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or sloppy, or stupid . . .
[or] plain and simple,
biased or anti-Semitic.
-- Izzy Asper on the world's
leading newspapers and
Toronto, November 1, 2002
charges of media bias 'bizarre'
By DOUG SAUNDERS
a long, angry speech by Winnipeg media
mogul Izzy Asper, which accused
most of the world's media of being
insufficiently pro-Israeli and implied
that reporters are
bewildered journalists yesterday struggled
Mr. Asper's Wednesday night speech,
which was reprinted prominently in his
city papers and the National Post,
effectively positioned Mr. Asper and his
newspapers to the far right of most of the
world's major media.
As with speeches he delivered last
month with former Israeli prime minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, it repeated the
Israeli Likud party's conservative and
aggressively anti-Arab views.
This time, though, he named names,
accusing the CBC, The New York Times,
The Washington Post, the Associated
Press and Reuters wire services, ABC, CBS,
NBC, CNN, BBC, the British
Guardian, Independent, Evening
Standard and Daily Mirror
newspapers, as well as ITV and Sky News
networks, and other outlets of being
"lazy, or sloppy, or stupid . . .
[or] plain and simple, biased or
He singled out the CBC and its former
Middle East reporter Neil
MacDonald, accusing them of providing
"the most slanted and biased information"
and of routinely practising "dishonest
reporting." In particular, he demanded
that reporters in the Mideast, such as Mr.
Macdonald, refer to all Palestinian
militants as "terrorists."
Tony Burman, head of the CBC-TV
news division, said yesterday that he
considered Mr. Asper's opinions "bizarre,"
and that he would be demanding space to
respond to the accusations in the
"To suggest that most of the
world's media are involved in a
conspiracy against Israel, it's just a
totally extreme conception on Asper's
He said it had been the position of the
CBC and most major media outlets for 25
years not to refer to militants on either
side as terrorists, regardless of their
He also said that the CBC receives a
commensurate number of complaints from
pro-Palestinian viewers about its Middle
East coverage, all of which are
adjudicated by an independent
"There is something profoundly ironic
about being told off about media bias by
someone like Izzy Asper," said Mr. Burman,
apparently referring to Mr. Asper's former
practice of forcing his city papers to
print company-written editorials that
expressed the owner's views.
to our dossier on the origins of
Irving: Radical's Diary, Monday,
October 21, 2002
and Mail extract from max Hastings
memoirs: Paint it Black
Biography of Harold Israel Asper, who
now controls most Canadian