Heap: Profile failed in citing sources

I read with interest the profile in Western News (“The man who won’t go away,” Nov. 24), and while I appreciate your honest efforts to correct certain details, I find it puzzling you chose to cite media commentarists who show little respect for basic fact-checking and whose opinions should thus be viewed with extreme caution. Such sources’ lack of journalistic rigour does not reflect well on those who cite them uncritically, including Western’s official voice.

Regarding Israel’s denial of Taser use and other violence (contrary to independent journalists’ eye-witness accounts): Given they stole and suppressed your colleagues’ photos and video footage, it is difficult to understand why any professional journalist would treat the Israeli military as a credible information source.

But most perplexing is your assertion that “Mainstream media covered the story from a distance.”

Admittedly, the commentarists you chose to quote basically copied Israeli press releases without even minimal fact checking. But you completely missed al Jazeera English (AJE), which was decidedly not “from a distance.” They had a journalist on the Tahrir who filed an eye-witness report within hours of our assault and kidnapping by Israeli forces.

As a packed Conron Hall audience heard recently from our Faculty of Media and Information Studies colleague Jeremy Copeland, AJE is one of the most comprehensive and respected international news sources in today’s world. How much more “mainstream” can you get?

One has to wonder at your choice to cite commentarists (as opposed to real journalists) from a rather narrow spectrum of Canadian print outlets.

David Heap