David Carr Defends Slain Journalists Claim

Israeli accounts challenged the Times columnist's criticism of Israel for strikes that killed two men he described as journalists.

New York Times media reporter David Carr defended his Monday column accusing Israel of killing journalists in Gaza on Monday, after Israeli officials and their allies accused him of conflating Hamas operatives and reporters.

"The three men who died in missile strikes in cars on Nov. 20 were identified by Reuters, AP, AFP, and Washington Post and many other news outlets as journalists," Carr told BuzzFeed in an email. "The Committee to Protect Journalists, which I treat as a reliable, primary source in these matters, identified them as journalists. (as did Reporters without Borders.)"

"I ran my column by reporters and editors at our shop familiar with current events in the region before I printed it," Carr said. "And I don't believe that an ID made by the IDF is dispostive or obviates what the others said. Doesn't mean that I could not have gotten it wrong, only that the evidence so far suggests that they were journalists, however partisan."

Carr's story on Monday, "Using War as Cover to Target Journalists," zeroed in on three men recently killed during the conflict in Gaza: Mohamed Abu Aisha, Hussam Salama, and Mahmoud al-Kumi. Two of the men were cameramen for Al-Aqsa TV, which Carr writes is "run by Hamas and whose reporting frequently reflects that affiliation." The third, Aisha, was the director of Al-Quds Educational Radio.

Tablet ran a story on Monday contesting the idea that the men were really journalists, citing an Israeli Defense Forces Blog claim that one of the deceased, Muhammad Shamalah, was "commander of Hamas forces in the southern Strip and head of the Hamas militant training programs" riding in a truck marked "TV." The Tablet story also cites another pro-Israel blog, Elder of Ziyon, which calls Aisha a "uniform-wearing member of Islamic Jihad" and includes a picture of him in uniform.

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