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Fawn The Media, Part II

Earlier today, I excoriated the NPR program "On The Media" for one of its pieces this last week. I intended to rip them for two stories, but I spent way, way too much time on that first one that I figured I'd save the second for its own commentary.

And it certainly deserves it.

They decided to devote some time to the plight of some Muslims in Canada (no, I do NOT mean "Canadian Muslims"), whose feelings were hurt by Maclean's Magazine publishing the essays of Mark Steyn. concerning Muslims.

And I got one hell of an education about Canada, our neighbor to the north -- and it made me so very glad I live south of THAT border.

According to the whiny git, Canada has freedom of expression -- as long as you don't really say anything of substance or with the slightest whiff of controversy.

NASEEM MITHOOWANI: There's two unique features about our charter which contains our freedom of expression that I don't believe you would have in your Constitution, the first being that our rights and freedoms are explicitly subject to reasonable limits, reasonable within a free and democratic society. Secondly, our rights and freedoms are to be interpreted in light of a multicultural society and to further that feature of our society.

So we have basically recognized that there are other rights and values that can sometimes, in reasonable circumstances, trump freedom of expression.

BOB GARFIELD: Now, I can tell you categorically that if anyone came in who had a complaint with something that we at On the Media had done and the person began to dictate exactly what it is we will do to redress the wrong, we would smile and show them the door, because even more important than the specifics of what we do in any given story, we are impelled to protect the sanctity of our editorial independence. You understand that principle, no?

NASEEM MITHOOWANI: I think it's been misrepresented in that we had a demand and if it wasn't met we were going to start legal action. We had a proposal that we were hoping we could both compromise on it.

Essentially, I don't think that publishing a rebuttal article is an excessive demand. We have not named Mark Steyn as a party to the complaint. We've not asked for a retraction. We've not asked for an apology from Maclean's. What we asked for was that the community that's being under attack have the chance to respond.

And I'd also like to add that in Canada, we have what are called Press Councils. It's a regulatory body in the same way that lawyers and doctors are subject to regulatory bodies. Maclean's does not subscribe to a Press Council - subscription is voluntary in Canada - nor does it provide an ombudsperson to hear complaints. So essentially there is no recourse for even factual inaccuracies in their material.

The article presents the image of a bunch of Muslims who felt deeply wounded by Maclean's publishing of those alleged anti-Muslim articles, and have exhausted all other recourses before turning to the government to seek redress. (Something that, occasionally, I have wished we had here in the United States.) But it's outside the interview that you learn the rest of the story.

For example, in the comments on the piece, Mark Steyn himself points out that not only are the most offensive words in his piece not his own expression of concern, but the boasts of a European Imam, but that the folks NPR interviewed aren't even the real complainants against Maclean's.

The real kicker, however, On The Media did put on the air. They concluded their segment with the following:

Maclean's declined an interview, but Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Whyte made this statement last December, quote: "The student lawyers in question came to us five months after the story ran. They asked for an opportunity to respond. We said that we had already run many responses to the article in our letters section but that we would consider a reasonable request.

They wanted a five-page article written by an author of their choice to run without any editing by us except for spelling and grammar. They also wanted to place their response on the cover and to art-direct it themselves. We told them we didn't consider that a reasonable request for response.

When they insisted, I told them I would rather go bankrupt than let someone from outside of our operations dictate the content of the magazine. I still feel that way."

As the editor of Wizbang, I naturally sympathize with Mr. Whyte. Wizbang is OUR site, and we publish what we wish to and don't let outsiders dictate what we publish -- or give them free rein over our site to rebut us. (OK, we do have this, but it was intended as "let's let some of the nuts have their own sandbox, and maybe they'll leave us alone.") We've also invited those who routinely disagree with us to join us on the main page -- I find I still miss Pennywit's contributions, and it should come as no great surprise that I've essentially given mantis a standing invite to join us at his leisure.

But I will be DAMNED if I'll ever give some critics the opportunity to answer any of my -- or any other authors' -- articles on the front page of Wizbang, unedited save for spelling and/or grammar -- simply because they demand it.

If something we say requires a response, we have one of the most open comments policies of the bigger blogs. No registration, no holding for moderation, and a remarkable laissez-faire attitude towards what is said there. Further, there is absolutely nothing holding anyone back from using their own blog (or starting one) to rebut us at whim.

Alan Dershowitz famously said "the best answer to bad speech is more speech," and I wholeheartedly agree with him. Only bullies and thugs and those without truth on their side need to get the power of a government behind them to silence those with whom they disagree.

And Canadians, apparently.



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Comments (17)

Hillary has a voice here in... (Below threshold)
Mary Bartell Parker:

Hillary has a voice here in Winston Salem!! We can still win this election!! It is only through your support, that we can make Hillary Rodham Clinton our next president!!
Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters
704 Lewinsky Ave.
Winston Salem, NC
come show your support!!

Address and phone number edited by Jay Tea)

lol @ edit... (Below threshold)

lol @ edit

Just another permutation of... (Below threshold)

Just another permutation of "free speech for me, but not for thee". Also a fine example of using our strengths as a weapon against us-which is being done as i post this.

