Alexandre Trudeau Rewrites History, Redefines Terrorism

September 11, 2006

In 2004, Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau, son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, won second place in our "DishonestReporting Canada Awards" for his documentary "The Fence." Broadcast on CTV‘s W-5 current affairs program in September 2004, Trudeau’s documentary exemplified a phenomenon known as "bias by omission," in which a journalist skews their coverage by ignoring relevant information.

Trudeau’s profile of Palestinian terrorist Zakariah Zubeidi was a classic example: while portraying Zubeidi sympathetically, Trudeau neglected to mention that Zubeidi makes a living by killing civilians.


At a screening of his film for members of the Jewish commutiny, Trudeau explained his perspective:

"Trudeau, a self-professed left-wing journalist, says he is sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle.

‘The Palestinians have been deeply manipulated,’ said Trudeau. ‘They have been cornered into a game, and if pushed, they react violently. And then Israel hits twice as hard…

‘I don?t believe in objectivity in journalism,’ he said. ‘I don?t think it is possible.’"

Aasept11_essay_2 In the current issue of Maclean’s magazine, dated September 11, Trudeau continues his legacy of "bias by omission" with a one-sided reference to the Israel-Lebanon crisis. In a rambling column entitled "Defeating Fear," he writes:

"In Canada, fear now colours our leisure choices and our news reporting. Think only of how, not a month ago, this very magazine conjured up intimations of World War III as Israel attacked Lebanon."

Evidently Trudeau didn’t receive the memo that Israel’s "attack" was in response to unprovoked aggression from Lebanese territory, including a rocket barrage on Israel’s north, the murder of 8 Israeli soldiers, and the kidnapping of 2 others.

But while Trudeau’s passing half-truth in regard to Israel comes an no surprise, it is Trudeau’s definition of terrorism in the same article — in a magazine dated September 11 — that is shocking:

"Granted, the term ‘terrorist’ has been sorely misused over the years, but in essence it usually means someone who uses violence or the threat of violence against civilians to try to influence political realities when other means of change are available."

We’re not familiar with this definition of terrorism. With the subtle addition of the phrase "when other means of change are available," Trudeau seems to be saying that if no other means are available, violence against civilians is not terrorism. In other words, for those who have no other option, the premeditated murder of non-combatants might be acceptable.

Now that’s something to fear.

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