No, We Shouldn't Give the Activist Media a Pass for Lying About the Gaza 'Hospital Bombing'

AP Photo/Abed Khaled

This story is why the elite press gets away with its constant propagandizing and careless “mistakes.” When an explosion occurred near a hospital in Gaza City, members of the press eagerly rushed to their cameras and laptops to publish reports blaming Israel for the disaster, claiming they killed 500 people.

And their source for this information? Why, a well-known terrorist organization, known for killing, torturing, and kidnapping Israeli civilians – including children. Sounds like a winner, doesn’t it?

It later turned out that it was not Israel who bombed the parking lot of the hospital, but a misfired rocket coming from Palestinian Islamic Jihad. But amid the digital fracas over the matter, data guru Nate Silver suggested that we the people should cut journalists some slack when they make “errors” such as this. After all, they can’t be expected to get it right all the time, can they?

Other users on social media were quick to object, pointing out the flaws in Silver’s argument. Curtis Johnson pointed out the importance of ensuring information about the conflict is accurate, especially when it’s coming from “terrorists holding terrified children.”

Christina Pushaw, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Rapid Response Director, asked how hard it is to “caveat their reporting with ‘this is evolving quickly and we do not have the facts.’”

Chris Arnade said media outlets should not “try to be the first on stuff that’s unfolding in real time, beyond giving the briefest of details.”

The false narrative perpetuated about the hospital explosion was spread by major outlets like The New York Times, CNN, ABC News, and several others, including Democratic politicians. While these organizations have updated the information, it is too late, as many still believe Israel deliberately bombed a hospital full of Palestinians.

So what happened here? In a nutshell: It was misinformation – or, dare I say – a full-on disinformation campaign. The rapid reporting without sufficient verification resulted in countless numbers of people believing a false narrative about the conflict going on in Israel and the Gaza Strip. It could have prompted attacks worldwide on U.S. and Israeli embassies as a result of the outrage. What was the point of publishing this story as fact when it was clear the details had not been verified?

From where I sit, there are only two possibilities. On the one hand, those reporting this erroneous information knew it wasn’t true and decided to run with it anyway to smear Israel. On the other hand, it is also possible that those reporting it did not know whether it was true – and didn’t care because they knew it could be used to smear Israel. Either way, it is dishonest propagandizing that could have cost more people their lives. In this way, the once-vaunted Fourth Estate chose to inflame tensions by peddling false narratives instead of making sure its audience was rightly informed on what is happening on the ground.

The Israel/Hamas war is already rife with false narratives, half-truths, and outright lies told by media outlets and other major players on the world stage. The fact that the press is actively working to influence world opinion against Israel is alarming, considering the stakes. Recklessly peddling deceptive information to further a geopolitical agenda is about as sick as it gets and puts more pressure on the consumers of information to maintain a healthy level of skepticism.

Unfortunately, members of the media know that most people will not think twice about what they are hearing and seeing, and they enthusiastically take advantage of this reality. The question is: What consequences will it have for Americans and the rest of the world?



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