[UPDATED] Media Repeat Questionable Claims Palestinian Baby Died from Israeli Tear Gas

May 19th, 2018 10:53 PM

In the past week, several networks have repeated questionable claims that an eight-month-old Palestinian baby was killed by Israeli tear gas in the Gaza Strip. And MSNBC's Ayman Mohyeldin even went so far as to twice repeat a discredited story that a paraplegic in a wheel chair was killed by Israeli snipers without noting that the IDF already disputed the story in March.

Update: In June 2018, the Times of Israel reported that Hamas paid the baby's parents to falsely tell the media that Israeli teargas was responsible for her death.



On Monday's MSNBC Live, Mohyeldin brought up the paraplegic who was allegedly shot during protests in December, and argued that many Palestinians and human rights groups activists would be "offended" at the White House accusing Hamas of putting civilians in harm's way as a "propaganda ploy." Here's Mohyeldin:

...but to go so far as to say that children that are being killed, that people that are in a wheelchair that have been shot and killed, that journalists that have been killed -- are all part of a Hamas ploy, a propaganda ploy, is something that I personally have not seen in the past. And I think a lot of Palestinians, a lot of international human rights organizations who are documenting what goes on on the ground there -- will take great offense to a comment like that coming out of the White House.

The next morning, on MSNBC's First Start show that he co-hosts, Mohyeldin turned to Democratic Rep. John Garamendi and brought up the Palestinian baby, and again mentioned the paraplegic shooting victim: "We've heard human rights organizations describe it as a war crime. You've got eight-month-old babies that died -- a paraplegic man was shot and killed by the Israelis."

Later that morning on MSNBC Live, foreign affairs columnist and requent guest Bobby Ghosh suggested that the Israeli military had "deliberately" killed innocent children:

But those kids that are dead are not members of Hamas. There are lots of innocent people -- there's journalists who have been hurt. These are not members of Hamas. ... We had the IDF -- the Israeli Defense Forces -- saying they know where every bullet is going. They say this with pride, that there is no random shooting. So If we have to take them at their word, then those children were killed deliberately.

Host Stephanie Ruhle and correspondent Richard Engel then discussed the baby who died:

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Okay, then, if there's no random shooting, Richard, take me back to the ground because these funerals, heartwrenching. One of the people killed was an eight-month-old baby. How is it that you have all these innocent people even in this area where the protests were going on?

RICHARD ENGEL: So, yes, earlier today, I was at a funeral for an eight-month-old little girl who died in this area. According to medical officials, she suffocated from tear gas.

On CNN Tuesday, correspondent Ian Lee appeared on several shows and repeated the claims of a baby who  "was killed by gas asphyxiation." He also noted that nine children had supposedly been killed.



Lee also portrayed the Israeli military actions as excessive as he downplayed the danger posed by the weapons that were used by Hamas members. Lee, from Wednesday's Early Start:

Over 100 people were killed by Israeli soldiers in what was largely peaceful protests. Yes, there were rocks, Molotov cocktails, and the Israeli army says there were IEDs thrown at them. But there were no mortars, there were no rockets, there are no Israeli soldiers killed or injured, and that's why the international community have condemned Israel for what they say is disproportionate use of live ammunition at these protests. And even key allies are coming out and criticizing Israel, including France and the United Kingdom, which called for an independent inquiry.

CBS This Morning also mentioned the story of the baby on Tuesday, and, although FNC has generally been better about reporting the violence perpetrated by Hamas, the story of the baby's death also ran several times on FNC on Tuesday.

But, after the cause of death was questioned by both the Gaza health ministry and the IDF, the closest thing to an update or correction on any network came on Fox and Friends on Wednesday when talk radio host Mike Slater brought up the latest on the baby.