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Washington Post foreign desk, accused of pro-Hamas bias, teems with Al Jazeera vets

Washington Post

In the United States, the Justice Department ordered the network’s English language affiliate to register as a foreign agent of Qatar in 2020, though it has refused to do so.

By Joseph Simonson, The Washington Free Beacon

The Washington Post is in turmoil—old editor out, new editor in, and a new publisher under siege from a hostile and beleaguered staff.

One of the criticisms the paper has weathered as it has bled money and subscribers is that, since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, its coverage of the war in the Middle East has been shoddy, inaccurate, and implacably hostile to Israel.

Days after the Israel Defense Forces rescued four hostages from a Palestinian refugee camp, for example, a Post headline blared: “More than 200 Palestinians killed in Israeli hostage raid in Gaza.”

The report, the work of 11 Post staffers, went on to describe “one of the bloodiest raids in the war” as a “brazen operation” that left “unimaginable devastation in its wake.”

“Residential blocks were destroyed, tanks menaced the streets and grievously wounded Palestinians, some without limbs, writhed in pain on the dusty roads of the camp’s central market, according to videos and images of the raid,” the report stated.

The first quote in the story comes from a Hamas spokesman, who accused Israel of committing “a massacre.” An Israeli official is quoted in the seventh paragraph.

What the piece did not mention is that the hostages were held by prominent Gazan civilians in crowded apartment buildings and that Hamas fighters opened fire on the hostages and Israeli soldiers during the operation, making civilian casualties virtually inevitable.

Hostility to Israel has been a thread throughout the paper’s reporting. But there’s another pattern among reporters on the Post’s foreign desk.

At least six members of the Post’s foreign desk previously wrote for Al Jazeera, the Doha-based news outlet bankrolled in part by the government of Qatar, which is now sheltering Hamas’s top leaders, a Washington Free Beacon review found.

They include the paper’s Middle East editor, Jesse Mesner-Hage, who spent more than a decade as an editor at the outlet’s English edition, London correspondent Louisa Loveluck, investigative reporter Evan Hill, visual enterprise editor Reem Akkad, WaPo Live host Libby Casey, and breaking news reporter Adela Suliman.

The Al Jazeera-Washington Post pipeline raises ethical questions for an American newspaper that prides itself as a bulwark against threats to “democracy.”

Founded in 1996, Al Jazeera has been described by an Israeli court as an “intelligence and propaganda arm” for Hamas, and the outlet is banned from broadcasting in Israel, where officials alleged in February that Al Jazeera “journalist” Muhammed Wishah served as a commander in Hamas’s guided missile units.

In the United States, the Justice Department ordered the network’s English language affiliate to register as a foreign agent of Qatar in 2020, though it has refused to do so.

The Post did not respond to a request for comment.

Over the decades, Al Jazeera has published a number of false reports including a 2013 story charging that Israel opened dams in order to cause flooding in Gaza—a claim it retracted two years later—and a 2014 report that cast doubt on the authenticity of videos depicting ISIS’s beheadings of American journalists.

A 2017 Al Jazeera report described the Israeli city of Haifa’s location in “northern occupied Palestine.”

Al Jazeera remains a propaganda outlet that is often pro-Hamas and in the past it has been pro-Saddam Hussein, pro-insurgency, and pro-al Qaeda,” Foundation for Defense of Democracy vice president of research Jonathan Schanzer said.

“I think that when we look at the media landscape in the United States right now and the concerns that we have about the disinformation space, Al Jazeera features prominently.”

The outlet falsely alleged in March that IDF soldiers raped patients and staff at a Gaza hospital. The piece was quietly removed a day later, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The Washington Post’s coverage of the Israeli hostage rescue earlier this month is not the first time the paper has drawn criticism for emphasizing Hamas’s version of events at the expense of the facts.

Just over a month after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, the Post ran an A1 story titled, “Israel’s war with Hamas separates Palestinian babies from their mothers.”

The story was rife with inaccuracies and misrepresentations, including a false allegation that Palestinian mothers who were allowed to leave Gaza to give birth had to return to Gaza.

Nor did the reporters reach out to anybody in the Israeli government for comment, a basic journalistic practice.

At the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, executive director Robert Satloff picked it apart, writing that the report was a “one-sided editorialization of news.”

A subsequent 230-word editor’s note attached to the piece said its reports “fell short of the Post’s standards for fairness.”

Loveluck’s is the lead byline on that report. Aside from her work with Al Jazeera, she previously worked as the Post’s Baghdad bureau chief. Loveluck’s work with Al Jazeera is omitted from her biography on the Post’s website.

Al Jazeera is nothing more than a Qatar project to exert influence and propaganda,” said Alberto Fernandez, vice president of the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“This is not a media empire meant to make money that uses the language of the progressive left to reach a Western audience.”

When the Post joined many other outlets in its pivot to video, it hired Libby Casey as a “senior news anchor.” She previously served as “national TV correspondent” for Al Jazeera America.

Al Jazeera is basically Muslim Brotherhood Television,” said Fernandez. “It has been intimately involved with an Islamist struggle since the beginning and that’s the dominant ideology there.”

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