Live From Jerusalem, It’s the Election
March 27, 2006
Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber:
As Canadian news media prepare to cover the election of Israel’s 17th Parliament, Israelis are confronted with an election of firsts: first election since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon created the Kadima party, first since Sharon’s incapacitating stroke, and first since Palestinians elected a government run by the Hamas terrorist organization.
As journalists report on these elections, HonestReporting Canada urges them to avoid tired media conventions such as:
- Creating a false symmetry between Israeli democracy – where citizens enjoy free speech, a free press, and a representative parliament including Arab parties – and the Palestinian Authority, characterized by corruption, intimidation and growing anarchy
- Describing the Palestinian Authority’s Hamas leadership as “moderates” or “pragmatists” while they are committed to Israel’s destruction and support terrorist activities. (For a recent example of Hamas double-speak, in which Palestinians espouse peace to the Western media but deny it when speaking to their own people, see Palestinian Media Watch’s “Talk peace in English, deny it in Arabic“.)
Mr. Mansbridge goes to Jerusalem
From March 27 to 29, CBC anchorman and chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge will cover the Israeli elections live from Jerusalem, while CBC’s local reporters cover the Israeli angle and Palestinian reaction.
CBC’s live coverage from Israel will provide an opportunity to assess how well CBC has responded to a February, 2005 survey of Canadians’ attitudes toward CBC reporting and programming.
Among other things, CBC news executives recently pledged to:
“Avoid the media trap of ‘framing’ complicated stories in conventional black-and-white ways. The richness of intelligent and thoughtful discussion usually lies in the greys, and Canadians ? far more than the news media ? know that.”
Yet despite CBC’s goal of providing nuanced news coverage, CBC’s promotional TV ad framed the broadcaster’s coverage in familiar black-and-white terms. Almost all of the images in the 15-second promo clip depicted Palestinians in various situations. Is this a foreshadowing of black-and-white coverage that portrays Israeli society exclusively through the prism of conflict with the Palestinians?
- Monitor Canadian media coverage of the Israeli election. (See The National’s coverage on CBC Television at 9:00pm or CBC Newsworld at 10:00pm, or watch it online.)
- Contact media outlets that fail to report fairly or accurately on the election. (Contact information for Canadian news media can be found here. CBC can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-306-4636.)
- Forward a copy of your communications to email@example.com.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to fair and accurate
media coverage of Israel and the Middle East