Ah ha! A stream of negativ... (Below threshold)

Ah ha! A stream of negative votes all in one minute!

Well said JT, you just hit a nerve (and having just come from the dentist, I know of what I speak).

I with you bro! ww... (Below threshold)

I with you bro! ww

If something we sa... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
If something we say requires a response, we have one of the most open comments policies of the bigger blogs. No registration, no holding for moderation, and a remarkable laissez-faire attitude towards what is said there.

And I believe that's why Wizbang is one of the best blogs on the web regardless of size. We get to see the crazy and spiteful comments along with the factual and inspired comments. Readers get a real sense of what others think and can post any reasoned comment knowing it will stay up. Even comments far from reasoned say up and I've seen no one banned who wasn't working hard to get banned. Wizbang is an open marketplace of ideas, and in a free society, that makes it an important place.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

This may seem an odd connec... (Below threshold)

This may seem an odd connection but this is why I get tweaked things likeat the Absolut Reconquista ad.

In Canada, the Quebecers' efforts to get special treatment and recognician lead to them being a sizable block that were pandered to by politicians. This push for biculturalism set the stage for the next longical step, multiculturalism. And it was a very tiny step.

The result of multiculturalism is Balkanization. For example, Canada used to have a small but notable international presense. Right now, they have virtually none. Its because Balkanization has paralyzed them from potentially offending anyone.

Internally though, there's only one way to enforce Multiculturalism to the level that has become demanded. Make Free Speech secondary to Multicultural ideals.

So when people have a laissez-faire attitude to Multicultural Zealotry that jumping at the bit to sweep over this country, I get tweaked. Because they don't appreciate where it truly leads.

But I will be DAMNED if ... (Below threshold)

But I will be DAMNED if I'll ever give some critics the opportunity to answer any of my -- or any other authors' -- articles on the front page of Wizbang, unedited save for spelling and/or grammar -- simply because they demand it.

Preach it, brother. :-)

If my exercise of my "freed... (Below threshold)

If my exercise of my "freedoms" does you actual harm, we have a legal system which provides a means of settling the dispute and awarding compensation.

If my exercise of my "freedoms" merely offends your sensibilities/religion/pet iguana, then any society must choose which to protect. America - for the time being, at least - stays on the side of freedom. Canada, abandoning all traditions of due process, not only opts for protecting the offended, but places the burdens of proof upon the accused in the complaint.

Once the offended are offered such protection, freedom is dead in the water. There is no such thing as "freedom of speech" if it can be shut down by anyone claiming to be offended by it.

Canada, as we once knew it, is ceasing to exist, and it is not a matter to be taken lightly.

Thanks for your concern. Ho... (Below threshold)

Thanks for your concern. However, the crybabies who took issue with that Hobbitesque fuckwit Steyn's writing have had zero effect on anyone's life, and have succeded only in giving Steyn free publicity. (That's why I hate them.)

Multiculturalism is a product of liberalism; and liberalism values justice above freedom, which makes sense. (Freedom ought only be valued insofar as it is just to do so--pretty uncontroversial, really.) It remains for our legislators to ensure that our clear conception of justice (denoted in the Charter for which Trudeau was responsible) rules over competing cultural concerns. Thus far, it has. I doubt you'll find one exception, so long as you keep in mind that people whining and appealing to tribunals is not equivalent to the sort of retrogressive illiberal bullshit which has got all your knickers in knots.

Now that we see conservativ... (Below threshold)

Now that we see conservative bloggers being sued by a CHRC shill, we can see matthew's comments for the bilge that they are.

There is no freedom of speech in Canada.

There is no freedom of spee... (Below threshold)

There is no freedom of speech in Canada? Really? One of my professors dressed up as a KKK member for a lecture to prove that when people like you say things like that, you have no fucking clue what you're talking about.

Find an example of the CHRC actually limiting someone's speech--actually doing so, not simply making noises about it--or kindly STFU.

STFU? Gee, that seems to b... (Below threshold)

STFU? Gee, that seems to be the CHRC's refrain. Glad you got it down, matthew.

I hate the CHRC. Censorship... (Below threshold)

I hate the CHRC. Censorship is stupid. What you fail to understand, though, is that we can still say and do whatever we want. The students weren't granted their request, Maclean's won't be sued, and Mark Steyn will continue to spoon feed his feces to people hungry for his corn-flecked turds of anti-wisdom. Crisis averted! Suck it, brown people! Now go back to staring at your Muslim neighbours through a set of binoculars.

I'm sure that Stephen Boiss... (Below threshold)

I'm sure that Stephen Boissoin is glad to hear that his case never happened, matthew.

I'm less amused that you don't understand how hauling people in front of commissions with the power to investigate and punish faux "hate speech" chills freedom of speech. Your density on this simple concept isn't funny.

Meanwhile, you need to grow up.

<a href="http://ezralevant.... (Below threshold)
What this young idiot matth... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

What this young idiot matthew fails to understand is that so long as the system allows for such infringements to happen as the Canadian system does, then no, you don't have free speech.






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