Home Media Action Alerts2005 Making a Difference, With Your Help (August 16, 2005)

Making a Difference, With Your Help (August 16, 2005)

by Mike Fegelman

Making a Difference,
With Your Help

August 16, 2005

Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber:

The first half of 2005 was a time of huge growth for HonestReporting Canada. From leading a popular new workshop on how to identify and root out media bias, to confronting journalists who produce unfair and inaccurate news reports, HonestReporting Canada was on the front lines of keeping Canada’s media honest

We elicited a rare admission from CBC’s ombudsman that Neil Macdonald’s reporting was “open to the interpretation of personal opinion or bias.” We issued the first-ever DishonestReporting Canada Awards to shine a spotlight on some of the worst news reporting, including a movie dedicated to the (unfortunate) winner.  

And in June, HonestReporting Canada’s membership surpassed 10,000 Canadians from coast to coast. Working together to hold the news media accountable, our members are demanding honest reporting from Canada’s news media. In July alone, HonestReporting Canada and our members obtained an abundance of corrections and clarifications by Canadian news organizations.

Corrections and Clarifications

Like “Canadians,” the term “Israelis” denotes the citizens of a sovereign country. To describe Israelis living in areas whose sovereignty is disputed, the media use the term “settlers.” But lately the CBC and its sister network Radio-Canada have had trouble telling “Israelis” and “settlers” apart.  

On July 12, Radio-Canada’s flagship news program, Le Telejournal, described Canadian Jews immigrating to Israel as “nouveaux colons,” or “new settlers.” To view the Radio-Canada report, click here or on the image below: 

After scores of HonestReporting Canada’s members sent letters of complaint, Radio-Canada made a rare on-air correction during Le Telejournal’s August 4 broadcast. In English, the correction reads as follows:

“On the Telejournal of July 12, the words ‘new settlers’ appeared on the screen in reference to 400 people who were departing Canada to establish themselves in Israel.  The term ‘settler’ denotes a person who will populate a settlement.  However, as we do not precisely know the future places of residence of these people, we should not have displayed the words ‘new settlers’ on the screen.”

To view the Radio-Canada correction, click here or on the image below:

To hear Montreal’s Radio-Shalom interview HonestReporting Canada and Radio-Canada about the correction, click here.

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On July 18, CBC’s Web site reported that “Dozens of homemade rockets have hit Jewish settlements in the past few days, killing at least one Jewish settler.” But this statement was wrong: in reality, Palestinians fired rockets on Israeli communities in Gaza and on Israeli communities in southern Israel. The Palestinian rockets killed an Israeli woman who was not a “settler” and who lived in southern Israel, not Gaza.

A day after being contacted by HonestReporting Canada, CBC amended the erroneous report and published the following in its Corrections section:

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On July 13, the Globe and Mail and the National Post erroneously paraphrased the Israeli army as calling its military operations in Tulkarem “retaliation” for a suicide bombing in Netanya. But the army had not used the word retaliation, and HonestReporting Canada secured a Globe and Mail clarification followed by a National Post clarification.

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On July 21, the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun published Palestinian claims, originally reported by Reuters newswire, that Jewish settlers had stabbed to death a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during a march through a West Bank village.

But the allegation — like so many others before it — quickly proved untrue.  HonestReporting Canada contacted both newspapers to ensure the false impression left with their readers. Responding to HonestReporting Canada’s request, the Toronto Sun published a clarification and the Toronto Star published an updated story explaining that Palestinian police had in fact arrested a Palestinian for killing the boy.

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HonestReporting Canada congratulates its members whose involvement and support have been crucial in keeping the media honest. By sending letters of complaint, you ensured that news organizations acknowledge and correct their mistakes, become sensitive to the facts of the Middle East, and get the news right in future.

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