Gunness piled on, urging his followers to retweet his messages about supposed Israeli atrocities:
The Washington Post's headline was "Israel shells UN-run school in Gaza Strip." (since changed.)
The New York Times (since changed):
Even the Jewish Telegraphic Agency joined the bandwagon:
I had written at the outset of this war that the number one mistake reporters were likely to make is assuming that all Gaza casualties are the result of Israeli fire.
And that is exactly what happened.
As usual, the IDF was slow to respond. And they still have not responded definitively. But here's what we know so far from them, facts that Chris Gunness and Hamas are unlikely to admit:
Times of Israel adds the latest:
Errant Israeli shell, Palestinian rocket may have hit school — Channel 2An Israeli mortar shell may have hit the UNRWA school in which 15 Palestinians are said to have been killed today, Channel 2′s Ehud Ya’ari says, citing Israeli military sources. It was one of nine shells fired at a Hamas target — but went off course, “possibly” hitting the school instead.
Ya’ari adds, however, that a Palestinian rocket also hit the compound, and indicates that UNRWA officials have acknowledged this. Two hours ago, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted that Hamas rockets were falling in Beit Hanoun, where the school is located, earlier today.
So either someone fired from the school and the IDF responded - unlikely, based on how careful the IDF was to ensure the Wafa hospital was empty before firing at it - or Hamas rockets hit the school, killing the innocent, or there was a mistake on Israel's side with an "errant shell."
Whatever the truth is, to make a blanket assumption that Israel is at fault is not reporting, but advocacy.
The media across the board assumed that this was an Israeli strike, based on sources known to lie and to be consistently biased.
I tweeted these questions out to the world.
If it wasn't an airstrike, why does the media think it is more likely that Israel shelled a UNRWA school than Hamas? Is it more inconceivable that Hamas would attack its own people than Israel deliberately attacking civilians? Who gains from such an action?
The only explanation for the headlines is that, to the world media, Israel is a bloodthirsty nation.
The logic is sickening.
On the one hand there is a professional army, with mountains of guidelines and layers of lawyers all for the purpose of ensuring that their wartime activities are legal under international law. An army that has weapons that can be aimed carefully and precisely. An army that can destroy a car of terrorists while leaving people a few meters away unhurt. An army that warns the enemy populace to leave so they don't get hurt.
And, an army with huge disincentives to kill innocent civilians.
On the other side are - terrorist organizations, in the purest sense of the word. Groups that purposefully put their people in harm's way. Groups that shed their uniforms and purposefully place themselves and their weapons among civilians. Groups that shoot their own fellow Arabs because of feuds, or suspicions, or honor. Groups that have killed dozens of their own people this year from assassinations, work accidents, and rocket misfires.
Not to mention that these are groups that are frustrated that they have not managed to kidnap any Israelis, and frustrated that their best fighters are being killed by the dozen.
And even more importantly - groups whose major strategy is to influence world public opinion by maximizing deaths among their own population.
Forget the likelihood of this being an accidental Qassam rocket or mortar volley. How unlikely is it that Hamas would purposefully fire into a UNRWA building - a building that symbolizes the entire world community - in order to deal a crushing blow to Israel's ability to wage war against it? Who has the most to gain from the deaths of dozens of civilians?
If the media was remotely objective, there is no way that they would assume that the IDF had fired those shells. On the contrary, they would have been asking these questions of Chris Gunness within minutes of his first tweet, instead of slavishly retweeting it themselves (as many did.)
The IDF isn't perfect, but if the IDF was as bloodthirsty as the headlines imply, then Gaza would have 70,000 dead by now, not 700.
There is no objectivity here. The a priori assumption of IDF guilt is evidence that the media truly thinks that the IDF is a sickeningly depraved army, the exact opposite of what has been seen over and over again even during this conflict (for those who care about the truth.)
Assuming that the IDF is morally depraved and at the same time not even entertaining the idea that Hamas, which brags that it targets civilians, could be behind this incident is proof positive that it is the media that is depraved and immoral.