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July 29, 2014 5:50 pm

Media Watchdog Asks Why WSJ Reporters Deleted Twitter Photos Implicating Hamas in War Crimes

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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A now removed tweet from the WSJ's Tamer El-Ghobashy, who suggested Hamas was likely responsible for a strike that hit Al Shifa Hospital. Photo: CAMERA.

A now removed tweet from the WSJ's Tamer El-Ghobashy, who suggested Hamas was likely responsible for a strike that hit Al Shifa Hospital. Photo: CAMERA.

Two reporters in Gaza for The Wall Street Journal have deleted photographs that implicate Hamas in war crimes, namely using the Al Shifa hospital as a military headquarters, and media watchdog CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, on Tuesday asked them why the posts were removed? So far, CAMERA has received no answers from the reporters or from their editors, but the group said the deleted posts might be further evidence of Hamas intimidating journalists.

The Wall Street Journal‘s credibility hinges on it being transparent about what information is being withheld from readers, and why,” CAMERA wrote in a note to subscribers. “If information that casts Hamas in a negative light is being censored for the safety of journalists — The Times of Israel documented such intimidation of journalists in an article today — then readers must be informed that they are only getting a partial story.”

CAMERA said, “If readers aren’t informed, or if such information is being deleted for any other reason, the newspaper does not deserve to be seen as credible.”

CAMERA published the two photographs that had been removed. The first, from the WSJ‘s Nick Casey, and already flagged by The Algemeiner, showed Mushir Al Masri, a Hamas MP and media spokesman, in front of a backdrop depicting destroyed homes, being filmed in Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital.

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Casey’s caption: “You have to wonder w the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.”

The second photo published by CAMERA was by the WSJ‘s Tamer El-Ghobashy, who “suggested Hamas was likely responsible for a strike that hit Al Shifa Hospital,” the group said.

The caption read: “An outside wall on the campus of Gaza’s main hospital was hit by a strike. Low level damage suggest Hamas misfire.”

CAMERA said, “The tweet was later replaced by a very similar one in which El-Ghobashy refrained from mentioning Hamas.”

“In response to pressure on Twitter, El-Ghobashy insisted that he deleted his post because it contained speculation. But the justification is questionable,” CAMERA said. “The same reporter had no problem speculating about earlier strikes speaking on Wall Street Journal radio, where he agreed with speculation and stated that the likelihood ‘seems very very slim’ that Hamas rounds hit a UN school, and on Twitter, where he asserted as fact that Israel killed Palestinians at the school, a claim Israel challenged.”

CAMERA asked readers who were also concerned about the possible censorship to contact WSJ editors, Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker (gerard.baker@wsj.com) and Ethics Editor Neal Lipschutz (neal.lipschutz@wsj.com).

“Ask them why Casey’s information about Hamas basing itself in Shifa Hospital, and El-Ghobashy’s educated guess that the relatively light damage of the hospital wall likely meant it was hit by a Hamas round, was censored,” CAMERA said.

CAMERA’s note was widely discussed on blogs on Tuesday. Scott Johnson, at the Powerline blog, wrote about Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who offered a warning to foreign reporters unaccustomed to how Hamas treats the press.

Johnson wrote: “Khaled Abu Toameh may be the bravest journalist I have ever met. He puts what is going on here this way in his excellent Gatestone [Institute] column, and he has the standing to make the point stick: ‘Journalists who are afraid to report the truth should not be covering a conflict like the Israeli-Arab one. They should go back to their editors and demand that they be reassigned to cover sports or the environment. As long as such journalists continue to operate in the region, Hamas will feel safe to bomb as many mosques as it wants and to kill as many Palestinians as it wants.'”

Over the past three weeks, many other journalists have taken down posts from social media to either avoid pressure from the Hamas spokesmen or the often hateful responses by supporters of Gaza’s war against Israel.

Hamas’s operations in the Al Shifa hospital was the focus of a report about French-Gazan journalist Radjaa Abu Dagga,who related his harrowing tale about his interrogation there by Hamas leaders for France’s Libération, which has now also removed the article.

In its stead, the newspaper wrote: “This article, which described the attempted intimidation of Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagga, correspondent for Ouest France and formerly of Libération, was unpublished at his request.”

The Financial Times‘s Jerusalem correspondent John Reed was targeted on Twitter for noting that Hamas was firing from a rocket launch site adjacent to the Al Shifa hospital, even as the wounded were being brought in for treatment. But Reed, a veteran reporter for the FT in Poland and South Africa, let his post stand.

