UPDATE: As of November 14, CAMERA has not seen Anna Botting doing any further original reporting on Israel, Gaza or Hamas. She appears to be back in the UK, and has been spotted reporting from 10 Downing Street.
On Tuesday afternoon, October 17, news reports began circulating the claim that an Israeli air strike had hit a Gaza hospital, killing hundreds of men, women, and children. For example a Wall Street Journal headline that afternoon read, “Israeli Airstrike on Gaza Hospital Kills More Than 500, Palestinian Officials Say.” (After contact from CAMERA and CAMERA members, this was changed to “Blast at Gaza Hospital Kills More Than 500, Palestinian Officials Say.”)
Within 24 hours, it turned out that every aspect of the initial story was most likely false. The blast in question was not caused by an Israeli strike at all, but by an errant rocket launched from within Gaza. The hospital itself was not hit; the rocket landed in the parking lot. And it’s likely that the number of people killed was nowhere even close to the number originally reported by Hamas.
While there were many, many journalistic failures on Tuesday, one of the worst was Sky News’s Anna Botting. In an interview with Netanyahu Senior Advisor Mark Regev, Botting made clear that she had abandoned any pretense of objectivity or even of journalistic curiosity. Her comments to Regev displayed a disregard for facts that would be shocking for any person, let alone a journalist. After Regev’s denial that Israel had targeted the hospital, she said to him,
You have the capability to cause utter devastation to the people of Gaza City. That’s what’s happened tonight. The real fact of it is whatever is the cause of this, it might be too late, the touch paper has already been lit, do you understand that?
In other words, according to Botting, the truth about the explosion was irrelevant to the question of who was to blame. This is an appalling comment coming from someone, as Regev pointed out, whose job is supposed to be to find out what the facts are and convey them to the public.
After Regev’s response to Botting’s initial comment, Botting continued. “Well how quickly can you prove that it wasn’t to you, if it wasn’t?” was her even more shocking follow up. It is not supposed to be the job of Israel to prove the negative, but the job of responsible journalists to seek out the evidence to support the claims they make on air or in print.
Aside from her words, Botting’s voice and face conveyed nothing but anger and contempt for a spokeperson who, in fact, was doing her job for her. Watch the full interview here.
— CAMERAorg (@CAMERAorg) October 18, 2023
And even after the full facts about the blast at the hospital were known, Botting continued to blame Israel. In an interview yesterday with IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus, she said, “We’ve seen your evidence then, on that hospital explosion in Gaza. Do you accept though, that those people would not have been sheltering in the vicinity of a hospital like this if you hadn’t bombed them out of their homes?” As Conricus rightly responded, the cause of this situation was Hamas’s barbaric October 7 attack on Israel.
Botting has shown a complete lack of journalistic integrity. Her animus is so apparent, she should not be permitted to cover this conflict any longer.
Listen to the first question I got on @SkyNews, blaming Israel for the fact that Palestinians were sheltering in a hospital, as if we started this war or wanted it!!
Classic old-school Israel-blaming. pic.twitter.com/tI8AVzfqSm
— Jonathan Conricus (@jconricus) October 19, 2023