Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton added another notch to his repugnant statements belt on Monday when he speculated that the Associated Press colludes with terrorists.
The senator is best known for appearing to defend slavery (he called it a “necessary evil,” something actual slaves and their descendants would almost certainly disagree with) and for urging a violent crackdown on lawful protesters in a 2020 New York Times op-ed, including support for the idea of police committing war crimes. On Monday, he was speaking in the Senate about the Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Saturday that we now know destroyed a building housing offices for Al-Jazeera, the Associated Press and other media outlets.
According to the Israeli military, that building also housed a Hamas intelligence outfit. However, no proof of this has been made public, and the Associated Press was known to have rented space in the building for 15 years. AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt also denies any knowledge of Hamas activity in the building. “We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building. This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk,” he said Monday.
But that wasn’t good enough for Cotton. In his remarks Monday, he ignored the fact that AP had been there for more than a decade without incident and instead insinuated in almost direct terms that the news agency is actively working with Hamas.
“Why is the Associated Press sharing a building with Hamas? Surely these intrepid reporters knew who their neighbors were,” Cotton said. “Did they knowingly allow themselves to be used as human shields by a US-designated terrorist organization? Did the AP pull its punches and decline to report for years on Hamas’ misdeeds?”
“I submit that the AP has some uncomfortable questions to answer, yet the AP and its fellow journalists are in high dudgeon about Israel’s wholly appropriate air strike. Leave it to whiny reporters to make themselves the story and the victim when terrorists are shooting missiles at innocent civilians.”
To be clear, there have been no accusations, even from Israel, that the AP was collaborating with Hamas. That appears to be something Cotton just made up in order to justify blaming media outlets for the destruction of their offices.
Watch his baseless remarks below: