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Media accused of parroting Hamas' talking points on Gaza hospital blast, IDF spox says terror group ‘lying’

IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner blasted the media for believing Hamas’ claim that Israel was responsible for the explosion that rocked the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson blasted mainstream media outlets for running with Hamas’ claim that Israel was responsible for the explosion that rocked the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday.

"This is an organization that will butcher babies in their bedrooms, they’ll have no problem lying to you," IDF Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Wednesday on "Outnumbered."

President Biden has publicly said Israel was not to blame, and the Israeli government determined the blast was caused by a rocket misfire launched by Islamic Jihad, another terrorist organization active in Gaza. But a variety of news organizations, including The New York Times and CNN, used information from the Hamas-backed health ministry in Gaza. 

Lerner sparred with a CNN host earlier in the day, accusing the network of not really wanting the "proof," before the CNN anchor firmly pushed back. He addressed the CNN spat during his "Outnumbered" appearance that turned into a plea for journalists to carefully cover the conflict. 


"I’m usually very calm and collected, I try to keep a mild view and I understand that you have a job to do, and I have a job to do, but I found it extremely frustrating that Hamas gets this platform and I cannot stop thinking about an organization that butchers babies in their bedrooms, and then they get to say to the media and it’s just automatically accepted as fact, ‘Hamas says,’ as if it’s enough that you attribute it to Hamas and then it should be accepted or broadcasted," Lerner told "Outnumbered" co-host Kayleigh McEnany.

"And that’s why this morning I had that… exchange with CNN," he continued. 

"That’s not me. That’s not how I convey my messaging. I prefer to be very straightforward and factual and less on the emotional side because I do believe that people are interested in facts, but I just basically lost it this morning." 

Lerner apologized for losing his cool on CNN but said the Israel-Hamas war is "saturated" by media, especially social media. 

"Some of the news media are in an endless chase after what’s happening on social media and then trying to keep up with that. You can’t compete with social media, and you guys need to know that you can’t compete with social media," Lerner continued. 

"If something comes out on social media, you have to be 100 percent certain this actually happened, that you’re not being manipulated because there is so much fake news coming out, there is so much misinformation and disinformation that it undermines what you’re trying to do for your viewers."


He said that journalists want to provide a good service to people who want to be informed, and cautioned that getting it wrong can have lasting effects.

"When you fail like this, first of all you’re failing your viewers, but you’re failing the story. And I felt for the victims of Hamas’ terrorist attack this morning and that’s why I was very, very direct. I felt the need to do that," Lerner said. 

Lerner said that viewers and journalists alike need to understand there is a "responsibility" when reporting, particularly when covering conflict. 

"In these crazy times, in times of conflict, we need to be responsible and stand up to that responsibility… I’ve been presenting Israel’s case in order to try to get this message across – Hamas cannot be trusted," Lerner said.


McEnany pointed out that Biden revealed Wednesday that data he has seen from the U.S. Department of Defense has made him sure that Israel is not to blame for the hospital explosion. Biden said the blast was "done by the other team." 

When asked what made him so sure about that, Biden said, "The data I was shown by my defense department." 

The New York Times changed their coverage multiple times, first citing "Palestinians" and reporting "Israeli strike kills hundreds," before softening the tone and eventually reporting the Israeli military indicated a rocket malfunctioned after it was launched by a Palestinian.

The Times and CNN did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Lerner is hopeful that the media learns a valuable lesson from the significant errors in reporting about the tragic hospital blast. 

"I’m hoping that the world media are watching this event today," Lerner said. "Words have meaning, they create action… let’s make sure that terrorists are not abusing the access that they have to you."

For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion, and channel coverage, visit

Fox News’ Greg Norman, Jacqui Heinrich and Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.

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