Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The Beeb- still neutral after all these years?

by zoe Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 06:26:11 AM EST

I came across this article on the BBC web page:

Speech row rocks multi-ethnic Canada
By Henri Astier
BBC News

More than half-a-million Muslims live in Canada
Canada is often thought of as a land of bland consensus and multicultural harmony - the last place where you would expect to see a religious minority up in arms, and journalists accusing the state of gagging freedom of speech.

and to the innocent observer, it seems like a rather neutral account of a difference of opinion between two interested parties.   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7273870.stm


However, on closer inspection, and with the addition of some background information, the amazing bias of the BBC against Muslims'  defense of their religion is demonstrated.

First, some background.  Like many countries, Canada possesses a law against spreading hate.  This means that there is the same freedom allowed with respect to speech as there is in the USA.  

The "Hate Propaganda" section of the Criminal Code of Canada (Section 318 & 319) prohibits the expression of hatred against -- or the advocacy of genocide of  certain groups of people distinguished by their "color, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or ethnic origin."

This law was used in the past to prosecute Ernst Zundel, a well known Holocaust denier and First Nations' Chief Ahenakew, when he complained about the Hate Law used for certain groups over others.

Secondly, the people named in the article, Mark Steyn, and Ezra Levant, have histories of their own.  

Steyn has commented on divisions between the United States and Europe, as well as divisions between the Western world and the Islamic World. He frequently criticizes the tolerance of Islamic cultural intolerance in the name of multiculturalism. Steyn has written that multiculturalism is "fundamentally a fraud, and I would argue was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don't want to live in anything but an advanced Western society."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Steyn

As for Levant:

In 1994, he was featured in a Globe and Mail article on young neoconservatives after accusing the University of Alberta of racism for instituting an affirmative action system for hiring women and aboriginal professors. His actions outraged aboriginal law students, feminists and a number of professors and he was called to a meeting with the assistant dean who advised him of the university's non-academic code of conduct and defamation laws. As head of the U of A's speakers committee, Levant flew in controversial lawyer Doug Christie, best known for his advocacy in defence of Holocaust deniers and accused Nazi war criminals, for a debate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra_Levant

So as well as being a neo-conservative,  Levant has been known to debate opponents of the Hate Law.

However, the BBC article makes no mention of any of the background of these two gentlemen, although their reputations in Canada are well established on this basis, except to mention a single incident concerning Levant:

Leading the charge against the commissions is Ezra Levant, an Alberta-based publisher who was targeted by a complaint after reprinting the Danish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in his (now-defunct) newspaper in early 2006.

The BBC correspondent also makes it seem as though this law is new or that it has been interpreted in a new way:

Canada's Human Rights Act is not an Islamic creation; Jewish and other groups have supported complaints under its speech provisions.

<snip>

And the complainants against both Maclean's and Mr Levant, in BBC interviews, professed their attachment to free speech and abhorrence of radical Islam.

The core of the dispute is best understood not as a clash of civilisations, but as a conflict within the West itself.

It pits old liberal values that sanctify individuals against a new emphasis on the rights of groups.

Mr Levant regards commission officers as "new-fangled, political crusaders" bent on overturning centuries-old Common Law.

So to Mr. Levant, this is a "new-fangled" crusade, but it didn't seem to be so when he debated for its implementation.

Also, the BBC story cites a lawyer involved in the incident:

The human rights statutes were designed to deal with discriminatory acts, not discriminatory words.

without any research on the matter.   A quick google would have given them this information:

Section 319 deals with hate speech:

If it can be shown that the speech was so abusive that it was likely to incite listeners or readers into violent action against an identifiable group, and if the the speech was made in a public place, then a person could be convicted.
If the speech promoted hatred against an identifiable group, but was not likely to incite a listener to violence, then a person could still be convicted. However there are many safeguards that could give that person immunity. A person could not be convicted if:
     The hate speech was expressed during a private conversation.
    If the person can establish that the statements made are true.
    If, "in good faith, he expressed or attempted to establish by argument an opinion on a religious subject." This would give clergypersons immunity from conviction for a hate-based sermon, for example.
    If the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, and if, on reasonable grounds, the person believed them to be true. This would give additional protection for the clergy.
    If he described material that might generate feelings of hatred for an identifiable group "for the purpose of removal" of that hatred.
    If the provincial Attorney General refused to give permission. The Attorney General's consent is required before charges can be laid.. 1
In this section of the Code, the term "statements" includes spoken words, written words, published text, gestures, signs and other visible representations.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_hat6.htm

So, speech does seem to be the target of section 319 of the law on Hate.

