ABC, NBC Fail to Cite Hamas Official Admitting to Group’s Kidnapping and Murder of Israeli Teens in June

The morning news shows for the major broadcast networks came and went on Thursday and two of the three networks in ABC and NBC refused to mention a key revelation in the ongoing fighting between Israel and the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. After previously denying involvement, a senior Hamas official admitted to the group's involvement in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in early June that later led to the intense fighting throughout the summer.

The other major broadcast network, CBS, did mention this new development at the end of a 21-second news brief on its morning show, CBS This Morning. Co-host Norah O’Donnell reported that: “Also this morning, for the first time, Hamas officials confirm that the group kidnapped three Israeli teenagers who were killed back in June.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

All three broadcast networks did cover the news that an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip Thursday morning killed three Hamas leaders and that Israel would continue responding with rockets into Gaza until Hamas stops firing barrages of missiles into Israel. However, each network offered up only a single news brief regarding the situation now that the most recent cease fire had been broken. Even there, they all failed to mention that Hamas was the party responsible for causing it to end.

According to an article from Reuters, “[a] top Hamas official” announced that his organization was responsible for the capture and killing of the three teenagers in June. One of the young men killed was a U.S. citizen who had joint citizenship in Israel. The Reuters article mentioned how “Hamas, which controls Gaza, has up to now refused to confirm or deny Israeli accusations that it masterminded the abduction and killing of the three young men.”

The official told a group of delegates at a gathering of Islamic scholars in Istanbul, Turkey that “[t]he popular will was exercised throughout our occupied land, and culminated in the heroic operation” by armed-Hamas forces “in imprisoning the three settlers in Hebron” who were Jewish seminary students.

In addition, Reuters reported that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal had “denied knowledge of the abduction but praised its perpetrators.” 

With a scant 13 seconds on the subject, ABC’s Good Morning America featured a small news brief at during the 7:00 a.m. hour from newsreader Amy Robach: 

And a serious escalation in the Middle East overnight. Hamas confirming an intense Israeli air strike has killed three of its top military leaders. Israeli leaders saying their operation will not stop until Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel.

As mentioned earlier, CBS This Morning did offer the sole mention of the Israeli teenagers and Hamas claiming responsibility in the following news brief from O’Donnell: 

In Gaza this morning, an Israeli air strike killed three senior Hamas military leaders. Israel launched 20 attacks on Gaza overnight. Hamas said the three men were responsible for a number of attacks on Israeli targets. Also this morning, for the first time, Hamas officials confirm that the group kidnapped three Israeli teenagers who were killed back in June.

NBC’s Today neglected to mention the admission from Hamas in what was the longest news brief at merely 28 seconds from news reader Natalie Morales: 

The Islamic militant group Hamas says three of its senior military leaders have been killed in an air strike in the Gaza Strip. Israeli aircraft have carried out more than 100 strikes in Gaza since the cease-fire was broken on Tuesday and Palestinian militants launched more than 180 rockets at Israel. Egyptian negotiators said today they will continue to try and broker a long-term cease-fire even though both the Israeli and Palestinian delegations have left Cairo.


The transcript from the news brief on ABC’s Good Morning America on August 21 is transcribed below.

ABC’s Good Morning America

08/21/14

7:10:55 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN GRAPHIC: ABC News : Crisis in the Middle East; Deadly Strike]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking Overnight: Airstrike Kills Hamas Leaders; Israel “Will Not Stop” Operation]

AMY ROBACH: And a serious escalation in the Middle East overnight. Hamas confirming an intense Israeli air strike has killed three of its top military leaders. Israeli leaders saying their operation will not stop until Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel.

The full transcript from the news brief that aired on CBS This Morning on August 21 can be found below.

CBS This Morning 

08/21/2014

7:19:12 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hamas Leaders Killed; Israeli Strike Targets Senior Military Officials]

NORAH O’DONNELL: In Gaza this morning, an Israeli air strike killed three senior Hamas military leaders. Israel launched 20 attacks on Gaza overnight. Hamas said the three men were responsible for a number of attacks on Israeli targets. Also this morning, for the first time, Hamas officials confirm that the group kidnapped three Israeli teenagers who were killed back in June.

The transcript from the news brief on NBC’s Today from August 21 is transcribed below.

NBC’s Today

08/21/14

7:11:59 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Developing Story: Three Hamas Leaders Killed; Violence Erupts as Cease-Fire Collapses in Gaza]

NATALIE MORALES: The Islamic militant group Hamas says three of its senior military leaders have been killed in an air strike in the Gaza Strip. Israeli aircraft have carried out more than 100 strikes in Gaza since the cease-fire was broken on Tuesday and Palestinian militants launched more than 180 rockets at Israel. Egyptian negotiators said today they will continue to try and broker a long-term cease-fire even though both the Israeli and Palestinian delegations have left Cairo.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division