Tuesday’s Hamas Propaganda on the Nets: Dubious Death Toll, Sob Stories, Cheering U.N.

October 24th, 2023 10:22 PM

The weeks-long Hamas propaganda campaign on the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC dragged on Tuesday with a slew of misfires (pun intended) that included, along with two of the three failing to mention new U.S. findings about that October 17 hospital fire, the touting of dubious Gaza death tolls (despite admitting they emanate from Hamas), cheering the U.N. trashing Israel, and par-for-the-course sob stories.

NBC Nightly News led the way. Anchor Lester Holt huffed in a tease about Tuesday as “the deadliest day in Gaza since the war began.” Even though chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel would add the Hamas qualifier, Holt didn’t and took Hamas’s tales as gospel.



“The images, the hand of a girl buried under rubble in Gaza. Then she’s pulled out alive. Gaza officials saying more than 700 people were killed in Israeli strikes in the last 24 hours. Hospitals near collapse,” he added. 

Explaining in his opening remarks that “the picture of Gaza under siege [grew] dimmer and more urgent,” Holt fretted about “new pictures of the desperate hours for civilians and first responders inside Gaza” as NBC cameras “captur[ed] the drama of another child pulled from the rubble of falling bombs.”

He again greased the skids of Islamists in Hamas: “Gaza health authorities report more than 5,700 people have been killed there as its health care systems appears to be failing as Israel continues to retaliate against Hamas for October 7 terror.”

Engel started his report with the alleged scene of one Israeli strike that showed “Gaza looks like it was hit by an earthquake” with “[t]he Hamas-run health ministry claim[ing] more than 700 Palestinians were killed in just the last 24 hours, nearly half of them children in the deadliest day in Gaza so far.”

In a lengthy video, he described the scene in which “[m]ultiple witnesses say this three-story building was hit by an Israeli air strike” and narrated the pulling of children from the rubble.

Holt had more stewing to do as he tossed to chief Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell: “As the humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza, new calls at the United Nations for a ceasefire, and the U.S. now suggesting there should be a pause in Israel's bombing campaign.”

An eager Mitchell painted Israel as the aggressor and driver of misery, touting a soundbite from the U.N. Secretary-General that there’s been “clear violations in international humanitarian law” by Israel (click “expand”):

MITCHELL: As Israeli air strikes continue to pound Gaza, two-thirds of the hospitals are out of service, according to the World Health Organization. The U.N. Relief Agency says it will have to stop operations in Gaza tomorrow night when it runs out of fuel. Tonight, UNICEF says there has been a devastating effect on children, and calling for an immediate cease-fire, a humanitarian disaster leading the U.N. Secretary General to echo that plea.

UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES: I'm deeply concerned about the clear violations in international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza.

MITCHELL: Responding to the pressure, the U.S. for the first time opening the door to a pause in the air strikes to get desperately needed aid in and civilians out.

SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN: Humanitarian pauses must be considered for these purposes.

Both-sides-ing the conflict Hamas started with its October 7 barbarity, Mitchell whined that “[t]he Israeli and Palestinian foreign ministers” were “face-to-face, speaking past each other” with the Palestinian official demanding an end to “massacres being committed against the Palestinian people.”

As for Israel, Mitchell sighed that Israel’s foreign minister chose to keep the attention “on the Hamas massacre 18 days ago.”

The CBS Evening News also promoted the dubious death toll from Gaza and, like NBC, included the qualifier that it came from Hamas even though they proceeded to act as though it were fact (click “expand”)”

O’DONNELL: Israel has increased the barrage of air strikes, with the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry saying it suffered its single deadliest day of the war.


D’AGATA: [EXPLOSION] This amidst some of the Israeli military’s heaviest bombardment yet in Gaza. The IDF claiming more than 400 targets were struck over the past day, including antitank missile launchers and observation posts, pushing the death toll in Gaza to nearly 6,000, according to Hamas health officials.

Fast-forward to the end and CBS senior foreign correspondent Holly Williams touted the work of Marwan al-Ghoul, a longtime “CBS News producer who lives in Gaza with his family” and who’s risking his life to report.

ABC’s World News Tonight, to its credit, didn’t tout the inflated Hamas death counts and was the only network flagship evening newscast to share that U.S. intelligence is firmly convinced the October 17 fire around a Gaza hospital was caused by an errant Gazan rocket.

However, they had propaganda of their own to promote. Anchor David Muir had in an opening tease: “Also, our team inside Gaza tonight. Hospitals near collapse. And the kits they're now giving to mothers about to give birth to deliver on their own. Matt Gutman reporting.”

Before correspondent Matt Gutman highlighted it in his piece, Muir had to again highlight it in his open (click “expand”):

MUIR: Israel, meanwhile, striking more than 400 Hamas targets in the last 24 hours. Inside Gaza, reports tonight hospitals are near collapse and we have learned that authorities are now trying to reach expectant mothers about to give birth to give them kits with tools to deliver on their own because the hospital system is so overwhelmed.


GUTMAN: And all day today, Israel launching one of the most intense aerial attacks on Gaza. Over 400 air strikes in the past 24 hours. Gaza's hospital system on the brink of collapse. The WHO saying an estimated 5,500 pregnant women in Gaza expected to give birth in the next month, but a U.N. agency says emergency delivery kits with step-by-step instructions guiding women through their deliveries have yet to arrive, containing plastic bags and scissors to cut the umbilical cord. Officials say at least six hospitals running out fuel today, jeopardizing life-saving health care equipment for babies.

 AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL DR. GHASSAN ABU-SITTAH: We've just run out of almost everything. Yesterday, a lot of the times, we had very little electricity and — and the killing continues.

Tuesday morning saw plenty of bias on CBS Mornings. After co-host Nate Burleson fretted “many of the dead and wounded” in Gaza “appears to be civilians, including families,” Williams had a longer piece touting Al-Ghoul.

Reporting from Israel, co-host Tony Dokoupil interviewed IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari and lobbed questions like this one: “When these pictures every day show up on people’s phones and TVs of women and children in the rubble, that doesn’t help your cause.”

The night prior, CBS flocked to Hamas propagandist and foreign correspondent Imtiaz Tyab fret about Israeli airstrike on a terrorist target inside a West Bank mosque: “The Israeli military says this was a terrorist compound. But, for the community here, they say it was just a house of worship.”

To see the relevant transcripts from October 24, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS Mornings), here (for the CBS Evening News), and here (for NBC).