Quality Control Problems Continue at CBC (February 23 2009)

February 23, 2009

Quality Control Problems Continue at CBC

February 23, 2009

By: Mike Fegelman

Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber:

In recent weeks we have exposed several examples of unfair and inaccurate CBC news coverage of Israel. At the onset of Operation Cast Lead, CBC Newsworld unfairly presented a pro-Palestinian activist as an objective “media analyst”. At the height of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, CBC National misrepresented a statement by then president-elect Barack Obama, making it seem as though Obama had only expressed concern for the loss of civilian life in Gaza, when in fact he had expressed concern for the Israeli casualties as well. CBC subsequently issued an on-air correction to remedy their error. Finally, after the Gaza operation ended, CBC.ca falsely reported that Israel had failed to open border crossings to the Gaza Strip since the January 18 ceasefire had taken effect. CBC.ca issued a correction after HonestReporting Canada intervened.

Unfortunately, these were not isolated incidents. Recent CBC news coverage of Israel indicates that “quality control” problems continue at our public broadcaster, perhaps revealing a troubling pattern of bias.

CBC “The Current” Airs Conspiracy Theory

On February 17, CBC Radio’s “The Current” featured an interview with former CBC Editor-in-Chief Tony Burman (now Managing Director of Al Jazeera English) who is in the process of formally seeking cable and satellite carriage for Al Jazeera English to be viewed in Canada.

The interview sparked some debate from The Current’s listeners and on February 19, the program read some of their listener’s letters on-air.

One listener, arguing in support of Al Jazeera, alleged that the pro-Israel lobby controls the media. Host Anna Maria Tremonti read the following letter aloud:

“Bill Holevoth (sp?) of Lethbridge, Alberta responds to that as he writes: “North America not only has a right to Al Jazeera, but a fundamental need for the network. The filtering system America’s pro-Israel lobby forces on the media is used only to promote Israel’s agenda against the people of the Middle East and anyone opposing the Zionist agenda is quickly seen as anti-Semitic. Thousands of Jewish people also oppose the atrocities occurring in Gaza. We must learn to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism, networks such as Al Jazeera help the common person to understand this and should be accepted as an important part of our media.”

The myth of pro-Jewish or pro-Israeli media controls has long been a staple of anti-Semites worldwide. This canard, which sometimes names the “Jewish lobby” outright and sometimes implicates a more shadowy “pro-Israel lobby,” is widely accepted in the Arab world and is pervasive in the Muslim and Arab Media, along with the myth of Jewish control of the U.S. government or its usurpation by a pro-Israel clique. For Canada’s publicly-funded broadcaster to air conspiracy theories claiming that the media are controlled by pro-Israel interests is a gross and odious violation of the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices. While the letter writer is entitled to his warped views, the CBC should not have given him a platform to air his outlandish statements, as the network bears a special responsibility to act as a safeguard against bigotry and hatred.

Please ask The Current to apologize for airing conspiracy theories of pro-Israel control of the media. Send your considered and polite comments to The Current’s Executive Producer Pamela Bertrand at pam.bertrand@cbc.ca or call the Feedback Line at 1 877 287-7366.

CBC.ca Issues Three Corrections After HRC Interventions
In a February 18 report on CBC.ca entitled “Lifting of Gaza blockade depends on abducted soldier’s release: Israel,” the following egregious error was stated by CBC writers: “The conflict between Israel and Hamas earlier this year killed roughly 3,000 Palestinians, say Palestinian officials. Israeli officials say 13 Israelis, including four soldiers, were killed.”
Contrary to this statement, it’s believed that only 1,300 Palestinians were killed, a majority of whom were Hamas terrorists. This CBC report overstated the total death toll by a shocking 1,700 people!
In light of the severity of this error, HonestReporting Canada immediately contacted CBC editors and requested an urgent formal apology to correct this serious mistake. The following correction was promptly issued by CBC editors the following day:

On February 10, CBC.ca erroneously reported that “Lebanon has had a tense relationship with Israel — brought to the fore in 2006, when war broke out between the two neighbours.” Contrary to this statement, Israel never went to war with the Lebanese government, the country, or their army during the 34-day war. Instead, Israel fought the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah
which had initiated cross-border attacks against Israel.
After HonestReporting Canada informed CBC.ca editors that there were no clashes between the Israeli and Lebanese armies, the following correction was promptly issued:
On February 1 and 2, CBC.ca erroneously reported that there were “no reports of casualties or damage” after 2 rockets launched from Gaza had landed inside Israel. In reality, three Israelis were injured (2 soldiers, 1 civilian) in these attacks.
After HonestReporting Canada brought this error to CBC’s attention, the following correction was promptly issued:
CBC Radio Wrong on “Israeli Raid”
On February 18, CBC Radio’s Kim Stefler, host of the “The World This Hour” program erroneously stated that:
“Gilad Shalit was captured during an Israeli raid into Gaza in June 2006, but Hamas rejects any link between the release of Shalit and a long term truce in Gaza.”
To listen to this report online please click here.
Contrary to this statement, on June 25, 2006, Palestinian terrorists tunnelled from Gaza into Israel proper and attacked an Israeli military base capturing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from within Israel and not from the Gaza Strip. Contrary to Ms. Stefler’s statement, there was no Israeli raid into Gaza at the time.
HonestReporting Canada filed a complaint with CBC editors, who in today’s edition of the program issued the following correction: “Before we go – a note to our listeners. On February 18th, we reported that Corporal Gilad Shalit was captured in June 2006, during an Israeli raid into Gaza.

In fact, he was captured by Gaza militants during a raid on an Israeli army post.”

To listen to the correction online please click here.
The CBC’s continuing pattern of promoting false information to the Canadian public is disturbing. Please do your part to keep the CBC honest by contacting the network today to express your concerns or otherwise please notify HonestReporting Canada of future lapses in CBC journalism by emailing us at: info@honestreporting.ca

To support our continued efforts to hold the Canadian news media accountable for their reporting on Israel, please donate here today. Through your donations, you can help ensure that Canadian journalists are held to the highest standards of “Honest Reporting.”


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