CBC Success: You Made the Difference!
October 1, 2006
Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber:
This past summer was another low point in CBC’s long history of distorted Middle East coverage. The national broadcaster’s kid-glove treatment of Hezbollah, its under-reporting of the human catastrophe in northern Israel, and its habit of contrasting Israeli soldiers with Lebanese civilians, all combined to tell a familiar CBC narrative of Israeli aggression against its Arab neighbours.
We asked you to contact CBC about its unfair and inaccurate coverage, and you responded in large numbers. Here’s how your efforts made the difference.
The Samir Qantar Affair
The CBC’s largely one-sided portrayal of the Israel-Lebanon crisis reached it peak on September 4, when CBC’s Beirut correspondent, Nahlah Ayed, sympathetically profiled the family of cold-blooded terrorist Samir Qantar.
In 1979, Qantar led a group of terrorists into Israel, shot a father in front of his daughter, then smashed the 4-year-old girl’s head in. Recently Qantar’s name was mentioned as part of a possible prisoner swap for Israeli soldiers held hostage by Hezbollah. Using the potential prisoner trade as a news hook, CBC’s Ayed profiled the terrorist’s family, but inexplicably ignored his victims’ family.
In a September 6 action alert, we brought this lopsided report to your attention. You complained to the CBC in large numbers, and eight days later, CBC broadcast an eleven-minute follow-up report. This new report, by Israel-based correspondent Terry Mileswki, focused on Smadar Haran Kaiser, the woman whose family Samir Qantar murdered. In contrast to Ayed, who focused on the plight of a terrorist and his family, Milewski appropriately explored the dilemma confronting Israelis whose family members were killed or taken hostage by terrorists.
Click the images below to see Nahlah Ayed’s original, problematic report and and Terry Milewski’s follow-up report.
The CBC Web site
In an August 10 action alert, we directed you to CBC’s Web site, which for the past 18 months had introduced its entire “IN DEPTH: Middle East” section with a picture of a flag-waving Palestinian lying in front of a massive Israeli bulldozer — another example of CBC’s apparent fondness for the Israel-as-aggressor narrative. Despite updating the page numerous times over the 18 months, CBC refused to replace the prejudicial photo, and even falsely labeled it a “Feb. 1” photo without mentioning that it was from Feb. 1, 2005.
You responded with emails and phone-calls, and within three days, CBC updated the page with a new, unbiased photo. Click the photos below to see the before-and-after versions.
In the same action alert, we pointed out that CBC’s “IN DEPTH: Middle East in Crisis” section, created specially for the Israel-Lebanon crisis, opened with a picture of a Beirut neighbourhood flattened by Israeli bombs. Why, we asked, would CBC once again portray Middle East events through the prism of Israel’s victimization of Arabs, when many pictures were available of Israeli neighbourhoods damaged by Hezbollah rockets?
Again, you complained. And on August 14, CBC replaced the image with this photo (click to enlarge):
CBC also corrected other information on its Web site, such as the false claim in its timeline of the Lebanon crisis that an Israeli attack on the village of Qana killed 56 people.
How You Can Make a Difference
Continue monitoring and responding to Canadian media coverage of Israel. Contact HonestReporting Canada at email@example.com if you find unfair or inaccurate coverage.
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