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Tag: Opinion

The National Post Fails the "Truthiness" Test

In the past, we’ve been hard on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In many cases, our criticism of the Ceeb’s left-wing editorial stances has resulted in run-ins on these pages with such senior corporate executives as former CBC News editor-in-chief Tony Burman. These dust-ups have provided spirited entertainment for readers, but they have also served a serious purpose: Canadians who disagree with the world-view of CBC editors and reporters should not be forced, through their tax dollars, to subsidize our public broadcaster’s unremitting attack on conservative ideas they hold dear.

No Byline Opinion Piece in the National Post

I’ve been appreciative in the past of the National Post’s online component, especially their prediliction for publishing a vastly more robust version of the facts in a given story.  Their well-rounded coverage of stories have often allowed their readers a well-informed view of a given subejct.  Bravo.

Then there is their right-wing editorial staff who don’t seem to have the intestinal fortitude to sign a byline on their opinion spots.  Why?

I take responsibility for my opinion, why can’t the author of this fox-news snorting one?  It’s all well-and-good to love the Americans and their right-wing politicians, but you should put your name on your work, right?

Sucked in by Bad Fact-Checking

She’d lie in bed while on the other end of the line he played Halo 3 on the Xbox, and they’d go for hours like that, with Rob whispering about his shitty childhood and his fickle mother as he mowed down virtual enemies on the screen.

The Phrase that killed a whole article for me

Everyone will remember me as a monster

If you want to include some color about your subject, make it facts, not plain fallacy.  Halo 3 came out in 2007, this phrase was about a time period on or around late 2006 – mid 2007.  While it is possible that it’s about September, I don’t think it is.

Little details like this kill these long “story-style” narriative pieces in newsmagazines, it’s small and easily overlooked, but since the devil is in the details, how many other details are misquotes or possible prosaic fabrications?

Here’s the quote that confirms my suspicion about the time-frame (it comes later in the article)

It was in this tenuous position that he reached out one last time to his mother. Last September, just as he had two years earlier, he picked up the phone and called her out of the blue.

He had been with his GF for a while, he was feeling depressed so he called his mom, mid september, before the release of Halo 3. It’s a minor point, but still. Gah!

All of that being said, the comments on the article really missed the point; this kid and the kids like him could have been stopped/saved if the people around them had just understood them a bit better.  I don’t know if that is true, and the facts presented are suspect at best (and under researched at worst) but I can’t see for a moment that “Rob” is being held up as a hero, if anything he is presented as a wretched, victim who couldn’t look beyond himself for help, but depended totally upon others to get by.

It’s just another opinion peice-cum-narriative that masquerades as journalism.  I’m happy to see someone take an interest in the kid, it’s just too bad it’s post-humously.

A web Poll made me curse

The Money Quote about the Poll results:

No one spread the word as effectively as the man who tops the list. In early May, the Top 100 list was mentioned on the front page of Zaman, a Turkish daily newspaper closely aligned with Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Within hours, votes in his favor began to pour in. His supporters—typically educated, upwardly mobile Muslims—were eager to cast ballots not only for their champion but for other Muslims in the Top 100. Thanks to this groundswell, the top 10 public intellectuals in this year’s reader poll are all Muslim. The ideas for which they are known, particularly concerning Islam, differ significantly. It’s clear that, in this case, identity politics carried the day.

When I read the poll results (without first reading the above paragraph) I was nearly apoplectic that someone described as a muslim Televangelist was rated higher than Richard Dawkins, and that Al Gore was on it at all… phew.  I was up in arms over it, at least emotionally.

This is one of those times when one has to examine their personal prejudices and determine if your reaction is to the “Islam” or to the “Religious” part of it.  Did I react badly because the top ten are foreign and unknown to me or because they are overwhelmingly Muslim?  This is a troubling line of questioning, isn’t it?  I guess if you are conservative and wrong, the answers are easy here, but when you are a thinking liberal who has to examine the whole list and determine what you think of it, the answers aren’t as easy.

It seems that the top ten list is made up of religious personalities, akin to the list being full of American Televangelists and the Pope.  This kind of framing, in my mind, puts to rest any queasiness I have about the list and of course the fact that it was made via open public gaming of the poll makes it even less troubling. Imagine if Free Republic and Stormfront had come out in force to vote on the list?  I imagine that personal politics would color it there too.

So, in the end.  Am I being racist in my reaction to this list.  Most likely, there is certainly a strong xenophobic bent in my initial reaction that can’t be passed of as me immediately noting the religious trappings of the top ten, but I went on and read the list and tried to gain a better understanding of how it came about and used reason over emotion to judge it.  I think that is the best we can hope for, that reason is our fallback plan when we think our emotions are overwhelming us.

Also, Stephen Colbert is the “write in” winner.  I think we can put this list to bed as “typical web poll garbage” and sleep easier for it, or at least congratulate the voting public for having their voice heard.

Welcome to Great Britain, Circa 1984

Hey America!

Do you remember why Great Britain produced such great music as “The Cure” and “The Smiths” and “Joy Division”?

Well, for those who forget it was due to the decade long malaise that was the Thatcher government. You’ve just set yourselves on the fine path towards a similiar situation here in the Good old US of A. However, you have one bonus element, crushing idealogical beliefs and a more advanced surveillance system to monitor your activities for anything that could seem anti-government.

Congratualtions on this fine path. None could disagree that Great Britain is a fine country now, and it only took about a Decade.

Hell, this might be year 4 of the 12 year Republican cycle. As you people seem so fond of having.

Osama is going to be calling in the next few weeks or so, I’m sure he has some new recruits he is dying to introduce to you too.

On the whole I wish you well, at least you will finally be able to produce a few more excellent rock bands before the decade is out.

Love & Kisses,


P.S. Good luck with the draft if it happens.