Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Questionable media narrative in the Quebec mosque killings

"... the mainstream media ...  obsessed with a new narrative based on a few 'likes' on [the alleged killer] Bissonnette’s Facebook page.
The discovery that Bissonnette liked two of the most popular politicians on earth (US President Donald Trump and France’s Marine Le Pen) quickly transformed the narrative into a story about a young right-wing extremist committing a terrorist act, even if no terror charges have been laid.
Bissonnette's Facebook "likes': on Canada’s leftist NDP Party page, as well as that of their former leader Jack Layton, have attracted far less media attention. ... "


Anonymous said...

old white guy says..............the world is rapidly coming apart because of terminal stupidity. It cannot survive the onslaught of idiocy we see on a daily basis.

Martin said...

This story from Colby Cosh tries to explain away the discrepancies in reporting from the crime scene. His excuse of few English speaking reporters is absurd; a lot of the original stories were filed by French language dailies, one cannot claim in 2017 that Canadian news rooms don't have the ability to translate.His own sister paper The Gazette obviously has reporters able to handle French; the mistakes were made by all reporters, the question is why. He criticizes Rebel media obliquely for having the temerity to even ask alternate questions, to not accept the lockstep media story. To do some investigative reporting is provocative? There are a host of questions begging answers; the main media has little interest beyond linking Trump and Bissonnette in the same sentence, but Canadians deserve to know what really took place.

Miles Lunn said...

While no can say exactly what motivated him, Xenophobia and Islamophobia is a problem and as a nation regardless of which party we support we should stand up to it. Yes maybe he supported the NDP while still liking Trump and LePen. Being racists and a bigot is not something unique to people on the political right and contrary to what many on the left claim, it has little correlation with where one stands on economic issues and the role of government. In Europe, much of the gains for the far right parties have come from those who traditionally support parties on the left not right. Still we should not downplay what happened here. What happened here was despicable and disgusting as well as regardless of where he stands on economic issues, bigotry is wrong and we as Canadians need to stand up and say this is not who we are. The six man killed were husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons and we should show some compassion for their families who had their loved ones taken way too early. I am quite concerned that the Rebel media on others on the hard right seem to show lack of empathy. One can be conservative and still have compassion for others.

JR said...

Miles Lunn: "I am quite concerned that the Rebel media and others on the hard right seem to show lack of empathy. One can be conservative and still have compassion for others."

Well, don't be concerned. You'd be hard pressed to find a conservative or even the "hard right" who doesn't think that these murders are horrific and deserve to be condemned in the strongest terms.

What I will say, as a conservative, is that conservatives in general are less likely than left/liberals to strongly emote about any issue or event. A distinguishing characteristic of the left/lib mindset is the need to prove how much they "care". In fact, endlessly signalling their "caring" often seems more important to them than the victims involved and more important than actually promoting effective solutions.

What conservatives object to strongly is liberal virtue signalling and claims of moral superiority over conservative. They also object to liberal partisan hypocrisy. For example when, with few facts, Trudeau, supported by the liberal media, immediately jumped to the declaration that the Quebec mosque murders were "definitely terrorism" while in the case of the Ottawa and St. Jean murders of CF soldiers both Trudeau and the media mightily resisted labelling the purps as terrorists and pointed an accusatory finger at PM Harper for doing so.

Conservatives, with good reason, have a strong distrust of the liberal media to accurately and without bias report situations. Time and time again they fail to do so. Faith Goldy's piece here is about this problem and about raising serious questions, looking for real answers. She isn't using it as an occasion for emulating the left/lib penchant for extravagantly emoting empathy for victims. Such emoting would seem to me to be not just out of place but phony.

Miles Lunn said...

I believe there are some on the left who claim moral superiority, but you do get some on the right, more south of the border though. I don't agree with progressives on a lot of things, but I guess compared to most conservatives I tend to be more open minded, perhaps coming from a family where half are on the moderate right and half moderate left has had an impact or the fact my Dad leans right while my Mom is on the left and certainly none of them are intolerant towards moderate Conservatives. It's true the more ideological right they despise, but they also dislike the ideological left too.

As for the media bias, I think the real problem is lack of investigative journalism as we live in a world with a 10 second attention span so most want quick flashy headlines rather than actually do a thorough investigation. The rebel media however I avoid as I am a former Progressive Conservative, not a Reformer and I find them way to extreme for my liking. I am around the same spot on the political spectrum as Brian Mulroney so not on the left, but certainly not that much to the right. I also try to get a variety of perspectives since even if I don't agree with the left, one has a more informed view of they see both sides. The problem with people like Ezra Levant is they are just rants. I prefer an intelligent well argued right wing perspective which some like Brian Lilley do, but Levant is horrible at.

