The massive social media companies have all employed “independent fact-checkers” to improve their public image. Democrats and their allied media outlets have lamented that too much “misinformation” is shared on their platforms. “Fact-checkers” flag questionable posts, and they get blocked or limited.
None of this happens when left-wing media outlets commit their own misinformation. Facebook, Google and X (formerly Twitter) aren’t going to punish those “reliable sources” when they are egregiously incorrect. Their freedom of reach is never in doubt.
On Oct. 17, the terrorist group Hamas claimed Israel bombed a hospital in Gaza and killed hundreds of people. The headlines sounded like repeaters, not reporters.
The Associated Press: “Hundreds killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza City hospital, health ministry says.”
The Reuters wire service: “Israeli air strike hits Gaza hospital, hundreds dead.”
CNN: “Israel hits hospital and school in Gaza as blockade cripples healthcare system.” Their first paragraph unspooled like this: “A school and a hospital in Gaza were among the civilian refuges lethally blasted during Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday, as humanitarian concerns mount over ongoing deprivation of food, fuel and electricity to the isolated population.”
On TV, CNN’s Jake Tapper claimed in those initial moments after the explosion that there was “no reason to doubt” the Hamas claims. Almost every other national outlet repeated these claims, at least on social media.
The New York Times homepage declared, front and center: “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say.”
By the next morning, they all casually walked it back. The front page of the Times said, “Palestinians and Israelis Blame Each Other Ahead of Biden’s Arrival.” On Oct. 19, their front page asserted it “remains disputed,” but Biden “backed Israel’s contention that a Palestinian group” caused the explosion.
Biden’s National Security Council told reporters that a blast analysis suggests it was a ground explosion rather than an airstrike that hit the hospital, and that the extensive fire damage and scattered debris was consistent with an explosion starting from the ground level.
No one expects CNN or AP or Reuters — who all blamed Israel at the drop of their pens — to put their own “fact-checkers” on the case and explain how wrong they likely were. But the “prestige media” that lecture everyone else about being patsies for disinformation ought to be humbler and more apologetic about how they report on “mass casualty” events that have the potential to cause global unrest.
Instead, a Reuters Fact Check article from Oct. 19 shamelessly reported it is still in dispute: “The Palestinian Authority said an Israeli air strike on Oct. 17 killed hundreds of people at the Gaza hospital, while Israel said the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group.”
Those “independent fact-checkers” aren’t flagging Hamas for disinformation, but they’re still focusing on Republicans. CNN’s Daniel Dale pounced: “DeSantis campaign falsely describes (Nikki) Haley’s comments on the people of Gaza.” The only recent check by Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post is “Nikki Haley misleads town hall audience on Chinese land acquisitions.”
The leftist media can’t admit when they’ve dreadfully botched a story. Look no further than Hunter Biden’s laptop. In this case, they didn’t warn of the “hallmarks of Hamas misinformation.” They looked like slack-jawed amateurs.
Then they just washed their hands of it. The “PBS NewsHour” arrogantly insisted “Biden’s claims did little to dampen the fury ripping through the region.” They demand everyone outside their “professional” sphere should be rigorously fact-checked and deplatformed for a mistake. It’s not surprising that Gallup found public confidence in the press is at an all-time low.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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