It all happened rather quickly on Tuesday — a matter of minutes, not hours. There was an explosion at a hospital in Gaza, the Hamas-run health ministry immediately (and incredibly) claimed that some 500 people were killed and that the blast was caused by an Israeli missile, and every major media outlet took Hamas officials at their word and ran with that headline despite any corroborating evidence.
Before changing the headline (twice) The New York Times declared, “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say.” The Wall Street Journal also called it a “strike,” without any evidence beyond the say-so of a terrorist regime that 10 days earlier had butchered more than 1,000 civilians, raping women and decapitating babies. Nearly every major news organization did something similar.
By nightfall in the Middle East, angry mobs assaulted the embassies and military bases of Israel, the United States, and other Western powers. The streets of Baghdad, Istanbul, Beirut, Amman, Doha, Tehran, Cairo, Rabat, and even some European cities like Berlin and Barcelona were filled with hordes of enraged Hamas sympathizers who believed (and now will always believe) that Israel struck the hospital. The fake news cycle even derailed President Biden’s trip to the region. Jordan abruptly canceled a planned summit with the United States, Egypt, and Palestinian leaders while Biden was en route. It also placed American lives in real danger.
By Wednesday morning, it was clear that nothing the media initially reported was true. Israel didn’t fire a missile at the hospital, and hundreds of people weren’t killed. Instead, it appears that a Palestinian rocket misfired and landed in the parking lot of the hospital complex. In the light of day, video footage of the site showed no impact crater consistent with an airstrike, and most of the nearby hospital buildings intact.
So what happened here? This was an info op, a deliberate campaign to alter the narrative of the Israel-Hamas war and inflame the Muslim world. Perhaps a billion people or more are now convinced beyond all doubt that Israel bombed a hospital and killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians.
We have seen this kind of op before, many times. In every case, it’s designed to serve the domestic interests of the progressive left. In this case, the purpose was to constrain Israel’s response to last weekend’s horrific Hamas attacks on innocent Israeli civilians. That, by the way, is the actual purpose of Biden’s trip to the Middle East, where he’ll be “asking tough questions as a friend of Israel,” according to the administration. Translation: Israel is to stand down now. The credible threat of unconstrained mob violence across the Middle East, directed at Western targets, will do much to advance this goal. Indeed it already has.
We saw a similar media info op in the Ukraine-Russia war last November when a missile struck a grain silo in Poland, killing two civilians. The missile strike was immediately blamed on Russia, stoking outrage across the West and bolstering calls for more military assistance to Ukraine. It wasn’t until last month that Polish experts finally confirmed that the missile was Ukrainian, not Russian.
The same thing routinely happens here in America. During the Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020, hysteria and outrage preceded the collection of facts or the verification of claims. In episode after episode that summer, we saw law enforcement officers, including black officers, use justified force in the line of duty — often amid chaotic and violent rioting. Such force was then instantly used as a pretext for more rioting. Then as now, it didn’t matter what the facts were, and no one cared or even noticed when they were corrected. The misreporting by then had served its purpose of providing cover for a fresh cycle of street violence and rioting.
It’s important to understand that these media info ops only happen on issues where the reporting biases serve the domestic political priorities of the left. From Ukraine to Gaza to the streets of American cities, the reporting bias works in the same direction and serves the same set of interests. The connections and affinity between BLM activists and the pro-Palestinian crowd in the U.S. should be fairly obvious by now, and we should understand these media ops in that light.
In this case, the stakes of such ops are rather high. Instead of mere outrage on social media, or even mere riots in the streets, corporate media misreporting about the hospital fueled violent mobs across the entire Middle East, and the Israel-Hamas conflict now appears to be on the brink of triggering a wider regional war.
For those on the right, it’s long past time to understand and admit what corporate media are and how they operate. These outlets are not interested in reporting the news of what actually happened, or in shedding light on real events, and certainly not in exposing the truth and informing the public. By repeating Hamas propaganda they are effectively waging war against Israel, but they are doing so as part of a larger information war to advance their agenda in the United States.
And if you think there will be a reckoning or any accountability for the lies they spread and the damage they cause, think again. There never has been, and there won’t be this time either.