Home Media Action Alerts2013 Neil Macdonald Exploits CBC News Platforms to Attack Israel

Neil Macdonald Exploits CBC News Platforms to Attack Israel

by Mike Fegelman

It takes a pretty fertile imagination to correlate a story about alleged political bias at the IRS and sexual abuse in the U.S. military to the Middle East conflict. Leave it to CBC reporter Neil Macdonald, a self-appointed pontificator perched from Washington, to twist unrelated world affairs stories into criticisms of Israel.

In an analysis piece published on the CBC’s website on June 6, Macdonald included the following irrelevant smear against Israel and Canadian support for the Jewish state (emphasis added): “In Canada, do Stephen Harper and his most partisan supporters actually think, down deep, that Israel may actually bear some of the blame for its troubles with the Palestinians?” 

Apart from being gratuitous, this question disguised personal opinion as news by phrasing declarative statements into questions. 

There is no evidence to substantiate claims that Canada’s Prime Minister and his “most partisan supporters” deep down assign blame to Israel for the impasses and quarrels with the Palestinians, but MacDonald has no problem raising this question that serves to malign Israel, Canadian support for the Jewish state, and which exonerates Palestinian transgressions and elevates the Palestinian cause.

But wait, aren’t CBC journalists tasked to be politically neutral and to embargo their personal views in their professional work? Macdonald’s apparent preoccupation with Israel seems to be the exception to the rule allowing him to use CBC resources to attack Israel, time and again.

This past January, Macdonald wrote an analysis piece published on the CBC’s website where he claimed that Israel’s “hardline” government “… has shown little interest in negotiating a two-state solution with the Palestinians.” Despite Israel’s consistent calls for negotiations without preconditions to solve the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, and its regular overtures and concessions to obstructionist “hardline” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Macdonald was of the opinion that Israel doesn’t want peace.

One recalls how Macdonald used his CBC Twitter account in January 2012 to scandalously insinuate that Israel has an issue with controlling guns aimed at non-Israelis. After criticism ensued, Macdonald “voluntarily closed” his Twitter account.

In an April 11, 2011 report about “The Battle for Libya,” Macdonald superfluously introduced Israel into a CBC National story it had nothing to do with. Macdonald exposed viewers to the malicious implication made by a Libyan civilian that like Gaddafi, “Israel kills whomever it likes” in other words, like Gaddafi, Israel commits war crimes by targeting innocent civilians at will. Two months earlier on The National in a story about the use of emergency laws and the movements which were trying to dislodge repressive Arab regimes from power, Macdonald found it important to mention that “The trouble is that most Arabs know that Israel has an emergency law too which it uses for such things as detention without trial, and confiscation, or demolition of Palestinian property.”

This past November, Macdonald claimed in a CBC TV report that “Israel… is energetically eating up the land that would form the Palestinian state…” Macdonald’s statement echoed his referral in 2000 to “the ferocious appetite of Jewish settlers for Arab land.”

In 2005, Macdonald did a feature one-on-one TV interview with former CIA Chief Michael Sheuer who claimed that American support for Israel was costing American lives abroad in the Middle East and endangering the safety of U.S. citizens domestically.

In May of 2004, Macdonald filed a report about the abuse of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison facility. The report featured a quote by pro-Palestinian propagandist Eugene Bird who falsely suggested that Israeli agents might have played a role in the torture scandal. This incident elicited a remarkable two on-air clarifications from the CBC, and its ombudsman acknowledged that this report exposed CBC to “the appearance of bias.” The CBC’s editor-in-chief at the time promised that the situation would never be repeated again.

But just seven months later, in a December 2004 report on a deadly al-Qaeda terror attack on the American consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Macdonald aired a source who blamed the U.S. relationship with Israel for the attack. The only person interviewed in Macdonald’s report was Alan Keiswetter of the Saudi-financed Middle East Institute, who stated that America was “in the pockets of (former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon.”

