CBC Website: In-Depth and One-Sided
Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber,
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website provides a wealth of background information on issues of interest to Canadians. For the sake of brevity, these backgrounders compress a great deal of information into concise packages. However they are still obligated, in the CBC’s own words, “to be fair, accurate, thorough, comprehensive and balanced in their presentation of information.”
The CBC’s special IN DEPTH section on the Middle East is a collection of documents dedicated to Israel and the Palestinians. With the look and feel of an educational primer, it contains background materials including descriptions of key issues, biographies of key players, links to archived news stories, and a quiz to “test your knowledge.”
One might expect that in approaching the controversial topic of the Middle East, the CBC would carefully avoid giving even the slightest impression of taking sides. It is all the more surprising, then, to discover that in the very first sentence on its Middle East homepage, the CBC introduces Canadians to a decidedly one-sided version of history:
“Since May of 1948 when the modern state of Israel was proclaimed, the land has had two parallel histories, one for the Jews who control the state and one for the Palestinians whose homeland the nation was built on.”
The CBC thus introduces the topic as a power dynamic, in which Israelis have all the power and Palestinians are a victimized people dispossessed of their land. In this CBC version of events, the Palestinians are the obvious owners of the land on which the Jews run the show.
This is, of course, inconsistent with historical fact. Leaving aside the Jews’ lengthy history in the land and the fact that prior to the 20th century they were alone in referring to Israel/Palestine as their “homeland,” it is worth pointing out that the majority of territory on which the modern state of Israel was declared had in fact been public land administered by the British Mandatory authorities, and an additional 10 percent was owned outright by Jewish individuals or organizations.