CBC: Our Israel Coverage Was Separate and UnequalFebruary 16, 2011 9:23 by Pesach Benson
The CBC fessed up.
When the publicly funded Canadian broadcaster picked up on a Human Rights Watch report charging Israeli discrimination against Palestinians in areas like housing, freedom of movement, health, education and access to water, it made one mistake.
The Ceeb never obtained an Israeli response to the non-governmental organization’s allegations. You won’t find any Israeli point of view in Irris Makler’s dispatch. Nor anywhere else in the CBC because it never followed up on the story.
Now, the CBC admitted it in an email to HonestReporting Canada:
“. . . CBC journalistic policy emphasizes the importance of reflecting a diversity of opinion, it does not require that every story reflect a range of views. A story critical of Israeli policy does not necessarily have to include an equally strong voice supporting that policy. CBC policy acknowledges that balance can be achieved over a period of time.
In this instance, while Ms. Makler was asked to report only on the contents of the HRW study, we anticipated subsequent stories would include the Israeli government’s views. As Ms. Makler noted, the HRW was expected to present the study to Israeli government officials some hours later that day. Despite that intention, we did not return to the story.
I agree with you to the extent that either the report that morning or a subsequent story should have included the Israeli view.”
Yes, balance can be achieved over a period of time — but only over a reasonable period of time. Makler’s report was filed two months ago. Unless the Ceeb is cynically planning an equally imbalanced pro-Israel glow job with no Palestinian point of view, it’s hard to see how they can make amends.
I’ll give HR Canada the last word:
An appropriate remedy could have been to simply air an editor’s note to explain the Israeli perspective or better yet, broadcast an additional full length report which would focus on the Israeli point of view to ensure that their reporting was balanced and that it reflected a “diversity of opinion.”
Despite our formal request calling for the CBC to atone for their oversights, they have instead opted for “separate and unequal” asymmetrical coverage of Israel.