Also in December of 2004 – in the midst of a Palestinian terror war that saw Israeli families blown up in buses and restaurants – Macdonald wrote an analysis on CBC’s website stating that “if Palestinians have committed terror, the Israelis have certainly committed war crimes.” Macdonald then raised the question of whether Jewish settlers, “thousands of whom are well armed and overtly bellicose, constitute civilians or combatants.” Macdonald appeared to have been suggesting that the murder of Israeli settlers may not in fact be “terrorism.” The sentence was later amended online after complaints to the CBC. Finally, in 2002, Macdonald asked rhetorically whether the terror group Hezbollah is “a national liberation movement or, as Israel and its supporters maintain, a murderous global menace?”

Unlike political commentators and pundits who are paid for their professional opinions, CBC reporters must refrain from exploiting our public broadcaster’s news platforms to expound on personal prejudices. Objective journalists should report on the news rather than shape it.

An important line must be drawn when a CBC reporter is given free rein to vent his personal opinions and apparent disdain for the State of Israel. When that journalist, whose salary is paid for by your tax dollars, uses official CBC resources, also paid for by you and me, to advance a personal political perspective, something must be done to stop this journalistic misconduct.

To file a complaint with CBC Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire, please send emails to: Jennifer.McGuire@CBC.CA. Please cite Neil Macdonald’s gratuitous smear against Israel and Canadian support for the Jewish state that was published to the CBC’s website on June 6.



You may also like


Andria Switzer June 21, 2013 - 1:38 am

Isn’t this what anti semitism looks like?

Anonymous June 21, 2013 - 6:20 am

And ignorance.

Mickey Oberman June 21, 2013 - 2:59 pm

And hatred.

Mickey Oberman June 21, 2013 - 7:16 am

That Macdonald has been allowed to air his poisonous anti Israel, anti semitic views over and over again for all these years clearly indicates that his employer, the CBC, permits and, perhaps, encourages the airing of his malignant opinions.

Both Macdonald and the CBC’s programmes that allow him to spout his evil should be treated as the spreaders of hatred that they are and be banned forever from the airwaves. They are both using the freedoms of the press and of speech to spread their disgusting propaganda. They must be stopped from abusing those freedoms.

Anonymous June 21, 2013 - 7:37 am

About a decade ago I sent in a complaint regarding a “report” by MacDonald that was more a hatchet job regarding Israel’s use of water. MacDonald even made the unqualified statement that “Israelis use water like Europeans” – whatever that means. I complained to the CBC’s president, VP, news department, ombudsman, along with six or seven others. After ten months of complaining to the Minister responsible for the CBC I received a blow-off reply from the president of the corporation. Still no reply to my response pointing out the factual errors of the reply, and still NO REPLY OR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FROM THE CBC’S OMBUDSMAN.

Yea. The CBC knows who we are when begging for a government handout of $1,200,000,000 (one point two billion tax dollars) but ignores us when we find fault with the CBC.

MacDonald, while working for the CBC in Israel, attempted political activism against the Israeli government, such as trying to make a boycott of the annual journalist’s party thrown by the Israeli PM at that time. The boycott ended up being MacDonald alone. An action in of itself something that requires firing. He still has his job.

Time after time, MacDonald has linked stories about Washington and the US to Israel, and Israel out of the blue becomes associated with US scandals, unrelated policies, et cetera.

Unfortunately, the CBC’s Middle East reporting still suffers from MacDonaldism.

First move would be to fire MacDonald (as I have asked ten years ago) and second, the federal government stop giving the CBC my (our) tax dollars. Lets see if this exceptionally top-heavy organisation, with its biased reporting, boring television and visionless radio stations can survive when fairly put against unsubsidised public competition.

Anonymous June 21, 2013 - 3:38 pm

He must have a whole wardrobe of kaffiyehs hanging in the back of his closet, which makes him think he is the Palestinian’s Superman. Ugh, now I’ve got to scrub that image from my mind!

