Mark Twain may not have really said “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes,” but the saying still hits home. Thanks to mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, lies don’t just travel halfway around the world, they do so in first class with generous help from their leftist journalist friends.
A prime example of the mainstream media’s tendency to spread falsehood is the recent lie that Israel bombed the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, killing hundreds of innocent civilians. As we now know, evidence shows that the hospital was tragically destroyed by a missile from Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group operating from Gaza, and that the death toll was not as high as initially thought.
The NYT, which originally blamed Israel for the bombing on October 17, issued an “editors’ note” on October 23, explaining that their report “left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was” and acknowledging that “Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified.”
Sure, the NYT, as the editors’ note says, changed parts of the original story within two hours of publication to reflect the “the scope of the explosion and the dispute over responsibility.”
But why did it take them almost a whole week to issue this equivocating non-apology?
Notice that the Times never actually apologized for its behavior. It acknowledged that “Times editors should have taken more care” instead of saying, “we were reckless and spread misinformation that will end up hurting Israel.”
As the theologian and writer Michael Brown pointed out, the lie that Israel indiscriminately bombed a hospital full of hundreds of women and children “will live on for decades.” The tale will be told throughout the Arab world, the falsehood cementing itself in millions of minds and fomenting further hatred against Israel.
But this narrative won’t just spread in the Middle East — it will spread in the West as well, giving fuel to Israel haters and antisemites who will prove immune to the evidence showing Israel’s innocence.
The NYT and other mainstream media publications who carelessly parroted Hamas’s claims of the supposed Israeli atrocity are to blame. But we shouldn’t be surprised. This is their modus operandi: spreading lies nonstop, and, when they are caught in the act, publishing an “editors’ note” or a correction of the original erroneous article days, weeks, or even months after the fact.
A prime example of this came right before the 2020 election, when the NYT and Washington Post claimed a story about Hunter Biden’s incriminating laptop was “Russian disinformation,” before finally admitting they were wrong — a year and a half after the election.
What makes the mainstream media’s behavior even worse is their ruthless crackdown on free speech. The NYT and their allies have, for years, pushed an authoritarian censorship regime against conservatives in the name of stopping “disinformation,” which gives the left a blank check to squash any speech they don’t like by arbitrarily slapping it with the label of “disinformation” — all while spreading lies themselves.
The Book of Proverbs warns that “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” How true that statement rings when reading much of the news these days.
Elad Vaida is a writer living in Virginia. He was previously the speechwriter for Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana). His writing has appeared in American Greatness, The Federalist, The American Conservative, The Washington Examiner, and other publications.