August 7, 2006

Does the CBC really want to "Hear All Sides"?

I recently received an email from my mother in Toronto. It was entitled “Action Alert – We need your help!” The email told of a special program that was about to be aired on CBC radio last Thursday. The show was called ‘Hearing all Sides’ and was to focus on personal experiences of those affected by the war. I was moved to action. Hey, we are living in Israel and even though we may not be in Haifa, our lives are touched by this war nonetheless.

I called many of my Toronto friends who are living here in Israel and they immediately agreed that this was a cause worth pursuing. We all have memories of CBC and their stance on the Middle East.

These Israeli-Canadians called and called and called but none of them got through. Meanwhile, I sat with my laptop and listened to the program. I heard traffic reports and all about the big story of the day -- the weather. Even though it was just 7:00 a.m. Toronto time, it was quickly turning into a steamy day on those downtown streets.

On the show, there was a panel of three Lebanese and three Jewish Canadians who were trying to devise a plan for peace in between the all-important humidity readings. What happened? Here is the story of my friend Kendall.

Kendall dialed the number again and again and got no reply. Hmmm, a phone-in show with no one to pick up the line? Eventually a woman at CBC answered. Kendall explained that she was calling from Israel and thus has some direct experience with this subject.

“Do you know that we are now discussing how to implement ever-lasting peace in the Middle East?” the CBC lady reiterated over the phone.

“Oh,” said Kendall, “I can comment on that.”

“So what is your solution?” asked the woman.

“I will quote Golda Meir,” said Kendall matter of factly. “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

“Hmmm….” said the woman. “I will take down your phone number and you may get a call back.”

Kendall waited three hours for that call. To date, she has been waiting five days for the CBC to call her back. Is the CBC really interested in some live coverage from Israelis who are feeling the effects of war? It seems as if the show “Hearing All Sides” just wasn’t interested in this side, yet again.

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