In light of these facts, I ask you,  can the BBC's article on this Canadian controversy be seen as neutral, or demonstrating bias in favour of an anti-Muslim agenda?

Is the BBC following the agenda of Mark Steyn, once described by Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com as:

faux warrior" who is "one of the most extremist warmongers in our country", adding that Steyn has been "as fundamentally wrong as one can be about virtually every issue he has touched."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Steyn

Display:
It's hard to pass judgement on an article without first reading it. And I don't see a link in the diary. Call me lazy for not digging through the BBC website myself, but linking to pieces you write about - especially if what you write is unflattering - is considered good netiquette.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 07:54:48 AM EST
Sorry.  I was nervous about my first diary in a long time and knew that I had forgotten something.  
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 08:05:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link. And welcome back, by the way.

As to the substance of the article, I think my own criticism would be from a rather different angle: The fact that the newsie didn't spend a single sentence deconstructing the whole Eurabia bullcrap speaks volumes as to his professional integrity. That and the fact that I smell quote mines all over the article.

There is certainly a number of very real complications in going after racists who masquerade as critics of religion while at the same time disabusing religious groups of the notion that they can impose their dogma on other people's speech (and that being "offended" is sufficient cause for legal action). But the article is so much of a mess and conflates so many different cases that it's hard to see whether this is a case of the former or the latter. And that, in and of itself, speaks ill of the BBC.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 08:51:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what are "quote mines"?

my problem with this article is that it is portraying this legislation as something entirely new and unwarranted, when in fact, it's been around for at least a decade and used almost exclusively against Holocaust deniers.

not that there is anything wrong with that, but they haven't prosecuted people that promoted hatred against immigrants, native people, or in the most famous case, Don Cherry, the man who hates anyone who isn't English Canadian.

now that the shoe is on the other foot, and the "brown" people are trying to  use this law, the same people who complained against Holocaust deniers are now stating that the law is obsolete, or other such stuff

moving the goalposts I think it's called, and by not researching it, the BBC is pushing this agenda forward

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:13:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I might ask what Canadian media companies are saying.

The BBC can only ever be considered a "British" news organisation, and news about Britain is its speciality, even if some who live here might ask if they're even any good at that any more. All other world news should be interpreted as an entertainment along the lines of "see what the strange foreigners are doing".

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in that case, they would have definitely known who Mark Steyn is and what he represents

as for Canadian media, one of the national papers, the National Post, is the one that made headlines by printing a fake story about Iran forcing its Jews to wear yellow stars of David, so...

the CBC however, can be quite impartial

MacLeans' magazine, Canada's equivalent to Time magazine, is the one that published the multi-part series on Islam and refuses to publish a counter argument

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:04:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you implying that pursuing legal action against Don Cherry would be warranted?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think so in certain cases.  Don't you?
He could certainly be charged with incitement to violence.
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:34:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not at all.

I think frankly the notion that this is even remotely something to be considered undermines the whole point of free speeck and respect.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well I'm all for free speck
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:41:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
speck is bacon in german
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
perhaps instead of pointing out my typo, you could explain what Don Cherry has done in your view which would warrant legal action under Canada's hate speech laws, and frame this in a way which would indicate you are conscious of the fact that any organization who might do so would likely utterly undermine its credibility in the court of Canadian opinion, likely irreversibly.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:50:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what your background is, but you seem to be familiar with Don Cherry's work.

you don't seem to realize that the CBC has already discredited itself in the eyes of the French speaking part of the country by continuing to give Don Cherry a platform from which to spread his racist views.

There's a segment on the RDS network that has a person dressed like Cherry say the most vile and ridiculous things and is considered a comedy segment during the first intermission of the RDS hockey games.

