The New York Times and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) have long denounced disinformation on social media and called for censorship of those spreading false information.
They and various other media outlets now find themselves accused of immediately spreading false images and accounts of the recent explosion at the hospital in Gaza.
The NYT picture above is not even the hospital and the Biden Administration has concluded it was not only a Palestinian missile in the incident but it struck the parking lot rather than the hospital itself.
While there is still debate over the origin of the missile that struck the hospital, United States intelligence and the Biden Administration have concluded that it was not an Israeli missile but a Palestinian missile. I am open to evidence on either side and investigations continue., However, it was not (and has not been) established that this was an Israeli missile.
Moreover, the missile did not destroy the hospital but appears to have landed in the parking lot. Finally, the actual death toll remains in dispute.While the caption on the photo above acknowledged that it is not the picture of the hospital, it created a powerful image with the headline. The more important question is why the New York Times would simply repeat the accusation from Hamas on the origin of the missile when there are thousands of missiles going back and forth between Israel and Gaza.The New York Times not only immediately declared Israel as the source but said that hundreds were killed.
Likewise, Foreign Policy magazine is still showing a misleading picture of a huge crater that turns out to be from an entirely different location. Actual drone footage does not show the type of large crater that would have been left by an Israeli missile in the parking lot. The Wall Street Journal showed this crater in the parking lot:
While the New York Times can claim that it later covered the countervailing findings of Israeli and American intelligence, that is not the case with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). Last night, after the Biden Administration released its own findings that the missile came from Palestine, Tlaib led a mass protest while denouncing Israel for the strike:
“People think it’s okay to bomb a hospital where children, you know, what’s so hard sometimes is watching those videos and and the people telling the kids, ‘Don’t cry.’ And like, let them cry!”And they’re shaking [INAUDIBLE] they keep telling them not to cry in Arabic. And they can cry, I can cry, we all can cry. If we’re not crying, something is wrong! And so I’m telling you right now, President Biden, not all of America’s with you on this one. And you need to wake up and understand that! We are literally watching people commit your genocide and killing a vast majority just like this. And we still stand by and say nothing. We will remember this. But all of you, you need to know, I swear to God [INAUDIBLE] You are on the right side of history! You are! You’re doing everything possible to save lives! What is wrong with that? Stop it!”
Tlaib wrote on social media that “Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital killing 500 Palestinians (doctors, children, patients) just like that” on X.
She later refused to apologize for repeating the claim viewed as false by the Biden Administration and others.What is striking about Tlaib’s protest speech is that she is denouncing the loss of First Amendment rights in this controversy in making these claims.
I have repeatedly said that I oppose censorship of those who are making these claims.
That will come as no surprise to regulars on this blog.
However, Tlaib has not been a voice for free speech.
While objecting to the censorship of Palestinians, Tlaib has supported the push of Democrats to get greater levels of “content moderation” on social media.
Tlaib cut off Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he tried to defend policies to minimize censorship as protecting “hate speech.”
Likewise, the New York Times has been unrelenting in attacks on Elon Musk and Twitter for restoring free speech protections on X and supporting broader censorship of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation.
Fortunately for NY Times, Tlaib, and others, the free speech community will continue to support their own ability to speak even when they are accused of spreading disinformation.
This controversy shows, again, how selective the media has been in its calls for bans and censorship. That includes various journalistic and scientific figures banned for expressing skepticism over pandemic claims from the origins of the virus to the efficacy of certain treatments. For example, when many people raised the possibility that the virus may have been released from the nearby Chinese virology lab (rather than the “wet market” theory), they were denounced as virtually a lunatic fringe. Even objections to the bias of authors of a report dismissing the lab theory were ridiculed. The New York Times reporter covering the area called it “racist” and implausible. Now, even W.H.O. admits that the lab theory is possible and Biden officials are admitting that it is indeed plausible.
Fortunately for the reporters of the New York Times and Democratic members like Tlaib, free speech values should protect their right to continue to post these views despite their truth or veracity. One can only hope that they might want to consider showing others the same consideration.