Bad News Reporting in Canada

Canadian newspapers have run a number of stories about hunger strikes by Lev Tahor children seized by Child Services pursuant to a court order. For example, the Canadian Jewish News reporter, Paul Lungen, just put up a story with the headline, “Lev Tahor girls stage hunger strike on return to Canada. The problem is that there is no proof that the story is true. Their only sources for the story are representatives of Lev Tahor. But according to court orders, Lev Tahor has no contact with those children. It is easy to see how it is good propaganda for Lev Tahor to claim the children want to return to Lev Tahor and feel their removal is religious persecution. But, there is no proof. There is no corroboration from protective services, medical personnel or any other source. This is a sad degeneration of reporting standards. I understand the temptation to have headlines. But there is no excuse for this sort of reporting, let alone this sort of headline. Sadly, a newspaper’s hunger for headlines has driven them into being tools of Lev Tahor’s propaganda campaign. The editor at the Canadian Jewish News who chose or approved this headline ought to apologize for his shoddy journalism.


3 thoughts on “Bad News Reporting in Canada

  1. It’s bad reporting to be sure, but unfortunately it’s not through lack of trying. In Canada today, dealing with most large agencies will get you nowhere. Speaking as a member of the media, we tried to get the straight truth from CAS, from the Hospital, from anybody. We’re presented with unreturned phone calls and emails, and at the very best. “No comment”. Every story we’re written starts with “According to a Lev Tahor Spokesperson.” If they’re the only ones prepared to speak, then they’re the only ones that get their viewpoint across.

    • An accurate report would have run along the following lines:

      “The children are in the custody of Chatham Kent Children’s Services, which in keeping with its policies and the privacy rights of the children will not disclose any details about their exact whereabouts or condition. Lev Tahor spokesperson, Miriam Helbrans claims that some of the children are on a hunger strike and have been hospitalized and force fed. However, she was not able to provide any proof of her claims nor was this publication able to find any confirmation on its own.

      We asked her if the children were instructed to go on a hunger strike if seized. She refused to answer the question.”

    • Dear Mr. Thompson,

      The story written by your colleague Ashton Patis dated March 10 titled “Lev Tahor Kids On Hunger Strike” ( began: “A Lev Tahor spokesperson says children in custody of Chatham-Kent Children`s Services are refusing to eat until they are returned to their families.”

      Ms. Patis knew, or should have known, that since the children were in care, Lev Tahor had no contact with the children and would have no idea whether or not the children were eating. She should have made that clear in her reporting.

      Ms. Patis is not alone. I have seen this from other media as well.

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