CTV's Flag Fail

August 27, 2013

Yesterday afternoon, CTV Toronto reported the following (watch clip below): “To Israel now where peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are on hold after a shooting at a refugee camp near Ramallah. Israeli security forces opened fire on a group of Palestinians at a refugee camp early today killing at least two of them, and wounding others. Israelis say it was self-defence, Palestinians say it was an act of aggression. The camp for Palestinian refugees is under Israeli control.”


Let’s count the number of errors in this report:

  1. CTV falsely inserted the flag of Lebanon next to Israel’s flag to introduce this report which may have led some viewers to wrongly conclude that Israel made an incursion into a refugee camp in sovereign Lebanese, not Palestinian territory, to arrest a terror suspect.
  2. According to the Times of Israel and the New York Times, the Israeli military said its troops were attacked by close to 1,000 Palestinians who threw rocks, firebombs, iron bars and other items at the security forces, including from rooftops, and soldiers were called in to aid them. On what basis can CTV assert that Israeli troops “opened fire” on Palestinians? As Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said: “Large, violent crowds such as this, which significantly outnumber the security forces, leave no choice but to resort to live fire in self-defence.” The New York Times also acknowledges that: “The military later said an investigation indicated that camp residents had also fired at the soldiers and that the forces felt their lives were in danger, a standard that then allows the use of lethal force.” Leaving context aside about the fact that the soldier’s lives were in imminent danger, can CTV substantiate its claim that Israeli soldiers fired first (“opened fire”)?
  3. Finally, the U.S. State Department has denied that any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were cancelled, though Palestinian officials have claimed that the talks are off.

And there you have it. A thirty second CTV report which contained three material errors and which lacked necessary context to boot. All in a days work at CTV.


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