CAMERA’s Oct. 16 post, “LA Times: Israel Has Controlled Gaza For Decades. We Ask: Who’s Controlling LAT News Coverage?” prompted quite a stir. In particular, our statement concerning Los Angeles Times managing editor Sara Yasin that “a review of her X feed clearly reveals her sympathies lie with Hamas,” provoked some very heated responses.
The Wrap picked up on the item, and included this response from The Los Angeles Times:
The Los Angeles Times defended as “inaccurate, irresponsible and reckless” an accusation that managing editor Sara Yasin was sympathetic to Hamas because of posts on her social media feed referring to Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocide,” among other anti-Israel comments.
“Any suggestion that Sara Yasin sympathizes with Hamas is inaccurate, irresponsible and reckless,” the Times’ VP of communications Hillary Manning said in a statement to TheWrap. “We stand behind our editors who oversee our coverage, and are committed to the standards of accuracy and fairness. We will continue to deliver on our promise to the public by reporting the news with journalistic rigor, fairness and compassion.”
In addition, Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Semafor, jumped to Yasin’s defense, ignoring our documentation of the editor’s embrace of Hamas talking points and, without any evidence, charged that we targeted Yasin because she is Palestinian-American. Discounting information that he already received, Smith requested that CAMERA document our position that Yasin’s X feed reflects sympathy for Hamas.
Because Smith has made it abundantly clear that he is not acting in good faith, we share our response publicly so that readers may judge for themselves whether or not The Los Angeles Times has a problem on its hands.
Among her numerous retweeted X posts castigating Israel, Sara Yasin shares an article charging the Jewish state’s military response, backed by President Joe Biden and countless Western leaders, as a “genocidal assault.” She likewise uncritically reposts a statement by UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese, a rabid antisemite, outrageously charging that: “Israel has already carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians under the fog of war… Again, in the name of self-defence, Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing.”
On the other hand, unless we missed it, she has not condemned Hamas’ widescale ISIS-like brutalities as “genocidal” or “ethnic cleansing.” We find little or no indication of any condemnation of the barbaric atrocities carried out by Hamas, a designated terror organization which left a trail of murder, torture, rape and kidnapping, while targeting women, elderly, children and babies — horrific savageries, such as tying children together and burning them alive, which are truly of a genocidal nature akin to Nazi crimes. (Her sharing of an Haaretz article about the relatives of hostages held by Hamas is one of the rare exceptions in her hyper-busy feed which demonstrated next to no sympathy for the thousands of victims of the genocidal assault on Israeli civilians. It appeared only after CAMERA’s publication of its Oct. 16 post.)
Does The Los Angeles Times really believe that its managing editor’s lopsided condemnation of Israel’s response as “genocidal” and “ethnic cleansing,” while uttering nary a word of condemnation of Hamas’ genocidal assault specifically targeting Israeli women, children and elderly, reflects its “standards of accuracy and fairness”?
Furthermore, Yasin’s posts seek to discredit information originating on the Israeli side, such as the documents found on the bodies of Hamas terrorists inside Israel detailing civilian targets such as youth centers and schools. Yet, she embraces Hamas’ claims, including the terror organization’s assertion that Israel attacked a convoy of Gaza residents fleeing the north, killing 70.
Despite her ostensible concern for the safety of fleeing Gazans, she is silent about information indicating that Hamas is erecting roadblocks and confiscating IDs and car keys, preventing innocent civilians from reaching safer areas in the south. In other words, her feed strictly adheres to Hamas’ narrative, and serves its purposes alone, not even reflecting the interests of innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Even if her vocal partisanship were merely pro-Palestinian, without adopting Hamas’ preferred narrative, the blatant activism of a senior news editor at a major U.S. paper is itself highly problematic and counter to journalistic norms.
Without any comment or concern for credibility, she cites casualty figures from the “Gaza health ministry.” The ministry is run by Hamas, a vicious terror organization whose information is of dubious veracity, to say the least.
