"Thousands of people showed up in support of Palestinians and called for an immediate ceasefire. You are not covering this event in a fair or balanced manner. You are not giving a voice and space to Palestinians and their perspective, even though it would be highly appropriate in this context."
Christian Paas-Lang, Writer, CBC
Nancy Waugh, Senior Manager of Journalistic Standards, CBC
Brodie Fenlon, News Director, CBC News
Dear Christian Paas-Lang, Nancy Waugh, and Brodie Fenlon,
I am writing to express concern about your article: “Politicians condemn presence of swastika at Parliament Hill rally,” published on November 5 by CBC News.
First, you mention an image posted on X by Howard Fremeth, who you describe as an “Ottawa resident.” Fremeth was the director of communications at Israel’s embassy in Canada from 2011 to 2016. Why is this not mentioned? Fremeth shared a pixelated photo of a man holding a sign that said “Zionism = Nazism,” which would then be picked up and shared by pro-Israel lobby groups like the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
The Maple journalist Davide Mastracci investigated and summarized his conclusion as follows:
Someone who used to literally do PR for Israel shared an image that was picked up by a pro-Israel lobby group and misrepresented in a blatant attempt to smear pro-Palestine protesters…
I insist that you include a reference to Fremeth’s previous job as the director of communications for the Israeli embassy.
Second, your headline is highly misleading. By writing that “Politicians condemn presence of swastika at Parliament Hill rally,” you make it sound like there were pro-Nazis at the Palestine rally. The truth is the exact opposite; the symbol was used in an anti-Nazi context. The headline ought to reflect the reality. Your headline likely misleads readers into thinking that protesters included Nazi apologists.
The article itself also does not make the truth clear. There is a reference to what the sign says, but that this was an anti-Nazi message is completely lost on many readers, most would agree.
Update your headline to make clear that the swastika is being used in an anti-Nazi context. Also, make this context clear in the article itself.
Third, it is disappointing that your article focuses on this one sign instead of giving space to the actual purpose of this rally. Thousands of people showed up in support of Palestinians and called for an immediate ceasefire. You are not covering this event in a fair or balanced manner. You are not giving a voice and space to Palestinians and their perspective, even though it would be highly appropriate in this context.
We hope that CBC will be more diligent and fairer in its future reporting to meet its journalistic obligations instead of adding fuel to anti-Palestinian racism.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East