As for whether this was a terrorist attack or not, that is tough to say and depends on definition. It is certainly a hate crime, but as for terrorism, I defer to a court of law. I suspect the prosecution will try to have this tacked on and I suspect the defence will argue it is not. At the end of the day it was an awful terrible killing regardless of what one calls it. My concern is that too many on the harder right are promoting Islamophobia when we need to stand up to it. We can still be critical of Islamic fundamentalists without tarring all Muslims as bad and violent. President Bush was quite hard on terrorism, but he always made a point most Muslims are good people and it is a violent minority in the religion who did things like 9/11 and have a perverse view of the religion.

JR said...

No doubt one’s political leanings are heavily influenced by family upbringing. They are also influenced by formal education (highly leftist these days) and by exposure to real life (which tends to be conservative). It’s difficult to know, but you do strike me as more a “progressive” than a conservative. It’s interesting that you say your parents “despise” the ideological right but just “dislike” the ideological left.

I’d say the real problem with media bias is its blatant BIAS. Short attention span or not the bias is there. What I like about Ezra Levant is that he’s honest, thoughtful, intelligent, well argued and, yes, colourful with a polemical style. I don’t know what “extremes” you refer to among the Rebels. From what I’ve seen they vigorously defend liberty and freedom and strongly oppose political correctness, smugness, group think, hypocrisy and dishonesty. Also, they unabashedly and un-apologetically declare their conservative biases, unlike most of the MSM who, with deficient self-awareness, profess to be neutral. Maybe the MSM is simply so inbred that they aren’t exposed to diverse opinions - so much so that they often seem surprised that there actually are other opinions. But what is particularly problematic is that not only do they fail to defend free speech, they actively promote suppression of speech they disagree with.

To me it is largely irrelevant whether or not the Quebec mosque murders are labeled terrorism. That seems to be mostly a left/lib and media fetish. My interest was in their hypocrisy on the matter.

Yes, it goes without saying (but rarely does) that “most Muslims are good people”, just as are most Christians, Budhists and atheists. But this doesn’t mean that there are not significant problems and risks associated with the Islamic faith and ideology or that we should be silent about them when they impact our lives, or threaten to. Western liberals are never silent about far smaller problems they perceive about Christianity. In fact they often throw Christianity and their own culture under the bus trying to defend less than benign foreign cultural practices.

Regarding left versus right, I highly recommend William Gairdner’s recent book, “The Great Divide: Why liberals and conservatives will never, ever agree”. It provides some interesting insights into what are very different world views.

Miles Lunn said...

I would describe myself as Progressive Conservative so on the political spectrum I am probably to the right of about 70% of Canadians while left of 30%. However if I lived in the US I would probably be a progressive as your median American voter is a lot further to the right than your median Canadian voter.

My problem with Ezra Levant is not he is a conservative, rather I find him a loud mouth boor who just plays into people's biases. I don't mind Brian Lilley, he has some intelligent opinions even if he is more conservative than I am as does Preston Manning. Likewise on the left I enjoy reading in the Toronto Star types like Thomas Walkom even though I rarely agree with him while ignore Linda McQuaig and Heather Mallick as both are rants and not well thought out. As for media being left wing, I guess it depends where you put things. Most NDP friends I know say the opposite so I would say the media is fairly centrist but true is quite negative towards those further to the right and left. Otherwise if you are a former Progressive Conservative like myself, they are quite fair but if you are a Reformer not so much mind you I am not a Reformer and never supported them.

In terms of US politics they do heavily lean towards the Democrats but so do the overwhelming majority of Canadians and likewise in the US most in the large coastal cities voted for Hillary Clinton, Trump won due to his strengths in middle America. Canada is a progressive centre-left country so those on the left outnumber those on the right so if media is a representative of what most Canadians think, they should tilt leftward since most Canadians lean that way. I agree some on the left are intolerant, but I find many on the American right are equally as intolerant and unfortunately far too many Canadians on both sides of the spectrum like to copy what goes on south of the border which is unfortunate as we are a different country with very different values, and a very different political culture.

As for the media's soft spot of Islam, I think like most Canadians we tend to have a soft spot for whomever is from historically disadvantaged groups, that is who we are as Canadians, we are a nation for the little guy, not the strongest so since Christianity is the dominant group while Islam is a minority religion, that is why there is the natural sympathy much as we sympathize with women's not men's rights, LGBT rights not straight rights, Visible minorities and aboriginals over whites. As a nation we hold dear the idea society is judged by how it treats its weakest members and so most Canadians whether NDP, Liberal, or Progressive Conservative hold these values dearly and thus act accordingly and that is a good thing in my view. I prefer to treat everyone equally, but if you must show bias towards any group, always show bias then for the weaker members of society, not the stronger ones.

