Report: NYT Puts Podcast On Hamas Rapes 'On Ice' Amid 'Internal Firestorm' On Story's Veracity

Chris Menahan
Jan. 29, 2024

The New York Times' "Big Lie" about Hamas committing mass rape on October 7 is falling apart.

From The Intercept, "New York Times Puts 'Daily' Episode On Ice Amid Internal Firestorm Over Hamas Sexual Violence Article":
The New York Times pulled a high-profile episode of its podcast "The Daily" about sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 amid a furious internal debate about the strength of the paper's original reporting on the subject, Times newsroom sources told The Intercept. The episode had been scheduled for January 9 and was based on a prominent article led by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Gettleman, claiming that Hamas had systematically used sexual violence as a weapon of war.

The Times report was initially heralded in an email sent to the newsroom, conveying praise from Executive Editor Joe Kahn, who described the story as an example of the best kind of enterprise reporting the paper is capable of.

In the past couple of weeks, as the year drew to a close and many of us were on holiday, we published several signature pieces of enterprise on the Israel-Hamas war from different teams in the newsroom. Joe spotlighted some of them:


Jeffrey Gettleman, Anat Schwartz and Adam Sella spent several weeks and conducted 150 interviews to report on how Hamas weaponized sexual violence during the October 7th attack. The topic is a highly politicized issue and a delicate one to report, and Joe noted how the team, including photographs by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv, did it in a sensitive and detailed way.

But that message came roughly at the same time as another staff missive urging Times employees not to criticize each other on the company's internal Slack. Many reporters and editors understood that directive to be a reference to an intense internal debate unfolding over the story -- a rolling fight that is revived on a near-daily basis over the tenor of Times coverage of the war in Gaza. (A Times spokesperson, Charlie Stadtlander, said those assumptions were inaccurate, and that the email was "a release of a company-wide policy, the deliberate and measured development of which began in the beginning of 2023.")
"Don't criticize each other" = don't fact-check our war propaganda in service of Israel.
As criticism of Gettleman's story grew both internally and externally, producers at "The Daily" shelved the original script and paused the episode, according to newsroom sources familiar with the process. A new script was drafted, one that offered major caveats, allowed for uncertainty, and asked open-ended questions that were absent from the original article, which presented its findings as definitive evidence of the systematic use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. 

That new draft remains the subject of significant controversy and has yet to be aired on the flagship podcast. The producers and the paper of record find themselves in a jam: run a version that hews closely to the previously published story and risk republishing serious mistakes, or publish a heavily toned-down version, raising questions about whether the paper still stands by the original report. Meanwhile, sources at the Times say Gettleman has been assigned a follow-up to gather evidence supporting his original reporting.

Internal critics worry that the article is another "Caliphate"-level journalistic debacle. "There seems to be no self-awareness at the top," said one frustrated Times editorial staffer. "The story deserved more fact-checking and much more reporting. All basic standards applied to countless other stories."
This was an exact repeat of the WMD lies the Times pushed to get America to go to war for Israel in Iraq.

These reporters don't seem to realize the solid articles the Times puts out are just to build up their credibility for the next time they need to push a Big Lie.
The critics have highlighted major discrepancies in the accounts presented in the Times, subsequent public comments from the family of a major subject of the article denouncing it, and comments from a key witness seeming to contradict a claim attributed to him in the article.
Why don't they just ask Bill Maher for the video?! He said everyone has seen it everywhere and anyone claiming otherwise is an "October 7 denier!"

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