Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Media Monitoring: Mediocre MacKinnon on Israel

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From Honest Reporting Canada comes this monitoring of the evidently mediocre Mark MacKinnon's media/journalism skills. MacKinnon is amongst the hordes of anti-Israel journalists who've never met a black libel they didn't like.

Globe and Mail Reporter Leaves the Facts Behind

July 26, 2006

Dear Honest Reporting Canada subscriber:

In April 2002, Israel's military operation to root out terrorists in Jenin showed what happens when news media report unproven claims. Many journalists repeated false claims that over 500 Palestinians were "massacred" by Israel. Even "chief Palestinian negotiator" Saeb Erekat promoted this lie, which was later exposed in a follow-up interview. Watch the clips, courtesy of Global TV's "Jenin: Massacring Truth", by clicking on the before-and-after images below:

Saeb Erakat Media DistorterSaeb Erakat Mediocre Media Source 2

Manufacturing A New Myth?

In response to this kind of media manipulation, the only safe course for journalists is to stick to the facts. Reporters who file stories based on unproven allegations are doing their readers a disservice.

But the Globe and Mail's Mark MacKinnon did just that. MacKinnon filed a story today (July 26) entitled "Toll higher than stated, civilians say," replete with unproven charges against Israel by people who have no credibility with Canadian readers.

Reporting from the Hezbollah stronghold of Tyre in south Lebanon, MacKinnon quoted a Red Cross worker, a mortician, a medical student and a motorcyclist who collectively implied that Israel intentionally targets civilians, killing many more civilians than reported by the Lebanese government.

Some of the claims MacKinnon printed include:

"'Israel has failed on the ground, so they're hitting civilians.'"

"Of the dead he's seen, Mr. Shadi says, 'maybe 3 per cent' were men. The rest were women and children. 'They're not targeting fighters.'"

"They're just hitting civilians. I don't think there's a reason for it."

MacKinnon paraphrased Israel as saying "its aim is only to uproot the Islamic militia's infrastructure in south Lebanon." But he immediately cast doubt on Israel's claim by presenting unnamed "medical staff" who speculated that "most of those killed and wounded to date have no apparent link to Hezbollah."

But exactly who were these individuals whose claims MacKinnon published? Were they random people he encountered? Did his Lebanese translator take him to them? Or did a "Hezbollah press officer" make the introductions? MacKinnon didn't say. But considering that Tyre is home to Hezbollah loyalists and rocket crews, MacKinnon should explain why he took its residents at their word.

How You Can Make a Difference

In your own words, tell the Globe and Mail that Mark MacKinnon's article, "Toll higher than stated, civilians say," was unfair and misleading because it:

  • Printed claims that Israel is intentionally targeting civilians -- without evidence

  • Implied Israel has killed many more Lebanese civilians than reported -- without evidence

Send letters to: letters@globeandmail.com


Pointers for writing letters:

  • Read the article before composing your letter
  • Focus on your main point and state it clearly
  • Keep your argument rational and avoid being abusive
  • Keep your letter under 200 words and include name, address and daytime phone number
  • Forward a copy of your letter to action@honestreporting.ca

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1 Comments:

At 4:48 PM, Canadian Politico Anonymous Michael Bejerman said:

HonestReporting Canada also has a new daily blog that covers a lot of the same material -- namely Canadian media coverage of Israel. Check it out at http://blog.honestreporting.ca

 

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