Canadaland Podcast Devotes Extensive Segment To Discussing Supposed “Anti-Palestinian Bias” At CBC, Ignores Widespread Anti-Israel Bias At Public Broadcaster

June 14, 2024

In a June 6 episode of the Canadaland podcast, titled: “34 Trump Street,” host Jonathan Goldsbie devoted a segment to discussing alleged anti-Palestinian bias at the CBC.

The impetus for this discussion was a May 16 article on The Breach where an anonymous author claiming to be a former CBC employee alleged this kind of bias and discrimination at our public broadcaster, as well as the news of an unnamed member of CBC’s documentary department going on leave after sharing rhetorically-heated pro-Israel social media content.

There is, of course, no issue with Canadaland discussing such developments. After all, the podcast format — especially from independent media organizations — is exceptionally well-suited for in-depth examinations into beneath-the-surface questions that impact society as a whole. Media bias is certainly one such topic.

However, the question must be asked as to why this particular allegation was given special attention and credibility, when the same did not occur whenever the shoe is on the other foot.

HonestReporting Canada regularly draws attention to issues of bias and problematic journalistic practices in many important Canadian media outlets, researched and well-sourced, with specific, verifiable data and source links provided so that any reader or organization can independently fact-check and verify the validity of our critiques. Unlike the piece in the Breach, HonestReporting Canada does not rely on anonymous, uncheckable, trust-based accounts, but rather on direct evidence.

It is therefore quite baffling that Canadaland found only the Breach’s side of this issue worthy of in-depth discussion, and it raises questions about whether some at Canadaland may themselves have an unconscious bias in their editorial slant.

HonestReporting Canada has reported in detail on numerous instances of unfairly biased anti-Israel CBC content. In the past month alone, there has been example after example of such incidents — including everything from platforming extremist, unqualified, and non-credible anti-Israel guests, to parroting propaganda narratives and failing to accurately contextualize and clarify contentious claims, to outsized attention to fringe anti-Israel actors, to even just outright sloppy journalism at times. Each of the 13 reports linked to here offered very clear and valid criticisms of CBC content, and are just a few of the most recent examples in a long pattern of such anti-Israel errors being allowed to make it to publication.

There is no intellectually honest conversation to be had about bias at CBC regarding this issue that does not at least acknowledge and take into account this side of the story. It’s therefore unfathomable that Canadaland host Goldsbie did not engage with it at all during its discussion, nor even mention that there are many Canadians with a vastly different perspective.

Furthermore, beyond the imbalance with which complaints are given credence and which are ignored, there are also major issues with the Breach article on its own merits — issues that further call into question the logic of Canadaland in devoting a platform to its allegations.

One of the author’s main gripes is that CBC has chosen not to use the term “genocide” to describe Israel’s actions in Gaza. This is a term that has been widely avoided by mainstream news outlets, as well as unanimously rejected by the US, UK, Germany, and other Western governments, due to the fact that it is a completely inaccurate description of the situation.

Ironically, in addition to being a ridiculous complaint, it’s not even fully accurate — as CBC is one of the only mainstream Canadian news outlets to have offered serious coverage entertaining the preposterous question of whether Israel’s defensive war in Gaza should be considered genocide, all the way back in December. Why were both the Breach and Canadaland so sloppy in not fact-checking or contextualizing one of the basic claims of this entire story?

Other complaints in the Breach article include the allegation that Palestinian voices are not given coverage, and that Palestinian guests face unique “scrutiny brought to bear on their statements.” The claim that stories featuring Palestinian voices and perspectives are suppressed at CBC is conclusively laughable, as demonstrated by the slew of HonestReporting alerts already linked to above.

It’s hard to tell what Canadaland actually thinks of these problems, as Goldsbie’s discussion failed to truly delve deep into the substance of the question or the actual points raised in the original article. Instead, his entire discussion seemed premised on the assumption that the Breach article’s thesis was true, without any meaningful establishment of a basis for such a framing.

The answer here is not to avoid difficult conversations about complicated issues, or to avoid engagement with legitimate viewpoints from across the board. The answer is a genuine self-accounting by some at Canadaland for their own unconscious biases on this issue, so that such discussions can be more fair and fruitful in the future.

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