The discreditation of the CBC by that segment of the population doesn't seem to count to you, however.

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:00:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
too multicultural, perhaps?
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i watch the canadiens on rds, every single match almost.

i have no idea what you are talking about.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:08:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't seem to find the name of the series, but my friends assured me that it was going on - maybe on Radio-canada.  
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah, sure thing, when in doubt, pull something out of your butt and when called on it, "a friend assured me".

I watch src and listen to radio-canada too. every day.

Again, I don't know what you are talking about. No doubt it was a sketch or two like on english language 22 minutes or air farce, in reaction to some of the outrageous things Cherry sometimes says. This is in no ways a support for going after him for hate speech, like you suggest. And, as a franco with lots of family in quebec, I recognize nonetheless that sometimes when he goes off the rails it's because of moronic complaints, from a certain kind of quebecker, in the Montreal press, like complaints along the lines of Saku Koivu not speaking french so he shouldn't be captain or some other similar bullshit.

But a regular item? No way. Complete fabrication.

Anyhow, there's no hockey on src anymore, hasn't been for a long time, it's all on rds or ris now, and on rds or ris, what you say happens, doesn't, it's still demers, pedneault and brunet on the plateau every entracte.

seriously, saying Don Cherry deserves to be prosecuted under hate speech legislation - that's some serious dose of whack here you're serving.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:41:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nope.  I remember reading about it as well.  I just don't seem to have any luck with google.

and how can you even think that French Canadians are cool with Don Cherry when he regularly insults them as a group?

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:50:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I watch Don Cherry, I love Don Cherry, and I am French.

Maybe you've been able to piece together some of this already in this thread. I'd be happy to point you in the direction of some of my posts, on this site, where I link to Don Cherry video. In fact, I just did last week.

I don't have a problem with Don Cherry. I think he's funny, and even I understand when he pisses me off and I don't agree with him what his point is and that he has a right to express it.

Is this hard to understand?

Man, people should lighten up. And we wonder why the left gets such press as being just so many bedwetters.

I suppose you'll watch this video and decide Don Cherry is also a homophobe...

Or, maybe because he seems so comfortable joking around and getting so playfully phyisical with a gay man on TV, you take this as an affront to the sensibilities of homophobic Islamists in Canada, of which there are more than a few, and who deserve to have their intolerance of homosexuality respected?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 01:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote mining. The Borovoy quote that you deconstruct yourself is a prime example of quote mining: The context is surgically removed to make Borovoy appear to be opposed to the laws when he is in fact in favour of them.

And the quotes from Mr. Awan also set my BS detector off. They are too short for my taste. Unless Awan is an experienced public speaker who is used to delivering soundbytes, it is likely that he is being quotemined as well.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 03:02:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Borovoy has a strange stance on the law:  apply it to high profile Holocaust deniers, but don't use it to prosecute hate speech against Muslims.  I tried to find a quote of his that would summarize this.  
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 03:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually think his stance (as evidenced by the quotes supplied here, and assuming that those quotes are reasonably representative) to be fairly coherent.

He seems in favour of using hate speech laws to prosecute people who push racism and certain particularly egregious variants of historical revisionism, but he is not in favour of applying the same laws to cover cases in which the speech is merely offencive. That is an entirely coherent view.

And, I might add, a view that goes quite a bit farther than I favour myself; I don't think it's prudent to punish people for speech that isn't directly threatening or inciting to violence. Shutting up holocaust deniers sets a precedent that might very well be brought to bear on anarchist agitators as well, and I would not want to see those put behind bars. For a variety of reasons.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 03:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what's the difference between racism and offensive speech?  and who decides?  certainly not the Muslims.
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 04:41:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what's the difference between racism and offensive speech?

Incitement to violence, discrimination and/or other crimes.

and who decides?  certainly not the Muslims.

Of course religious groups don't get to define what's racism and what's not. Giving that power to the clergy would be point-blank insanity. Imagine giving Herr Ratzinger the power to outlaw unflattering speech. I doubt you'd want to live in the resulting society.

