CNN anchor lies repeatedly about Israeli deaths of 7 October

Dana Bash looks on at event

CNN anchor Dana Bash has not accurately represented Israeli civilian and soldier deaths from 7 October 2023.

Nancy Kaszerman ZUMA Press

Dana Bash, perhaps CNN’s top anti-Palestinian propagandist, has time and again pushed false information to her viewers, including misinformation about how many Israeli civilians were killed on 7 October.

On 3 December I raised concerns with the network, but have received no official response.

Earlier that day, Bash commented on the “brutal massacre” of “1,200 Israeli civilians.” She has not used such terminology for the thousands of Palestinian civilians bombed to death in their homes or the many Palestinians shot dead in the streets by Israel’s apartheid army. And neither Bash nor the network has corrected her false claim that 1,200 Israeli civilians were killed that day.

That overstates the figure by about 300 as The New York Times admitted in a correction I suggested to them regarding hundreds of Israeli soldiers killed. Furthermore, an additional 71 foreigners were also reportedly killed.

Nor was this the first time Bash got it wrong.

On 5 November, before Israel revised the tally down, she referred erroneously to Secretary of State Antony Blinken defending “Israel’s right to retaliate against Hamas for murdering almost 1,400 civilians last month.”

On 14 November, reporting on the Washington “rally for Israel,” she declared that “1,200 innocent civilians were brutally massacred by Hamas terrorists.”

Finally, on 26 November, she said to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, “What’s gone so wrong on America’s college campuses that you have students openly applauding the terrorist killings of 1,200 or more civilians?”

She doesn’t raise the fact that students, politicians and journalists routinely defend the slaughter of thousands of Palestinian children – amidst the brutal killing of thousands more Palestinian men and women – with US weapons and Israel’s ongoing war crimes from before and after 7 October. They simply pin the deaths on Hamas or on the victims for not following instructions to self-displace from north to south Gaza, where Palestinians still got killed and continue to be killed today.

Bash isn’t ignorant. She knows the facts about Israeli soldiers also being killed.

The inflation of the Israeli civilian death total – and dropping of any reference to soldiers killed – is intended to make Americans more accepting of the carnage Israel directs at Palestinians.

On top of this, Bash has repeatedly downplayed the horrors endured by Palestinians while focusing on Israelis held captive in Gaza, accounts from 7 October, internal Democratic tension over Palestinian freedom, and campus protest that she falsely alleges is anti-Semitic for chanting from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

All of those merit attention, but the hours that go by with no mention of any Palestinian civilian casualties is notable and contributes to easing pressure on Israel. The images of Israeli war crimes readily available to viewers of Al Jazeera English and Twitter/X aren’t conveyed to CNN’s viewers with the urgency or frequency they merit.

7 October

Bash received far more attention on 3 December for her attacks on Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal than her same-day inflated reference to the total number of Israeli civilians killed on 7 October. It’s both false and misleading to ignore, as Bash does, that Hamas fought hundreds of Israeli soldiers that day.

This is not to say Hamas did not kill Israeli civilians on 7 October. But when the percentage of Israeli child deaths from that day is roughly 3 percent while the percentage of Palestinian child deaths – and casualties – is at something reportedly close to 40 percent, there is something profoundly wrong when CNN anchors aren’t noting the discrepancy.

Any child’s death is a horror. It’s just clear that for many CNN anchors, Palestinian children count for less. The intentionality and recklessness of what Israel is doing is too often given a pass by Bash and others at CNN.

Even President Joe Biden is now admitting to Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” – a confession of complicity in war crimes compounded by his recent decision to sell $106 million worth of tank shells to Israel and bypass congressional oversight in the process. Biden has vigorously armed Israel, content to accept that the Israeli right wing and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will pocket these military gains and disregard Biden’s antiquated political advice favoring two states, presumably with quite limited Palestinian control in the West Bank.

All this fails to even broach the issue of how many Israelis were killed on 7 October by Israel’s own troops. That’s a matter mainstream US journalists do not want to touch, even as the evidence mounts and as questions emerge about who killed – and how – the 200 Palestinians that Israel initially claimed were Israeli deaths.

Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev told MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan in mid-November that “We originally said, in the atrocious Hamas attack upon our people on October 7th, we had the number at 1,400 casualties and now we’ve revised that down to 1,200 because we understood that we’d overestimated, we made a mistake. There were actually bodies that were so badly burnt we thought they were ours, in the end apparently they were Hamas terrorists.”

Israel should have known it killed those people, which raises serious questions about indiscriminate Israeli fire that day.

The casualty decrease was known to Israeli settler Ben Packer for days before it was released to mainstream American media.

Packer, an Israeli settler and leading anti-Palestinian racist, wrote on Facebook on 2 November that the number of Israeli deaths had “surprisingly gone down and it’s now estimated that 1,200 were killed and 200 more bodies are actually those of killed terrorists.”

Say what you will about Packer: he’s a racist, a tour guide for Stephen Miller, and determined to ethnically cleanse Gaza and settle the territory, but he is plugged in to people who apparently knew for days that the casualty figures were incorrect.

The New York Times

In contrast to CNN, The New York Times corrected a similar 30 November error hours after I contacted the newspaper.

At that time, journalist Kayla Guo, had written of Hamas killing 1,200 civilians.

Later that day, The New York Times wrote: “A correction was made on Nov. 30, 2023: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the death toll of the Hamas attack on Oct. 7. It killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities, not 1,200 civilians. More than 300 soldiers and police officers were among those who died.

The newspaper, however, then failed to correct four similar errors I found soon thereafter. Those can be found here, here, here and here.

The newspaper corrected one such error so is certainly aware of the misrepresentation. But there’s no editors’ note about having put too much faith in the word of the Israeli government as the newspaper moved to do in the aftermath of its contested headline over the al-Ahli hospital devastation.

This fits precisely with rhetoric heard at least twice on CNN that has not been corrected – despite reporting to the contrary from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz – when, respectively, Senator Lindsey Graham and Elisha Wiesel falsely contended that Hamas “put a baby in the oven” and “baked babies in ovens.”

This is atrocity propaganda and it is contributing to the annihilation of Palestinians in Gaza and all-too-dangerous realities for Palestinians in the US as well.




It's atrocious that so many Palestinian non-combatants have been prevented from crossing borders to safety since Israel began unrelentingly bombarding Gaza and its citizens, sometimes even as they fled their homes upon Israeli insistence.

Not surprising, U.S. Republicans went into their ‘Christian’ mode, admitting that humanitarian aid for the Palestinians was/is not their concern.

The general western corporate news-media’s ‘coverage’ of the Israel-Palestinian conflict has long been very wanting. This includes their reporting on the current and past violence but especially their non-reporting on the consequential anti-Palestinian social injustices that continue in between every military flare up over decades of Israeli occupation.

Palestinian suffering and deaths in their entirety have not been justly represented.

Their great suffering and deaths may somehow seem less worthy of our actionable concern as otherwise relatively civilized nations. …

Apparently, while some identifiable groups have been brutally victimized throughout history a disproportionately large number of times, the victims of one place and time can and sometimes do become the victimizers of another place and time.

Indeed, people should avoid believing, let alone claiming, that they are not capable of committing an atrocity, even if relentlessly pushed.

Contrary to what is claimed or felt by many of us, deep down there’s a tyrant in each of us that, under the just-right circumstances, can be unleashed; and maybe even more so when convinced that God is on our side.

Michael F. Brown

Michael F. Brown is an independent journalist. His work and views have appeared in The International Herald Tribune,, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The News & Observer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and elsewhere.