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Media photographers' role in atrocities by Hamas on Oct. 7

Palestinians react as an Israeli tank burns after it was hit by Hamas terrorists who infiltrated areas of southern Israel, Oct. 7, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa)

It was in 2021, when it had been reported that the rape of a Philadelphia woman had been captured on cell phones by fellow passengers who, rather than trying to prevent it, simply photographed it.

That kind of chilling and inhumane impulse is, in many ways, an indictment upon the kind of depraved society we have become, where a profound callousness has set in, allowing us to view human suffering and not immediately try to help alleviate it. 

While some might feel afraid or ill-equipped to intervene at the moment the crime is actually taking place, in the case of the Oct. 7 massacre, there are no reasonable excuses or justifications that can be made as to why media photographers failed to do the right thing and notify authorities before the attack occurred when they already were told what was planned.

A shocking report from Honest Reporting claims that, in addition to the documentation that has been captured by the bodycams worn by Hamas terrorists, “Gaza-based photojournalists, working for the Associated Press and Reuters news agencies” had also been present to film the atrocities.

While such actions have led to questions of ethics, as to whether or not media photographers have the moral obligation to turn down such a notification which they are being asked to document, the greater question would be: “How are we, as fellow human beings, supposed to respond when someone informs us that they are about to commit a heinous crime against innocents – let alone if we want to be present to film it?”

This is the ultimate in “See something, say something.” The failure to report what will result in the murder, torture or harm of others is called “being complicit in the act.” While the observer may not be the actual perpetrator, they are, nonetheless, an individual who could have easily prevented the crime by just calling the authorities to let them know what was about to take place.

In this case, images of ‘lynchings, kidnappings and storming of Israeli kibbutzim” now are tangible evidence that equally indicts photojournalists playing a despicable role in this tragedy by not having even the most minimal of a working conscience – which should have kicked in as a normal impulse, feeling sickened by what they were witnessing – and exposing for all the world to see.  

But even before those images were captured, the very fact that they were alerted to what was coming down, should have been enough of a shock warning to immediately contact police or even others who had the ability to notify the military or do something!

Four individuals are credited with having taken photos. One freelancer for CNN actually crossed into Israeli territory, along with the Hamas terrorists, in order to take photos of the “infiltrators entering Kibbutz Kfar Azza,” a community that is no longer identifiable as a place that can be inhabited.

For these four, getting the scoop was more important than feeling any kind of pain or remorse for playing a role in the worst attack against Jews since the Nazi Holocaust, which was also known for its raw and horrifying footage, also taken by photographers whose heart was as dark as their cameras.  

One of the photographers, employed by The New York Times, also breached the border and managed to photograph tanks while two others were, at the same time, capturing the abductions of innocent men, women, children, infants and the elderly.

For those who may naively believe that these photographers didn’t realize they were crossing the line into the abyss of degeneracy and depravity, the fact that the names of these photographers were eventually removed from the AP database attests to the clarity of thought someone had when they understood it would not be a good thing to reveal.  

This is not a question of propriety or ethics but rather covering up the obvious immoral and wanton actions of shameful photojournalists who weren’t able to reject the evil into which they were being asked to participate. 

One image showed a “lynch mob brutalizing the body of an Israeli soldier who was dragged out of a tank,” a photo, along with others, which had been labeled “Images of the Day,” appearing on their editorial database.

How could these media professionals have been so totally devoid of human feeling, understanding of right and wrong, and all ability to act in a manner that distinguishes them from savage animals who devour their prey with no forethought or pity? And who is the audience for which they are providing these photos which were taken with total indifference to the slaughter happening right in front of the cameramen’s eyes?

Is there a market in today’s world that is so bereft of morality and decency that they are willing to be the consumers of such vile depictions that exist courtesy of vile individuals? And where do renowned news services such as Reuters, CNN and Associated Press stand on these distressing revelations – that their workers have crossed an unthinkable line that betrays every level of decent humanity?  

Why did we have to be informed through a lesser-known news service called Honest Reporting? Is there no shame or dishonor by these so-called champions of truth who remain silent? Are there no depths to how far the press will sink in order to remain relevant by being the first to publish something?

The only responsibility taken by Reuters was to add a graphic warning to those who were about to view what had been photographed. In other words, we’ll provide you with the raw unspeakable horror, but it’s up to you to decide on whether or not you want to be a party, through your viewing consumption, to our willing participation in abject evil.

There is no question that we are already on a dangerous precipice towards our own destruction because when we are no longer able to develop into adults who are capable of rejecting blatant evil, then there is no hope for a future with promise for coming generations.  

The Honest Reporting article ends with an update that CNN has suspended ties with their photojournalist, and that “a spokesperson for the Associated Press denied any advance knowledge of the Oct. 7 attack before it happened. The role of the AP is to gather information on breaking news events around the world, wherever they happen, even when those events are horrific and cause mass casualties.” Reuters and The New York Times have not responded.

So, there you have it. Three out of four of the news services participated in the Hamas atrocities, through the provision of photos taken by their workers. One has even gone so far as to justify their participation by calling it “the gathering of breaking news events,” regardless of knowing that they were pre-emptively called upon to witness acts of terror.

It’s hard to imagine ourselves sinking into a deeper morass than this but, sadly, we may only be at the very beginning of just how evil things will really get.

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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