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Saturday, November 5, 2011

One person can make a difference

Mainstream media gives some rather unintelligent and hopelessly biased people the credibility that accompanies a public platform.

Nowhere is this concern more evident than in the distorted coverage of matters relating to Israel. Just one example of a source of that phenomenon is The Toronto Star, whose anti-Israel editorial bias is so pronounced that it has earned that newspaper the nickname "al-Starzeera."

It publishes Haroon Siddiqui, who until recent complaints and public demonstrations caused a slight retreat, produced a column whose only seeming purpose was to find an excuse to vilify Israel. It' provides print space to Linda McQuaig, a hopelessly biased polemicist of who notoriously likened Israel's killing of 9 armed jihadis who expressed a desire for martyrdom on the Mavi Marmara to the murder of an innocent Jewish American by Palestinian terrorists on the Achile Lauro.

For years, it even allowed the  archaic, irrelevant Antonia Zerbisias to use the Star's Living section to defend Hamas and routinely condemn Israel and get the main points of her stories wrong in the process. And of course there are countless examples of daily mistruths and distortions from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Globe and Mail and other Canadian media outlets.

For the most part, when informed people hear of such things, they shake their heads in disappointment, maybe write a letter to the Editor, and worry about the dumbing-down of Canadian media. There are prominent organizations who do excellent work in holding the media to account, such as the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, but they have a number of areas of focus.

There is, however, an individual who has made anti-Israel bias in the Canadian media his sole mission, and he's doing an incredible job on his own, with just a few volunteers and a group of committed financial supporters. His name is Mike Fegelman and he's been vigilant in monitoring media and exposing the slander and hate that is directed towards the Jewish state by some of the members of Canada's media establishment.

Through Honest Reporting Canada, Mike has most recently drawn attention to the anti-Semitic TV host Stéphane Gendron, who in the past said that Jews  "invented terrorism." Now Gendron is accusing Israel of planing to bulldoze and kill Palestinians, and Honest Reporting Canada is holding him and the Quebec's V Network, that broadcasts such bigotry, to account.

Mike put on an interesting event with Mark Dubowitz last week. Dubowitz is the Executive Director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank. It was fascinating to hear his assessment that he hopes and expects President Obama's policies of containing Iran through sanctions and covert action to prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon will be successful. Most of the audience were less optimistic and felt that military strikes on Iran are both necessary and inevitable. Israel's threats of attack are seen in that context, not so much as a genuine threat as the stick to induce countries like China and Russia to accept the carrot of serious sanctions.

Honest Reporting Canada is doing fine work and you can learn more about it here.

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