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Canadian Media Regret Their Errors

by Mike Fegelman

HonestReporting Canada has been working on the front lines in keeping Canada's media honest over the past couple of weeks. When ensuring that news organizations issue corrections to rectify their mistakes, we don't doubt that they regret their errors and endeavour to not make them again in the future.

Read the latest HonestReporting Canada media action alert entitled "Canadian Media Regret Their Errors" online by clicking below.

Canadian Media Regret Their Errors

January 30, 2009

By: Mike Fegelman

Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber:                                                        

Serge Schmemann, former deputy foreign editor of the New York Times, once wrote:

?There is nothing a journalist fears more than having a correction printed about his story.?

A media outlet's willingness to issue a correction and to rectify its error is a fair indicator of a news organization's commitment to media accountability and to its overall integrity.

In January alone, HonestReporting Canada and our members obtained an abundance of corrections and retractions by Canadian news organizations as the conflict between Israel and Hamas carried on. Here is a short list detailing our continued efforts and the latest media developments.

CBC.CA ISSUES CORRECTION AFTER HRC INTERVENTION

After CBC.ca falsely reported on January 22 that Israel had not opened border crossings to the Gaza Strip since the January 18 ceasefire, HonestReporting Canada notified CBC editors that Israel had in fact re-opened key Gaza border crossings (Kerem Shalom, Karni and Nahal Oz terminals) three times to allow for the transfer of humanitarian aid, cooking gas, and diesel fuel into the Gaza Strip.

On January 23, CBC.ca issued the following correction to remedy their error:

CBC "THE NATIONAL" ISSUES ON-AIR CORRECTION

CBC "The National" issued the following on-air correction on January 13 after the network wrongly implied that then president-elect Barack Obama had only expressed concern about the loss of civilian lives in the Gaza Strip, whereas in fact, he had also expressed vocal concern for the loss of civilian life in Israel as well.

To view the original error and the on-air correction online click on the images below.

 

Original Error

 

 On-Air Correction

  • Peter Mansbridge: ?We want to set something straight for the record, last week following a story on civilian deaths in the Gaza, we said Barack Obama was concerned about the loss of civilian lives there. He also said that he was concerned about the loss of civilian life in Israel and that should have been mentioned in the story as well.?

MONTREAL GAZETTE CORRECTS "OCCUPIED TERRITORY" REFERENCE

In a January 11 report about pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Montreal, a Gazette reporter erroneously described the Gaza Strip as an ?occupied territory? a claim which is baseless and without merit given Israel?s unilateral withdrawal of its soldiers and 8,500 settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

After bringing our concerns to the attention of Gazette editors, the following correction was issued on January 13:

HRC PROMPTS CANWEST TO ISSUE CORRECTION

The international and Canadian media were quick to castigate Israel after the UN claimed that Israeli tank shells had struck a UN aid vehicle, killing its workers.

Canwest News correspondent Matthew Fisher reported on January 10 that: ?Humanitarian aid deliveries had been suspended on Thursday after two truck drivers were killed by what the UN said was an Israeli tank attack.?

Contrary to this statement and as this Toronto Star correction confirms, only one UN driver was killed. More importantly, this report failed to indicate that the Israel Defense Forces had denied any responsibility for the death of the aid worker. As the Jerusalem Post reported also on January 10:

?The IDF was not responsible for the death of a Palestinian aid worker contracted to the UN and the wounding of two others on Thursday, the IDF Spokesman said Saturday.
 
An IDF investigation has found that it was not the army who fired on a UN truck at the Erez crossing," the IDF Spokesman's Office said?.  in all probability, the aid workers were hit by Hamas gunfire.
 
The foreign press reports were based on UN sources, who later admitted to the Post that they were not sure in which direction the truck was headed when it was hit, and could also not say with certainty that tank shells were responsible."

Given the aforementioned error and serious omission, we asked Canwest News to rectify the false misconception that ?two truck drivers were killed? and to update their readers about the new evidence which seems to exonerate any Israeli culpability in the aid worker's death or to at least cast some doubt into the UN?s version of events.

On January 13, Canwest News issued the following correction (as seen below in the Montreal Gazette) over its wire service:

TORONTO STAR ISSUES CORRECTION AFTER HRC INTERVENTION

When publishing a letter to the editor, newspapers are responsible for fact checking a letter writer's claim before putting it to print. On January 4, a Toronto Star letter writer shockingly alleged that 950 West Bank Palestinians had been killed by Israeli settlers since 2000. As this allegation was patently false and as the Star and their letter writer could not provide any evidence to support this accusation, we demanded that a formal correction be issued.

On January 9, the Toronto Star did just that:

TORONTO SUN WRONG ON "ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS"

After the Toronto Sun?s Peter Worthington had incorrectly described Hamas rocket attacks as being directed at Israeli ?settlements,? the following letter was submitted by HonestReporting Canada and printed in the January 16 edition to remedy this error:

HonestReporting Canada congratulates its members whose involvement and support have been crucial in keeping the media honest. By sending letters of complaint, you ensured that news organizations acknowledged and corrected their mistakes, and became sensitive to the facts of the Middle East.

 
HonestReporting.ca

To support our continued efforts to hold the Canadian news media accountable for their reporting on Israel, please donate here today. Through your donations, you can help ensure that Canadian journalists are held to the highest standards of "Honest Reporting."

Or send a cheque to:

HonestReporting Canada

P.O. Box 6, Station Q, Toronto, Ontario M4T 2L7

(416) 915-9157

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to fair and accurate
media coverage of Israel and the Middle East

 

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