HRC Prompts CBC To Amend Headline that Depicted Israel as an Aggressor in Tensions with Syria

On May 27, CBC Online published an article which cast Israel as an aggressor by firing into Syria, killing one soldier.

While the article and its sub-headline did mention that “Israel says it was responding to anti-aircraft fire from Syria on 1 of its combat planes,” but the main headline only told half of the story and depicted Israel as an aggressor. CBC failed to note in its main headline that Israel’s attack, it claims, was done in response to a provocation (it was responding to Syrian anti-aircraft fire directed at an Israeli jet). By not mentioning this, readers could wrongly conclude that Israel was an aggressor who carried out an attack without provocation. As we told CBC, the chronology of events should be noted prominently.

As an analogy, consider the dynamic of a schoolyard bully who torments another classmate. The bully punches the classmate, and after much abuse, the classmate fights back and punches the bully. If the school’s journalist produces reporting which ignores that the bully instigated the fighting and depicts the victim as the aggressor, it’s a gross distortion of what took place. Context is everything after all.

In sharp contrast, other news organizations like the Toronto Star, Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post all noted that Israel acted in retaliation to an unprovoked Syrian attack:

As this headline was prominently featured on the CBC’s website and shared on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, HRC took action and asked the CBC to amend the article in the interest of fairness, accuracy and providing CBC readers with due context.

We are pleased to report that after HRC dialogue with CBC News, our public broadcaster has amended its headline which now acknowledges that Israel’s retaliatory attack came in response to Syrian anti-aircraft fire:


HonestReporting Canada thanks the CBC for amending this headline.


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