The New York Times issued a statement Thursday denying that photographer Yousef Masoud had accompanied Hamas terrorists to the October 7 terror attack on Israel, among other photographers identified by the pro-Israel watchdog Honest Reporting.
HonestReporting’s sensational report pointed out that photographers from several prominent news outlets and agencies appeared to have had unusually good access to the Hamas terrorists and were present when they left and reentered Gaza.
In several photographs, photographers are seen taking pictures of Hamas terrorists kidnapping Israeli hostages. They do not seem threatened — despite the fact that Hamas was shooting every other civilian in sight — nor do they attempt to intervene.
HonestReporting named several photographers: “Four names appear on AP’s photo credits from the Israel-Gaza border area on October 7: Hassan Eslaiah, Yousef Masoud, Ali Mahmud, and Hatem Ali.” One, Eslaiah, was identified in photographs with the Gaza-based Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, and was allegedly carrying a grenade in another image. The AP fired him on Thursday.
Yesterday a major report was published on the independent news site “Honest Reporting” which revealed a shocking fact.
Photographers employed by some of the largest and most prominent global media organizations, including AP and Reuters, took an active part in the massacre of… pic.twitter.com/ltex6hMn59
— Danny Danon דני דנון (@dannydanon) November 9, 2023
But the Times said Thursday that Masoud had nothing to do with Hamas. Its full press statement is as follows:
The accusation that anyone at The New York Times had advance knowledge of the Hamas attacks or accompanied Hamas terrorists during the attacks is untrue and outrageous. It is reckless to make such allegations, putting our journalists on the ground in Israel and Gaza at risk. The Times has extensively covered the Oct. 7 attacks and the war with fairness, impartiality, and an abiding understanding of the complexities of the conflict.
The advocacy group Honest Reporting has made vague allegations about several freelance photojournalists working in Gaza, including Yousef Masoud. Though Yousef was not working for The Times on the day of the attack, he has since done important work for us. There is no evidence for Honest Reporting’s insinuations. Our review of his work shows that he was doing what photojournalists always do during major news events, documenting the tragedy as it unfolded.
We also want to speak in defense of freelance photojournalists working in conflict areas, whose jobs often require them to rush into danger to provide first-hand witness accounts and to document important news. This is the essential role of a free press in wartime. We are gravely concerned that unsupported accusations and threats to freelancers endangers them and undermines work that serves the public interest.
The Associated Press, likewise, told Breitbart News that it had no advance knowledge of the terror attack. But the Israeli government is demanding answers from the news agencies involved, with one politician suggesting that photographers who participate with terrorists in attacks should be treated like combatants and killed, just as Hamas terrorists are being targeted.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.