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Media Critiques Archive

Honest Reporting » Media Critiques Archive

Top 10 Canadian Media Fails of Israel-Hamas War

In war, the saying goes, the first victim is the truth. The “Eight Day War” between Hamas and Israel saw many falsehoods perpetuated in and by Canada’s media. Here are the top 10 media fails from English Canada.

CBC National Airs Staged Pallywood Footage

The footage of a beige jacketed Palestinian man making a miraculous recovery after appearing to be injured in an Israeli airstrike was broadcast not only on the BBC, and CNN, but also CBC’s flagship program the National on November 14 and SRC (CBC-French). HonestReporting.com exposed this faked injury described as Pallywood (Hollywood-like acting by Palestinians).

Despite our confronting CBC with incontrovertible evidence noting the lack of authenticity of this footage, CBC has not taken any action to tell its viewers that it broadcast fraudulent footage designed to mislead westerners into believing that Israel was laying waste to Gaza. CNN on the other hand did issue an on-air statement acknowledging that it broadcast “unverified” footage of supposedly injured Palestinians. Importantly, following our intervention with SRC, a warning label was added to their news report and a statement was issued acknowledging the lack of credibility of this footage. SRC also committed to not use this footage any more.

CTV Backtracks on Calling Tel Aviv Bus Bombing Terror

Covering the aftermath of a terrorist attack on a Tel Aviv bus that wounded dozens of Israelis, CTV initially called terror by its rightful name referring to it as a “terror attack” and in attribution as an “act of terror”.

But within minutes, CTV News disgracefully backtracked by removing the network's labelling of the attack as "terror" describing it only as a "public transit bus explosion" alleged by Israeli authorities in attribution "as an act of terror".

CTV also purged this CanadaAM video from the queue of its videos appended to this article. According to article 2(a) of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), one commits the crime of a terrorist bombing when one “unlawfully and intentionally delivers, places, discharges or detonates an explosive or other lethal device in, into or against … a place of public use ... [or] a public transportation system ... with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury.”

Not only was this a terrorist attack, but even international law recognizes it as such. That CTV appeared to be trying to cover its tracks by backtracking on its appropriating the lexicon of terror was appalling.

Edmonton Journal Cartoon Claims Palestinian Rockets are Mere Spitballs

A November 19 Edmonton Journal editorial cartoon by Mathew Hayes claiming that Palestinian terrorists (who he depicted as innocent children, not radical jihadis), fire only spitballs at Israeli “centurians”, was a gross distortion of the truth and whitewashing of Palestinian terror.

This year alone, over 1,600 deadly rockets have been fired at Israeli cities from Hamas-held Gaza Strip. Since 2001, more than 12,800 rockets and mortars (that’s an average of 3 attacks every single day), have landed in Israel.

Hamas’ deadly rocket arsenal consists of long-range rockets like the Fajr-5 which has a 90kg payload with a range of 75km putting 3.5 million civilians at threat. Heavily populated Israeli cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are now under daily threat.

Hayes’ poisonous pen only served to mislead Edmonton Journal readers of the real threat that Israelis face from Palestinian rockets.

CBC National Issues On-Air Correction After HRC Complaint

A November 19 CBC National report about Israeli airstrikes on Palestinian terror targets saw the CBC’s Mideast bureau chief Sasa Petricic erroneously claim: “The media centre hit yesterday was hit again hard. Israel killed a senior Hamas militant who was there.”

Contrary to Petricic’s claim, the attack on the media centre targeted a leader of the terror group Islamic Jihad, not Hamas.

Following receipt of our complaint, CBC National issued the following on-air correction (watch clip below) orated by Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge on November 20: “And we want to set the record straight, on something from last night. We incorrectly reported that an Israeli strike on the Gaza media centre killed a senior Hamas official, in fact the attack killed a militant leader of Islamic Jihad.”

