News Updates

Media Got the Hospital Story Wrong

Media Got the Hospital Story Wrong

Plus: Jim Jordan has no friends, an “antisemitic Burning Man festival” at Penn, Staten Island secession, and more…


That hospital bombing narrative so many people seemed so sure about yesterday? It totally fell apart.

“Hundreds of people were feared dead after an explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 17,” reads the New York Times‘ updated reporting, which tellingly leans on passive voice. “Hamas, which controls Gaza, blamed the blast on an Israeli airstrike,” says the Times. “Israel said it was caused by an errant rocket fired by another armed group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which denied the assertion.”

The New York Times‘ own reporting from yesterday was disturbingly credulous, taking Hamas’ self-serving words—that the strike had been carried out by Israel’s military, cruelly targeting innocent civilians—far too seriously. Under a headline referencing the alleged hundreds killed in the “Israeli strike” on the hospital, the Times used an image of the bombed-out southern city of Khan Younis.

The Times wasn’t the only one. CBS did a segment where they “spoke to a doctor who says Israel’s army had previously warned the facility to evacuate.” BBC, CNN, and the Times all sent out push notifications that blamed the attack on Israel. A BBC headline read “Hundreds killed in Israeli strike on Gaza hospital” and cited “Palestinian officials” (most likely Hamas, which would have every reason to blame it on Israel). The “disinformation” journalist brigade was similarly asleep at the wheel (or worse), writes Reason‘s Robby Soave.

As I wrote yesterday, we simply did not know very much at the time. We cannot make sweeping pronouncements about who did it when we are waiting for more information to emerge. Doing so has ripple effects—like setting off waves of protests in a dozen major cities of the world and inspiring protesters to throw Molotov cocktails at U.S. and Israeli embassies.

What we know now: Israeli and U.S. intelligence indicates that a rocket fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group allied with Hamas, did not properly launch and instead exploded on hospital grounds at Gaza’s Al-Ahli Arab hospital. We do not know how many people died.

“From the video released publicly, the explosion is consistent with a rocket that still had a lot of rocket fuel at the time of impact,” says Mick Mulroy, an ABC News national security analyst who was formerly deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, a CIA officer, and a U.S. Marine, per ABC reporting. “The main post-explosion signature is that of fire, all of the cars are burned,” says Eric Oehlerich for ABC News. “This is consistent with a rocket full of fuel that has been knocked out of a straight-line trajectory.” U.S. Defense Department officials say they are “fairly confident” the strike did not come from Israel.

Abroad: President Joe Biden says he brokered an aid deal between Israel and Egypt that will get food, water, and medical supplies into Gaza. A massive percentage of Gaza’s population has been displaced, fleeing their homes, and hospitals in the area are expected to run out of fuel for generators any hour now. “Gaza’s only oncology hospital has already stopped services such as radiology,” reports Al Jazeera. It remains unclear whether aid will actually pass through the Egypt-Gaza border, where it has been waiting for several days, and when it will actually begin to help alleviate people’s suffering.

At home: Rep. Jim Jordan (R–Ohio), once a favorite for House speaker, has lost two ballots. “As the Ohio Republican weighs whether to convene the GOP conference in private to discuss a path forward, at least one colleague—Rep. Jack Bergman (R–Mich.)—is already beginning to place calls to build support if the Judiciary chair drops out, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter,” reports Politico.

“Even former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.), who spent years building goodwill with the GOP conference—and weeks negotiating with his hardline critics—did not face this level of entrenched opposition,” reports Axios. You know things are very bad when even Kevin McCarthy is more beloved by colleagues than you are.

“I want it to be somebody who is not terribly polarized, who will understand that in divided government you’re not going to get everything you want,” Rep. Steve Womack (R–Ark.) told Politico, claiming there’s pretty much nobody interested in the position who would be sufficient.

Scenes from New York:

Will Staten Island secede? And will anyone miss them?


  • NYU Law students do not understand what the word violence means.
  • “Yes, this is one of those letters.” Another donor pulls his funding from the University of Pennsylvania over it hosting what he calls an “antisemitic Burning Man festival,” among other things.
  • The rot in academia keeps showing itself. This time, a University of California, Davis professor advocating for…hunting down journalists and their kids?
  • Tune into Reason‘s YouTube channel to watch Zach Weissmueller and me interview foreign policy expert Trita Parsi at 1 p.m. Eastern today.
  • This:
  • Everyone in this workplace pronouns situation seems annoying. Just do your jobs!
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom goes to China.
  • Finland stops allowing real estate transactions with Russian buyers.
  • “The tyranny of ESG has run its course,” writes Merryn Somerset Webb for Bloomberg.
  • palate cleanser from all-around cool guy Arthur Brooks: “Aristotle’s 10 Rules for a Good Life.”
Liz Wolfe is an associate editor at Reason covering tech, free speech, and China and co-host of the Reason Livestream. She has interviewed sex workerstattoo artistsventure capitaliststech CEOscrypto hype men, and the occasional restaurateur. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.


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