Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Glavin on Galloway

The George Galloway drama that has unfolded over the past week has attracted attention from every quarter. There are lots of opinions but generally people fall into three camps who contend the issue is, respectively: national security ("keep the idiot out"); free speech ("let the moron in"), or; free speech ("we want to hear our Hamas-loving hero").

Then along comes Terry Glavin who effectively clarifies matters with, of all things, some facts and logic which show that This Is Not A Story About Free Speech. This Is Not A Story About National Security. Nope, it’s about a lazy, incompetent, sensation seeking media.

Mr. Glavin kicks things off by ripping Christopher Hitchens a new one:

Hitchens is not wrong in the substance of the opinions ... It is just that they are wholly immaterial to the matter at hand. ... He didn’t do a lick of homework. He fails, and fails utterly. [It would be interesting to see a reply from the Hitch.]
And the media in general:

This is a media circus of the same sort as the midway freak shows that involve displays of Britney Spears as she’s caught driving her SUV with a suckling infant on her lap, or Amy Winehouse snorting coke in a leaked home video. Dress it up anyway you like, that is the function the Galloway rumpus-making serves the news media.

Glavin then goes on to comprehensively lay out the facts and what actually transpired. You’ve got to read the whole thing because paraphrasing won’t do it justice.

And in closing he saves some choice words for Galloway’s Canadian supporters:

George Galloway is what we used to call a fascist thug. But nowadays, his Canadian fan base, his megaphone-carriers and his booking agents include New Democratic Party MPs, Bloc MPs, the Council of Canadians, the Ottawa Peace Assembly and a legion of student leaders, trade unionists and "anti-war" activists.
Great stuff.

Though it’s hard to refute Glavin’s facts, logic and conclusions about the whole affair, one could still argue that it is still relevant to the free speech issue. It’s relevant because, in spite of the truth of the matter, there’s still a strong perception that Galloway’s speech has been suppressed (even though it wasn’t really because it was televideoed to his Canuck fans anyway). He’s gained some undeserved martyrdom. So I can’t help feeling that it may have been better to let him in and denied he and his supporters publicity. And maybe, but not likely, with more time the media would have been able to do some fact checking and get the story straight.

[via Blazing Cat Fur]


Terry Glavin said...

Thank you kindly, JR.

A couple of quick points.

1. As to whether it would have been "better to let him in," I don't know that I have much of an opinion on the subject because it's hypothetical; no one stopped him from coming in, and the only thing we didn't offer him was an advance exemption from a Canadian law that he has boasted about breaking.

2.As for the "publicity" thing, I suspect Galloway would have had been the subject of at least as much publicity had he actually arrived at a Canadian border entry with the intention of making his Canadian appointments. He likely would have been arrested, detained, refused entry and deported to the UK. If Jason Kenney had controversially granted him his special pleading to be above the law, and Galloway had made his speaking engagements and rubbed everyone's noses in it, I am inclined to think, after everything Galloway has been up to lately, that "publicity" would be a very understated way to describe the media barrage that would follow from that.

I don't know if any of this would have mattered either way, publicity-wise. They say all publicity is good publicity, but that's showbiz. True, Galloway is roughly two-thirds showman. I would want him to get lots of publicity, and his Canadian acolytes should, too, but of the kind that is based on facts, and capable of noticing the difference between a colorful pacifist-entertainer and a sleazy bagman-publicist for mass murderers.

Maybe I expect too much.

JR said...

Terry, All good points. I just hated seeing him set up as any kind of free speech martyr. But you're quite right that it was likely the media would have continued the circus had he arrived - whether or not he'd been detained & deported.

Sean Calder said...

I know I'm a little late in getting around to my articles of interest, but I'm catching up now.

I personally don't care how much "media attention" this twit has been awarded as a result of this whole spat. I really honestly don't.

I believe a greater service has been provided through the practice that precipitated the attention.

Canada has displayed (through our Border Guards and the related government officials) that it adheres to the rule of law regardless of who is knocking at the door. The fact that 'we' didn't blink in the face of the possibility of bad publicity, increased attention to this man's fluff, etc, says a great deal about the integrity of our country.

Whether someone agrees with the decision or not, it can not be said that we will kow tow out of a misguided fear of bad news.