Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) put the “whiny reporters” of the Associated Press on notice and bluntly stated that they had some very “uncomfortable questions to answer” regarding sharing office space with Hamas.
Cotton suggested that the media outlet had to know that the terrorist organization had offices in the Gaza tower for at least 15 years. Israel took out the building last week after notifying the AP, Al Jazeera, and other media organizations to vacate the premises. They gave them one hour before they leveled the tower.
“Why is the Associated Press sharing a building with Hamas? Surely these intrepid reporters knew who their neighbors were,” Cotton sarcastically posited. “Did they knowingly allow themselves to be used as human shields by a US-designated terrorist organization? Did the AP pull its punches and decline to report for years on Hamas’ misdeeds?” Cotton asked.
“I submit that the AP has some uncomfortable questions to answer, yet the AP and its fellow journalists are in high dudgeon about Israel’s wholly appropriate airstrike. Leave it to whiny reporters to make themselves the story and the victim when terrorists are shooting missiles at innocent civilians,” Cotton charged.
(Video Credit: Forbes Breaking News)
Israel is claiming that Hamas operated out of the tower which made it a legitimate military target.
The AP’s Executive Director Sally Buzbee stated that she never knew Hamas was in the building which many find very, very hard to believe. She’s also claiming that she was never informed of Hamas having offices there before the media bureau was told to evacuate.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken unsurprisingly stated on Monday that he had seen no evidence supporting Israel’s claim according to the Associated Press and other media outlets.
Cotton’s accusation that the AP had been covering for Hamas for years probably dates back to 2014. A reporter for the Associated Press wrote an op-ed claiming that the media outlet’s Gaza bureau ignored Hamas and gave them a pass. He alleged at the time that they avoided publishing stories that would reflect negatively on Hamas. The Associated Press fired back claiming that the reporter’s assertions were “filled with distortions, half-truths, and inaccuracies.”
AP reporter Matti Friedman wrote in November 2014:
“The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby — and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff — and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)”
He clarified his position on Twitter following the bombing of his former employer’s building.
“In my two essays from 2014, I gave multiple examples of the way news organizations like the AP had been compromised by Hamas in Gaza,” he wrote. “Contrary to what I’ve seen attributed to me today, I didn’t write that Hamas operated out of the same building, and don’t know if that’s true.”
In my two essays from 2014, I gave multiple examples of the way news organizations like the AP had been compromised by Hamas in Gaza. Contrary to what I’ve seen attributed to me today, I didn’t write that Hamas operated out of the same building, and don’t know if that’s true.
— Matti Friedman (@MattiFriedman) May 16, 2021
Even ex-President Obama’s former aide Tommy Vietor seemed to back Cotton’s assertion, albeit while taking a swipe at Israel: “I’m sure Hamas offices were in that building & that they purposefully co-locate operations with civilians. But that is not a new problem,” Vietor remarked. “And if the IDF wants to claim that the military effort is targeted, precise, etc…then you shouldn’t hit that building.”
Someone on Twitter then asked Vietror how he could be “sure” that Hamas was operating within that building.
He bluntly replied, “I talked to people who worked in the building.” Later he would backtrack and contend on Twitter that he talked with people who “used” to work in the building.
Wrong. I talked to someone who *used* to work out of that building periodically who said he believed there may have been Hamas offices there. https://t.co/N1ERUNv8wD
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) May 16, 2021
Last week, 44 Senate Republicans requested in a letter that President Biden end negotiations with Iran and deny them sanctions relief. Hamas is seen as acting as a proxy for Iran against Israel.
“Iran … is a longtime financial and material supporter of Hamas,” the letter stated. “The United States engaging in active negotiations with Iran and potentially providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief will no doubt contribute to Iran’s support of Hamas and other terrorist organizations who attack Americans and our allies.”
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