Re al-Quds Hospital: Avoid errors like this one.
We are fighting a propaganda war as well as an actual physical war. Our Israeli news sites have to be especially careful not to mislead readers by omission as well as commision. I am, in general, impressed with the Israeli English news sites for their round-the-clock reporting on this war. This piece does not seek to malign the Jerusalem Post, but to use a sad example of omission to ask us all to be more careful.
In Breaking News yesterday evening — 20 October 2023 at 20:26 — JPost published an announcement released by the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) regarding a warning they got to evacuate al-Quds Hospital before a planned bombing of the site. I can laugh at the PRC for their idiocy and/or get angry at their bold faced lying, but I also am saddened that JPost did not see fit to add a little sentence correcting the impression left by this quote:
The Palestinian Red Crescent issued an urgent appeal to the international community, saying: “We call on the world to take immediate and urgent action to prevent a new massacre like the one that occurred on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.”
By the time this breaking news piece was published, it was known by all that Israel did not bomb the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital. The truth is that a failed Islamic Jihad missile did not make it far and fell onto the parking lot beside the hospital leaving the buildings themselves intact. They should thank Allah that their failed bomb did not fall on the hospital itself, in which case they, themselves, would have been the cause of a massacre that did not happen in the parking lot.
JPost should have added one sentence to that piece, writing: “It has been proven that the parking lot beside the hospital was damaged by a failed Islamic Jihad missile and not an Israeli bomb.”
I searched the JPost site for further information on the warning PRC said they received from Israel regarding an intention to bomb al-Quds Hospital. There was nothing. That is also an unfortunate omission. If someone is already on the site, having reached it by a Web search for information on the supposed warning to bomb the hospital or by browsing the site looking for the latest reports about the war, it would have been important to publish an additional brief news piece when the IDF denied that such a warning was ever issued.
In their own update section, Times of Israel, (TOI) another English language Israeli news site published the IDF denial at 23:00, three hours after reports of the supposed warning were posted on JPost and social media. Three hours later, TOI published another update on the topic, reporting that the French news agency AFP concluded that the report of the warning included misinformation.
Withdrawing the story, AFP says UNRWA issued no official statement to that effect.
This is why our news sites have to follow up when the correct information becomes available.
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Here is an example of what confronts us on the social media. On the topic of al-Quds Hospital, “X” posts about the supposed IDF warning to evacuate the hospital are continually being uploaded and shared. One example :
❌ 12,000 displaced people, including 70% children and women, are in imminent danger after Israeli forces threatened to bomb Al-Quds Hospital and demanded evacuation. This place could turn to ashes if those threats are carried out.
#GazaUnderAttack #NotATarget pic.twitter.com/0a7Zt2rPcm
— PRCS (@PalestineRCS) October 20, 2023
To date, this post has had 1.2 million views, 14.6K likes and 15.9K reposts. I have seen other posts with this information approach those numbers.
The IDF “X” account has not posted anything regarding the accusation nor their denial of it. JPost posted the accusation on “X” at the same time they added it to their Breaking News updates. They did not “tweet” the IDF denial, nor evidence that the evacuation recommendation never happened. The TOI post on “X” about the IDF denial got fewer than 7500 views, 17 likes, and 20 reposts.
Some may think, that in the larger picture of things, this is a minor issue. But it is the “little things” that add up and make the larger picture. Like a jigsaw puzzle.
Feature Image is a screenshot from the PRCS “X” post in this article.