‘Criticism and Concerns’ – Journalism Professors Urge NYT to Review Controversial Report on Sexual Violence

Over 50 tenured journalism professors called on The New York Times to review its report. (Design: palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“This is wartime and in the minds of many people, The Times’ story fueled the fire at a pivotal moment,” the letter, signed by 50 tenured journalism professors, said.

Over 50 tenured journalism professors from prestigious universities have signed a letter urging the New York Times to address concerns regarding an investigative report detailing instances of “gender-based violence” during the military operation carried out by the Palestinian Resistance on October 7, the Washington Post reported.

The letter comes after several “months of criticism and concerns”  raised by both external critics and some Times staff members regarding the credibility of sources and the editorial process behind the story.

Sent to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, executive editor Joe Kahn, and international editor Philip Pan on Monday morning, the letter requests the Times to “immediately commission a group of journalism experts to conduct a thorough and full independent review of the reporting, editing and publishing processes for this story and release a report of the findings,” the Washington Post reported.

A Times spokesperson reportedly said in a statement that the paper has already reviewed the journalistic work and is “satisfied that it met our editorial standards.”

Debunked by Palestine Chronicle – Co-author of of NYT Report on Sexual Assaults Exposed (VIDEO)

“There is precedent for the kind of external review we are recommending,” the letter stated citing previous instances where the Times reassessed stories, such as the review of coverage leading up to the Iraq invasion in 2004.

“The impact of The New York Times story is impossible to fathom. This is wartime and in the minds of many people, The Times’ story fueled the fire at a pivotal moment,” the letter added.

Signatories include renowned professors like Robert McChesney from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Victor Pickard from the University of Pennsylvania, Maggy Zanger from the University of Arizona, and Diane Winston from the University of Southern California.

Raising Doubts

Questions regarding the report surfaced shortly after its publication in December, with relatives of a victim mentioned in the report raising doubts about certain details. The Intercept reported that the Times’ podcast ‘The Daily’ postponed an episode related to the report due to these concerns.

Further scrutiny revealed that the Times relied heavily on two inexperienced freelancers in Israel for the story, while Times correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman was responsible for its synthesis.

The professors’ letter also expresses concerns about these reporting arrangements, citing a precedent involving Pulitzer-winning reporter Rick Bragg’s resignation from the Times in 2003 due to overreliance on a less-experienced freelancer.

‘This Story is False’ – New Video Challenges New York Times’ Sexual Violence Investigative Report 

Additionally, the letter pointed to contradictory statements made by Gettleman about the use of certain terminology in the report, which raised further questions about its accuracy.

In March, the Times reported new video evidence that contradicted some details of the initial investigation but did not issue a correction or retraction. 

“In what appears to be an unusual decision, The Times added an ‘update’ to the online version of ‘Screams Without Words noting the contradiction but has not made a correction to the story or issued a retraction,” the letter noted.

Israeli Reports

Only seven days after the publication of what was meant to be a major investigation by the New York Times into alleged rape carried out by Palestinians who entered Israel on October 7, Israel’s own media and police seemed to contradict the American allegations. 

Indeed, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, citing the country’s police, said authorities are “having difficulty” finding “victims of sexual assault from the Hamas attack”.

This failure comes after nearly three months of investigation by all branches of the Israeli police and military.

‘We Can’t Find Witnesses’: Israeli Police Contradicts NYT Report on Oct. 7 Sexual Assaults

Due to its inability to locate such alleged victims, or even those who have “witnessed such attacks”, the police has decided to “appeal to the public to encourage those who have information on the matter to come forward and give testimony”.

“This is the reason we went to the media. It’s not something that comes easily to us,” Associate Professor Adi Edri, an investigator in the police unit, told Haaretz, adding: “If someone reads the article and is sexually harmed – I’m available for them at every step. It is clear to me that it takes strength to speak. I would be happy to listen to the story and also provide assistance if needed.”

The Haaretz report, which is based on official police information, seems to be a direct contradiction to the New York Times report entitled “‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7.” 

The Black Dress

Two leading Palestinian media organizations, The Palestine Chronicle and Friends of Palestine Network, conducted a joint investigation, based on media reports, in addition to historical and political analyses.

The outcome of their investigation resulted in the launch of ‘The Black Dress’, an 18-minute documentary looking into The New York Times allegations and the possible falsification of evidence regarding what has truly transpired on October 7. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out

1 Comment

  1. The Washington Post, chastising the New York Times, is like Jeffrey Dahmer criticizing Jack the Ripper.
    Both are on the ‘ other side ‘ and it is public information that Jeff Bezos ( Amazon ) owns the Washington Post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.