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  • The World looks on as Israel faces a crisis engineered by a group whose entire agenda is the eradication of Israel and the Destruction of The Jewish People. We cannot moderate the media, whose fear of Fundamentalist Terrorism is well grounded. The Bully is never afraid to threaten!

  • I find it interesting that reporters never publish casualties of hamas fighters. Its ALWAYS…

    Palestinian civilians, women and children vs Israeli soldiers.

    For an inside look at Pallywood…

    http://www.seconddraft.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=58&Itemid=159

  • Ira

    I heard Casey interviewed here in Israel on Walla News internet broadcast. He stated that he saw rockets being fired right next to the hospital he was visiting. I searched for that detail in his WSJ report and didn’t see it. I emailed him and asked him why.
    His response:
    “Thanks for the note Ira. There’s a lot of things I see each day that we don’t have space to include, and I try to see if I can mention them in other interviews or radio appearances like Walla.” – no space to report on a “trivial” incident like shooting missiles from or near a hospital.

  • Joe

    Maybe like the Democratic party, Hollywood, and every other news outlet in America and Britain, they want Qatari Judenhasse money, Saudi money (Saudi Arabia is the 4th highest spender on military weapons on earth, after one of their princes blew up the Pentagon, they now buy hundreds of billions from the US, the Arab Springs don’t pay for themselves), and not get murdered when they report from these places.

    • Joe

      Don’t you people know according to the world media and human rights organizations, Hamas has no misfires whatsoever, and has a more perfect record than the US military when it comes to misfires, and never lies to blame Israel for casualties and never killed any of its own civilians. And doesn’t blame every murder on Israel. I mean if there were a Jewish member of Hamas then yes, but since no, they are all innocent.

  • Fred

    One must be joking at Hamas being ready to concede to allow untrammelled access to its lair. Reporters know better than provoke the ire of Hamas. Reporting in this conflict is more an advertising and propaganda exercise for the exclusive benefit of Hamas. or else…

    • Philip Botha

      Mass media is the most effective and powerful tool in the history of the world, to communicate to the world, be it baseless or deliberate lies and propaganda, or otherwise. Viewership of this mass media is for a great part dumb and/ or uneducated about the truth. Whoever rules the airwaves will win the propaganda war, whether it depicts the truth or not is irrelevant really

      • kRIS kRISTIAN

        The Arabs are masters at propaganda.
        Hitler’s Minister of propaganda, Josef Goebbels, was a nursery school boy compared with Arab/ Islamic lies.
        ‘THE BIGGER THE LIE, THE MORE OFTEN TOLD, THE WORLD WILL BELIEVE IT”
        And the journalists are afraid to report the truth. They are dead if they are if they report the truth
        It is no wander that the world hates Israel and Jews.
        Just read the lies written by journalists, and you will believe it all.
        In South Africa, the Catholic archbishop has also fallen for all these lies and has condemned Israel for war crimes.
        Even Helen Zille, the leader of the opposition and premier of the Western Cape, wrote such rubbish, and Used used all Hamas lies. She admits that NEVER BEEN TO Israel,
        SHE HAS WON THE VOTES OF THE 750 000 MUSLIMS AND LOST EVERY JEWISH VOTE OF THE 14000 JEWS.

        Zille and the Archbishop have referred to the “occupied” territories, the wall, and that Israel must take back all the Palestinian refugees move out of the territories, and shares Jerusalem.
        That Hamas wants peace.

        And these are educated idiots
        If idiots like these can condemn Israel and feel for the Hamas murderers, then it is understandable that the world believes all the lies, and hates Jews and Israel.
        They have never referred to the Hamas rockets fired at Israel, intent on killing Jews.
        But from all the media reports, Israel are “killers of innocent civilians” I suppose that of the 1300 Gazans killed, only 2 are terrorists.??
        But the fact is, that more than half are terrorists
        When journalists tell the truth, the world would be a better place, and the hatred of Israel would be reversed.

  • steve kramer

    People: I just sent an email to Bret Stephens, one of the editors and former editor of the Jerusalem Post.

    bstephens@WSJ.com

    Please all of us send him an email. I trust him to find out the truth.

  • Elliott

    Hamas – guilty of war crimes on top of crimes against humanity…again.

  • Tzipporah

    I always wondered how Khaled Abu Toameh is able to survive and tell the story so candidly. He must have body guards and some way to protect himself. Caroline Glick talks about how dangerous it has always been under the PLO, PA to report what is happening in Samaria and Judea. It must be very very dangerous for the media in Gaza. They censure everything and kill collaborators with Israel.

    • kRIS kRISTIAN

      Khaled Abu Toameh should be awarded the Noble prize for literature and be awarded a Medal of Honour by the US
      This is the bravest and ONLY honest journalists.

