"There are other facts worth including beyond these, to be sure. For example, there are reports that this was not the first time the hospital was attacked. This was also one of many health facilities and schools that have been attacked in Gaza. These are not peripheral issues, but critical pieces of information that allow readers to make a fair assessment."
October 20, 2023
John Paul Tasker, Journalist, CBC
Nancy Waugh, Sr. Manager, CBC
Brodie Fenlon, News Editor-in-Chief, CBC News
Dear John Paul Tasker, Nancy Waugh, and Brodie Fenlon,
I’m writing to express alarm about glaring omissions in your recent article, “Trudeau not ready to accept U.S. finding that Palestinian outfit was behind Gaza hospital blast.”
In an article centred on the conflicting claims surrounding the Al-Ahli hospital blast, it is concerning that essential information for readers would be left aside. A story focused on Israel’s claims should mention the following facts:
- A digital aid to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hananya Naftali, tweeted (now deleted with an explanation) in the immediate aftermath of the explosion that “Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas terrorist base inside a hospital in Gaza.”
- The Israeli army had published a post on X (now edited) blaming the strike on a misfired missile launched by PIJ. The post included alleged video evidence, but the video was quickly debunked by journalist Aric Toler, prompting Israel to edit the post and remove the video.
- Israel then released audio of an alleged phone call between members of Hamas speaking about the hospital attack. According to Channel 4 News, experts believe the audio is fabricated because of the “language, accent, dialect, syntax, and tone; none of which is, they say, credible.”
There are other facts worth including beyond these, to be sure. For example, there are reports that this was not the first time the hospital was attacked. This was also one of many health facilities and schools that have been attacked in Gaza. These are not peripheral issues, but critical pieces of information that allow readers to make a fair assessment.
Of course, there is no doubt that there are conflicting reports and ongoing investigations into this matter. We understand that CBC wants to tread carefully and remain accurate. Nonetheless, it seems a significant journalistic failure to omit the very context that has led so many around the world to view Israel’s claims with serious skepticism. There is historical precedent for this skepticism, too. The murder of Shireen Abu Akleh is a primary example of Israel trying to evade responsibility, then later admitting it was probably their fault.
Essential context is missing that deserves inclusion. Please update the article and include this information in future coverage.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East