Canadian Media Fall for Palestinian Dead Baby Strategy

By Mike Fegelman

May 9, 2019

Israel’s enemies are adept at exploiting the deaths of Palestinian infants and innocent civilians alike to slander the Jewish state.

This crude and morally depraved anti-Israel propaganda was on full display on May 4 when Palestinians, specifically Gaza’s Health Ministry (run by the Hamas terror group) claimed that an Israeli airstrike killed a 14-month-old Palestinian baby girl and her pregnant aunt. In truth, the Islamic Jihad terror group reportedly admitted that one of its rockets had misfired and killed both Palestinian innocents. On May 5, Israel strenuously denied any responsibility for their deaths.

Despite this, Canadian and international media outlets parroted Palestinian claims that an Israeli airstrike had killed both Palestinians, despite the lack of corroborating evidence.

We’ve seen this before. In 2018, news outlets worldwide accused Israel of killing Layla Ghandour, an eight-month-old girl who Palestinians claimed had died as a result of tear gas inhalation fired by IDF soldiers at Gaza border riots. In reality, Palestinian doctors said that Layla had suffered from a congenital heart defect that likely caused her death.

HonestReporting Canada has liaised with many Canadian journalists calling for remedial action, with some media outlets assuring HRC that future reporting will attribute their deaths to the Islamic Jihad terror group.

Case in point, on May 5, CBC TV broadcast a short evening report headlined: “Child among dead in Gaza airstrikes” where CBC Anchor Arti Pole said the following: “Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza after it claimed Palestinian militants fired more than 200 rockets into its territory. A mother and baby were among three Palestinians killed. This Reuters video suggests at least one other child was also injured.”

Watch the report by clicking here or on the image below.

It was wrong for the CBC to report as fact in its headline and coverage that a “Child (was) among dead in Gaza airstrikes,” alleging that Israeli airstrikes killed a Gazan child. CBC should have just reported that as a claim at the time that a Palestinian baby was a casualty, without assigning culpability. As well, we can’t help but express concern for CBC showing what we consider to be a distasteful video of an alleged Palestinian baby victim without warning its viewers in advance. As well, it wasn’t necessary for the CBC to include the word “claimed” in reference to the Palestinian rocket fire. This isn’t about attribution and sometimes an inclusion of attribution can tacitly apply doubt to the claim itself. In reality, it was an undisputed fact at the time of reporting that 200 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza and if consistency were being considered, then the death of the Palestinian baby/aunt should have been treated as a mere claim at the time. In reality, CBC has to be more circumspect about the casualty figures it uses/sources and the composition of them and to be very careful in terms of assigning blame for deaths. The reality is that Gaza’s Health Ministry is run by the Hamas terror group and their statistics and statements should not be accepted as fact, and quite frankly, shouldn’t necessarily be parroted either.

Another example occurred on May 6, as CBC reporter Paul Hunter’s radio report saw him incorrectly state the following:

It was a brutal weekend, apparently sparked when Palestinian frustrations over the Israeli economic blockade of Gaza led to shots being fired into Israel wounding two soldiers, it escalated quickly. Many hundreds of rockets were fired from Israel into Gaza, and in return, Israel struck more than 300 targets in Gaza. More than two dozen Palestinians were killed, militants and civilians, including a 14-month-old girl. While on the Israeli side, 4 civilians were killed, the first Israeli civilian deaths from rocket attacks since the 2014 Gaza war.”

You can listen to this report at the following link.

What Mr. Hunter meant to say was that Palestinians fired many hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel, but instead, he said that the opposite happened and that Israel fired hundreds of rockets at Gaza and struck 300 targets in Gaza. Lastly, it was unfair and inaccurate to assign blame to Israel for the death of the 14-month-old Palestinian girl.

Meanwhile on May 5, CBC Radio and CBC The National aired another report by Paul Hunter who erroneously stated the following:

It’s the most serious fighting back and forth across the Israel-Gaza border in months, with hundreds of rockets fired at Israel and near relentless counterstrikes towards Gaza since Friday. Both Palestinians and for the first time since the 2014 Gaza-Israel war, Israeli civilians were killed today.”

Listen to the report by clicking here. Watch the report by clicking here.

In truth, the four Israeli deaths were merely the first Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian rocket fire since 2014, but there have been several dozens of Israeli victims of Palestinian terror since 2014, whether through shootings, stabbings, car ramming attacks, etc. Please see a full list from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Importantly, in dialogue with HRC, CBC News has acknowledged the unfortunate errors that were made by Paul Hunter and committed to properly reporting about these matters in the future.

Meanwhile, on May 4 and 5, the Toronto Star published the following reports in its print edition from the Associated Press which claimed that Israel was responsible for the death of the Palestinian infant and pregnant aunt.

After HRC filed a complaint with the Star, the following clarification notice was published on May 10: 

It’s commendable that the Star undertook remedial action which acknowledges Israel’s denial of responsibility for the tragic deaths of these Palestinian innocents. That said, we take umbrage with the claim that Israel and Hamas “traded” rocket fire as Hamas indiscriminately fires rockets and Israel responds with targeted attacks against terror targets. Lastly the way to reconcile claims and denials of responsibility is to not assign culpability in the first place and of course, for neutral parties to do an autopsy and investigation which would serve to confirm the veracity of the true cause of death, even though Islamic Jihad has already claimed responsibility for their deaths.

In another example of media bias, HRC subscriber Ed Goldberg from North Vancouver commendably took action to confront how his hometown paper, the Vancouver Province, had published reports which wrongly claimed that Israeli airstrikes killed the Palestinian baby and her aunt. Mr. Goldberg’s letter to the editor published on May 9 in the Province notes that it was Islamic Jihad who caused their deaths:

HonestReporting Canada will continue to monitor Canadian media coverage of these incidents and respond accordingly with journalists and news organization who produce incorrect and unfair reporting about Israel and recent hostilities with Palestinian terror organizations.

As these examples of media bias show, the first casualty of war is the truth.


You may also like