The New York Times sent a letter to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Friday condemning him for suggesting that its employees were involved in Hamas’ attack on Israel last month, calling him out for “parroting disinformation.”
The message came in response to a letter that Cotton sent to Times leadership Thursday citing “reports” that the newspaper’s journalists were “embedded with Hamas, knew about the attack, and ... accompanied members of Hamas as they carried out the attack.”
The “reports” Cotton referenced are completely unverified and irresponsible to share as valid sources of information, Times counsel David McCraw said in response.
“As I am sure you agree, the spread of disinformation and incendiary rhetoric threatens the health of our democracy. Sadly, your letter to The New York Times of November 9 exacerbates those very problems,” McCraw wrote.
″[Y]ou are merely parroting disinformation harvested form the internet based on a website that has conceded it had no evidence for its claims,” the letter continued, adding: “Falsehoods circulated on the Internet are many things, but they are most certainly not ‘reports.’ They also should not be abused by a U.S. Senator to falsely accuse fellow Americans of crimes.”
In his letter, Cotton demanded that the Times say how many members of its staff have been embedded with Hamas, when the paper became aware of their involvement with the terrorist group and how much funding the Times has given to Hamas.
“To make it plain for you,” the Times responded, “the only connection The New York Times has to Hamas is that we report on the organization fearlessly and at times at great risk, bringing essential information to the public about the terrorist attacks in Israel and the ongoing conflict in Gaza.”
Cotton has made aggressive statements in support of Israel’s counterstrikes on Gaza, where members of the Hamas militant group are based.
“As far as I’m concerned, Israel can bounce the rubble in Gaza,” Cotton said on Fox News last month. The phrase refers to further damaging something that is already destroyed.
Members of Hamas stormed Israel, killing an estimated 1,200 people and taking roughly 240 people hostage, on Oct. 7, according to the Israeli government. In response, Israel launched an all-out attack on Gaza, killing at least 11,000 people so far in the Palestinian territory, according to Gaza health officials.