Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ontario Human Rights Commission to Steyn And Macleans: You SUck, But You're Legal

From the OHRC statement, released yesterday, in regards to the complaints raised against Maclean's Magazine:

While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission has serious concerns about the content of a number of articles concerning Muslims that have been published by Maclean’s magazine and other media outlets. This type of media coverage has been identified as contributing to Islamophobia and promoting societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians. The Commission recognizes and understands the serious harm that such writings cause, both to the targeted communities and society as a whole. And, while we all recognize and promote the inherent value of freedom of expression, it should also be possible to challenge any institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions.

[...]

The Commission is concerned that since the September 2001 attacks, Islamophobic attitudes are becoming more prevalent in society and Muslims are increasingly the target of intolerance, including an unwillingness to consider accommodating some of their religious beliefs and practices.

This is the result I predicted back in January: that it would be eventually decided that it is legally okay, but morally reprehensible, for Ken Whyte and company to take Canada's national news magazine and drive it into the same sewer they took the National Post.

I will just re-quote myself from that time-frame:

Is Steyn a racist? Indubitably. Is what he wrote protected by Canadian Freedom of Expression laws? Contrary to some of the Doom-Sayers on the Right, who want to make Macleans, the representative of the "powerful corporate media" in question here, look like underdogs in the case, it almost certainly is.

So, if Mr. Steyn and Macleans get dragged before a Human Rights tribunal and win, what is the point of the exercise? A case can be made that Macleans actually stands to come out ahead, as controversy = increased sales. Mind you, this is Canada not the U.S.. The tabloidization of media culture does not seem to have proceeded quite as far North of the border, and overt displays of bigotry don't seem to play as well up here. Given that most of Macleans' editorial staff are the same gang that crashed and burned the National Post (which you can't even use to line a bird-cage these days, because the parrot will complain), an even stronger case can be made that they have mis-judged the Canadian Zeitgeist a second time, and that the final trade-off will be the two semi-literate Neo-Nazis who are attracted to the magazine by its stand on Mr. Steyn, versus the half-dozen normal Canadians who still read Old Mac from nostalgia, but cancel their subscriptions for the same reason.

For me, what this is all about is the necessary public shaming of a Canadian news institution that has gone from being harmless if a little dull to a disgrace to the nation.

Thanks to the OHRC for providing that public shaming.

Elsewhere, RT gets all foamy and suggests that these latest developments in the speechy wars, esp. Warman's various lawsuits, are a good reason not only to scrap hate-speech laws, but libel laws as well. Oh my!!

10 comments:

kursk said...

"This type of media coverage has been identified as contributing to Islamophobia and promoting societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians."

One would think the actual words of the islamists quoted in the article did far more to inflame passions than anything Mr. Steyn wrote.

How very convenient of the OHRC to chastise Mark Steyn and Macleans with no fear of rebuke.

As Mr. Steyn has said, why bother having a trial when you can convict people in the court of public opinion?

I don't think it is written anywhere in the OHRC's mandate that public shaming of its idealogical opponents should be considered a viable option... especially when they did not have the intestinal fortitude to face them in the star chamber.

Paul S said...

First the OHRC backpedalled and now BCL is.

The OHRC has zero legitimacy to comment on the matter as it has zero authority on the matter. So why is it commenting on matters completely beyond their purview??

Thanks to the OHRC for providing that public shaming. - BCL

LOL. The OHRC has only brought shame upon theirself. Their statement only brings the OHRC's credibility further into question.

bigcitylib said...

Paul, I really think you should look up what "backpedalling" means. It doesn't mean what you think it means.

Paul S said...

Oh brother, BCL. First ti-guy and now you. What's your hangup over the word "backpedal"?

Backpedal = retreat; not hard to understand.

bigcitylib said...

You have to retreat FROM something Paul. What did either I or the OHRC retreat from? Learn English.

Paul S said...

One more time BCL. In spite of the OHRC finding Maclean's guilty of Islamophobia, they retreated from hearing the case because they have no legal authority to do so.

Seriously, you can't find it that difficult to understand.

Reality Bites said...

That's not backpedaling, you moron. There was never any chance of them hearing the case because they had no jurisdiction to do so. You idiots don't seem to understand that anyone can make a complaint, just like Lemire's been making ludicrous criminal complaints lately. The
HRC has to listen, just like the police have to make a report when someone claims a crime has been committed. That doesn't mean a hearing will be held or an arrest made.

It just means that even liars and idiots have to be taken somewhat seriously until it's established they're lying or being an idiot. It's basically the same policy that allows you to live.

Paul S said...

reality bites, when the OHRC says Maclean's contributes to Islamophobiatitis but that it has no legal authority to say so, that is backpedalling. I'm getting tired of explaining this to you guys.

Ti-Guy said...

when the OHRC says Maclean's contributes to Islamophobiatitis but that it has no legal authority to say so, that is backpedalling. I'm getting tired of explaining this to you guys.

LOL! You are an idiot. Forget the fact for a second that you don't understand what backpedaling means, the OHRC has no legal authority to rule on complaints related to magazine articles, but has the legal authority to comment on matters related to human rights, one of which is prejudice and bigotry in the media (of which print media is a subset).

Paul S said...

ti-guy, I'm afraid the idiot is sitting at your keyboard if you fell for the schtick that the OHRC peddled in their "statement".

Without any hearings or evidence heard, the OHRC has no authority to impugn Macleans, Steyn, or the press in general.

I am more disappointed with the brave new world of human rights commissions each day. The only proper reform is to disband these increasingly unruly agencies.

Let real courts protect our human rights like they always have.