      If more people would read what this brave man writes, then the hatred of Israel would stop and Israel would become the best place on earth.
      That the BDS which was started by Barghuti, would be stopped.
      His lies are so good, that he has hypnotised the world to believe all his lies.
      Amazing, that he got his degrees at the Tel Aviv University, wheer he found no apartheid, but started the BDS campaign with the story of Israeli apartheid policies.

  • Mickey Oberman

    A journalist writes a journal a diary. Either one contains personal opinions and points of view. Neither is obliged to be truthful. Most are not.

    A reporter is obliged to report facts objectively and truthfully. There are very few reporters extant today and many of them will lie for one reason or another thus destroying the credibility of the few remaining honest reporters.

    Mickey Oberman

  • HH

    Click on the names of the WSJ editors…

  • Indeed, those deleted posts might be further evidence of Hamas intimidating journalists. And it might be further evidence of the politicization of journalism by political operatives.

  • harri

    “If information that casts Hamas in a negative light is being censored for the safety of journalists …” then this is an admission of Hamas’ terrorist tactics

  • art

    The same thing was going on in Lebanon in the 1970’s and 1980s’ Reporters were intimidated and bribed

  • Bernard Ross

    it appears that todays journalists scrape the bottom of the ethical barrel. Their false stories are killing jews in France by muslim mobs incensed with MSM false reports. I never realized how low and how corrupt established MSM news outlets could sink.
    it doesn’t take much for them to sell their souls.

  • Menachem Shmo

    The fact is that there are very few credible news outlets when it comes to Israel.
    Anyone reporting from Gaza is definitely going to say and film what he is told to do under the threat of being beheaded etc.
    WSJ is biased and probably funded by anti-Semites, so no surprises there!!

    • Daniel Kasnett

      No its not its owned by a strong supporter of Israel. Get your facts straight.

      • Joe

        You wrong it doesn’t work that way many of the creators of the Media were very pro-Israel, like all evil it is always a hijacking. Reuters, WSJ were both formed by people who avidly supported Israel, so does Forbes, even the original founder of the NYT was in favor of making the Jewish homeland on the near barren part of Ottoman Syria, the Jews renamed Palestine. Another example of this same thing is Tesco, Tesco’s founder before getting bought out by hijacking antisemites contributed millions of pounds to Israel.

  • Jay

    Let’s face it, Hamas committing war crimes isn’t front page news. Most media organizations only aim to portray Israel in the worst possible way, even if that means reporting falsehoods.

    • Mordecai Ben Natan

      Some years ago, South Africa hosted the Russel Tribunal on Israel.
      This was chaired by non other than the Jew hater, archbishop Tutu
      Israel was so badly condemned as apartheid, and whatever else they could think of.

      I was in Israel at that time.
      When I returned,I wrote to one of the South African news papers to counter every lie they wrote. And I told them about how the Arabs living in Israel, would not want to become PA citizens if the Palestinians ever become a state.
      I wrote all the true facts.
      I even wrote about the new light rail in Jerusalem, and how that train as well as every restaurant, shopping centre, etc, is a good mix of Jews and Arab.
      That there is no apartheid.

      But they did not publish my letter.
      The Editor and I have often met for lunch. So we do have a good relationship.
      About a week after I sent my letter to the press, I met this editor and asked him why did he not publish my letter as that would show how biased and all the lies.
      His answer “ISRAEL IS NOT IN THE NEWS NOW”
      This is really journalism .
      DON’T PRINT ANYTHING THAT SHOWS ISRAEL IN A GOOD LIGHT.

  • On July 16, the WSJ wrote “Ms. Hamada … was the victim of an Israeli attack on a center for the disabled on Saturday.” I wrote Nick Casey and Tamer El-Ghobashy asking them to justify the word ‘attack’. Who claimed Israel attacked the mental health facility? Did they ask Israel whether they had done so? Did either reporter visit the facility in question or just take the word of the patient interviewed in the hospital. I understand reporting from Gaza is the most difficult assignment a reporter could undertake, but it is so critical that they not slip into identifying with the people they are covering or be pressured into telling the story Hamas wants them to tell.

  • nelson marans

    To trust any news report emanating from Gaza is sheer non- sense The journalists are not only intimidated but want to be allowed to continue to report from that region. Even-handedness is impossible under those circumstances as Hamas has successfully fed its propaganda line to newspapers covering Gaza from Hamas controlled territory.

    • Joe

      They also have soft power all around the world, Pakistani school teachers are obsessed with “palestine” and no matter how many we kill, more are being bred everyday waiting to stab the truth in the back. To millions of people they can do no wrong.

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