October 20, 2023

Gaza Hospital

“Journalists and researchers are still piecing together a full picture of what caused a massive explosion at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday. The blast killed hundreds of people, many of whom were reportedly sheltering from bombardment elsewhere…

“Many initial news stories reported it as an Israeli airstrike, citing the Palestinian health ministry. Israel denied the accusation and said it was caused by a misfired rocket launched by a Palestinian militant group. On Wednesday, the U.S. backed up Israel's claim, based on its own analysis…

“As more evidence has emerged, including photos of the blast site and videos from the time of the explosion, the majority of independent analysts say the damage is not consistent with a standard Israeli airstrike.” NPR

The US intelligence community assesses that there likely were between 100 to 300 people killed in the blast at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, and there was ‘only light structural damage at the hospital,’ according to an unclassified intelligence assessment obtained by CNN that adds more detail to the initial assessment released Wednesday finding Israel was not responsible for the strike.” CNN

Many on all sides are critical of the initial reports on the explosion:

“One might perhaps think it prudent to keep one’s powder dry when a terrorist organization claims its enemy did something bad. You would think wrong. Within minutes of [the explosion], this was the headline and subhed atop the New York Times: ‘ISRAEL STRIKE KILLS HUNDREDS AT HOSPITAL, PALESTINIANS SAY. At least 500 dead; Israel urges caution as it investigates.’…

“Please note it did not read ‘Missile Strike Kills Hundreds at Hospital; Investigation Ongoing.’ The formulation of the headline sentence was designed to make Israel the motive actor, even if the final clause acknowledges it as a Palestinian claim… The media in the United States and elsewhere are desperate—desperate—to blame things on Israel and credulous about doing so in a way that should be shameful to any sense of professionalism—or simple morality—they might possess.”
John Podhoretz, Commentary

“Although the Times eventually walked its initial reporting back, it was exceptionally stubborn about doing so. At 5:04 p.m. on Tuesday, it sent out another news alert: ‘Israel and Palestinians blame each other for Gaza hospital blast’. At 6:01 p.m., yet another —‘The Evening: A blast killed hundreds at a Gaza hospital’ — that treated the causality figure and the location of the blast as a hard fact…

“In a business section article, the Times later addressed the controversy in disingenuous fashion. The headline, framed in the passive voice, tells you pretty much all you need to know: ‘After Hospital Blast, Headlines Shift With Changing Claims.’ There is no admission of error whatsoever… The Times frames itself as an innocent, passive actor… That’s complete bullshit, because the Times is extremely and often somewhat proudly self-conscious of [its] role. ‘We set the agenda for the country’ is literally the prevailing attitude in the building.”
Nate Silver, Silver Bulletin

“Earlier this week, Reuters reported that U.S. lawmakers were ‘seeking answers’ from Meta, X, Google, and TikTok about the spread of false information on those platforms. ‘Deceptive content has ricocheted across social media sites since the conflict began, sometimes receiving millions of views,’ wrote Sen. Michael Bennet (D–Colo.) in a letter to the companies…

“This framing totally ignores the fact that some of the most pernicious misstatements about the situation in Gaza were peddled by mainstream journalistic institutions like The New York Times. On social media, people were able to challenge prevailing narratives that the expert class had blindly accepted.”
Liz Wolfe, Reason

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Right

From the Left

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please email us at admin@theflipside.io if you continue to have issues!