The Dispatch, a US-based news outlet and member of the International Fact-Checking Network, published a article on Nov. 16 scrutinising claims that “All ICU patients at Al Shifa Hospital had died” amidst IDF military activity in the area, an allegation which had spreading rapidly across social media platforms last week. The Dispatch noted that Omar Suleiman, an American Muslim scholar with 2.4 million followers on Instagram, was among those circulating the accusation.
The claim was also spread by Quds News Network—a prominent Palestinian ‘news’ site reportedly affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). But, as early as Nov. 12, even they deleted their original X post and replaced it with a post saying that “two people had died” in the hospitals ICU – without attributing a specific reason for their deaths.
#BREAKING| Director of Al-Shifa Medical Complex told Al-Arabi TV: “Two patients were martyred in intensive care, but not everyone was martyred. If the catastrophic situation continues as it is, all intensive care patients will die, and dialysis patients may die tomorrow due to… pic.twitter.com/va0keiTPiT
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) November 12, 2023
Yet, five days after the PIJ affiliated outlet retracted their original claim, Barry Malone, Deputy Editor-In-Chief of Thomas Reuters Foundation, posted that false information – a post, which you can see below, includes a community note explaining that Al Jazeera wasn’t in fact reporting that “all patients in the hospital’s ICU are now dead”, that included a graphic attributing their death to an IDF raid.
Al Jazeera reporting, per Al-Shifa Director Muhammed Abu Salmiya, that all patients in the hospital's ICU are now dead. pic.twitter.com/47LuGyZLb1
— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) November 17, 2023
Later that day, Jane Ferguson, a journalist with the US public broadcaster PBS, quote posted Malone’s post, with the words “Appalling reports coming out of Al Shifa of ICU patients that have been allowed to die”.
Appalling reports coming out of Al Shifa of ICU patients that have been allowed to die…. https://t.co/U34w1NEjD7
— Jane Ferguson (@JaneFerguson5) November 17, 2023
Ferguson’s post was reposted that same day by Sky News journalist Mark Stone (the network’s former Middle East correspondent), again five days after even Al-Quds largely retracted their allegations.
This misinformation – which Stone post to his 73,500 X followers – is not a one-off. If you scroll through his posts, you’ll see obsessive critical scrutiny and criticism of Israel and almost nothing expressing outrage over, or questioning the claims of, Hamas, the Islamist terror group which carried out the worst antisemitic massacre since the Holocaust.
We’ve called on Stone to immediately delete the post.