CBC Flag Fail

A November 21 CBC.ca article featured a graphic describing the outlawed terrorist group Hamas as the official “state” representatives of the Palestinian people. CBC erroneously claimed that Hamas flew the official Palestinian flag and ran the “state” of Gaza. After our intervention with the CBC, a new graphic was issued identifying Hamas as only a “party”, not a “state” actor with its official green flag.

Local Canadian Protest Rallies Receive Biased Coverage:

  • Montreal Gazette Shows its “Solidarity” with Palestinian Protestors: On November 19, the Montreal Gazette gave prominent front-page coverage to a local pro-Palestinian rally with the following sub-headline that showed where its sympathies lie: “In solidarity with Palestinians”. A pro-Israel rally a couple days earlier was given short shrift by the Gazette prompting HRC letter writers to send letters to the Gazette. The following letter was published on November 20 condemning the Gazette’s “Outrageous front page photo”.

  • CTV Poorly Illustrates Pro-Israel Ottawa Rally with Photo of Celebrating Palestinians: You’d think that a CTV.ca news article about a pro-Israel rally in Ottawa which saw an overflow crowd of 400+ people at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre would feature a photo of the participants revelling in celebration and showing their solidarity with Israel, but instead, CTV editors illustrated this momentous event by appending a photo of Palestinians in Gaza celebrating over the announced cease-fire. Despite the fact that photos were readily available as event organizers had tweeted pictures (see here and here) and as CTV’s own cameraman was at the event, nevertheless CTV exercised poor judgement by publishing this photo. After HonestReporting Canada communicated our concerns to CTV executives, a new photo was published showing the true celebration that occurred at the Ottawa gathering.

HRC Exposes Guelph Mercury Journalist Who Denied Israel’s Right to Exist

Guelph journalist Troy Bridgeman wrote a commentary on November 22 claiming that Israeli-Palestinian violence “permeates the security walls and barbwire that have come to symbolize more than six decades of occupation and containment.” In making such a statement, this journalist either knowingly or if we were to judge favourably, inadvertently denied Israel’s right to exist. We exposed this commentary which challenged Israel’s right to exist in the following November 26 op-ed:

 When Canadian Commentators Cross the Line:

  • Toronto Star contributor Tony Burman justified terror against Israeli civilians by claiming that Hamas' indiscriminate firing of rockets on civilian populations falls under the "right to defend" ourselves doctrine.
  • Writing in the Globe and Mail, Diana Buttu, former advisor to the PLO and to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas repugnantly claimed Israel commits terror against innocent civilians: “Israel’s latest bombing campaign, one that does not distinguish civilian from combatant, adult from child…”
Globe and Mail Issues Corrections After HRC Complaints
  • A Globe interactive map unintentionally wiped Israel off the Mideast map. After HRC contacted the Globe, the map (which also did not identify Jordan and the Palestinian territories) was edited and re-published on the Globe’s website:
  • Several Globe and Mail articles (see here, here, and here) carried incorrect casualty statistics during and post conflict with Hamas, with some articles claiming that all 130 Palestinian casualties were civilians. HRC liaised with Globe editors to set the record straight. Of significance, the Globe’s Public Editor penned a column acknowledging one of our complaints by stating: “This morning, an online headline was changed after readers noted it was wrong. An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated the civilian death count was 94; the story stated 50 of the dead Palestinians are civilians.”


  • We prevented the transmission of inaccurate reporting in the Globe and Mail when our editors noticed the following error stated in a November 19 article by reporter Patrick Martin who had incorrectly claimed that: “… in January, 2009. Most Hamas fighters fell back and hid, saying they were waiting to tackle the Israelis when they entered Gaza's maze of small streets - a battle that never came.” The article, which was queued for publication for the next day’s edition, had contended that most Hamas fighters in the 2008-09 war “fell back and hid” and never engaged in “a battle that never came”. We pointed out the lack of foundation for this claim by noting that it’s impossible to reconcile the fact that Hamas itself admits that close to 700 of its fighters were killed in this conflict. Israel at the time claimed that of the 1,166 fatalities, 709 were combatants, 295 civilian and 248 police, or (if one includes the police as combatants), 82.7% combatant casualties. Thankfully, Globe editors were able to remove this claim from their article in time so that the error never appeared in the print edition.
After HRC Complaint, Toronto Star Clarifies Claim that Israel Killed Palestinian Family at a Gaza Beach
A front page Toronto Star news article on November 18 falsely claimed that in 2006, “(Israeli) shells took out a Palestinian family on a beach picnic.”


