Media Worst: The Disinformation Is Coming From Inside the House
Happy Saturday. Let’s check in on the media this past week.
Fair and balanced: As leading news outlets spread Hamas disinformation about an explosion at a Gaza hospital, Israel and its defenders got the facts out on social media. Many of those same outlets subsequently warned readers that social media is the source of dangerous “disinformation” about the Israel-Hamas war.
Washington Post, Oct. 19: “The Israel-Gaza War: News Literacy Lessons”:
There is a high volume of misinformation online about the Israel-Hamas war, according to media experts. Information can be scarce or change rapidly during major developing stories, and misinformation often rushes in to fill those initial voids. It can be difficult to separate genuine footage and updates from misleading posts shared for engagement, clicks, or ill intent by bad actors. Social media platforms aren’t always efficiently moderating content for mis- and disinformation. X, formerly Twitter, has gone through major changes since owner Elon Musk took over about a year ago, including firing many employees who worked on content moderation. Musk himself recommended two accounts known for spreading disinformation to his followers in the aftermath of the initial Hamas attack in a post that he later deleted.
JP, Oct. 18: “Disinformation Surge Threatens To Fuel Israel-Hamas Conflict”:
JP fact-checking unit has identified numerous cases of social media posts using fake images and information about the Israel-Hamas conflict, and others in which confusion rather than deliberate disinformation appears to have heightened tensions.
Vox, Oct. 18: “Don’t Believe Everything You See and Hear About Israel and Palestine”:
Misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war is easy to find online. Here’s how to avoid spreading it.
New York Times, Oct. 18: “After Hospital Blast, Headlines Shift With Changing Claims”:
The war between Israel and Hamas has proved even more difficult than most conflicts, because it has generated vast amounts of misleading and false information online. There are so many untrue claims that some people question the true ones. …
The coverage of this week’s hospital blast generally represented what had been said about the explosion at the time of publication. …
The Times sent a news alert at 2:51 p.m. Eastern time carrying the Palestinian assertion of an Israeli missile strike on the hospital. When the Israeli military statement came out, The Times sent another news alert on Israel’s assertion that “a misfired Palestinian rocket” was to blame.
U.S. and Israeli intelligence and verified public footage contradicted Hamas’s claims about the hospital blast. An Israeli airstrike did not leave the building in ruins, killing at least 500 people, as the terrorist group said. Rather, a rocket fired by Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group in Gaza, misfired and hit the hospital parking lot, possibly killing 100-300 people.
This @NYTimes story included a line about the “rubble of the ruined hospital” and was not corrected for 20 hours.
The really egregious part is that this was the TIMES’S own characterization of the video.
[Original] Oct. 17, 2023, 9:47 p.m. ET
Updated Oct. 18, 2023, 5:54 p.m. ET pic.twitter.com/sRNE9EDwp3
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) October 19, 2023
Nevertheless, the New York Times and others continued to treat Hamas as at least as credible as the United States and its ally Israel. The outlets preferred to refer to the Islamist death cult that rules Gaza and recently committed the deadliest Jewish pogrom since the Holocaust as “Palestinian health officials” or the “Palestinian Ministry of Health.”
New York Times, Oct. 19: “A Sudden Blast, Then Carnage in a Hospital Courtyard”:
Palestinian officials have blamed an Israeli airstrike for the blast, an assertion that was disputed by the Israel Defense Forces, which said it was caused by an errant rocket fired by the armed Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Neither side’s account could be independently verified.
The death toll in Gaza has reached 3,785 people and more than 13,000 have been injured, Palestinian health officials say.
In Israel, 1,400 people have been killed and 3,500 wounded since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. https://t.co/qNCcluGX5z
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 19, 2023
There is growing outrage over Israel’s bombing campaign of Gaza, as the number of Palestinians killed has reached 3,785, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Protesters accuse Israel of indiscriminate killing — and they accuse the U.S. of being complicit. pic.twitter.com/TDoNWZejJK
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) October 19, 2023
ICYMI: The Washington Free Beacon documented some of the worst examples of the media uncritically regurgitating Hamas’s early propaganda about the hospital blast.
Truth to power: Speaking of anti-Semitism, CBS News’s Margaret Brennen implied in an interview with Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis that Palestinians cannot be guilty of the sentiment because “all Arabs are Semites.” In fact, Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world are overwhelmingly anti-Semitic.
The Face the Nation host’s stupidity about the Middle East was not new.
What’s racist today: CNN added alien abductions to its mountain of proof that America is a racist country. According to an “analysis” published by the network, the seminal UFO visitation story, recovered under hypnosis in 1964 by a black man who was married to a white woman, was really about how African Americans “spark terror in people because they see you as an alien.”
Here is some of CNN’s other work to root out racism from its unlikely hiding spots.
