Canadian Media: Errors and Distortions
July 10, 2008
Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber: Many of our members have asked us to define what constitutes media bias. Because “bias” is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, and is often painfully ambiguous, we monitor the Canadian media for fairness and accuracy, including factors like objectivity and balance, and whether a report lacks context, uses true facts to draw false conclusions, or contains misleading definitions or terminology. In an effort to ensure that you’re more than just a passive player in this process, we have detailed several errors and distortions made by the Canadian media in recent weeks, how we responded, and the results we secured, so that you too can spot lapses in Canadian journalistic standards and take action to hold the media accountable. Distortion of Facts at CBC Online Reporting on the terrorist rampage of an Israeli Arab construction worker who killed three Israelis and wounded over 40, CBC Online made the following erroneous statement in a report last week: (See our exclusive screen grab below)
This sentence uses language that assumes land was taken from the Palestinians and can therefore be returned. However, historical record shows that while the land was controlled by various entities throughout time, it was never controlled or taken from the Palestinians. HonestReporting Canada brought this error to the attention of CBC Online editors who promptly issued the following correction:
The original sentence was also amended online to reflect the following:
Misleading Headline in the Hamilton Spectator A headline in the Hamilton Spectator on June 30 erroneously reported that notorious Lebanese terrorist Samir Kantar had been freed. The headline stated “Murderer freed in exchange for bodies.” Contrary to the headline, and as the report stated, Samir Kantar has not been freed yet. The Associated Press article in fact only detailed that the Israeli cabinet had agreed in principle to the deal. HonestReporting Canada brought the error to the attention of Spectator editors who issued the following correction on July 8:
Incorrect Statistics at RadioCanada.ca The French-arm of CBC, Radio Canada, carried two reports (see here and here) on its website on June 15 which incorrectly stated that “Nearly 20 000 Jews live in settlements in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.” Contrary to this statement, Israel disengaged over 8,500 settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip in 2005. There are currently no settlers nor is there any physical Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip.
HonestReporting Canada brought this error to the attention of RadioCanada.ca editors who removed the erroneous paragraph from the online reports: (See our exclusive before and after screen grab)
How You Can Make A Difference As the Canadian media are the primary lens through which Canadians learn about the world, they play an important role in influencing public opinion and government policy toward Israel and the Middle East. We require accurate information about the world in which we live in and you can play an important role in this process by ensuring fair and accurate media coverage of Israel. If you come across a problematic media report that you feel requires our attention or if you need any assistance in drafting a letter to the editor, please contact our offices at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (416) 915-9157.