SUCCESS! Canadian Media Retract False Israel Dog Stoning Report (June 28, 2011)

By Mike Fegelman

June 28, 2011


SUCCESS! Canadian Media Retract False Israel Dog Stoning Report

By: Mike Fegelman, Executive Director                                                                              June 28, 2011

Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber,

The recent publication of a fictitious story alleging that a Jerusalem rabbinical court had sentenced a dog to be stoned to death got unwarranted traction in international media outlets like the BBC, AFP, Time Magazine, and the Daily Telegraph. Here in Canada, prominent media outlets in both official languages lent credence to these baseless claims giving them undeserving platforms.

Montreal (June 19), Edmonton (June 18) and (June 21) all published the story on their respective websites citing the false AFP or Telegraph reports. The Edmonton Journal and the French publication Le Nouvelliste were the only newspapers we are aware of that actually published the story in their print editions.

HonestReporting Canada contacted senior editors at these publications asking that these reports be immediately retracted. In response to our concerns, all of the aforementioned online articles carrying these false reports were suppressed online. Additionally, the Montreal Gazette and Cyberpresse (see translation immediately below) wrote and published the following news stories online indicating the bizarre sequence of events that got this story published in the first place along with the counter claims by the Jerusalem rabbinical court denying these outrageous accusations:

Cyberpresse:  "Dog Sentenced to Stoning: Anatomy of a Hoax" (June 23, 2011)

"BBC, Time Magazine, and Agence-France-Presse reported the story: A Hassidic court in Jerusalem had sentenced a dog to death by stoning.  The convicted canine was allegedly the reincarnation of a deceased lawyer who had insulted the court, twenty years earlier.

Cyberpresse published the text of Agence-France-Presse, but the story was false. Although AFP did not publish a correction, many news sites did. One such case was the Christian Science Monitor which explained how this story circulated without being verified.

The story was first told on the website of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot… which specified that the court in question denied the alleged facts. It was simply the case of a rabbi was had allegedly told some children to throw rocks at a dog.  The newspaper in question did not interview him: information was taken from a Hassidic community news outlet.

The story made the rounds, without any verification as to its veracity."

The Edmonton Journal also published the following correction notice on June 23:

As to Le Nouvelliste, we await their reply and action with bated breath. HonestReporting Canada commends these news organizations for devoting the appropriate time and editorial space to set the record straight on this important matter. With that said, had these news outlets done the bare minimum of fact checking and exercised some basic common sense, this story would have never been published in the first place.






Office: P.O. Box 6, Station Q Toronto, Ontario M4T 2L7
Phone: (416) 915-9157 E-mail: Web:


You may also like