On Monday night’s “All-In,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took some time to “honor those fellow members of our profession who paid the ultimate price of bearing witness for all of us” in the war between Israel and Hamas.
Hayes was inspired by the shocking number of journalists who’ve been killed in Gaza during the conflict, which has been raging since the devastating Hamas attacks on Israel Oct. 7. Hayes called Gaza “the most dangerous place in the world for journalists right now, and it’s not even close.”
You can watch the clip at the bottom of the page.
Hayes noted that foreign journalists are only allowed into Gaza if they’re embedded with Israeli military forces, which means the work of Palestinian journalists in many ways makes them “the eyes and ears of the world.” Which brought him to the disturbing story from last week, in which a right wing Israeli website purporting to be a media watchdog baselessly accused several Palestinian freelance journalists of having prior knowledge of the attacks.
In response, media organizations including CNN fired these journalists, and Israeli military and political figures declared these people to be legitimate military targets.
Hayes noted that the New York Times pushed back against this disinformation campaign with a strongly worded statement, but far more attention was generated by conservatives amplifying the falsehoods, including Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who Hayes accurately explained sent the Times a letter containing a “veiled threat about employees of the newspaper facing criminal prosecution.”
And, then Hayes explained that over the weekend it came out that the website, which calls itself “Honest Reporting,” admitted it made that up, and its spokesperson even said “we don’t claim to be a news organization.”
About that, Hays said, “in the context of the worst death toll of working reporters I’ve seen in my life, this is unfathomably reckless from everyone involved. The reason war reporting is so crucially important is because as the old cliche goes, truth is the first casualty of war.”
Hayes argued that thanks to social media, that expression “takes on new meaning as we are subjected to an endless stream of images and information and propaganda.” As one example, he noted the brazen lies from Hamas leaders in Gaza and Hezbollah leaders in the West Bank who have attempted to either deny the atrocities of the Oct. 7 attack or claim it was an Israeli false flag attack.
“That and other conspiracy theories have now predictably blossomed online with all the attendant grainy video,” Hayes continued, before adding that Hamas’ role in the attacks isn’t just known thanks to eyewitnesses, but “because Hamas made sure that seemingly everyone committing the atrocity recorded it for posterity.”
“Though there will be those who dispute the slaughter, the slaughter is not in dispute. There will be those who dispute the abject misery and death of Gaza’s people, but that is not in dispute,” Hayes added, noting that Biden administration officials now think the death toll from the Israeli military response “is likely far higher than the 10,000 being reported by the Gaza health ministry.”
“Journalism and at its best makes us reckon with terrible truths. And among the many, many, many lies worthy of mourning in this war, I want to honor those fellow members of our profession who paid the ultimate price while bearing witness for all of us,” Hayes concluded.