CNN has repeatedly gone to great lengths to bestow undeserved credibility on the claims of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, Hamas (see, e.g., here, here, here, and here). In the latest iteration, after Israel brought in cameras to show visual evidence of Hamas’s crimes, two CNN journalists in a contrived, fact-free, and specious story sought to undermine the IDF’s credibility.
The November 18 piece by Katie Polglase and Gianluca Mezzofiore, entitled “CNN analysis: Video suggests IDF might have rearranged weaponry at Al-Shifa prior to news crew visits,” suggests the IDF might have planted weapons at al-Shifa hospital, long known to be a location under which Hamas has hidden its terrorist infrastructure.
It only takes a quick glance at the two videos to see that Polglase & Mezzofiore’s “just asking questions” is as disingenuous as your average keyboard warrior conspiracy theory.
The gist of the article is that there is a discrepancy between two videos showing weapons in al-Shifa hospital. The earlier video, posted by the IDF and featuring its spokesperson, Col. Jonathan Conricus, tells viewers they are being given a first look at armament so far uncovered in the hospital. He shows an assault rifle behind an MRI machine, as well as assault rifles in other locales next to medical materials.
In a video, featuring Trey Yingst, shot later in the day there are two rifles visible behind an MRI machine.
The CNN sleuths conclude the original IDF video “shows less weaponry at the scene than in later footage,” which, they claim, indicates “weaponry may have been moved or placed there…” The intended implication is obvious: the IDF planted weapons at the scene to frame Hamas, and thus it cannot be trusted.
Now here’s the context CNN didn’t mention but which exposes just how dishonest and absurd the network’s conspiracy theory truly is.
The original IDF video mentioned not just one, but two MRI machines. In the Conricus video, they only brought the camera behind the first MRI machine. When they stopped at the second MRI machine, Conricus clearly stated that “we also found contraband similar to what we saw in the other areas.”
In other words, the Conricus and Yingst videos might have been showing weapons behind two entirely different MRI machines.
But CNN is also ignoring the other obvious explanation that the IDF made clear itself: it was still in the process of searching the premises.
Assume arguendo that the two videos showed the same MRI machine. Examining the clips from the IDF video and the Fox News video, it is clear in the latter video additional bags and boxes had been examined in the intervening period. In the Conricus video, an assault rifle was shown still inside the grab-and-go bag. In the Yingst video, you can see two assault rifles on top of the grab-and-go bag, which appears to have been emptied of its contents. Similarly, whereas the Conricus video showed a box behind the grab-and-go bag, the box is no longer there in the Yingst video. The latter also shows a pair of medical supply bags that weren’t in the Conricus video.
Indeed, Conricus had made it perfectly clear that, when they shot the earlier video, they had conducted only a “preliminary search” “just minutes ago.”
He also repeatedly explained that they had been emptying bags to make sure the scene was safe. This is common sense, given Hamas’s well-documented pattern of booby-trapping everything from civilian homes to the bodies of murdered Israelis. This was, after all a combat zone, not a CSI crime scene. In the later Yingst video, one can still hear gunbattles raging near the hospital. The IDF’s priority is the safety of its personnel and the journalists. This obviously would involve inspecting and moving terrorist weapons and equipment from where they were originally found.
Indeed, the IDF explicitly drew attention to their having done so. After the four-minute mark in the Conricus video, he shows an empty bag and states “It’s empty, because we emptied and cleared it so that we could use and see it, but this is where we found it” before the camera pans over to the weapons and equipment that had been in the bag. A minute and a half later, Conricus again shows an empty bag and weapons and equipment displayed on a shelf, stating: “We found another go-to bag. This bag here. And again, we opened it up in order to make sure that it’s safe to touch and show. So please don’t give me any of that ‘you opened it up and you placed it there.’”
Apparently Polglase and Mezzofiore took that as a challenge to smear the IDF by omitting key information.
But there’s more to CNN’s attempt to undermine the IDF’s credibility.
The article claims that the Conricus video “shows less weaponry at the scene than in later footage.” This is objectively false. By this author’s count, the Conricus video showed eleven assault rifles, while the Yingst video showed only five assault rifles.
Which leads us to the question: “What is CNN’s point?” The IDF clearly documented there were multiple assault rifles found at al-Shifa hospital. The IDF clearly explained it had been opening, inspecting, and moving the terrorist equipment it had found.
Why did CNN omit these facts?
CNN’s readership deserves to be informed that the IDF discovered many assault rifles in the hospital. Readers would then understand it doesn’t much matter if a later video showed two instead of just one of those assault rifles in a particular spot. If the audience knew the IDF had explained it was in the middle of processing the scene at the time of the first video, they would then have a perfectly plausible and reasonable explanation for why the scene changed between the Conricus and the Fox News video.
The groundless, biased CNN story is more evidence of the bad faith of too many of the network’s journalists whose apparent prejudices guide their reporting. Where are editors and executives to prohibit this kind of shoddy journalism?