And that really is the crux of it: If you want "the Muslims" (who, contrary to your simplistic suggestion, do not agree on where the line between offencive and discriminatory is, nor on what speech is offencive in the first place) to be given the prerogative to decide what speech is discriminatory (and thus illegal) and what speech is not, then you have to give the same power to Hizb-ut-Tahrir, to the Catholic Church, to the Church of Mormon, to the Southern Baptists, to the Seventh-day Adventists and a whole host of other seriously unpleasant organisations.

Even leaving aside the fact that such a doctrine is self-contradictory (since many of the above-mentioned organisations find the very existence of other organisations on the list discriminatory), I singularly fail to see why it is desirable to put the judgement of what speech is acceptable into the hands of the most doctrinaire reactionaries on the planet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 08:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm, I see a few inconsistencies between your pronouncements and actual life.

a lot of clergy have been involved in the anti-discrimination movement, if you allow me to call this so, over the years, not the least of which is Gandhi, MLK, and others

religious groups such as Jews, Mennonites, and others have also participated in Canada and the USA to increase the laws' protection of their members and to raise consciousness about the effects of discrimination on all members of society

I don't see why Muslims should be any different

the Catholic Church has also made many statements and taken many actions to affect political events in many countries, some to the  benefit of the people, others not so much so

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 08:23:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a lot of clergy have been involved in the anti-discrimination movement,

Which does not change the fact that vesting the power to condemn speech in the hands of the clergy would include vesting such power in people like Ratzinger. If Martin Luther King gets the right to ban offencive speech, then so does Ratzinger and Osama bin Laden.

religious groups such as Jews, Mennonites, and others have also participated in Canada and the USA to increase the laws' protection of their members and to raise consciousness about the effects of discrimination on all members of society

I don't see why Muslims should be any different

They aren't. If Jews lobby for laws prohibiting blasphemy against Yahwe, they should be laughed off the stage. If Muslims lobby for laws prohibiting blasphemy against Mohammed, they too should be laughed off the stage. That's entirely consistent.

the Catholic Church has also made many statements and taken many actions to affect political events in many countries, some to the  benefit of the people, others not so much so

Your point being? Since when do two wrongs make a right?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:23:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not saying that Muslims should try to ban any talk about Mohammed but talk about whether Muslims are trying to take over the world, are evil, etc which is what these articles were about.  

And Oussama Bin Laden seems to have plenty of freedom of speech as does the Pope.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who died and made these particular Muslims prophets? I.e., who's to say that all, or even most, Canadian Muslims agree with them?

Supposing that a group of Jews were to attempt to ban The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, would you show the same degree of sympathy?

And of course madmen have freedom of speech. That is a red herring. The question is whether they should be permitted to police other people's speech.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:47:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, absolutely.  I think that that particular book is banned and should be if it isn't.  It is hate literature plain and simple.

and as for Holocaust revisionists, I think Holocaust deniers should face bans on their freedom of speech.  To say that the Holocaust never happened is clearly hate speech.  However, to try to investigate if Hitler gave the direct order to unleash the "Final Solution" can be considered valid historical research.

The reason that I mention that is that, from what I have read, that is one of the points raised in the criminal investigation and conviction of David Irving in Austria.  He was also prosecuted for talking about points which are historically unresolved.

On the other hand, he is also known to be a hate-mongerer on other issues related to Jews.  Although he should not be imprisoned for this (unless he advocates and incites violence against a minority), his freedom of speech should also be curtailed.

As should Mark Steyn and Ezran Levant's, two of the commenters in the BBC story.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:07:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, absolutely.  I think that that particular book is banned and should be if it isn't.  It is hate literature plain and simple.

It is also, however, a historical document. Properly contextualised - that is, annotated and given a foreword that explains its origins, it provides a valuable insight into a part of European history. Banning it may prevent it from being used as propaganda, but it will also airbrush it from our historical consciousness.

and as for Holocaust revisionists, I think Holocaust deniers should face bans on their freedom of speech.  To say that the Holocaust never happened is clearly hate speech.

Why?

I can see that a case can be made that Germany and Austria might want to ban Nazi parties and the associated expression and paraphernalia. Certainly, such measures were necessary sixty years ago. And while, personally, I think that the justification wears increasingly thin as the years go by, I am not sufficiently conversant with the state of German de-nazification to conclusively state that such laws are obsolescent.

