The New York Times, Obsessed with Gaza Hospitals
Quoting the denials of Hamas Nazis.
By Hugh Fitzgerald
The New York Times has since mid-October become obsessed with Gazan hospitals, obsessed with the idea that these are purely civilian structures that have been wrongly accused by the IDF of harboring Hamas operatives, both inside the hospitals and in the tunnels underneath obsessed with the “terrible tragedy” of patients who cannot get adequate care because Israel has supposedly been preventing fuel, food, and water from being delivered, when In fact it is Hamas that has diverted fuel, food, and water for use by its own operatives. More on The Times’ coverage of the Gaza hospitals, to the exclusion of so many other aspects of the war, can be found here: “‘Hamas Restricts Journalists in Gaza,’ New York Times Confesses — That Could Explain the Hospital Obsession,” by Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, November 21, 2023:
Instead of covering the war between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas, the New York Times has turned itself into the newsletter of the Gaza hospital association.
Since the war began with Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, the Times has published, by my [Ira Stoll’s] count, 19 front-page articles that are either primarily or substantially about the impact of the war on Gaza hospitals. That’s far more front-page articles than the Times has published on other aspects of the war that might be more newsworthy — say, the fate of the approximately 240 hostages, or the nature of Iran’s involvement in training and financing the Hamas terrorists, or plans for the future of Gaza after Israel achieves its goals of dismantling Hamas and recovering the hostages.
Most of the coverage has been of the he said/she said variety. The Times repeats Israeli statements that the hospitals are terrorist headquarters, while also repeating denials by Hamas and hospital officials.
That’s what’s called, quite wrongly, “even-handed coverage.” But of course it is not “even-handed,” but grotesquely misleading when, in quoting Hamas’ denials that it has its hideouts, and even its headquarters, in the tunnels under hospitals, reporters for The Times do not explain that Hamas has a long history of lying, as when it claimed that an Israeli airstrike had hit the Al Shifa Hospital, killing “500 people.” It turned out there had been no airstrike. A missile shot from Gaza by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad had misfired, and fell not on the hospital itself, but onto the parking lot. Furthermore, it killed not 500 people, but between 10 and 50, as confirmed by the intelligence services of several countries.
When the Times says that the IDF claims that certain Gazan hospitals harbor terrorists, and then reports that Hamas and hospital officials deny it, its reporters should not stop there. They should have presented the evidence that supports the IDF’s claim of-Hamas’ presence in the hospital — the dozens of AK-47s, the pistols, grenades, army uniforms, and more that the IDF has found and made available for journalists to inspect, and explained how that find supported Israel’s charge that Hamas used the Shifa hospital itself, and the tunnels underneath, for its combatants to hide both their weapons and themselves. And it hasn’t only been the Shifa Hospital where the IDF has made such discoveries; it has done the same at the Al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, and Al-Quds Hospital.
The Nov. 11 edition of the New York Times had a front-page article headlined, “Gaza’s Hospitals Bear the Brunt As Battles Rage.” It reported, “Hamas denies operating within the hospital or under it, as does the hospital director, Mohammad Abu Salmiya.”
By November 11, the IDF had already come across the weapons and uniforms that had been hidden in the MRI wing of the hospital. But this was not mentioned in this story. The Times reported, instead, that “Hamas denies operating within the hospital or under it, as does the hospital director, Mohammed Abu Salmiya,” without noting all the evidence to the contrary that the IDF had by then discovered.
The Nov. 12 edition of the Times had a front-page article headlined, “Plight of Gaza’s Main Hospital Worsens as Israeli Forces Close In.” It offered a slight variation on the charge made against Israel the day before, “The Israeli military has accused Hamas of operating an underground command center below Al-Shifa, using it as a shield. The hospital’s administration and Hamas have denied it.
This is boilerplate that just gets copied and pasted into each day’s new front-page Times article on the same topic.
The Times’ template is this: Israel accuses Hamas of using both the hospital and the tunnels underneath to hide weapons, command-and-control centers, operatives. Hamas denies this. And that is the end of the story. The Times had a duty to report on the ever-growing body of evidence that supports Israel’s charge, but it did not so for weeks. Why?