The Yale Daily News (YDN) has issued a retraction of its editor’s notes claiming a lack of evidence of Hamas terrorism in the Palestinian group’s October attack on Israel.
Critics say the controversy shows that YDN didn’t do the normal, cursory fact-checking of even a simple Google search before it issued the claims that not enough evidence existed of the atrocities carried out by Hamas.
“In the age of fast-paced digital journalism, Yale Daily News’ error reveals that its staff had no interest in Googling the most current information on the Hamas terror attacks and the now-unfolding war,” wrote Campus Reform.
When asked by The Lion if a simple Google search might have avoided the controversy, as Campus Reform claims, YDN editor-in-chief Anika Seth said she’d let the statement on the retractions issued by YDN stand as the entirety of the explanation for the mistake.
Seth is working on a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and, in addition to serving as editor-in-chief of YDN, serves as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair at the newspaper.
The YDN editor’s notes that were retracted were issued as a correction to previously published pieces which correctly claimed that Hamas committed terrorist acts, as has been widely-reported.
“These corrections erroneously created the impression that, as of late October, there still was not enough publicly available evidence for those horrific acts,” Seth wrote in a YDN blog post that served as a retraction. “The News therefore retracts those editor’s notes in their entirety and without qualification. The notes have been removed from the columns, and the original text has been restored.”
The editor’s notes in question said about one piece it erroneously corrected, “This column has been edited to remove unsubstantiated claims that Hamas raped women and beheaded men.”
Campus Reform Noted that as early as Oct. 10, MSNBC had confirmed some of the Hamas atrocities, while Reuters reported on those atrocities as early as Oct. 15.
The opinion pieces ran Oct. 12 and 13, while the now-retracted corrections by YDN were issued Oct. 25 and 26.
“It was never the News’ intention to minimize the brutality of Hamas’ attack against Israel,” wrote Seth. “We are sorry for any unintended consequences to our readership and will ensure that such erroneous and damaging material does not make it into our content, either as opinion or as news.”
Seth also claimed that the anger generated by the newspaper’s own mistake has created a dangerous atmosphere, with threats of violence against YDN, its staff and their families as a result.
“Threats of violence leveled against the News, its editors and their families have intensified this week. Threats of this severity are unacceptable in any circumstance,” Seth said.
Besides the allegations made by Seth, however, threats of violence against YDN appear unsubstantiated as of Wednesday.