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New York Times investigating freelancer who said Gaza should be turned into 'slaughterhouse'

The probe into the co-author of a New York Times report detailing alleged sexual violence perpetuated by Hamas has spurred further debate about the Times' reporting on Gaza
A mosque stands amid the rubble in Gaza in the border town of Rafah, on 22 February 2024 (Said Khatib/AFP)

The co-author of a New York Times report detailing sexual violence perpetuated by Hamas on 7 October liked a social media post calling for Gaza to be turned into a “slaughterhouse" and perpetuating debunked claims that 40 babies were beheaded by Hamas

Anat Schwartz, a New York Times freelancer, liked social media posts calling on Israel to execute Palestinians if hostages in Gaza were not released and said westerners had to be "scared" into believing Hamas was like the Islamic State group. 

Schwartz’s social media history, which was revealed by a user on X, has raised questions about media bias at The New York Times and the reliability of a report that has been widely shared and cited amid the war on Gaza.

The New York Times has launched an investigation. 

"We are aware that a freelance journalist in Israel who has worked with The Times has 'liked' several social media posts," Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement.

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"Those 'likes' are unacceptable violations of our company policy. We are currently reviewing the matter."

In December, The New York Times published the lengthy investigative report titled, “Screams Without Words,” detailing a pattern of sexual assault and rape allegedly committed by Hamas after they launched an attack on southern Israel on 7 October.

The article was widely shared and cited across media outlets. However, shortly after its publication, The New York Times began to face pushback over the piece.

Family members of one of the alleged victims contradicted the claims made in the report, saying it was not yet known whether their family member had been raped, while others denied altogether that their relative was raped. 

The latest revelation has stirred more concern about the piece.

'Scare Westerners'

Schwartz’s comments raised questions about bias at The New York Times, which had fired a freelance photojournalist for social media posts supporting Palestinian fighters.

“oh my god. One of the three authors of the New York Times' "mass rape" atrocity propaganda hoax is Anat Schwartz. She liked posts calling for Gaza to be turned into a "slaughterhouse". This the person the NYT hired to write about Palestinians and frame them as sub-human monsters,” one social media user wrote on X.

“If the shoe were on the other foot, would @nytimes tolerate this from the other side? Absolutely not,” another social media user posted. 

Anat Schwartz and her 24-year-old nephew by marriage, Adam Sella, co-authored the story with Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Jeffrey Gettleman.

Social media users have also drawn attention to the fact that Schwartz and her relative hadn’t worked for The New York Times until November, and lacked traditional journalism experience.

According to information available online, Schwartz worked in documentary filmmaking and in data analytics before she was hired by The New York Times. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is a director and screenwriter at the Israeli state-owned media outlet, Kan.

“How did Anat, who had no journalism experience, and her 24 yr old co-author Adam Sella (nephew by marriage) come to lead a front-page investigation?” Another social media user wrote.

Schwartz, who according to reports did her military service in Israeli air force intelligence, also liked social media posts saying it was necessary to establish "a narrative that Hamas is ISIS; for purposes of scaring Westerners.”

The revelations are likely to add more pressure on the New York Times' reporting on Gaza. Internal criticism of the article from newsroom staffers prompted the paper to cancel a planned podcast on the report, according to The Intercept.

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