Contrary to this statement, the deaths of the seven Palestinian civilians on a beach in Gaza on June 9th, 2006 was not caused by the Israeli Defense Forces. Investigations by the IDF and others revealed evidence that a Hamas mine was most likely the cause of the beach blast. HonestReporting Canada informed Star editors of their error and the following clarification was issued on November 21:


  • That is really not an acceptable response from the Gazette. The statement acknowledging their “error” should have been published by the paper with the editor’s name affixed.

    • It was the Toronto Star, althugh I admit that the Gazette, like most Quebec newspapers, has more than its share of antisemitism. That’s the reason so many Jews moved from Quebec to Ontario.

      • It was the Gazette that published the misleading photo. Somehow the comments here are a mixture between two different stories.

  • Their overt anti-Semitism may be corrected with a watered down, whitewashed semi-apology. But, don’t count on it. Ignorance and bias go hand in hand and these habits are hard to change especially since most non-Jews are jealous of the Jews.

  • What kind of a newspaper carelessly misleads its readers, acknowledges same and then fails to print a correction? Montreal Gazette subscribers who are supporters of Israel should be complaining in droves and threatening to cancel their subscriptions unless the Gazette takes a more responsible journalistic stance.

  • It always amazes me how often ‘poor editing’ escapes the notice of the piblishers of Quebec’s newspapers.
    After the damage is done a tiny retraction may or may not be published.
    The perpetrators of these ‘unintentional’ anti Israel falsehoods should be obliged to print their retractions and apologies in as many column inches as was occupied by the lies and on the same page.

  • Yes, they should have caught it. But the NYT should not have sent it in the first place. Its persistent anti-Israel stance is intact; so is its anti-US stance, as shown just now by its revealing the existence of a previously secret American drone base in Saudi Arabia. It reminds me of an anecdote from the Vietnam War: A reporter was complaining to a briefing officer that there was much less media access to troops and actions than there had been in World War II; the officer replied, “Yes, but in World War II you were on our side.”

  • Begin forwarded message:

    From: Joe Ronn
    Date: February 7, 2013, 12:43:38 PM EST
    To: Gazette
    Subject: Syria threatens retaliation for Israeli attack


    Re: Syria threatens retaliation for Israeli attack

    The reason I no longer subscribe to the Gazette, is that your paper’s editors have neither the balls nor the integrity to publish bold front-page apologies for misleading editorials and photos, such as of Syrian refugees fleeing an Israeli air-strike on an Hezbollah-bound convoy of missiles.

    The best your meek and feeble-minded staff could conjure up was a letter from an indignant reader, Michael Sacher. You deserve every accolade as Montreal’s #1 rag.

    Joe Ronn

  • I want a retraction!!!!!! The media is in no small way responsible for misinformation which poorly educated, or small minded .indoviduals read and then take as fact! How in hell is peace ever to be accomplished when SO MANY outsiders who have NOTHING INVESTED yet have power to influence public opinion continue to misrepresent and twist events ????? This is a rag of a publication and needs to be called out!

  • The stench of anti-Semitic bias is so powerful in Quebec that I suggest that the next time they stamp their feet and ask to be separated from the rest of Canada, that they be permitted to leave. It will instantly render Canada a far more honest and decent country.

  • The Toronto Star has long been noted for its antisemitic stance. It became so agravating that thetwo Jewish funeral homes in Toronto publish obituaries in The National Post, rather than the Star.

  • Did you notice that their correction states: “Israel’s seat of government is in Jerusalem”? It seems that the Toronto Star purposely avoided stating that Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem. I remember that the BBC has done the same thing back at the time of the London Olympics.

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