And that’s the bigger problem with information tightly controlled for political reasons, which today’s slew of Red Cross stories could begin to address. The Washington Post begins to draw the connection between the singularity of the Red Cross accusation and its own organizational inability to verify other details (noting that even as the Red Cross is negotiating with the Israeli military to guarantee safe passage, the Post couldn’t independently corroborate certain other details about “large numbers of wounded survivors, including children, [that] had arrived at Red Cross hospitals in Gaza from Zaytoun on Wednesday,” because “the Israeli military has barred foreign journalists from entering Gaza”).
The Red Cross was able to see precisely what the press was not present to see. These are matters outside of individual reporters’ control. But the Red Cross report should nonetheless remind journalists of the scenes and situations they’re not able to cover in person, or at all. Alan Abbey, at Poynter, has noted that much of the blogospheric conversation about the conflict is happening from outside Gaza and Israel. Still, there are regional blogs, like this Bahraini one, that are receiving regular updates from Gaza. It may not be reportorial gold, but it’s a closer perspective than what most reporters currently have, and that makes it—like the Red Cross report—worthwhile.