Queen Elizabeth I used some of the earliest written examples of racist language. Here’s how it evolved in the UK over hundreds of years. https://t.co/bQAwbcAxCK pic.twitter.com/x7gud0cab8
— CNN (@CNN) October 12, 2022
If that happens, expect a lot more articles like this one from CNN, featuring one of the crudest and most racist headlines one can conjure:https://t.co/vYfdAfI7SE
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 6, 2022
What’s racism? It’s not always obvious. @WKamauBell explores the hidden drivers of discrimination and shows how blatant White Supremacy is just the tip of the iceberg. An all-new season of #UnitedShades starts Sunday at 10 p.m. ET pic.twitter.com/Wxyl2xYbbs
— CNN (@CNN) July 18, 2020
Media bubble: National news outlets gave blanket sympathetic coverage to a protest on Capitol Hill led by a pair of fringe anti-Israel Jewish groups.
Guardian: “Hundreds Arrested as US Jews Protest Against Israel’s Gaza Assault”:
Leftwing Jewish activists campaigned against Israel’s bombardment and blockade of Gaza this week in Washington, culminating in protests that have seen hundreds arrested for civil disobedience outside the White House and Congress.
New York Times: “About 300 Protesters Pleading For a Cease-Fire Were Arrested on Capitol Hill, Organizers Say.”:
The rally was organized by two progressive Jewish groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, and about 400 of their members assembled inside the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building, led by about 25 rabbis reading testimonials from Palestinians in Gaza and reciting prayers. Outside, hundreds more chanted, “Cease-fire now” and sang in Hebrew and English.
The demonstration, organized by Jewish groups IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, came as Israel prepares for a major military offensive in the Gaza Strip amid an intensifying humanitarian crisis.
Slate: “The Jews Pushing Israel To Stop the War”:
At the White House, hundreds pleaded: “How dare you use my grief to justify killing innocent civilians in my name?”
CBS News: “Protesters on Capitol Hill Call For Israel-Gaza Cease-Fire, Hundreds Arrested”:
Dressed in black T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Jews say cease fire now” and “Not in our name,” the activists sat clapping and singing on the floor in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building and held up large banners that read “Ceasefire” and “Let Gaza Live.”
What the mainstream media largely ignored was how out of step the activists are with American Jewry, as Jewish Insider explained.
Longer statement from Nadler to me/@J_Insider on JVP, the fringe anti-Israel Jewish group currently protesting/being arrested in a Capitol office building: BDS, which JVP supports, “is firmly rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community, left, right and center.” https://t.co/S0tSGP8Xs3 pic.twitter.com/S63ZXDgwz6
— Marc Rod (@marcrod97) October 18, 2023
Also relatively absent from the mainstream media were pro-Hamas protests that took place across the United States and the world.
Republicans pounce: Students—and faculty—on college campuses across the country went from demanding safe spaces and suggesting that words are violence to cheering Hamas’s genocidal attacks in Israel. But according to the media, the real problem is the conservatives who have exposed the young anti-Semites.
CNN: “Names and Faces of Harvard Students Linked To an Anti-Israel Statement Were Plastered on Mobile Billboards and Online Sites”:
A conservative nonprofit said it organized the truck featuring the virtual billboards with students’ names and images under a banner that reads: “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.” It also published names online. CNN has not independently verified that the named students were associated with the letter. …
Harvard legal scholar Laurence Tribe also blasted the attempts to expose the students, telling CNN in an email that naming and shaming the students, as well as “labeling them as antisemites while posting their photos to put targets on their backs” is “far more dangerous than useful.” …
The malicious publication of personal information, such as home addresses or phone numbers, has been a tactic used by far-right groups for years to intimidate Palestinian activists and allies into silence, according to a current Harvard student, who is of Palestinian descent, and spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity.
New York Times: “After Writing an Anti-Israel Letter, Harvard Students Are Doxxed”:
Collecting names sounded like a throwback to McCarthy-era blacklists, she said. The latest lists could muzzle not only these students, but also those who might share “more thoughtful and less categorical pronouncements.”
And threatening people’s career prospects seemed like an overreaction, she said, especially when they were young and just starting out.
USA Today: “Harvard Student Groups Doxxed After Signing Letter Blaming Israel for Hamas Attack”:
The stunt claimed by the conservative media group Accuracy in Media comes after several CEOs have called on Harvard to release the names of students affiliated with groups tied to the controversial letter that solely blamed Israel for the attack.
Boston Globe: “Conservative Group Publicizes Photos, Names of Harvard Students Linked to Controversial Statement on Israel”:
Tensions on campuses over the war between Israel and Hamas escalated on Wednesday as an out-of-state conservative group drove trucks through Harvard Square emblazoned with pictures of students linked to a controversial statement on Israel, labeling them with the word “Anti-Semites.”
Stay safe out there, and see you next week.