Corrections, Clarifications, and Outright Obfuscations (May 3, 2010)


Corrections, Clarifications, and Outright Obfuscations
May 3, 2010
Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber,

Courtesy of HRC’s fast action daily weblog Headlines and Deadlines,”check out the following Canadian media follies that occurred recently at CBC, National Post, Winnipeg Free Press, Globe & Mail, and at a CKUT Radio program.


CBC Report Elusive to the Truth

In an April 29 report about Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayaad’s “statehood tactics” apparently “winning support” among West Bank Palestinians, erroneously claimed that:

Statehood has proved elusive for the Palestinians, in part because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to endorse a two-state solution and has said established Jewish settlements must be allowed in areas like the West Bank to expand for natural growth of settler families.”

Contrary to this statement, at a prime-time address delivered at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv on June 14, 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed the two-state solution, thereby supporting the creation of a Palestinian state.

After HonestReporting Canada brought this matter to the attention of senior producers at, the following correction was promptly issued: “An earlier version of this story said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to endorse a two-state solution. In fact, Netanyahu has endorsed a two-state solution but with several conditions attached.

When Things Are Not as They Appear

What do you see when you look at the picture below? The image seems to show a confrontation between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Arab “facing off” in east Jerusalem. Believing this likely scenario to be the case, National Post Editors described this image with the following photo caption on April 26: “An Orthodox Israeli Jew faces off with a Palestinian counter-demonstrator during a march through East-Jerusalem yesterday.

But was this really the case? It turns out that the Israeli Jew is actually a member of the notorious Neturei Karta sect, a fringe anti-Israel organization, and is in fact a rabid anti-Israel activist allied, not opposed, to the masked Palestinian Arab.

The National Post issued the following correction (see right) on April 28 to remedy this mistake: “A photo caption on a World page Monday mischaracterized the exchange between two people during a demonstration on Sunday in East Jerusalem. The masked Palestinian and Orthodox Israeli Jew, a member of Neturei Karta, a fringe anti-Zionist bloc, were in alliance, not opposition.”

Seasoned observers of the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” know that appearances can be deceiving in a conflict where things are quite often not what they seem. This picture serves as yet another reminder of the media’s need to vigilantly double-check facts, figures, and pictures in order to ensure fair and accurate reporting of Israel and of the broader Middle-East.

Another Unfortunate Case of Mistaken Identity

Writing in the Winnipeg Free Press over the weekend, journalist Allen Abel referred to an assassination of the PLO’s then Chief of Operations that took place in Beirut some thirty years ago. In the report, Abel falsely claimed that “the current prime minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu — shot the man 55 times in front of his five-year-old daughter.

What was most likely a really unfortunate case of mistaken identity, Abel referred to the wrong Netanyahu. Contrary to his statement and as the following correction (see right) published in the Free Press in today’s edition notes: “Thirty years ago, Yonaton Netanyahu was one of the Israeli commandoes who participated in an assassination in Beirut. Incorrect information appeared in a May 1 column by Allen Abel.”

The “incorrect information” saw Abel erroneously refer to current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a former assassin, instead of his late brother Yonaton. Another unfortunate aspect of this report sees this error still existing on the website of the Free Press.

Globe & Mail: Polls Apart

A questionable Globe & Mail poll about Mideast peace revealed more about the paper than about the public views it was ostensibly aiming to procure.

A recent online poll asked whether “Washington needs to lean on Israel in order to bring peace to the Mideast?” Respondents were prompted to select a party, Israel or the Palestinians, which needs to be leaned on to secure a lasting peace.

In the poll, Israel can be “leaned on” (i.e., pressured) either alone or with the Palestinians and the Palestinians can only be leaned on with Israel, but not by themselves.

In other words, Globe Editors have already decided that Israel is the primary obstacle to peace and they’ve asked you to kindly confirm their biased assumptions.


Anti-Israel Radio Program Forced to Issue On-Air Correction

In our April 20 communique, we told you about a complaint HonestReporting Canada had filed with Montreal campus radio station CKUT following a false and libellous anti-Israel news report which aired on the station’s Palestinian radio show “Under the Olive Tree.” The April 8 report alleged that the Israeli Defence Forces had opened fire on a crowd of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and had killed an innocent Palestinian teen, 15-year-old Muhammad al-Faramawi in the process.

The story of Muhammad al-Faramawi has sarcastically been dubbed the “Return of the Living Dead” by our colleagues at as the Palestinian teenager was in fact never killed by the IDF and is still alive and well today. After bringing this erroneous report to the attention of CKUT’s Programming Committee, “Under the Olive Tree” was forced to issue the following on-air correction on April 22 to set the record straight:

“Just to repeat the correction we made earlier in the show, in the beginning of April, the first week, we played the IMEMC “This week in Palestine” which had an error that was made by all media outlets, almost, internationally, reported that a child, a 15 year-old child Mohammed al-Faramawi, was killed in Gaza by Israeli live ammunition. It appeared later on that Mr. al-Faramawi was lost in one of the tunnels that lead from Gaza to Egypt. So he is thankfully alive.

To listen to the on-air correction please click here or on the image below:

While we appreciate CKUT’s efforts to hold “Under the Olive Tree” accountable to basic standards of journalism, this false “report” is simply the latest anti-Israel libel from the Palestinian activists who have made it their mission to broadcast half-truths, distortions, and outright lies about the Jewish State on their weekly campus radio show. To recall, host Tariq Jeeroburkhan is currently serving a two-month suspension after originally being reprimanded by CKUT for refusing to retract a report he aired which linked Israel to the infamous Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner abuses. CKUT then stepped in and issued the accurate correction later on.

To keep “Under the Olive Tree” in line, it’s imperative to keep up the pressure on this program by continuously monitoring the weekly radio show and by sending in complaints to CKUT’s Programming Committee ( / 514-448-4041 x 2593) should the need arise.

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