Updated 4:30 PST: The Los Angeles Times defended as “inaccurate, irresponsible and reckless” an accusation that managing editor Sara Yasin was sympathetic to Hamas because of posts on her social media feed referring to Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocide,” among other anti-Israel comments.
“Any suggestion that Sara Yasin sympathizes with Hamas is inaccurate, irresponsible and reckless,” the Times’ VP of communications Hillary Manning said in a statement to TheWrap. “We stand behind our editors who oversee our coverage, and are committed to the standards of accuracy and fairness. We will continue to deliver on our promise to the public by reporting the news with journalistic rigor, fairness and compassion.
CAMERA, the media watchdog group, publicly called out the Los Angeles Times for what it sees as bias toward Hamas in its coverage of the conflict, as well as social media re-posts by Yasin the group says show that “her sympathies lie with Hamas.”
In a piece published on Monday, The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) highlighted an LA Times article which asserts that “Israel has controlled the small Palestinian enclave of Gaza,” for decades. CAMERA noted, however, that “since September 2005, when Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, pulling out every single last civilian and soldier, the Jewish state has not controlled the coastal territory.”
Update: The LAT corrected the story on Tuesday at 8:47 a.m. PST. “An earlier version of this article implied that Israel has controlled the Gaza Strip. Israel has controlled its border with Gaza, but not the territory itself,” Manning told TheWrap.
The language in the story now reads, “For decades, Israel has controlled its border with the Palestinian territory of Gaza on the Mediterranean, where many residents are impoverished and cannot leave.”
Yasin was cited in the CAMERA report for her X feed, which includes reposted assertions that Israel is “practicing genocide” in its Gaza military response, and other messages seen by the group as supporting Hamas. In her bio, Yasin describes herself as “Palestinian-American raised on a steady diet of hummus and fried chicken. Managing Editor, @latimes.”
According to CAMERA, Yasin has revealed that “her sympathies lie with Hamas.” The piece cites retweets by the LA Times managing editor that it says are unfairly critical of Israel according to the accuracy organization.
Yasin additionally retweeted a post on X which included comments from UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese, stating: “Israel has already carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians under the fog of war … Again, in the name of self-defense, Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing.”
In another tweet, Yasin posted a quote from the leftist publication Jewish Currents: “Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza is quite explicit, open, and unashamed” — Raz Segal, an expert on genocide, writes for @JewishCurrents.”
CAMERA argues that Yasin, who oversees the daily coverage of the LA Times, does not fulfill the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, which states that “impartiality should still be a reporter’s goal.”
“All eyes will be on The Los Angeles Times to see if the paper corrects the blatant factual error about the Gaza Strip and whether it allows its coverage to be dictated by SPJ’s Code of Ethics or by a standard more amenable to Hamas interests,” CAMERA concluded.
After seeing CAMERA’s report, the editor-in-chief of Semafor Ben Smith – who worked with Yasin at Buzzfeed – expressed his disappointment on X saying, “this kind of personal attack on journalists, based on some combination of staring obsessively at social media, paying no attention to their actual work, and looking at people’s last names, is a terrible feature of late Twitter.”