Over the weekend, Israeli fighter jets demolished an office building in Gaza that housed members of Hamas, the terrorist organization dedicated to wiping Israel and its people off the map, and actively pursuing that mission as we speak by firing thousands of rockets and missiles indiscriminately into Israeli cities.
To minimize civilian casualties, the Israeli Defense Forces gave persons in the building one hour of advance notice that the building was coming down. Everyone evacuated safely—including, one sadly assumes, Hamas fighters. When the airstrike came, there were no reported civilian casualties.
Certain activists in the press seem to greet every Israeli airstrike against terrorists with howls of outrage, but this one elicited even more self-righteous indignation than usual. It quickly came to light that the Associated Press and Al Jazeera had news bureaus in that very building. The AP had lost prime real estate in the strike—real estate with a rooftop terrace! Some even lost their cameras.
The AP’s top newsman said he was “shocked and horrified” by an airstrike that caused no casualties. He also disclaimed any knowledge of Hamas’s presence in the building, despite “actively check[ing].” Many other journalists and their advocacy organizations also mounted up on their moral high horses against Israel.
But the AP’s story just didn’t add up, so I asked a few basic questions in a speech right here yesterday afternoon. Namely, why was the Associated Press sharing a building with Hamas in the first place? Did it knowingly allow its journalists to be used as human shields by a U.S.-designated terrorist organization? Did the AP pull its punches and decline to report for years on Hamas’s misdeeds?
One would think these are simple and reasonable questions—but I directed them to a media organization, so the usual suspects circled the wagons, expressing more outrage at my audacity to question the AP’s leadership than they do at Hamas for trying to kill Jews by the thousands.
Keith Olbermann called me an “anti-Constitution, anti-Free Press, racist fascist.” One Slate reporter wrote that I was making “deranged insinuations” and going to “bat against civilians in a war-zone” even though no civilians had been harmed in this airstrike.
The constant refrain of their criticism was that I was attacking the brave reporters of the Associated Press, Gaza bureau. My claims were baseless, reckless—“without evidence,” they claimed.
But, in fact, there’s plenty of evidence that some media outlets stationed in Gaza allow themselves to be used as pawns by Hamas.
According to an article from the Atlantic magazine in 2014, written by none other than, yes, a former Associated Press reporter, the AP had abundant reason to suspect Hamas’s presence years before the IDF informed them by telephone last weekend. According to the article, Hamas fighters burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau during a previous conflict and threatened the staff. Hamas also launched missiles right outside the AP’s office. In each case, somehow, the intrepid reporters of the Associated Press’s Gaza bureau didn’t even report on these incidents.
The AP instead turned a blind eye to terrorism and embraced a culture of silence on behalf of murderers who actively endangered its own reporters and staff. What’s equally scandalous is the AP continued to locate their offices in a building they knew was dangerous. The AP had been in that building for 15 years. Hamas fighters had threatened AP staff in its offices and launched missiles right outside on the street. In 15 years, did no one ever say, “Gosh, I wonder why Hamas keeps running around our office building?” Did no one in the AP’s leadership think, “You know, maybe we should move our people to a safer building in a better neighborhood?”
Under the circumstances, I’m not sure what’s worse: that the AP knew they shared a building with Hamas or that they didn’t know.
Instead of uncovering the truth, the AP concealed it. Then, when the IDF carried out its fully justified and wholly appropriate airstrike, the AP condemned Israel in one final, parting gift to their neighbors from Hamas.
Now, one would think this episode might result in some soul-searching. The AP’s leadership might see it as a humbling moment, instead of an opportunity to self-aggrandize and play the victim. But the AP’s willingness to double down on their Hamas apologism raises, yet again, some more uncomfortable questions: Would the AP allow its reporters to share a building with al Qaeda? What about ISIS? Because there’s little differences between these U.S.-designated terrorist organizations and Hamas.
Some prestigious news outlets have fallen pretty far from the heights they once occupied. Being a reporter, and certainly a war correspondent, can be honorable work. Great men and women, including Winston Churchill, have dedicated themselves to the profession. Correspondents have gone to the front lines and reported on some of the deadliest conflicts in human history with courage, commitment to truth, and patriotism.
During the Second World War, for example, a great American named Ernie Pyle marched alongside the G.I.s in North Africa, Italy, Normandy, and the Pacific, reporting right up until the moment that he was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire. He did some of his best work for none other than the Associated Press.
Ernie Pyle was the farthest thing from an old press hack. He described the fighting up-close and advocated for better pay and conditions for the troops. He could be critical of the services when they were wrong—but he never forgot whose side he was on. And he never gave up his commitment to telling the stories of normal people and the hardworking troops on the front line.
Before America’s entrance into the War, Pyle reported from the streets of London during the Blitz, recounting the terrifying scenes for readers back home in the States. He told the story of a resolute people under siege and forced into bomb shelters by an indiscriminate and evil attacker. A people unbent and unbroken by terror—dedicated to victory no matter the adversity. We all could learn from reporting like that.
But you may not read it these days in the Associated Press.