Anyone See a Terrorist?

Last week, we asked why the New York Times did not show any pictures of Hamas terrorists among all their pictures of the Gazan conflict. In NY Times Photos Only Tell Part of the Story, we said:

There is something missing in the way the Gaza conflict is being portrayed in pictures in the mainstream media. There is a noticeable shortage of photos of Hamas fighters and rocket launchers.


There are plenty of pictures of collapsed buildings in Gaza, people stricken by grief from the war, and even photos and videos of Iron Dome missiles fired at oncoming Hamas rockets. But there are virtually no shots of Hamas on the offensive.


And since media images have tremendous power to shape public opinion, the absence of pictures showing Hamas as aggressive and dangerous could have an impact on how much blame people attribute to the terror group.

The Times responded that they went through hundreds of pictures that their photographers had turned in and there were only two “distant, poor quality images of Hamas. Now we know why they didn’t have many to choose from. Somehow their photographers couldn’t find a Hamas terrorist to photograph.

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From an interview with photographer Wissam Nassar:

Q: Have you seen and photographed any Hamas fighters or other militants?

A: There was only one time I saw militants and photographed them and that was on the first day of the humanitarian pause which the sides agreed to on July 20. I did not find any problem photographing them. I have not seen any other militants since then. 

It’s not like Nasser hasn’t been an eyewitness to the conflict twenty-four hours a day. He explains:

My days have been long and intense. I have been away from my family, which I sent to Egypt for their own safety a few days after the war started. I spend the nights in my office and the days on the road, surrounded by war. I have photographed moments of life and moments of death, people trying to survive and people in the final throes of death. I have photographed destroyed homes, hospitals, funerals, humanitarian aid, empty markets and the daily lives of people returning to their neighborhoods during moment of reprieve.

Are we supposed to believe, that in all these “long” and “intense” days, he only saw Hamas members one single time?

He somehow missed taking a picture of them launching even one of the 3,360 rockets fired from Gaza? Hamas terrorists used mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and automatic rifles from throughout the relatively small Gaza strip, and yet he missed them all? Or was he so obsessed with taking pictures of Palestinian casualties that he was simply not interested in providing his employer with images from the other side of the conflict?

He wasn’t the only photographer that the Times had in Gaza. Pulitzer prize winning Times staff photographer Tyler Hicks was also there. He also could not find a terrorist or any rocket launchers.

If we had access to them, we would be photographing them. I never saw a single device for launching the rockets to Israel. It’s as if they don’t exist.

Sometimes people assume that you can have access to everything, that you can see everything. But the fighters are virtually invisible to us.

Can we be expected to believe that while Indian, French, and Finnish media provided proof of Hamas and their rockets firing from civilian areas, somehow the photographers working for the New York Times missed it??? (See Media Uncovers Launch Sites in Civilian Populated Areas.)

The Times first defense was that they would run pictures of Hamas if their photographers submitted any. Now we know why they didn’t. Please write to the Public Editor at the Times by clicking here and ask why their photographers somehow missed images that many in the foreign media were able to take.

Image: CC BY-NC-SA HonestReporting, Wikimedia Commons/Bill Bertram, Wikimedia Commons/Tom Spender, flickr/zoriah


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