by J-Practical, May 30, 2012
A recent CBC.ca report “Israel returns remains of 91 Palestinian militants” is a
fascinating study of bizarre journalistic behaviours and standards.
In fact, this short and sweet little tidbit is more interesting in what it fails to report than what it actually reports. The story was originally written by the Associated Press, but was heavily edited by the CBC before being posted on the CBC.ca site.
Who were these 91 people?
Today’s journalists call people who commit terrorist actions ‘militants’. It’s supposed to be ‘fair’ journalistic practice. In this case, it’s also a nice vague term for these people who indiscriminately murdered civilians for political purposes.
Initially, neither AP nor CBC.ca bothered to tell us what these 91 people did that caused their death, beyond a single sentence (“All 91 were killed over the past decades while carrying out suicide bombings or other attacks on Israeli targets”). That sentence came from ‘Palestinian officials’. It makes it sound like the ‘militants’ died attacking Israel Defense Force military positions. The CBC later updated the story to provide some details, but still held back reporting that these 91 ‘militants’ include suicide bombers who carried out the 2003 attacks on the No. 2 bus and at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem, the 1996 suicide bombing of a hitchhiking post in Ashkelon, two buses in Beersheba in 2004, and the Savoy Hotel attack in Tel Aviv in 1975. In other words, they killed indiscriminately, focusing on civilian ‘soft targets’.
Thousands of Israelis died, or were maimed by the barbaric attacks, carried out by these Palestinian ‘militants’. These 91 ‘militants’ performed violence against Israeli civilians, that is as barbaric and shocking as the violence reported yesterday in Houla Syria.
Where are the Victims in this Report?
The CBC and AP dropped any pretense of fairness and balance in reporting this story. The Palestinian side is over-reported, and the Israeli side under-reported. The human interest side of the story ends with the Palestinian families. There is no human interest reporting of the Israeli side at all.
Neither AP nor CBC hints that each one of these ‘militant’ remains is associated with dead Israeli civilians whose families who also mourn them. The Palestinian families of the ‘militants’ (i.e., the families of the killers) are interviewed and presented for the readers’ empathy, but no Israeli victim families were interviewed.
Similarly, neither report even mentioned that there exists an Israeli organization called the Almagor Terror Victims Association, which expressed strong reservations about returning the remains (among which was that the concern that the PA would use this as an opportunity to glorify the terrorists and terrorism). This additional information was available from many credible Israeli news sources (which the CBC has used in the past), but the CBC chose to ignore the Israeli side instead.
Imagine reading a news report about Paul Bernardo, which featured interviews with his tearful family, but nobody mentioned his victims or talked to their families. Wouldn’t that look strange? Wouldn’t it leave a bad taste in your mouth?
Pomp and Ceremony
The CBC described the Palestinian families waiting to receive the remains. In a twist of sheer weirdness, they initially reported it just like they report the return of slain Canadian soldiers from Afghanistan (right down to the description of “Palestinian government ceremonies honouring the dead militants”).
But five hours later, they posted the parts of the AP report that they’d initially withheld – the parts that explicitly described how many Israelis were killed by each interviewee’s dead ‘militant’.
Why did it take 5 hours for the CBC to post the only thing kept this Palestinian ceremony from looking like a Canadian Ramp Ceremony?
Glorifying Palestinian Terrorism – the Allowable Crime
The Palestinian Authority used this event to honour the 91 ‘militants’ for their indiscriminate murder of civilians for political purposes. Of course the PA didn’t call it that – they called it ‘heroism’, which is really no different than calling these terrorists ‘militants’.
And this is not a new thing in the ‘moderate’ PA, where streets, schools, childrens’ camps, and sporting events are being named after perpetrators of terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. They’re being turned into role models for children and for adults.
The CBC never reports it. Just as they failed to report the direct connection between the PA’s campaigns that promoted ‘militants’ as role models, and the butchering of the Fogel family in Itamar by youths who were inspired by this toxic message.
Will the CBC ever report on the Palestinian Authority policies of glorifying the perpetrators of terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians (whether you call them ‘militants’ or ‘terrorists’)?
Is it reasonable to expect that the reporting of the Middle East conflict include reporting of the Palestinian Authority’s open policy of glorifying terrorism? Is it too much to expect the CBC to inform Canadians about the PA’s policy of encouragement of indiscriminate murder of Israeli civilians for political purposes?