After Israeli armed forces shut down a children’s hospital in Gaza last week, a spokesperson for the country’s military gave a tour to members of the international press, taking time to show them something that he argued was evidence of Israel’s claim that the hospital in the Palestinian enclave may have been used to hold hostages taken by Hamas in an Oct. 7 attack: a calendar.
In an Israeli government video, Daniel Hagari, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, called it “a guarding list where every terrorist writes his name and every terrorist has his own shift guarding the people that were here.” Hamas denied the claim, and skeptics pointed out that the document was simply a list of dates and days of the week since Oct. 7 under the title “Al Aqsa Flood Battle,” Hamas’ name for the attack, along with the Oct. 7, 2023, date. It included no names ― of “guards” or anyone else.
Eventually, Israel backtracked somewhat: A spokesperson acknowledged a translation error in Hagari’s statement and, notably, said that video of his remark distributed to media outlets had been corrected, with the specific reference to the document deleted.
In the United States, at least one news outlet has made similar changes but without any editor’s note or other acknowledgment of the change or the dispute over the initial video.
CNN’s international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson’s full report, from Al-Rantisi hospital, included Robertson announcing that “more evidence, Hagari says, points towards Hamas and possible hostage presence below the hospital.”
Then CNN showed Hagari making a statement about the “guarding list” on which “every terrorist has his own shift.” After that, the report showed Robertson pointing out a toy flashlight on the floor next to a knife. Hagari claimed he hadn’t seen the objects until Robertson mentioned them. Robertson then asked, “What does it tell you?” Hagari eventually answered that he believed there was “no other answer” than that the room was used to hold hostages.
The clip made the rounds this week, with critics saying it showed CNN had given too much space to the Israeli military’s claims.
But in several other broadcasts of Robertson’s report, as well as on CNN’s YouTube page and website, none of that remains. Instead, Robertson’s report skips ahead to the journalist asking Hagari about other hospitals and the IDF spokesperson arguing “we were right to fire” upon Al-Rantisi.
In an email to HuffPost, a CNN spokesperson acknowledged that the report, which first aired on Kaitlan Collins’ program, “was cut ― purely for length ― for subsequent shows.” The spokesperson argued that such cuts were “not uncommon at all,” especially given the nine-minute length of the original segment.
But CNN has seemingly provided no acknowledgment or explanation to its online readership about these scenes apparently being cut from other versions of Robertson’s report ― the CNN.com page for the report includes no editor’s note or clarification, nor does CNN’s YouTube page.
Compare the videos below.
Collins posted what appears to be the original video report on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday. For the segment in question, fast-forward to 6:19: