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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Shame of David Gregory--and 'NYT'

It's been a tough week for NBC's David Gregory.

First were reports that his "Meet the Press" was sinking under even weaker ratings and that he would soon be replaced.  Then as we noted here yesterday:  Gregory, after a weak interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu,  committed one of the worst journalistic ethical lapses of recent vintage.  After letting Netanyahu claim, again, that Israel may be blameless in the school massacre, despite all the evidence and logic to the contrary, he brought on UNWRA spokesman Chris Gunness--and blindsided him by showing a 10-second, hazy, tape just released within the hour by Israel allegedly showing a Hamas rocket being fired from the grounds of a UN school.  Yet Gregory said NBC had not "verified" that it's accurate--and admitted that Gunness could not view  it and had never seen it before.  Yet then asked Gunness to respond!  Gunness naturally protested the unfairness--and then the segment quickly ended.

Gregory has now issued this statement:  “An end note in a discussion about Gaza we asked a spokesman about this video which Israel claims showed rockets being fired by Hamas from a U.N. school in Gaza,” Gregory said. “This is shot by the Israeli government, and that’s their claim. The U.N. has reviewed it, tells us they have confirmed, in their view, the video does not show rockets being fired from U.N. administrative school in Gaza. So this is a back and forth we are not able to settle at this point.”   No apology or recognition of his severe ethical lapse.  Shameful.  And leaves it at the usual "he said/she said"--rather than NBC attempting to verify tape or prove Israeli propaganda.  Which it should have done before airing it.

Meanwhile, the NYT has not updated its report last night that focused on a different Israeli video to add the UN statement debunking the one alleged to show rockets fired from the school grounds.  Surely it's worth noting that Israel's videos may be nothing but propaganda.  And today @ChrisGunness has tweeted, "According 2 information UNRWA has gathered about Beit Hanoun incident, there were hundreds of people @ the installation when it was hit...We had staff @ the school when the incident occurred reporting in as the shelling, which caused multiple fatalities & casualties took place...In addition we have spoken to numerous eye witnesses at the Beit Hanoun school when it was hit." 

Will the Times now add this to their report which emphasized that casualties "reportedly" happened at the site?  Don't bet on it. 

This is what I wrote about it last night:
Will surprise no one that when NYT tonight reports on Israel's claim it killed no one the school--it's the same old refusal to take on the absurd IDF claims head-on.  You'd never know that Israel lied to them for three days that none of their bombs even hit the school.  It's as if the reporters say, "More propaganda, please."   As from the beginning, they ultimately rely on "different versions can't be reconciled now"--even though all evidence and testimony point to Israel being guilty of this slaughter.  It's a false "balance."

They give their point of view away by not even referring to Israel completely changing its story after three days.  That's more revealing than the totally unverified 10-second video.  Most of those who have gone to the site, such as Peter Beaumont of The Guardian, have all pointed their finger at Israel as no doubt the guilty party.  Another one here. Not the Times.

And see the IDF spokesman's "scenario" (below) that maybe the hundreds of wounded and dead were not hit there but brought to the site from elsewhere.  The Times now dutifully uses the phrase that 16 were "reportedly killed"  at the site.  This is the same Israeli official the NYT  reporters give the benefit of the doubt to re: the grainy video with no time stamp.  See my earlier report on the shameful NYT coverage on this (as with much else on the conflict).

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