"Activist's" Allegation Presented as Fact in Kingston Paper
August 15, 2008
By: Mike FegelmanDear HonestReporting Canada subscriber: A recent HonestReporting.com communique advised readers to look local, noting that "the smaller media needs watching as well."
While HonestReporting Canada regularly monitors Canadian media giants like the Globe and Mail, CTV, and CBC, we cannot ignore the influence and reach of smaller local Canadian media outlets.
Writing in the Jerusalem Post recently, Ira Rifkin acknowledged the importance of monitoring your local media:
Reporter Frank Armstrong detailed how a city "activist" originally from Kingston, had been arrested by Israeli authorities and deported back to Canada for his involvement in a protest at the construction site of the security barrier near Ni'lin, West Bank. A statement published by Israeli Defense officials noted that Victor MacDiarmid (see photo lower below) was "arrested for violating a closed military zone and (for) attacking two border police officers." According to the lead of the article:
As there's no evidence to confirm the veracity of this claim and in consideration for the especially serious nature of this allegation, we felt it was incumbent upon the Whig-Standard to issue a clarification as soon as possible to set the record straight.
After contacting senior editors at the paper and communicating our concerns, the following clarification was printed in today's edition of the Whig-Standard: While we appreciate that the paper tried to remedy the situation by issuing this clarification, notwithstanding, by the fact that editors at the paper have elected to not include the original contentious statement ("After two days of trying to get him to sign a statement written in Hebrew...") in the clarification, readers are not able to conclude which statement of the July 31 report was without attribution. This ambiguous clarification therefore hasn't clarified anything at all and has only served to obfuscate the situation. Furthermore, while the paper may wish to pass the buck and blame the Israeli Embassy for not getting back to their requests, this does not abrogate the paper or their reporter's responsibility to get the facts straight and to present the news in a fair and accurate manner. How You Can Make A Difference Tell Kingston Whig-Standard editor Claude Scilley that his paper's August 15 clarification was both dismal and unsatisfactory, as it didn't reference the original problematic statement ("After two days of trying to get him to sign a statement written in Hebrew...") that should have been attributed to MacDiarmid in the first place, but instead was presented as fact by reporter Armstrong. Send letters to editor Claude Scilley at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (613) 544-4000 to voice your concerns.
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