Nadine Lumley Real June 24, 2013 - 6:14 pm

Repost from Mark Whitbread – Stephen Harper appointed the
entire board of directors and the President of the CBC. I’m just wondering why Canada’s top
Conservative would appoint left-biased / right-wing CEOs and Directors to run
the CBC.

Repost from XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX – Re CBC – I don’t agree with
those who are blaming CBC for getting the Cons elected, etc. I know people who work at a couple of
different CBC stations and the inside story – which they can’t reveal – is
awful. Ever since Steve HarperCON’s guy
took over, the pressure on them has been enormous! You’ve noticed, for example Evan being not
only front and centre, but now promoted!
Evan?! That’s all coming down
from HarpCons.

Every person who works there is absolutely walking on eggs
almost all the time – unless they’ve been appointed by Harper. There have been tons of
“unexpected” lay-offs and “disappearances” of staff who
tried to buck the system or to report differently. From all the CBC people I know, in fact –
under the dreadful circumstances and incredible pressures in which they find
themselves for the past few years, increasingly since pre-election – they have
managed to keep doing a pretty good job, imo – all things considered. They still are mostly really trying and they
still do better than anyone else we have.
There are definitely two sides to this story – so I’m just mentioning
the other side.

I remember reading something a couple of months ago, about
the employees of CBC having to sign some kind of agreement which affects their
ability to criticize the government. not exactly a gag order.


political_one June 21, 2013 - 4:00 pm

Journalism attracts leftists. The intellectual and literary bent in journalism favors the creation of ”stories”, (rather than the delivery of hard facts) that have as a narrative the poor, helpless victim (who needs big-government and unions) versus the successful capitalist (who endowes himself with individual responsibility and a recognition of his innate powers).
This should be remedied by changing the philosophy and selection criteria of journalism schools. Of course, good parenting would help.

Nadine Lumley Real June 24, 2013 - 6:15 pm

Who Killed Canada

Media Ownership and the Radical Right in Canada




Part 1, 2 & 3.
Note: each video about 10 minutes

No time for video?
Read review instead:

Mr. Hurtig begins by discussing the Canadian media and how we
now have the greatest concentration of media in the western world. In fact, he states this would simply not be
allowed in any other western democracy.

And since these same media outlets control newspaper,
television and radio news; we are essentially only being given one voice. There are few or no alternative views. As stated in the video, a healthy democracy
should foster a healthy and independent news media.


Howdy Dowdy June 21, 2013 - 4:38 pm

The CBC media and other media Do Not help all poor people – just ones that fit into their narrow world view – they ignore and belittle many poor people with disabilities. The CBC media and other leftist media Do Not help helpless victims – just ones that fit into their narrow world view – they often ignore and deride poor victims.

Nadine Lumley Real June 24, 2013 - 6:14 pm

Repost from xxxxxxxx –
You would have to understand the ruling/hierarchy of the CBC since
Harper became Prime Minister. Do you
remember the scandal about him taking control of what was said and reported from
his MPs and government workers? CBC
employees are also employees of the Federal Government.

The interview you are referring to was scripted and
controlled by the Harper government. If
Peter Mansbridge were to refuse to partake in the “Prime Minister’s
Promo”, he would have lost his job.
Some of us knew he wanted to quit, yet he stayed hoping to eventually
honour the truth.


Nadine Lumley Real June 24, 2013 - 6:15 pm

New Brunswick Postal Worker travelled to Palestine –> “What
I saw, heard, and felt in Occupied Palestine was not the narrative we hear
Stephen Harper parroting — that Israel is only exercising its right to defend

I saw home demolitions, water denied, settlements
encroaching on Palestinian land, displacement of peaceful farmers and a wall
that in no way can be considered anything other than a prison wall, forcing an
entire nation of people to exist in an open sky prison,” says Breen.



Leave a Comment

Help Fight Media Bias Against Israel!

Sign up for email alerts from HonestReporting Canada to receive vital resources that educate and empower you.