Following the horrendous October 7 massacre by Hamas and shocking discoveries that certain media outlets' staff had "troubling ties" with terror organizations in Gaza, 14 State Attorney Generals issued a warning to the New York Times, CNN, Reuters and AP. "You should ensure that you are taking all necessary steps to prevent your organizations’ from contracting with members of terror organizations. We urge you in the strongest terms to take care that your hiring practices conform to the laws forbidding material support for terror organizations."
The letter was signed by the Attorney Generals from Iowa, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Montana, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee. "We will continue to follow your reporting to ensure that your organizations do not violate any federal or State laws by giving material support to terrorists abroad. Now your organizations are on notice. Follow the law," the officials wrote. According to the letter, it was sent after "some of the individuals that your outlets hire have deep and troubling ties to Hamas—and may have participated in the October 7 attack."
Despite the criticism, the news networks, with the exception of CNN, announced that they would continue to work with the photographers and reporters even though "material support of terrorist organizations is illegal."
The warning was made after the media watchdog group Honest reporting, claimed that cameramen working for prominent news outlets coincidentally arrived at the border during the early morning hours, raising questions about whether they had any foreknowledge of the attack.
The New York Times responded to the letter requesting the Attorney Generals to "refrain from trafficking in disinformation and insinuation" and deny the allegations, "there is no 'long record of paying terrorists,' there are no 'transactions with terrorists.'"
The New York Times doubled down. "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." Communications Director Charlie Stadtlander said adding that such accusations "endanger the lives of our journalists and the safety of American news organizations. They dishonor the heroic work that journalists in Gaza and elsewhere are doing against terrible odds to report what is happening on the ground. And they feed the false narratives that authoritarian regimes weaponize to demonize the press and justify laws that suppress press freedom."