CBC Thunder Bay Reports On 15-Person Anti-Israel Protest, While Failing To Report On Widespread Hate Speech Found At Similar Demonstrations

June 10, 2024

One of the most notable details of the current anti-Israel demonstrations taking place on some university campuses across North America is how remarkably small the protests are. At the University of Toronto, perhaps a few dozen protesters – many, if not most of whom are not students at the school – have nevertheless attracted widespread, often sympathetic news coverage.

A miniscule protest at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University on May 30, which called for the university to divest from Israel, is even more noteworthy for how insignificant it was.

Video footage of the protest shows a group of roughly 15 individuals standing hundreds of feet away from convocation ceremonies at the university, yelling as graduates and their families appear to completely ignore them. A number of the protesters are clearly far beyond their early 20s, indicating that as few as 0.1 percent of students at Lakehead University – and perhaps even fewer – participated in the demonstration.

Nevertheless, that fringe figure was still enough to justify a news broadcast and accompanying article for CBC News entitled: “Pro-Palestinian protest held outside Lakehead University convocation ceremony in Thunder Bay,” produced by Alex Brockman, executive producer with CBC Thunder Bay.

In the video report, three individuals from the demonstration were interviewed, while zero seconds were given to anybody opposing the protest. Claims made by protesters in the broadcast included accusations of “genocide,” and a comment by one student that the war has “a lot to do with, I think, colonialism,” a meaningless non-sequitur that was still included in the final broadcast for reasons that are unclear.

In the accompanying article, Brockman provided context into the larger anti-Israel protests, writing that “protest camps and similar demonstrations have developed across North America in recent weeks, as students demand that universities stop doing business with Israel or companies they say are supporting the war.”

This seemingly innocuous sentence is in fact extremely misleading.

By all available evidence, most of the protesters are not “students,” despite taking place on campus. No less importantly, Brockman ignored some of the most important characteristics found throughout North American anti-Israel campus demonstrations: the rampant violence, harassment, hate speech and intimidation of staff, students and passersby.

Video evidence abounds of university professors and students being blocked from entering common areas on campus by masked goons, who physically stop them from walking on university property, while signs nearby call for terrorism.

But rather than casting a critical eye on these violent mobs, Brockman’s article instead legitimized the demands of the group at Lakehead University, writing that “CBC News asked the school whether Lakehead would disclose its investments and whether it invests in arms manufacturers, but that question was left unaddressed in its statement.”

In virtually any other context, if a group of a dozen protesters held signs making other far-fetched ‘demands’ of a large institution with more than half a billion dollars in endowments, they would be almost certainly ignored entirely. Instead, Brockman not only reported on their protest, but then inquired as to whether their demands would be followed by the university.

While the protesters who attempted to disrupt convocation ceremonies at Lakehead University failed to achieve that result, their effort was not in vain, as they were able to secure a sympathetic broadcast, accompanying article and even undeserved credibility from none other than CBC News, Canada’s publicly-funded broadcaster.

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