Countering Canadian Media Canards
August 21, 2008
Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber:
In recent weeks, the Canadian media has largely ignored the Middle East file.
News coverage has been largely dominated with extensive reporting on the Beijing Olympics and wall-to-wall coverage of the battle for South Ossetia. That being said though, several Canadian media outlets including La Presse, CBC, and City TV, carried inaccurate reports and echoed activist’s vicious canards which needed to be countered.
The following are several examples where HRC intervened to ensure fair and accurate coverage of Israel.
The Myth of Occupied Gaza
A popular myth continues to be promulgated by Israel’s enemies and accepted as fact by the international and Canadian media.
Proponents from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Montreal-area group Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU) continue to claim that Israel is an occupying force of the Gaza Strip.
Contrary to their allegations, occupation implies being able to impose your will on the occupied and as Israel disengaged from Gaza, removing over 8,500 settlers in the summer of 2005 and as it doesn’t have any soldiers on the ground, this claim does not have any merit. Although Israel does carry out military incursions to thwart and disrupt terror cells, this does not qualify as “occupation,” nor does any other claims that because Israel controls the sea/air access to Gaza that it’s an “occupier.”
Currently, the only non-Palestinian force in Gaza is the UN and we don’t presume that the media would claim that it’s “occupying” the Gaza Strip.
On July 31, both CBC.ca and La Presse regurgitated these baseless claims from ISM and PAJU and presented them both as fact. After HonestReporting Canada intervened, the following corrections were issued by both respective media outlets on August 5 and 18:
For more information on how you can counter the “occupation” slur, please see a scholarly analysis by Washington lawyers David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey entitled “The Myth of Occupied Gaza” as printed in the Washington Post.
An Unforgivable Error and a Dismal “On-Air” Correction at City TV
The August 14 broadcast of CityTV International carried a short report that caught our attention.
The report centered on recent clashes at the construction site of the security barrier near Nilin, West Bank, between pro-Palestinian protestors and Israelis soldiers. City TV host Gord Martineau erroneously reported the following:
- “At least 11 people were killed at clashes between Israeli troops and protestors in a site at Israel’s controversial separation barrier in the West Bank.”
To watch the report online please click on the image below.
Contrary to this statement, there were no deaths at clashes this past Thursday at Nilin. Instead, and as the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot confirms, several “protestors were reportedly hurt during clashes with forces in the area.”
This City TV report left viewers with the false impression that Israeli soldiers killed 11 protestors who were involved in an altercation at the barrier site. In consideration for the especially serious nature of this mistake, we asked City TV to issue an on-air correction to remedy this error.
On August 18, the program issued the following “on-air” correction that appeared only in a text- super in the program’s broadcast on other Mideast matters. It read as follows: “CNI (City News International) REPORT THURS. INDICATED 11 KILLED IN W. BANK CLASHES, MORE THAN 11 HURT, NOT KILLED.”
To watch the “on-air” correction please click on the image below. (Note: We apologize for the low-resolution image and video)
If City TV were genuinely interested in setting the record straight, we would have expected their host to verbally orate the correction instead of carrying it as a short super embedded within another report, this time about Israel’s efforts to release 200 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. Most viewers probably didn’t even notice the correction in the first place and even if they did, the language of the correction was so tersely worded that it wouldn’t have even come across as a correction.
Many City TV viewers are still left with the false impression that Israeli soldiers bellicosely killed 11 pro-Palestinian protestors at last week’s clashes at Nilin. If you feel inclined to voice your concerns about City TV’s dismal August 18 correction, please send polite, rational, and considered comments to City TV publicist Veronica Logue at: email@example.com
Notwithstanding, after receiving commitments from all three news organizations: City TV, La Presse, and CBC, to be more vigilant in the future when vetting reports for publication and for broadcast, we are satisfied that our concerns were addressed and given high priority by these Canadian media outlets.