JR said...

To each his own.

But: "Ezra Levant is ... a loud mouth boor who just plays into people's biases"?

That's a tad harsh, don't you think? As Ezra is a member of a minority group, shouldn't your bias lean to him? But seriously, from what I know about him he is expressing his own well considered views and biases (everyone has them), not "playing into" anyone else's.

One other thing: I, and perhaps most conservatives, consider the label "Progressive Conservative" to be an oxymoron. "Progressive" is how modern liberals and farther left identify themselves. It implies: a statist preference for the collective over the individual; a preference for totalitarianism over individual rights and liberty; a belief in social theory over experience, custom and tradition; for the politically correct over the truth ...

Again, I recommend William Gairdner’s recent book, “The Great Divide: Why liberals and conservatives will never, ever agree”.

Miles Lunn said...

I find Ezra Levant a bit extreme. Yes he is a minority, but that doesn't mean I don't find his attacks on Muslims inappropriate or the overtop.

As for Progressive Conservatism, it is essentially one that has its roots in One Nation conservativism of Benjamin Disraeli, otherwise unlike conservatism in the US, Canadian conservatism has its roots in Britain, but developed in its own way. Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, Jean Charest, Peter Lougheed, Bill Davis and many other past PC leaders represent this. On economic policy Progressive conservatism does believe in individual liberty and it is wary of a large state, but also supports the fact some people fall through the cracks and the state has an obligation through its welfare system to help them. They don't favour social engineering, but also do believe that the interests of community must be considered and that government intervention is sometimes needed.

As for political correctness vs. tradition, Progressive Conservatives believe in tolerance and respect and believe diversity is our strength not weakness. Policies that exclude certain groups or prevent certain people from achieving their full potential should not be supported.

Otherwise Progressive Conservatives are not supporters of big government liberalism like the Trudeau liberals, but they do not support libertarianism where the market is left unchecked.

As for the divide, I think the problem is both some liberals and conservatives are so embedded in their views and only wish to listen to those who support them. I don't believe in the idea the divide has to be as big. In fact unlike the US, political polarization is much weaker in Canada. True were are not like Germany was has a strongly consensus political culture, but we aren't like the US with strong political polarization, France where extreme right and extreme left parties usually get in the double digits or more, or UK where you have a strong class divide in voting patterns. Otherwise we have differences but generally most Canadians be they conservative, liberal, or NDP tend to be fairly moderate and fairly close to the centre and not overly ideological.

JR said...

"Progressive Conservatives believe in tolerance and respect and believe diversity is our strength not weakness."

Conservatives, like most Canadians of every political stripe, also believe in tolerance and respect but not as unreservedly as progressives apparently do. It often seems that what progressives mean when they say "tolerance" is that they expect and demand the uncritical embrace, not just tolerance of others' opinions and behaviour. And they are often monumentally hypocritical about this, showing no tolerance or respect whatever for opinions and beliefs with which they disagree. Such intolerance by progressives is a big problem on university campuses (once regarded as bastions of free inquiry).

"Diversity is our strength": that's certainly a hallmark of progressive thought. It's one of Justin Trudeau's favorites. The problem is that it's a platitude for which there little to no real evidence.

Miles Lunn said...

Progressive Conservatives certainly aren't like the left on different opinions. On social issues like gay marriage, abortion, and death penalty, the leaders have almost always come from the progressive side, but the decisions was always a free vote (which ironically used to be the Liberal position, but never the NDP) rather than a whipped vote like the Liberals or NDP.

As for diversity being a strength, I can say from experience companies with greater diversity tend to be more profitable so diversity is our strength is not without merit. Likewise the most vibrant and some of the most prosperous cities be it Toronto, New York City, London, Paris, San Francisco, Chicago, Sydney, Hong Kong, Frankfurt are all fairly diverse although perhaps its maybe the other way around that their prosperity attracts diversity. That doesn't mean diversity cannot have its issues, as we've seen in the Balkans, Middle East, or much of Africa where different ethnic groups who hate each other go to war. Nonetheless we live in a globalizing world so I tend to believe it is in Canada's interest and that also includes diversity of opinion. I've found generally those closest to the middle are most open to different viewpoints, while the further one goes to either extreme, be it the left or right they tend to be less tolerant of those with different viewpoints. The Liberals although a considered a centrist party do have some strong left wing elements (they are types who really belong in NDP but are Liberals out of convenience) who are generally intolerant of different viewpoints as well as you do have a fair amount of elitism amongst some of the more educated ones who think anyone less educated is ignorant. But I wouldn't say intolerance of different viewpoints is solely on the left, there are some on the right who I find just as bad.