The Times ran a headline immediately after the Oct. 17 incident that attributed claims of Israeli responsibility to Hamas officials in Gaza and put the death toll at 500.
Israel denied involvement in the blast, and subsequent analysis by independent investigators revealed the explosion was caused by a rocket fired from within Gaza by Islamic Jihad terrorists. The deaths from the explosion near Al Ahli Arab Hospital were estimated to be no more than 50.
Biden told a group of Wall Street executives gathered at the White House last week that the Times headline could have contributed to an escalation in conflict through the region, according to the news site Semafor.
A summit with Arab leaders was canceled after Biden flew to Israel. He was particularly galled over the fact that the headline appeared “in an American newspaper,” according to the Semafor report.
The Post has sought comment from the Times and the White House.
Biden’s criticism is part of a long-simmering animus the president has harbored toward the Gray Lady, according to Semafor.
He is reportedly still smarting from the Times’ coverage of his 2020 campaign during which the newspaper raised questions about his chances of beating Donald Trump.
Biden has reportedly shunned requests for interviews by Times reporters. Instead, he has granted sit-downs with the paper’s opinion columnists, who are considered more sympathetic to his administration, according to Semafor.
Biden’s meeting with Wall Street executives was an opportunity for the president to reconnect politically with a constituency that has been turned off by his administration’s antitrust crackdowns and stepped-up securities regulations, according to Semafor.
Wall Street honchos have rallied behind Israel since the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,400 Israelis. Another 200 have been taken hostage.
Hedge fund billionaires Bill Ackman and Ken Griffin have denounced student groups at Harvard that circulated a letter blaming Israel for Hamas’ atrocities.
Apollo CEO Marc Rowan denounced administrators at his Ivy League alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, for failing to explicitly condemn Hamas in the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 bloodbath.
Last week, Vanity Fair reported that senior editors at the Times pushed back on junior staffers who encouraged them to “hedge” their initial headlines that amplified Hamas claims about the hospital explosion.
In the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 17 hospital blast, the Times’ website featured a main headline that read: “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say.”
The Times also ran a sub-headline that read: “At Least 500 Dead in Gaza Attack, as Biden Prepares to Visit to Israel.”
Hamas has not produced any evidence supporting its claim that it was an Israeli missile that was fired at the hospital.
Western intelligence agencies have also disputed Hamas’ death toll figures and Biden himself cast doubt on the accuracy of casualty numbers that are being put forward by officials in Gaza.
Last Monday, the Times admitted it “relied too heavily on claims by Hamas and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified.”
In a rare editor’s note, the Times wrote that it “attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials, and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast.”
Subsequent investigations and analyses of the blast site and the crater left by the explosion seemed to bolster Israel’s claim that it was an errant Palestinian rocket that set in motion the tragic chain of events.
The governments of the United States, Canada and France publicly absolved Israel of blame for the deaths at Al Ahli Arab Hospital.