Watchdog of the Week: RTE Makes On-Air Apology for Ariel Sharon Slur

When Irish broadcaster RTE referred to “the massacre that was led by Sharon in Beirut” on its 9pm news program, former HonestReporting Mission participant Stephen Franklin, as well as fellow UK activists Frank Baigel and Elliot Davis all contacted the station.

Ariel Sharon, of course, did not lead, participate in nor desire a massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982.

They received the following response from RTE News Foreign Editor Cathy Milner:

Thank you for your recent email regarding our TV coverage of the aftermath of the death of Ariel Sharon.

I have now reviewed the report you complain of and have spoken to the reporter involved. In trying to paraphrase in order to save on-air time, we accept that a mistake was made and that the script line that the massacre was led by the late Mr Sharon was incorrect. Instead we should have explained the findings of the Israeli government commission of inquiry that Mr Sharon bore an indirect responsibility for these events.

We are sorry for this error and will carry a correction on our six and nine bulletins this Sunday, January 26.

And indeed, the correction was aired on that evening’s bulletin:

For taking action and achieving an on-air correction, our Watchdog of the Week is shared between Stephen Franklin, Frank Baigel and Elliot Davis.

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