For the past 13 years, I have prided myself on presenting fair and accurate reporting and commentary on The Howie Silbiger Show. I have stood behind every story and allegation I’ve made on the show with the sound knowledge that I had double checked the information, usually with two blind sources, before going to air with it. It has been my policy for years to check the info, myself, before using it on the show.
This Sunday, the system broke down. I had started the show wondering about the community wide Yom Hazikaron (Israeli remembrance Day) commemoration and why it wasn’t heavily advertised. I mentioned that neither the show nor Montreal Jewish News received a press release and I had no idea when or where the ceremony was being held. I invited callers to call in to inform me.
While on a break, one of my studio helpers told me that the Federation CJA online calendar did not have a Yom Hazikaron ceremony listed, either in English or in French. Without checking the site myself, against the normal protocol of the show, I went to air with a 7 minute rant on how “despicable” I found the organized community for not organizing an event.
Little did I know that as I was condemning them, they were holding a community ceremony not five blocks from my studio. I didn’t know, at the time, that the event was published in a full-page colour ad in the Canadian Jewish News and was mentioned all morning on CJAD 800 radio. I was not aware that the calendar my staffer was looking at was not, in fact, the Federation CJA official calendar.
I only found all this out when people called in to ask me what was wrong with me and point out the discrepancy between what I was saying and what was actually going on. By that time the damage was too far done, I had tarnished the reputation of the show and as the on-air banter between me and a few of my guests got livelier and accusatory, one of my regulars tarnished the reputation of the station.
I now, in writing, apologize to my dear listeners, to Federation CJA and to anyone who may have felt offended by the faulty rant and misinformation I passed during the first hour of the show this week. I take full responsibility for the mistake, as I broke my own protocol. I assure you, such a mistake will not occur again.
I thank you for listening to The Howie Silbiger Show and look forward to another 13 years on the air with you.