Shortly before 4pmET, cable and broadcast networks turned from Ukraine — where they have spent most of the day reporting on Malyasia Airlines flight 17, which was shot down near the Russian border this morning — to Gaza, where Israel has just launched a ground offensive after several days of violence there.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was the only broadcast anchor still on the air when news of the ground invasion broke. “We’re just getting reports now from our Hamish MacDonald that Israeli military confirms to ABC news that the ground phase of the war in Gaza has indeed begun,” Stephanopoulos said. “Another huge crisis escalating at the same time as we’re getting all of these reports of the downed airliner.”
On cable, Shepard Smith continues to anchor from the Fox News Deck, joined by John Huddy from Gaza. Jake Tapper is anchoring on CNN, joined by Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem. CNN’s Ben Wedeman and Karl Penhaul also reported from Gaza during the 4pmET hour. Alex Wagner is anchoring on MSNBC.
MSNBC and CNN have mostly focused on the plane during the 4pmET hour, while Fox News has stayed with the Gaza story.
>Update: As an out of breath John Huddy voiced a running eyewitness account on Fox News, describing what he sees and hears, Smith said, “John Huddy is giving us a view like you won’t see on any channel in this world. I’m watching all of them. And nobody has this view, and nobody has this eye on this, except John Huddy.” Watch here.