New York Times admits it ‘relied too heavily’ on Hamas claims in reporting of Gaza hospital blast

Following the in the footsteps of the BBC, the Times issues note acknowledging it ‘relied too heavily’ on Hamas claims, skewing its reporting against Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

The New York Times issued and Editors’ Note Monday morning, clarifying its previous reporting on the explosion at a Gaza Hospital last week, acknowledging that the paper had relied “too heavily” on input from the Hamas terrorist organization.

Last Tuesday, the Times suggested that the explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City was likely caused by an Israeli airstrike, citing Hamas-affiliated Gaza sources.

While the Times added that Israel was investigating the incident, the article “left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was,” the paper admitted Monday.

The paper also initially reported that the death toll was likely in the hundreds, estimating the number at around 500, parroting claims by Hamas, despite the explosion apparently being centered in the hospital’s parking lot.

According to later assessments, the actual death toll may have been as low as 50.

In its clarification Monday, the Times admitted its initial reporting “relied too heavily on claims by Hamas, and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified.”

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“Given the sensitive nature of the news during a widening conflict, and the prominent promotion it received, Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified.”

“Newsroom leaders continue to examine procedures around the biggest breaking news events — including for the use of the largest headlines in the digital report — to determine what additional safeguards may be warranted.”

The NYT’s statement comes days after the BBC made a similar mea culpa over its coverage of the hospital explosion.

On the day of the blast, BBC correspondent Jon Donnison said that the hospital explosion was likely caused by an Israeli strike.

While the BBC did not explicitly blame the IDF for the explosion, Donnison highlighted his own speculation of an Israeli bombing as the blame and ruling out alternative possibilities, despite lacking any evidence to back up his theory.

“It’s hard to see what else this could be really given the size of the explosion other than an Israeli air strike or several air strikes,” Donnison said.

Subsequent evidence brought by the Israeli military, the Biden administration, and CNN all point to a misfired terrorist rocket, likely launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as the cause of the explosion.

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“We accept that even in this fast-moving situation it was wrong to speculate in this way, although he did not at any point report that it was an Israeli strike,” the BBC said Thursday.

“This doesn’t represent the entirety of the BBC’s output and anyone watching, listening to or reading our coverage can see we have set out both sides’ competing claims about the explosion, clearly showing who is saying them, and what we do or don’t know.”