Introducing the 2004 DishonestReporting Canada Awards
Feb. 2, 2005
By popular request, we (regretfully) introduce the first-ever DishonestReporting Canada Awards, in recognition of Canadian news organizations’ most unfair and inaccurate reporting on Israel and the Middle East. Cast your vote now in our first-ever awards modeled on HonestReporting.com’s annual “DishonestReporting Awards.”
Below we present just a few of the Canadian contenders. Who do you think should win? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National; CBC News Sunday
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
(Bias by Selection of Sources, Distortion of Facts)
In May 2004, in a story about prison abuse in Iraq , veteran CBC correspondent Neil Macdonald presented a former US diplomat turned Palestinian propagandist who claimed that Israeli intelligence agents were involved in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal (view in RealVideo or Quicktime). Then in December, in a story about an attack on a US consulate in Saudi Arabia, Macdonald presented another former US diplomat, now working for a think-tank whose biggest supporters are Saudi firms and oil companies, who claimed that America was attacked because it is “regarded as being very much in the pockets of [Israeli prime minister Ariel] Sharon” (view in RealVideo or QuickTime).
Is there a pattern to Macdonald’s repeated use of hand-picked “experts” to implicate Israel in news reports where it doesn’t belong as the source of America ’s problems? Not according to the CBC, who continue to stand by their man.
Dispatches — “Lessons in Loathing”
(Bias by Selective Omission)
In April, CBC Radio’s “Dispatches” broadcast a 30-minute program called “Lessons in Loathing” that explored the distrust that Israeli and Palestinian educational systems breed between the two societies, and what can be done to improve the situation. While presenting the Israeli and Palestinian educational systems in parallel, the reporter downplayed the extensive documented evidence that Palestinian schools, media and religious institutions still incite children to kill Israelis; and did not inform viewers that the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian groups endorsed and glorified “martyrdom” operations.
W5 – “The Fence”
(Bias by Selection of Sources, Bias by Omission)
For its W5 current affairs program, CTV assigned an unseasoned and inexperienced reporter to cover one of the world’s most complex conflicts. The filmmaker, Alexandre “Sacha” Trudeau, filmed more than 2/3 of his documentary on the Palestinian side and used twice as many Palestinian sources as Israeli sources. Most absurdly, Trudeau juxtaposed an impoverished Palestinian family with an Israeli family so prosperous that they maintain their own outdoor swimming pool.
Trudeau then portrayed Zakaria Zubeidi, leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, as a “skinny renegade” living “from day to day” with his “small band.” Yet Trudeau never told viewers that Zubeidi and the Jenin Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have murdered Arabs, Israeli Jews and foreigners stationed in Israel. Rather than telling CTV viewers that the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades murdered a Canadian citizen in a bus bombing and have been designated a terrorist organization by Canada, Trudeau instead referred to Zubeidi as a “leader of the resistance” and asked Zubeidi whether he “loves life.”
(Bias by Imbalanced Reporting, Misleading Terminology)
Between mid-March and mid-June the Toronto Star used the word “terrorism” or its variants in over 100 headlines, including articles about Jordan, Kashmir, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Syria, to name a few. Yet in a comprehensive study of Canadian newspaper headlines, we found not a single instance in which a Star headline used the “T-word” in relation to Israel. For example, the Star reported the May 2 murder of Tali Hatuel (a pregnant Israeli) and her four daughters as “Israeli Mother, 4 Daughters Slain in Gaza Strip Ambush; Settlers Shot on Way to Campaign against Pullout.” Not only did the headline fail to identify the killers — it actually portrayed girls aged 11, 9, 7 and 2 as “settlers” engaged in political “campaigning.”
Op-ed, “Israeli Tail Wags the American Dog”
(Bias by Distortion of Facts, Lack of Context)
In October, syndicated columnist and veteran Israel critic Gwynne Dyer wrote an opinion piece, published in the Toronto Star, entitled “Israeli tail wags American dog.”
Without providing evidence to support his claims, Dyer wrote that:
America ’s support for Israel “commits it to a policy that is contrary to international law and is not supported by any other government in the world except Israel’s.”
America supports Israel because, in an election year, George Bush and John Kerry were afraid of alienating religious constituencies who support Israel, especially “American Jews, most of whom reflexively support any Israeli government, regardless of its policies.”
Supporting Israel prevents America from “extricating American troops from the mess in Iraq.”
Does this theory — that Israel and its Jewish lobby are the true source of America’s problems in the Middle East — sound familiar?
Our website contains a full archive of our 2004 media action alerts.
We look forward to hearing what you think. Email us at email@example.com with your choice of who deserves to win the DishonestReporting Canada Award.