bomb the hospital, then criticized the victims for not evacuating. Later tried to claim it was Hamas and released a video of a rocket, only to then delete that video because the time stamp didn’t match. We also know that homemade rockets don’t have the capability of leveling buildings, so evidence kind of points one way. But it’s true that we don’t know for certain and an independent investigation is needed.
With all due respect, you're losing the plot here.
By this standard the media can't report on war, because you can't independently verify it in anything approaching real time. Should the story of the past week be Israel may have bombed something in Gaza, or that there may have been casualties? Should we have waited a couple of days to say that anyone in Israel was really killed? Call it an unverified crisis in the Middle East?
Maybe everyone in Israel and Gaza are just on the beach, listening to Jimmy Buffet - I don't know - I can't verify it personally.
The bigger thing though is that this doesn't matter. Israel is bombing the hell out of Gaza. The natural assumption when they are doing so, and something blows up is that they did it. If this does in fact happen to be wrong in this case, it makes very little difference. It doesn't change any important narrative. They are still bombing the hell out of Gaza.
Ask yourself, how many people are upset b/c of journalistic standards, as opposed to being upset because they want the media to report what they want to hear. The Intercept criticized the decapitated baby story, Michael Shellenberger didn't. The same is true in reverse. This is just people being upset that their side isn't deemed the morally clear one - there isn't any principle.
In order to make your point, which you still aren't really backing down from, you are relying on the Israeli government, weak corroboration from the US Government, and a very small number of "weapons experts" who presumably get paid by defense contractors. This doesn't make them wrong, but it sounds like you're gearing up to invade Iraq. That's the point where you should have taken a deep breath and written about something else.