Alexander Marquardt is a veteran reporter for ABC, who specializes as a correspondent in the Middle East. Despite everything he has seen thus far in his career, Marquardt maintains that the current conflict in Gaza is the worst one he has ever witnessed.
“There are no conflicts that come close to covering something like this,” Marqaurdt said, in an interview with The Huffington Post. “There are so many times when there are just these awful, tragic, heartbreaking scenes.”
“When you’re on the ground and you’re seeing things in terms of black and white, and just the human side of the story, the massive death toll, the massive level of destruction, it doesn’t matter what your politics are,” said Marquardt. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a viewer and you’re coming at this story from a certain angle. When you see children and babies crushed to death in their homes or targeted in airstrikes, it’s just heartbreaking.”
Marquardt found that the scenes that really stuck with him from Gaza were the ones that involved the Palestinian children who were victims of the conflict. He was among the journalists staying at a hotel near the beach where four Palestinian boys lost their lives, due to an Israeli airstrike. He also witnessed the death of a young boy who died after being hit by shrapnel. “These are things that really do stick with you,” Marqaurdt said.
Marqaurdt told The Huffington Post that he was shocked when NBC removed Foreign Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza. “It was the wrong move to pull him out,” he said. “It was certainly amazing to watch the community of journalists respond so angrily,” Marquardt added, referencing NBC’s decision to reinstate Mohyeldin as a correspondent in Gaza, after the network’s original decision created a major uproar on social media.
When comparing the coverage of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas to the coverage of the conflict between the two from 2008 to 2009, Marquardt said that the advancement of social media has “completely changed the dynamic” of the reporting.
“Israel was allowed to go about its business without as much scrutiny, whereas this time…there’s a lot more information coming out of Gaza,” said Marquardt, who added that due to the prominence of social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, it is even more important now to provide accurate and balanced coverage of the story at hand.
Despite the fact that Hamas runs a totalitarian regime in Gaza, Marquardt said, “It’s very easy to move around.” He added, “I’ve never felt like they were trying to stifle my reporting.”
However, in regards to the control exerted by Israel, Marquardt said, “I’ve never seen a PR machine like Israel’s. They are constantly bombarding you.“