NYT acknowledges mistake in Gaza hospital story
NYT acknowledges mistake in Gaza hospital story

In an editors’ note, the New York Times acknowledged that its first reporting on the explosion that killed hundreds of Palestinians last week at a hospital in the Gaza Strip “relied too heavily on claims” made by the terrorist organization Hamas.

Finger-pointing over the cause of the massive bomb that shook the al-Ahli Hospital on Tuesday started immediately.

The unexpected assault on Israeli land on October 7 was condemned as a “horrific massacre” by Hamas, which has been at war with Israel ever since. It also placed the responsibility on the Israeli government. Israel, on the other hand, laid the responsibility on the Islamic Jihad, a smaller, more extreme organization that often collaborates with Hamas.

The Times, Reuters, and The Associated Press came under fire for prominently featuring Hamas’ point of view in publications and on social media. The Associated Press’ story on Hamas accusing Israel of being to blame was first published by POLITICO, who then promptly amended the item to reflect the AP’s fresh reporting that Israel had denied the claim.

“The Times’s initial accounts attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials, and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast,” states the editors’ note from the Times that was released on Monday. Early reporting “relied too heavily on Hamas’ claims and failed to make clear that those claims could not be verified right away.”

According to the remark, the newspaper’s coverage had a noticeable effect: The story gave readers a false picture of what was known and the veracity of the tale.

Although the specific cause of the hospital explosion is yet unknown, Israel doesn’t seem to be to blame.

According to an investigation by the Associated Press, the tragedy was most likely caused by a rocket launched from Palestinian territory that disintegrated in midair and crashed upon the hospital. According to American intelligence, President Joe Biden informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that it seemed like “the other team did it.”

After Biden’s remarks, Adrienne Watson of the National Security Council tweeted, “While we continue to gather information, our current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts, and open source information, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday.”

The Times did not apologize for its original reporting, but it did note that editors ought to have been more cautious in how they depicted the explosion.

The letter states that the Times editors “should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified” given the sensitive nature of the story amid a spreading war and the considerable promotion it got.

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