NYT attempts to explain shifting headlines in wake of Gaza hospital blast

October 21, 2023

Courting renewed skepticism and claims of anti-Israel bias, the New York Times this week attempted to rationalize its shifting reports regarding a blast that occurred at a hospital in Gaza, as Breitbart reports.

The paper's repeated adjustments in its coverage of the incident stemmed from its initial take on the event, which characterized the explosion as the result of an “Israeli strike,” an approach that was swiftly debunked as additional facts emerged, with consensus ultimately resting on the notion that it was a failed Hamas rocket that caused the destruction.

A subsequent article by the outlet's Katie Robinson attempted to explain the revisions to the paper's reporting, which had been primarily based on claims from the Gaza health ministry and was rapidly countered by evidence offered by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), other media outlets, and American intelligence officials.

Robertson asserted that the paper's gradual – and seemingly grudging – shift away from its initial assignment of blame to Israel for the incident was simply an indication of “the difficulties of reporting on a fast-moving war in which few journalists remain on the ground.”

Over the course of Tuesday, the Times altered headlines on the story discussing the blast, moving from “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say,” to eventually read, “At Least 500 Dead in Blast at Gaza Hospital, Palestinians Say.”

The journalist attempted to justify the paper's reliance on the so-called “Gaza health ministry,” but failed to note its direct connection to the Hamas terror group.

Robertson wrote, “The first reports of a strike at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City came early Tuesday afternoon Eastern time. A spokeswoman for the Gaza health ministry said an Israeli airstrike had caused the explosion, killing at least 200 people. In a televised interview, a health ministry spokesman later said the death toll exceeded 500 – which the ministry later changed to 'hundreds.”

“The news changed quickly over a couple of hours,” Robertson went on. “Many Western news organizations, including the New York Times, reported the Gazan claims in prominent headlines and articles. They adjusted the coverage after the Israeli military issued a statement urging “caution” about the Gazan allegation.”

According to conservative radio personality Mark Levin, Robertson's explanation did not change the fact that the Times' headlines continued to conflate Palestinians with Hamas in citing the source of the outlet's reporting.

“Just to be clear, the New York Times has reached the conclusion, perhaps unwittingly, that Palestinians and Hamas are the same thing. But they will never admit it,” Levin opined.

Particularly critical of the Times' conduct in reporting on the event was John Podhoretz, who penned a piece for Commentary magazine in which he accused the outlet of doing Hamas' bidding in a not-so-subtle way.

Slamming the Times for immediately jumping to conclusions about responsibility for the attack and for its willingness to take Hamas' representations at face value, Podhoretz observed, “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...this was the headline and subhead atop the New York Times: “ISRAEL STRIKE KILLS HUNDREDS AT HOSPITAL, PALESTINIANS SAY. At least 500 dead; Israel urges caution as it investigates,” Podhoretz notes, opining that “it did not read “Missile Strike Kills Hundreds at Hospital; Investigation Ongoing.”

Podhoretz continued, “But today, unless the IDF is very wrong, we literally have a situation in which Palestinians murdered Palestinians by the hundreds – and they blamed, or tried to blame, the Jews. That's who they are” and queried of the supposedly august paper's leadership, “So let me ask this: Is this what the New York Times is, too, Mr. Arthur Gregg Sulzberger?”

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