A Honest Reporting expose set the media on fire yesterday with the revelation that photojournalists working for the Association Press, CNN, Reuters and the New York Times had been embedded with Hamas in the Oct 7 massacres.
Four names appear on AP’s photo credits from the Israel-Gaza border area on October 7: Hassan Eslaiah, Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali.
Eslaiah, a freelancer who also works for CNN, crossed into Israel, took photos of a burning Israeli tank, and then captured infiltrators entering Kibbutz Kfar Azza.
That’s where entire Israeli families were brutally massacred. Hassan Eslaiah, who provided material for the AP and CNN, has positions that are pretty clear.
In the hours following our expose, new material is still coming to light concerning Gazan freelance journalist Hassan Eslaiah whom both AP & CNN used on Oct. 7.
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 8, 2023
Here he is mugging with a Hamas leader. And allegedly invading Israel while carrying a hand grenade.
Yo, @AP, @Reuters, @cnn – what your freelancer in Gaza Hassan Eslaiah is doing on a motorbike with a grenade, on his way to the massacre of women and babies? Is a grenade part of the equipment you provide? pic.twitter.com/jU85KEo7Ec
— עמית סגל Amit Segal (@amit_segal) November 9, 2023
Are hand grenades standard equipment at CNN?
Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government responded by accusing them of “complicity” in the Hamas atrocities.
“The National Public Diplomacy Directorate in the PMO views with utmost gravity that photojournalists working with international media joined in covering the brutal acts of murder perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on October 7th in the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu’s office tweeted. “These journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics.”
“Overnight the GPO issued an urgent letter to the bureau chiefs of the media organizations that employed these photographers and sought clarifications on the matter. The National Public Diplomacy Directorate demands that immediate action be taken.”
Israel has vowed to take out everyone responsible for the attacks and who invaded Israel has stated that these ‘journalists’ are on the list.
CNN responded by disavowing any prior knowledge of the attacks and ending its relationship with Hassan Eslaiah.
“We had no prior knowledge of the October 7th attacks. Hassan Eslaiah, who was a freelance journalist working for us and many other outlets, was not working for the network on October 7th. As of today, we have severed all ties with him.”
As did the Associated Press which hedged a bit.
“The Associated Press had no knowledge of the Oct. 7 attacks before they happened. The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began. No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time.”
“We are no longer working with Hassan Eslaiah, who had been an occasional freelancer for AP and other international news organizations in Gaza.”
The attacks began with a rocket barrage and targeted attacks on IDF installations by Hamas strike forces. The ‘journalists’ obviously were not part of that first wave. They were however part of succeeding waves and at least one was in time to capture the killing of a soldier. So they weren’t that far behind.
But the AP, which has been integrated with Hamas in the past, looks good compared to the New York Times which blasted Israel in its press release and played the victim.
Honest Reporting exposed the fact that Ali Mahmud and Yousef Masoud had been providing material for the New York Times. It noted that, “Masoud, who also works for The New York Times, was there as well — just in time to set foot in Israeli territory and take more tank pictures.”
“Ali Mahmud and Hatem Ali were positioned to get pictures of the horrific abductions of Israelis into Gaza.
“Mahmud captured the pickup truck carrying the body of German-Israeli Shani Louk and Ali got several shots of abductees being kidnapped into the Strip.”
The New York Times responded with a statement claiming that Honest Reporting was “endangering” Yousef Masoud.
Below is a statement issued by The New York Times in response to allegations made by Honest Reporting and others against freelance photographer Yousef Masoud, who has contributed to coverage of the Israel-Hamas war for a number of outlets, including The New York Times.
The accusation that anyone at The New York Times had advance knowledge of the Hamas attacks or accompanied Hamas terrorists during the attacks is untrue and outrageous. It is reckless to make such allegations, putting our journalists on the ground in Israel and Gaza at risk. The Times has extensively covered the Oct. 7 attacks and the war with fairness, impartiality, and an abiding understanding of the complexities of the conflict.
The advocacy group Honest Reporting has made vague allegations about several freelance photojournalists working in Gaza, including Yousef Masoud. Though Yousef was not working for The Times on the day of the attack, he has since done important work for us. There is no evidence for Honest Reporting’s insinuations. Our review of his work shows that he was doing what photojournalists always do during major news events, documenting the tragedy as it unfolded.
We also want to speak in defense of freelance photojournalists working in conflict areas, whose jobs often require them to rush into danger to provide first-hand witness accounts and to document important news. This is the essential role of a free press in wartime. We are gravely concerned that unsupported accusations and threats to freelancers endangers them and undermines work that serves the public interest.
The “essential role of a free press in wartime” is apparently to embed with terrorists and then “documenting the tragedy as it unfolded” by which the New York Times means the kidnapping and assault on civilians.
Oct 7 wasn’t a tragedy. Passive. It was a horrifying crime enabled by the media. Its perpetrators must be punished.
What I wonder would the New York Times have made of a “freelance photojournalist” embedded with the Buffalo supermarket shooter who had failed to tell the police about it, but kept taking pictures of the shooter standing over dead black people?
The New York Times claims it has “extensively covered the Oct. 7 attacks and the war with fairness, impartiality, and an abiding understanding of the complexities of the conflict.” By that, it means that it repeated the hospital hoax backed by a picture of an entirely different building and employed a reporter who praised Hitler.
A New York Times reporter who came under fire last year for praising Adolf Hitler in multiple resurfaced Facebook posts was rehired by the Gray Lady to cover the Israel-Palestine war.
Palestinian filmmaker Soliman Hijjy hailed the Nazi leader as recently as 2018 in a post on Facebook, when he shared a photo of himself captioned that he was “in a state of harmony as Hitler was during the Holocaust,” per a translation from Arabic by pro-Israel media watchdog site HonestReporting.
Hijjy’s 2018 post — including a 2012 Facebook post where he wrote, “How great you are, Hitler” in Arabic alongside a photoshopped image of Hitler seemingly taking a selfie — were unearthed last year, when pro-Israel outlets called out the Times for hiring antisemitic journalists as freelancers.
The New York Times responded by claiming that the guy who loves Hitler… is also impartial.
“We reviewed problematic social media posts by Mr. Hijjy when they first came to light in 2022 and took a variety of actions to ensure he understood our concerns and could adhere to our standards if he wished to do freelance work for us in the future. Mr. Hijjy followed those steps and has maintained high journalistic standards. He has delivered important and impartial work at great personal risk in Gaza during this conflict.”
How dare Jews endanger the Hitler and Hamas-loving New York Times personnel impartially covering the conflict and performing a public service by “documenting the tragedy as it unfolded”.
The New York Times needs to lose any press credentials it has in Israel. After this there’s no justification for treating the paper as any different than Al Jazeera.