By Esther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman
The complainant, Hans Dekkers, thought that any discussion of the Middle East peace process must mention that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, even when the article is an Opinion piece. In presenting opinion, the writer gets to frame the argument. Lack of this mention in Neil Macdonald’s column did not violate policy.
You objected to an opinion piece by Neil Macdonald published on cbcnews.ca entitled “Let’s stop pretending Israel is heading toward a two-state solution.” Even though it was opinion, you felt it fell short of being fair or accurate. You said Mr. Macdonald had left out the “#1 reality any fair and accurate article on this topic must cover,” and that is the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have not formally recognized Israel’s right to exist. To your mind, one cannot address the question of any kind of agreement without drawing attention to this state of affairs:
Without overt focus on the reality of the formal Palestinian denial of Israel’s Right to Exist, it is impossible to fairly and accurately analyse and interpret the prospects of Peace.
You believe that this opinion piece reflected the ongoing bias of the writer. After you received a response from CBC News management, you had a further concern. You thought that the Managing Editor of @cbcnews shared Mr. Macdonald’s bias. You were concerned that he “relegated the issue of PA’s [Palestinian Authority] to the status of a bargaining tool.” You believe that this indicates he too has an explicit bias, which enabled Mr. Macdonald’s article to be published and prominently promoted in the first place.
Steve Ladurantaye, the Managing Editor, also reminded you that this was an Opinion piece, and as such the writer had some latitude to give “more or less weight to facts as he considers their relevance.” He explained that the author of the article was not obliged to emphasize a point you consider indispensable: