Toronto Star’s Biased Contenta

Dear Honest Reporting Member,

Readers of the Toronto Star have been bringing articles to HonestReporting’s attention for months. While most newspapers limit their correspondents to 1,200 words of hard news, the Toronto Star provides correspondent Sandro Contenta almost unlimited space to present 2,000-word paeans to Palestinian martyrs and suffering.

We encourage HonestReporting members to review Contenta’s dispatches in the Toronto Star. The Star has a cumbersome website, so it is difficult to provide each article’s URL. Instead, we recommend you go to http://thestar.com, click on “World” in the upper left-hand corner, and then click on Sandro Contenta’s name to view all of his articles.

If you believe that Contenta’s reporting is biased, send complaints to:
lettertoed@thestar.ca
ombud@thestar.ca
editorial@thestar.ca

The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, cut-and-paste the critique below.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

HonestReporting.com

============== Sample letter to the editor ============

To the Editor:

I wish to express my disappointment over the constant anti-Israel bias shown by correspondent Sandro Contenta. His articles are replete with tales of Palestinian suffering, but rarely does Contenta explain that in many cases the suffering is brought on by the Palestinian themselves. On several occasions, Contenta has even tried to present a sympathetic view of Palestinian suicide bombers. Israeli casualties and suffering is rarely mentioned in Contenta’s articles.

Here are a few recent examples of Contenta’s mission to present tales of Palestinian suffering:

- “In God’s Name” (May 20) — a report on Palestinian Imad Zbaidi who blew himself up in the Israeli town of Kfar Sava, killing Israeli doctor Mario Goldin. In a sort of tribute to terrorism, Contenta presents extensive biographical details of the suicide bomber, and then offers info on the murdered Goldin. That Contenta “evenhandedly” presents a sympathetic picture of a fanatic terrorist along with an innocent civilian is obscene.

- “Portrait of a Suicide Bomber” (March 30) — another variation of the same theme. Contenta describes the life and death of Dia Tawil who blew himself up, wounding 30 Israelis. Contenta offers statements by Tawil’s family defending the terrorist act, and omits entirely the story of Tawil’s innocent victims.

- “Wounds that Will Not Heal” (April 1) — a 2,300-word tome devoted to “Young Palestinian fighters who survive being shot [who] still risk broken bodies and shattered lives.” Contenta skirts the fact that the wounded Palestinians chose to violently confront Israeli soldiers. In a sham attempt at “evenhandedness,” Contenta tosses in 70 words about three small Israeli children who lost their legs when Palestinians bombed a Jewish school bus.

- “Roots of Conflict: Israeli campaign against Palestinians’ trees sows seeds of discord” (June 10) — Contenta devotes 2,000 words to the IDF clearing of Arab olive groves which gave cover to Palestinian gunmen. Contenta warns of the economic, ecological and environmental dangers caused by the Israeli action. He dismisses in 15 words, however, the fact that Palestinians “have been accused of deliberately setting fires to small Israeli forests.”

- “Baby hit by Israeli fire dies in her mother’s arms” (May 8) — details the tragic death of Palestinian Iman Hijo. Contenta also mentions the death of 10-month-old Israeli Shalhevet Pass, but fails to note the obvious distinctions. The death of one baby was accidental, in the context of Israeli troops returning fire after Palestinians shot mortars. Israel’s leaders expressed sorrow over Iman’s death. Shalhevet’s death came at the hands of a cold-hearted sniper. No remorse was ever heard from the Palestinians — only a cruel claim that the baby’s own mother murdered her. At the time of Shalhevet’s deaths, Contenta gave the story 35 words, buried in the tenth paragraph of his story, “Arafat’s home damaged in attack.”

As one of Canada’s leading newspapers, I wonder how the Star justifies publishing such a consistently one-sided view of a complex world issue.

 

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