But that is Germany and Austria. Those countries have a very specific historical reason to take heavy-handed legal measures against anti-semitism. It is not clear that the same is true for other countries, nor is it clear that there are similarly powerful justifications for indulging in the same kind of heavy-handed measures aimed against islamophobia.

On the other hand, he is also known to be a hate-mongerer on other issues related to Jews.  Although he should not be imprisoned for this (unless he advocates and incites violence against a minority), his freedom of speech should also be curtailed.

So, how do you propose to curtail someone's freedom of speech if you're not willing to imprison him? Impose fines? They'd have to be pretty hefty to shut him up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the same way that yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre causes a stampede, hate speech causes hate towards certain identifiable groups which can then develop into violence

every country should be careful of this for the sake of social harmony and protection of its citizens

in France and other countries, there has been the recall of magazines and books which have been deemed offensive.  this turns out to be quite costly to the publisher and one or two incidents would be useful deterrents.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a much longer causal chain between "hate speech" and the damage that it causes (i.e. the actual crimes committed) than between yelling fire and the stampede it causes. This makes establishing a causal relationship between hate speech and violence a decidedly dodgy issue.

Or, shorter version: I don't buy your causal chain. You're engaging in a slippery slope fallacy.

And on the subject of "social harmony and the protection of its citizens," one might just as easily argue that a syndicalist agitator promoting strikes and blockades as means to achieve higher wages is disrupting the "social harmony" and that citizens need to be "protected" from him.

Lastly, I notice that you keep conflating offencive speech with hate speech. Do you think that the two are the same? If so, who determines what is offencive?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 11:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that's an easy one - if it is directed at a group of people identifiable by their ethnic origin, skin colour, religious affiliation, age, sex, sexual preference, or handicap.

so union busters would only be using hate speech if they were trying to bust up a union of Santa's elves.  ;-)

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 12:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Union busters are targeting people based on their political affiliation. Are you saying that political affiliation should not be a protected category? If so, expect labour unions to file for church status.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 01:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the article is so much of a mess and conflates so many different cases that it's hard to see whether this is a case of the former or the latter. And that, in and of itself, speaks ill of the BBC.

I have long complained that, nowadays, reporters (this isn't a problem unique to the BBC) simply don't do the proper research to be able to effectively contextualize events.

News, to such people, is simply a noteworthy event. The idea that it might arise out of circumstances and require a context in order to properly understand it simply isn't a part of these people's training.

I'm afraid that hankering after real journalism comes under wishing for a pony. It ain't never gonna happen.

However, I would ask when the BBC has ever really been neutral. Whatever its claims to impartiality, it has always been pro-establishment, a little bit elitist and effecitvely moncultural. Also, individuals have their own bias which means that as reproters, they tend to edit selectively to suit that bias.

No individual, or programme, howver much effort is applied, can be impartial. Impartiality can only result from a plurality of voices and viewpoints, something which the BBC actively avoids, preferring to maintain the fiction that one view can be definitive.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:33:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid that hankering after real journalism comes under wishing for a pony. It ain't never gonna happen.

Ahem?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:38:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ya want an egg with that ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever its claims to impartiality, it has always been pro-establishment, a little bit elitist and effecitvely moncultural. Also, individuals have their own bias which means that as reproters, they tend to edit selectively to suit that bias.

Today: BBC report on the end of the inquest into the death of Princess Diana

It isn't that Nicholas Witchell is factually wrong in anything he says.  And, personally, I resent the waste of £7m of taxpayers' money spent to confirm what was perfectly obvious on the day she died.  But the whole tone of the article, starting with the title:

Fayed conspiracy claim collapses

is smugly, gruesomely pro-establishment.

by Sassafras on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 01:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
here's some background on the lawyer quoted as follows:

Mr Borovoy believes that minorities' push for equality, which he supports, has led to a neglect of traditional freedoms.

"Other interests have for the time being trumped the free-speech values and I'm hoping that with some of these cases we might be able to turn the tide," he says.

this is his background:

But, then, how should we get at, say, hate-mongers?

