May 28, 2024

Trey Yingst’s home has become his office.

Yingst, a foreign correspondent who calls Israel his home when he isn’t traveling the globe for Fox News Channel, was in his apartment a little over a week ago when he got word of horrible things happening near the country’s border with Gaza. Many people would likely move away from that area but it’s Yingst’s job to move toward such hot spots.

“I was going to go to the beach that day,” Yingst recalls.

For a large number of U.S. viewers, Yingst, 30 years old, is one of the primary storytellers of the current conflict between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization, and is likely to be so for the next several weeks, if not more. While CNN often sees a spike in viewership during matters of global import, Fox News overall viewership over the past week was bigger than either that of CNN or MSNBC during breaking-news coverage of the horrific events.

“My goal in doing all of this is to make people care,” he says during a recent phone conversation. “Our job is to inform people, educate people, hold those in power accountable, and it is to tell an accurate picture of what’s taking place. This is the reality of war– these images.”

In recent days, Yingst has been on air relaying not just scenes from Israel, but also whatever word he can get about what’s taking place in Gaza, an area which many U.S. journalists cannot enter. “At this moment, it’s not possible,” he says, though he notes he has in the past been able to embed with Israelis and Hamas military groups. What’s happening there, he says, “is directly a part of this story.”

Most of his recent days have been filled with wall-to-wall coverage, simply getting to a safe spot, linking to Fox News and showing viewers what’s going on. But Yingst hopes he will eventually get more time to tell more stories about how individuals are coping in Israel and seek out people doing heroic things.

Meanwhile, he is also grappling with a panoply of terrible images all around him. He has seen dead bodies being piled up for removal and saws the body of a policeman who had been trying to protect those people around him. It’s not the first time he’s had to grapple with such encounters. Yingst has spent weeks in Ukraine covering Russia’s incursion into that country. “I saw a lot of bad things there too — mass graves dug up, bodies of soldiers on the front lines,” he notes. “I think this hits closer to home because I’m based here.”

He’s very conscious of not trying to take unncessary risks. On his team’s initial attempt to try and cover Hamas incursion, his group came to a road block, and decided to halt their progress. “We heard gunfire and tension was palpable,” he recalls. The team decided at the time to stay in place, he says, and not push their luck. “I’m very grateful that we did.”

Yingst has been spotted on TV at times keeping emotions at bay even as he describes a gruesome scene. “We have a responsibility to cover this but it’s also our jobs as war correspondents to go to the places where other people won’t go and to see the things that other people won’t see.”

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