NY Times “reviewing” Israeli reporter who liked post calling to turn Gaza into a “slaughterhouse”

NY Times “reviewing” Israeli reporter who liked post calling to turn Gaza into a “slaughterhouse”

Anat Schwartz contributed to widely criticized reporting about Hamas’ alleged sexual violence on October 7

Published February 27, 2024 4:00PM (EST)

The New York Times Building is seen in New York City on February 4, 2021. (DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared at Common Dreams. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Higher-ups at The New York Times have confirmed Sunday that they are looking into Anat Schwartz, who contributed to widely criticized reporting about Hamas’ alleged sexual violence on October 7, after it came to light over recent days that the Israeli freelancer liked a social media post calling for Israel to turn the Gaza Strip “into a slaughterhouse” and other content.

“We are aware that a freelance journalist in Israel who has worked with the Times has ‘liked’ several social media posts,” Danielle Rhodes Ha, a spokesperson for the newspaper, told The Daily Beast. “Those ‘likes’ are unacceptable violations of our company policy. We are currently reviewing the matter.”

Confirmation of the review came after the popular account @zei_squirrel on X, formerly Twitter, highlighted Friday that Schwartz had liked the hateful “slaughterhouse” message from editor and radio presenter David Mizrahy Verthaim and other posts circulating misinformation about the October Hamas-led attack.

Esha Krishnaswamy, host of the podcast Historic.ly, who also began digging into Schwartz’s online activity and history, said Saturday on X that she “has reactivated her account. But she has purged it of her previous genocidal ‘likes.'”

The newspaper’s social media policy states in part that journalists “must not express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments, or do anything else that undercuts the Times‘ journalistic reputation,” and “should be especially mindful of appearing to take sides on issues that the Times is seeking to cover objectively.”

A filmmaker whose LinkedIn identifies her as working at the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan), Schwartz contributed to Times reporting from November to January, focusing on the Hamas attack and Israel’s retaliation in Gaza—which has killed over 30,000 Palestinians and is being investigated at the International Court of Justice as genocide.

Schwartz has bylines on multiple pieces about accusations that Hamas militants committed sexual violence during the attack on Israel. She repeatedly collaborated with Times international correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman and Adam Sella, who has written dozens of articles for the paper since mid-October and is reportedly her nephew.

The Times had to add a correction to a December report by the trio, clarifying that Israeli police “are relying mainly on witness testimony, not on autopsies or forensic evidence.” Another report by Schwartz, Sella, and Gettleman—‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7appeared on the front page of the print edition on Sunday, December 31.

Then, citing newsroom sources, The Intercept reported last month that the Times “pulled a high-profile episode of its podcast ‘The Daily’ about sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 amid a furious internal debate about the strength of the paper’s original reporting on the subject.”

A newspaper spokesperson, Charlie Stadtlander, told the outlet at the time that “as a general matter of policy, we do not comment on the specifics of what may or may not publish in The New York Times or our audio programs.”

The Intercept‘s Ryan Grim said Sunday that sources told him the Times “is now cutting ties” with Schwartz. He also pointed out that the paper’s podcast hasn’t put out an episode related to their reporting.

As attention on Schwartz grew over the weekend, multiple other U.S. journalists weighed in on social media.

“I sometimes joke ‘it’s another good day not to be The New York Times public editor’ but the organization could *really* use one right now to investigate on behalf of the readers,” said Margaret Sullivan, who held the role for four years.

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch wrote that “as a veteran journalist, I know there are a lot of award-winning reporters who would kill to get their byline in the NYT. But a filmmaker with ZERO experience shows up and gets on the front page covering the world’s most controversial story? Something here is not right.”

The Times—like other U.S. dailies—has long been accused of anti-Palestinian bias, criticism that has ramped up in response to the paper’s coverage of Israel’s four-month attack on Gaza.

Jazmine Hughes was forced to resign as a New York Times Magazine staff writer in November for violating its public protest policy by signing an open letter condemning Israel’s genocide in Gaza. That same month, Jamie Lauren Keiles, a contributor who self-identifies as a “religiously observant Jew,” also signed the letter and said that he would no longer write for the publication.

In October 2022, Hosam Salem, a Palestinian freelance photojournalist, announced on social media that The New York Times terminated his contract over posts in which he “expressed support for the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation.”

By Jessica Corbett

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