``Go after them in the political arena. Raise hell about what they say. Force them to apologize. Distinguish between those who have standing and those who don't. I didn't think (Ernst) Zundel was worth the effort but (Jim) Keegstra was when he was a mayor and a teacher. But once he was decertified as a teacher and ousted as mayor, there was no point in prosecuting him, and he should have been allowed to wallow in the obscurity he so richly deserved . . .

``We should not censor those making racist statements but censure them. Create an inhospitable climate for their racist invective.''

so, a more moderated approach on the application of hate laws, but still in favour of them in certain contexts

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 08:22:39 AM EST
Maybe if we on the left had a few provocative polemicists like Steyn writing for our side, we'd start making some progress in the battle for ideas. Our problem is we require ourselves to be fair, reasonable and hew to what we think of as "the truth" (tm)

Steyn's a moron and a retrograde ass, but he's not dumb. Look at all the attention he's getting. Each eyeball attracted by the hullabaloo is an eyeball that reads the basis for his polemics, usually in the same tribune, at the same time. Live and learn fellow lefties.

And incidentally, multiculturalism isn't by definition a progressive value: plenty of us on the left think it is a big mistake.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:47:59 AM EST
You're right, we should lie, slander and propagandise for the good of the common people.  Who shall we choose as our ideological enemy? White males maybe?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:54:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a whole lot of words you just put in my mouth.

Not sure where you get them. Fertile imagination, I guess.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:57:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what Steyn and his like do. You start praising the little shit - who I'm pretty sure is in it for the money and say that we need to be more like him? What the fuck else did you mean?

Our problem is we require ourselves to be fair, reasonable and hew to what we think of as "the truth" (tm)

So we should be unfair, unreasonable and lie, thus overcoming our "problem".  And you're complaining I'm putting words in your mouth????
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:59:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. We should understand audiences, and use more than one way to get to them.

Of course, many here believe that there is some truth (tm) and that others truths (not yet accorded a tm) are not quite as credible. thus are some sources automatically granted credibility, while others are seen as "hacks" or "liars".

I'm seeing a lot of that. Idees recues in action, challenges to them increasingly one-sided. Not just for the right, I see.

Just like you putting those words in my mouth and putting your intent in my motivations. Far, far off the mark.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe if we on the left had a few provocative polemicists like Steyn writing for our side, we'd start making some progress in the battle for ideas. Our problem is we require ourselves to be fair, reasonable and hew to what we think of as "the truth" (tm)

Explain what this is meant to mean? Explain how you suggest we overcome our "problem"? Explain what a "provocative polemicist" like Steyn - except on "our" side - would say?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:10:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Joffe and Trotsky sure knew how to engage in polemics.

There's a good Irishman going today too, name Alexander Cockburn. Don't agree with him all the time but appreciate what he does, unlike many of the so-called reasonable left.

But alas, the "reasonable left" doesn't do polemics...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But alas, the "reasonable left" doesn't do polemics...

So go write some.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:15:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you think I try to do most of the time?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:22:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your polemics are not badly received either.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:33:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd agree with that suggestion. The liberal left could do with somebody who argues progressive ideas, not in the apologetic hand-wringing of numerous sub-clauses most commonly seen, but by creating an emotional message that creates a willingness to listen.

Obama is doing that, Edwards did that to a lesser extent. I don't think the idea is to lie or cheat so much as to be populist.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:34:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he's asking for someone to call the business class what it is. Leftists are good at writing postmodern essays and smug attacks on the people they should be trying to appeal to. Neither of these work. Jerome is very good at refuting neolib dogma with simple and very effective writing. A person with Jerome's skill set and a populist, "mad as hell" style is about right.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 07:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The opinion of many seems to be that this was incompetence rather than deliberate.  

I don't agree because I think the information presented is so readily available in that country that this could not be anything other than deliberate.  

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:22:41 PM EST
I say incompetence. It's a classic piece of he-said/she-said reporting. But as far as credibility is concerned, the question of incompetence vs. malice is rather academic: If a newsie is sufficiently incompetent it doesn't matter whether he is malicious or not, because he becomes a tool for those who are malicious even if he himself is not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 03:19:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries