Schram: How terrorists & media misfired on Gaza

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When the globe-shaking, protest-inciting, summit-shattering history of this past week is finally written large, history’s ultimate chroniclers may conclude it all started with “The Misfire Heard ‘Round the World.”
But they’ll only be half right. Because the history of this literally incredible week – a week of lies and snafus – was really ignited by not just one but two misfires.

FIRST MISFIRE: U.S. military and intel experts have concluded that a Palestinian terrorist rocket misfired after being aimed at Israel from inside Gaza, apparently launched by a group called the Islamic Jihad.

The misfired terrorist rocket quickly plummeted and exploded in the parking lot of Gaza’s al-Ahli Arab Hospital, killing masses of Palestinian civilians. And the tragedy was instantly (see also: predictably) exploited by Hamas, the terrorists who rule Gaza. Hamas had just committed mass atrocities in Israel, knowing that would goad Israel into a massive retaliation that would kill many of Gaza’s Palestinian population. That was fine with Hamas. Hamas instantly announced Israel had attacked the hospital, even though they had no evidence proving it.

SECOND MISFIRE: The news media of America and the world rushed to rocket around the world the news of the tragedy. But unforgivably, even the best of the U.S. news media linked the truth of that attack with Hamas’s apparent falsehood that blamed Israel without offering any evidence. Journalists of course all knew better: Hamas’ terrorists infamously live and launch attacks on Israel while using Gaza civilians as human shields. They are willing to see fellow Palestinians killed by Israeli retaliation — if it makes Israel look bad as the world watches.

Yet news organizations everywhere fell into the trap. Of course Al Jazeera, the Arab world’s famous news blanket that is funded by Qatar, instantly popped up on news screens everywhere reporting that Israel had attacked that Gaza hospital causing massive casualties.

The New York Times raced to splash news screens with its first erroneous report of the Gaza hospital explosion at 2:51 p.m. EDT Tuesday. But minutes later, at 3:06:40 p.m., despite having time to get themselves together, the Times again fell into Hamas’ trap, emailing: “Breaking News: At least 500 killed in Israeli strike on Gaza hospital, Palestinian officials say.” Israeli strike?

You might be thinking it was 100% true that the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said exactly that. But in this age of news manipulation by misinformation, media must rethink how and what they report.

It took two days for U.S. military and intel experts to conclude with certainty that the hospital bombing didn’t have the crater an Israeli airstrike would have created – but it had all the signs of a misfired Palestinian terrorist rocket that simply failed and fell.

But by then it was too late for truth to prevail. News screens had gushed apparent misinformation blaming Israel for the attack. That ignited rage throughout the Arab world. Instant protests of Arab activists and Palestinian sympathizers rocked Middle East capitals. Of course, that caused Arab leaders to cancel their planned summit in Jordan, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. President Joe Biden, Saudi and Gulf state leaders might have headed off the next hell in Gaza.

That’s how Hamas terrorists got what they wanted most this past week – the cancellation of what they knew would be an anti-Hamas Arab summit.

Tribune News Service

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