CBC Duo Presents Skewed Vision of Mideast (January 18, 2007)

January 18, 2007



CBC Duo Presents Skewed Vision of Mideast

January 18, 2006

Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber:

CBC TV‘s news coverage of the Middle East continues to suffer from inaccuracies
and a one-sided slant that portrays Arabs as victims of Israel while ignoring
attacks on the Jewish state. CBC’s Middle East reporters Peter Armstrong
and Nahlah Ayed promote a vision of Israel as the aggressor against both
Lebanese and Palestinian Arabs, while ignoring attacks against Israel that cause
destruction, injury and death.

CBC’s Inaccurate, One-Sided Report On Three-Way Summit

When American officials announced on Monday, January 15 that Condoleezza Rice will hold a three-way summit with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, reporter Peter
Armstrong treated CBC Morning viewers to an error-plagued, one-sided analysis.

Describing the lack of recent progress between Israelis and Palestinians, Armstrong assured viewers that “both
sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis, say that they are committed to the

Road Map
.” Armstrong then listed only Israeli actions that are
causing “a lot of skepticism about what exactly is going on.”

Armstrong’s report was both inaccurate and unfair.

  • Inaccurate, because Armstrong claimed that “both sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis, say that they are committed to the Road Map.” This claim is outright false: the Hamas government not only rejects the Road Map, it also rejects the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East (see this video from two weeks ago, and this Reuters article entitled “Hamas
    says will never recognise Israel
    ” from the same day as Armstrong’s report. In fact, even Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, a Fatah “moderate,” rejects parts of the Road Map: see The Guardian’s article “Abbas Snubs Rice Effort to Revive Road Map,” also from the same day as Armstrong’s report.

  • Unfair, because Armstrongfocused exclusively on criticism of Israel, while entirely ignoring Palestinian actions such as ongoing rocket attacks against Israel, continued armament of terrorist organizations, incitement to violence, and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers (now into its seventh month).

CBC’s One-Sided Coverage of Summer War’s Fallout

On January 7, CBC’s Beirut correspondent Nahlah Ayed filed a report about the environmental fallout from this summer’s Hezbollah conflict with Israel. Ayed’s
report described an oil spill along Lebanon’s coast that resulted from Israeli bombardment, and quoted an environmental worker as saying, “We’re gonna prepare a legal case to hold Israel responsible for this disaster.”

Ayed made no attempt to contextualize the circumstances in which the oil spill occurred (Hezbollah sparked the summer conflict by launching missiles at civilian sites in northern Israel, and murdering and kidnapping Israeli soldiers.) And CBC TV has not balanced Ayed’s coverage of the war’s environmental damage to Lebanon with coverage of the damage to Israel’s north, including severe damage to Israel’s forests and other environmental problems (see this early damage assessment by the Israel Ministry for Environmental Protection’s chief scientist).

Unfortunately, CBC’s lack of balance is not an isolated incident. This past November 19, Ayed reported on Lebanese schoolchildren who were afraid to return to class following the war (watch video here). But CBC’s Israel correspondent has not balanced Ayed’s reporting with any coverage of the war’s psychological impact on Israeli children. In fact, CBC neglected to report that on the very day Ayed’s story appeared, Israeli parents kept their children home from school because Palestinian rockets were landing on southern Israel, injuring civilians.

Troubling Questions

Once again, Canadians are compelled to ask: is the national broadcaster’s news coverage contributing to Canadians’ understanding of the Middle East, or is CBC News promoting a skewed vision of the region? 

How You Can Make A Difference

To contact CBC, call 1-866-306-4636, use CBC’s online feedback form, or email audience_relations@cbc.ca.




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