In contrast to her treatment of Hamas information as gospel, she endorses a tweet by her colleague Adam Elmahrek*, an investigative reporter for The LA Times, saying we should suspect Israeli statements because Israel lies. After also self-righteously lecturing people about verifying claims, Yasin retweets: “Israel is dropping in less than a week what the U.S. was dropping in Afghanistan in a year, in a much smaller, much more densely populated area, where mistakes are going to be magnified.”
This quote is, except in the most manipulative and absurd slicing of the data, false. It comes via Nazi-memorabilia-enthusiast Marc Garlasco, who was cited in The Washington Post. The Post, which owes its readers a correction, reported:
The Israeli air force on Thursday said it had dropped 6,000 bombs against Hamas targets so far — a staggering number over the course of six days, according to warfare experts.
“Israel is dropping in less than a week what the U.S. was dropping in Afghanistan in a year, in a much smaller, much more densely populated area, where mistakes are going to be magnified,” said Marc Garlasco, a military adviser at the Dutch organization PAX for Peace and a former U.N. war crimes investigator in Libya. He helped plan airstrikes for the Pentagon during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The highest number of bombs and other munitions dropped in one year during the war in Afghanistan was just over 7,423, Garlasco said, citing U.S. military records.
That isn’t true. According to the Guardian citing U.S. statistics, the 7,423-in-a-year figure is the most since 2006 — a period well into the occupation and long after the invasion.
The highest number of bombs and other munitions dropped in one year during the war in Afghanistan was not 7,423. Not even close. The Council on Foreign Relations states, citing the US Air Force, that during the initial 76 days of bombing, some 6,500 strike sorties were flown, with 17,500 munitions dropped on over 520 targets.
The original source elaborates that this refers to “the 76 days of bombing between October 7, when Enduring Freedom began, and December 23, when the first phase of the war ended after the collapse of the Taliban.”
Over time, as might be expected, the bombing decreased. There were 22,434 bombs dropped between Oct. 2001 and April 2002. Thus, the figure for 2006 indicates absolutely nothing.
Thus, Garlasco supplied blatantly false information which credulous Washington Post reporters repeated without question. And Yasin, also all too eager, shares fake information while lecturing others about verification, especially when it comes to Israelis, whom she has deemed liars.
These positions and behavior do not reflect the approach of a professional journalist abiding by the SPJ’s Code of Ethics. Nor do they reflect the “journalistic rigor, fairness and compassion” which Hillary Manning, the paper’s VP of communications, promised. They do, however, serve the interests and purposes of Hamas.
Yasin’s embrace of the narrative of Hamas, which just carried out one of the bloodiest massacres of civilians that the world has witnessed in a long time, is nothing short of a bear hug for the designated terror organization from a senior editor at a leading U.S. newspaper.
* Los Angeles Times investigative reporter Adam Elmahrek peddles Hamas’ narrative on the large explosion at a the parking lot next to a Gaza hospital on an Israeli airstrike, stating:
Seeing lots of reporting saying “both sides” say the other caused the hospital bombing. If you’re not making it clear that Palestinian rockets haven’t historically been able to kill more than one or two at a time, you’re not doing this right
He has already determined that the Israeli military dispenses “lies and dispensation,” so no need then to pay any attention to the recording, released by the army, of one Hamas terrorist telling another that a failed Islamic Jihad rocket was responsible for the hospital casualties. What then is he to make of President Joe Biden’s statement attributing the tragedy to a failed Palestinian rocket? Is he too spreading lies and disinformation? If so, that would be a tremendous scoop for The Los Angeles Times and a real coup for the paper’s investigative reporter.
.@latimes investigative reporter expresses incredulity in the face of (accurate) accusations that an errant PIJ rocket – and not the IDF – caused the explosion at the Gaza hospital. https://t.co/Wsbdt9x1lP
— CAMERA UK (Formerly UK Media Watch and BBC Watch) (@CAMERAorgUK) October 18, 2023