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Washington Post columnist defends ex-CNN photojournalist who allegedly carried grenade for Hamas terrorists
Image composite: X video, @amit_segal - Screenshots

Washington Post columnist defends ex-CNN photojournalist who allegedly carried grenade for Hamas terrorists

A Washington Post columnist raised eyebrows Thursday when she rushed to defend the now-fired CNN photojournalist who allegedly carried war materiel for Hamas terrorists while effectively serving as their massacre videographer.

Megan McArdle went so far as to suggest in her defense of the Hamas-kissed photojournalist that she too might have held a grenade for terrorists if they'd been giving her a ride.

What's the background?

Israeli media watchdog HonestReporting revealed Wednesday that Hamas terrorists had some of their crimes against humanity captured in real time on film by Gaza-based photojournalists who had worked with mainstream outlets, such as the Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, and the New York Times. HonestReporting asked whether the journalists had coordinated with the terrorists and whether Western media outlets had signed off on their contributors embedding with Hamas.

The report named a number of photojournalists who appear to have been especially cozy with the terrorists, including Hassan Eslaiah, who served as a freelancer for CNN up until Thursday.

While a number of the Gaza-based photojournalists seemed to know just where to be and when to be there in order to capture photos of Israeli victims and Hamas destruction, Eslaiah's proximity stood out in the report.

HonestReporting indicated that Eslaiah posted now-deleted tweets with photos showing him in front of a recently destroyed Israeli tank without a press vest or markings to distinguish himself from the terrorists. While this may not have been enough to conclude that he was ethically compromised as a journalist, additional pictures emerged casting doubt on his journalistic distance from Hamas, including an image of Eslaiah being smooched by the terrorist mastermind of the Oct. 7 attacks.

What has generated the most outrage is the indication that rather than bring warnings to the women and children in Kibbutz Kfar Azza, Eslaiah, brought his camera — and possibly a grenade.

Footage shared by Israeli reporter Amit Segal allegedly shows Eslaiah with a Hamas terrorist on a motorcycle and holding his grenade "on his way to the massacre of women and babies." As it appears there are at least three people on the motorcycle, it's unclear who exactly is holding the explosive device.


The Western press outlets implicated in the report responded with indignance, stressing they had no foreknowledge of the Oct. 7 terror attacks. Those with links to the photojournalists in the report either qualified them, cut them, or, in the New York Times' case, defended them.

"Unfortunate news," CNN CEO Mark Thompson told staff Thursday morning. "We've discovered that a stringer may have been there during the attack with Hamas on Oct. 7. CNN had no prior knowledge of the attack," reported Mediaite.

CNN said in a public statement, "Hassan Eslaiah, who was a freelance journalist working for us and many other outlets, was not working for the network on October 7th. As of today, we have severed all ties with him."

The Associated Press similarly cut Eslaiah loose, noting Thursday, "The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began. No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time. We are no longer working with Hassan Eslaiah, who had been an occasional freelancer for AP and other international news organizations in Gaza."

Israeli officials have indicated Eslaiah and the other photojournalists have shot their last terror reels.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on X, "The National Public Diplomacy Directorate in the PMO views with utmost gravity that photojournalists working with international media joined in covering the brutal acts of murder perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on October 7th in the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip."

"These journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics," added Netanyahu.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz responded to the report, writing on X, "Journalists found to have known about the massacre, and still chose to stand as idle bystanders while children were slaughtered - are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such."

Knesset member Danny Danon noted, "Some [photojournalists] arrived together with the terrorists on motorcycles. Some even carried weapons for the terrorists. While Hamas savages murdered, raped, tortured and brutally abused our people, the vile photographers did not stop, turn away or leave the scene. Instead they filmed and participated in the crimes. We will hunt them down together with the terrorists."

'Benefit of the doubt'

McArdle took to X Thursday to denounce Israel's response to the revelations that Eslaiah likely served as terror videographer.

"I understand Israel's anger, but it is morally wrong and a political mistake to target journalists who rushed to cover a story," wrote McArdle. "Possibly some of them are complicit, I don't know. But Israel should give them the benefit of the doubt."

"We have no idea whether they were told of the attack in advance, whether they simply rushed to cover the breakthrough and followed fighters through, or whether they had any opportunity to prevent the crimes," continued McArdle.

When confronted with the apparent evidence that Eslaiah had mounted a bike with Hamas terrorists brandishing explosives, McArdle presented an excuse for the photojournalists in the form of the suggestion that they might have thought the victims were going to be Israeli soldiers.

"There were military installations in the area. How do you know that the journalists knew that civilians were the target?" wrote the columnist for Jeff Bezos' newspaper.

She later added, "If they committed war crimes, then Israel should try them, or refer them to the international court. They should not announce, in advance of an investigation, that they'll all be killed."

The Washington Post columnist also noted that if she were on her way to a massacre of civilians in the company of terrorists, she too might have held onto their munitions for them.

"If a Hamas fighter who was giving me a ride on his operation handed me a grenade, I might not risk his anger by handing it back," wrote McArdle.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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