Just Not Good Enough

September 9, 2008 22:00 by

When the media is held accountable, the least we should expect from our newspapers or TV stations are professional corrections, clarifications or explanations for a particular report or editorial policy. Accountability ensures that the media does not become complacent.

However, sometimes the media responses to your comments are just not good enough:


Our previous communique, in association with HonestReporting Canada, drew your attention to CityTV’s inadequate “on air” correction, following a report that left viewers with the false impression that Israeli soldiers killed 11 protestors.

The “on-air” correction appeared only in a text-superimposed in the program’s broadcast on other Mideast matters. The correction read as follows:


Many viewers may have missed the correction when it ran. But even those who saw it may not have realized it was a correction at all due to the terse language.

CityTV received many e-mails from concerned HonestReporting subscribers. However, the unsigned response was almost as dismal as the original correction:

The concerns of ‘Honest Reporting’ were given high priority and a correction was issued to correct the inadvertent error on the following show via a visual media which is a standard way of communicating information during a newscast.

We are wholly unconvinced by CityTV’s explanation.  Particularly as we are able to show rival Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s proper and professional on air correction from as far back as 2004 showing CityTV how it should be done. In that case, after a report insinuated that the Mossad was behind abuses at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, CBC issued a clarification, verbally read on the nightly news by the anchorman.

If you feel that CityTV’s response is inadequate, please follow up with your considered comments to CityTV publicist Veronica Logue at: veronica.logue@rci.rogers.com



Another example of an inadequate response is that of The Guardian, which has attempted to justify the inclusion of a permanent link to the Hamas military wing on its website.

Stand-in readers’ editor David McKie argued that the link had been present for some 10 years. Yet he later attempted to justify its inclusion, in contrast to other terror organizations such as al-Qaeda, by stating that “Hamas was elected to power by the Palestinian people.”

A number of you picked up that Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections. So does McKie, based on his own logic, acknowledge that the presence of the Hamas link at The Guardian was not justified before this date?

In any case, regular readers’ editor Siobhain Butterworth has returned from vacation. Butterworth has previously been prepared to acknowledge mistakes and to take appropriate action, such as the removal of a one-sided video after HonestReporting’s subscribers took action.

Now that Butterworth is back, we hope that she will address this issue properly. Please write to her at reader@guardian.co.uk.



At the same time, please also ask Siobhain Butterworth why The Guardian has still not
corrected a factual error dating back an 11 August obituary for Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, which wrongly claimed that: “Israeli Arabs lived under military rule from 1948 to 1986. They were curbed in their movements and in any political activity.”

In fact, while Israeli Arabs did live under emergency martial law following the War of Independence, these restrictions were removed in their entirety in 1966 and not 1986 as stated.

This is a clear factual error and there is simply no excuse for not publishing a correction, as The Guardian does for other errors that are brought to its attention.

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HonestReporting Canada's latest communique brought this shocking error to the attention of its subscribers. The August 14 broadcast of CityTV ...