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August 28, 2022 1:35 pm
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Unearthed: Another Hitler-Praising New York Times Gaza Journalist

avatar by Ira Stoll

Opinion

The headquarters of The New York Times. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

After the New York Times terminated its relationship with a Gaza-based journalist who said he favored killing and burning Jews “like Hitler did,” the newspaper is looking into additional reported instances of its journalists praising Hitler on social media.

The same watchdog group, HonestReporting, that unearthed the post by Fady Hanona also dug up a 2012 Facebook post by a Times videographer, Soliman Hijjy, who HonestReporting said wrote, “How great are you, Hitler.” Hijjy also shared variants of the post again in 2018 and 2020, HonestReporting said.

HonestReporting also expressed concern about social media posts made between 2011 and 2018 by Hosam Salem, a freelance photographer whose work has appeared in the Times.

The Times told HonestReporting it reviewed the concerns and took “appropriate action.”

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Sifting through decade-old social media posts to wield against Times journalists might seem like a case of cancel culture at its worst. One might be inclined to cut the Times some slack and judge the journalists by what they do for the newspaper, not by what they wrote on social media years ago. One might be so inclined—except for that the Times itself has been practicing similar tactics against Republican political candidates. A July 6 news article in the Times was headlined: “The Strident Writings of a Young Blake Masters Dog His Senate Run.” The subheadline says, “As a Stanford student in 2007, the Arizona candidate, now 35, chose a CrossFit chat room to express his opposition to U.S. involvement in World War II and downplay Al Qaeda as a threat to Americans.” Turnabout is fair play, no?

And, at least in Hijjy’s case, a video he created for the Times, “Gaza’s Deadly Night: How Israeli Airstrikes Killed 44 People,” was denounced when it came out as a “shocking” “hatchet job.” So the issue isn’t just the social media posts, it’s the nexus between the social media posts and the hate-filled agenda that filters through into the New York Times journalism. In other words, given the Times coverage of Israel and Gaza that is produced by these journalists, the reaction when you find out they were posting in favor of Hitler on social media isn’t so much “oh no, how could that possibly be,” but more, “oh, that makes sense and helps explain it.” So while it’s nice to see the Times management take action in response to these disclosures from HonestReporting, the thing really worth watching is not the Times statements, but future Israel and Gaza coverage in the newspaper, and seeing whether that changes at all for the better. My own bet is that the trends are driven not so much by the identity of a freelancer or two, but are more deeply linked to the Times hard-left paying readership and the Times business strategy of trying to grow an international audience. In other words, the Hitler-praising freelancers didn’t secretly skew the Times journalism against Israel; rather, their agenda matched up neatly and conveniently with that of the Times.

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

 

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