Wednesday, February 27, 2013


On February 21, CBC posted the following article about Palestinian protests:

Under the headline there was a large color photo of a Palestinian throwing a smoking projectile. The caption identifies that he is throwing back a tear gas bomb thrown first by Israeli soldiers.

Visual images can make a stronger impression than words, and the impression clearly reinforced by this photo is that Palestinians throw bombs and are violent.
This is creating a false reality. The overwhelming proportion of violence is coming from the armed Israelis against unarmed Palestinians. If CBC wanted to accurately portray this reality they should have shown Israeli soldiers shooting their tear gas bombs and rubber bullets, etc at the Palestinians. The choice of this photo, and not the other kind, was a conscious choice to misrepresent and misinform.

If we want to know who CBC is taking their direction from, we can see it in the text, where we find this line:

       "When the military prevented them from proceeding, protesters began rioting by hurling stones and burning tires."

The Palestinians were protesting. They were not rioting. "Riot" has a strong negative connotation that "protest" does not have. It implies disorderly violence, from an undisciplined crowd. What actually happened was a protest, and although some rock throwing and tire burning occurred, it was in response to Israeli violence and was a protest, not a riot.

Why did CBC choose to use this strongly negative word to describe a protest? The answer is found further in the text, where CBC writes:

     "security forces used nonlethal means to break up what it called a violent riot."

The "it" referred to is obviously the "security forces" (even if CBC cannot get a handle on English grammar). So since the Israelis choose to call a protest a riot, CBC feels comfortable doing the same.

As Canadians, we need to ask who CBC is working for?

No comments:

Post a Comment