"...[Kinsella is] a modern-day Machiavelli, the mastermind who ran war rooms for Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty... He's the ultimate political insider... [The War Room] has plenty of fascinating insights and is a must-read for political junkies."
- The Toronto Sun
- The National Post
- Tom Flanagan, The Literary Review of Canada
- The Hill Times
- The Winnipeg Free Press
- John Moore, CFRB
- John Oakley, AM640
- John Wright, Ipsos, CFRB
- Charles Adler, Adler Online
- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD
- Ken Rockburn, CPAC
...why the heck can't those National Post columnists just buy a copy, like everyone else did? (The section in question is about the history of political advertising. Go figure.)
Subject: A Curious Form of Censorship in "The War Room"
Warren - Have just realized that my copy of the War Room, which I bought at the Prospero Book Store in Ottawa, has pages 117 - 122 torn out of it. What's up with that? I will take it back to the store, but am now curious as to who (which Martini?) felt the need to expunge pages 117 - 122 from the public record. WTF was on those pages?
I wasn't aware that the Tonight Show host had mentioned the great man, until this evening. A few years back, you see, I wrote a column for the Ottawa Citizen noting that Steyn called Japanese people "Japs" and Chinese people "Chinks." He denied that, and wanted an apology.
I said I wouldn't apologize, because it was the truth. I sent the Citizen's editor the Spectator column in which Steyn had said those things. Caught fibbing, Steyn then speedily dropped that beef, but continued to insist on an apology for my insolence in criticizing him in print, and withheld his National Post column until he got not one, but two apologies. The whole sordid, sorry affair is recounted here.
So here's Jay Leno poking fun at the apology and, indirectly, the fellow one reviewer churlishly (but not inaccurately) called "an uneducated former Disk Jockey turned pundit," quote unquote: "I don’t even understand this apology. You know, you do something wrong, you apologize. 'The Ottawa Citizen and Southam News wish to apologize for our apology to Mark Steyn, Steyn published October 22nd. In correcting the incorrect statements about Mr. Steyn, published October 15th, we incorrectly published the incorrect correction. We accept and regret that our original regrets were unacceptable, and we apologize to Mr. Steyn for any previous distress caused by our previous apology.' Think a lawyer wrote that?"
Beats me. I just think it's cool that I helped to get our sensitive muse some long-overdue recognition on a comedy program. Next up, face time on al-Jazeera! Heeeeeere's Marko!
Here are some comments by a correspondent yesterday at "Small Dead Animals." (There was a link, but Ms. McMillan manipulated it, as she has manipulated other things*,)
"I perused the Zundelsite and found nothing offensive...What needs to be done, besides eliminating the human rights commissions, is to scrap the hate laws...why the hysteria over Zundel's pamphlet 'Did 6 million really die?'..."
Kate "I Mock The Holocaust*" McMillan, friend of Israel.
UPDATE: Smart Conservatives feel as I do.
Found here. Get out the beer and popcorn!
Number of opinion pieces mocking human rights in the National Post in recent weeks (including the defamatory one referred to below): nearly two dozen.
Number arguing the opposite point of view: one.
And it is more persuasive than all of the others put together, too.
The Ottawa Citizen's Dan Gardner has written a well-intentioned but - I believe - highly misleading piece ("The value of hate speech") that essentially argues that permitting haters to spew hate alienates most reasonable people, and ultimately contributes to more tolerance and mutual respect. Gardner's test case is Kansas, where he reports that - in the aftermath of the homophobic campaigns of "Reverend" Fred Phelps, census data showed an increase in the number of reported same sex unions - and, Gardner writes, that there is some anecdotal evidence that things are better in Kansas now. The column is making the rounds of the rightist blogs, and is now being routinely cited as evidence that permitting hate propaganda ultimately contributes to a better society.
Gardner's column is worth reading, but - in my world - quantitative data will always trump a census statistic and a few anecdotes. If it wasn't out of print, then, I would recommend that you all pick up a copy of Hate on Trial: the Zundel Affair, the Media, and Public Opinion in Canada, published in 1986 by my friend Professor Conrad Winn. Conrad, who is a polling expert at Carleton University, sampled public opinion during the 1985 trial of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel. He found the trial not only alerted people to the fact of the Holocaust, it turned them against Zundel in droves.
In a poll of 1,054 respondents taken right after Zundel's trial, Canadians proved the media libertarians wrong, as they often do. Half (47 per cent) said their feelings toward Jews were unchanged by the trial, while one quarter (24 per cent) said they became more sympathetic toward Jews, and only 2 per cent reported less sympathy.
A twenty-year-old letter from Conrad to the editor of the Toronto Star is below, and summarizes the book further. In the final sentence, he takes on libertarians like Alan Borovoy, who recklessly argue we should just let the haters hate, and jettison human rights laws, the relevant sections of the Criminal Code and (undoubtedly) section 15 of the Charter.
Chit-chats in Kansas are interesting, but I'd say scientific studies conducted right here, where we live, count for a lot more.
Zundel trial didn't heighten racism
12 February 1987
The Toronto Star
Copyright (c) 1987 The Toronto Star
Much of the evidence about the impact of the trial appears in a book by Gabriel Weimann and myself, Hate on Trial: the Zundel Affair, the Media, and Public Opinion in Canada (1986). We did extensive polling and compared our own results with other researchers' polls conducted over a period of years.
The first major finding was that the number of anti-Jewish racists did not increase in the wake of the Zundel trial.
The second major finding was that exposure to the trial made the unprejudiced majority of Canadians more knowledgeable about the Holocaust and more sympathetic to Jews. More than a third of Canadians who followed the trial said that they had become more sympathetic to Jews as a result while only 3 per cent said that they became less so.
The third major finding was that exposure to the media increased people's understanding and sympathies. For example, heavy TV viewers were 2 1/2 times more likely to report an increase in sympathy for Jews as people who do not watch television.
The only unhappy research finding is that Canadians are worried that their neighbors might be becoming more prejudiced even though they themselves are in fact becoming less prejudiced. This public fear is potentially dangerous. The unprejudiced majority, feeling embattled and on the defensive, might lose confidence in its own inherent decency. Borovoy and others are contributing to this fear and are therefore doing harm by falsely portraying Zundel as having made effective use of his platform in court.
Professor of Political Science
Warren, you’ve impressed many over the course of the past two weeks.
You’re harassing an ugly, thoughtless movement which has been given a free-pass by too many. At best, the right-to-offend crowd emerges from a school-yard bully mentality: “we’ll misbehave at the expense of the easy-target classmates, and we dare you to get in the way”. At worst, it is last-ditch resistance by a historically-privileged some, who aren’t quite ready to surrender their ability to critique the other with impunity.
Most infuriating of all is their abuse of the doctrine of liberalism in justification. The confusion is complete. Let us remind them of Lord Acton’s cautionary axiom: “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.”
The great myth is that their brand of nationalism and xenophobia serves some higher purpose, unlike the bad stuff from less enlightened times. The argument has been made endlessly throughout history. So this time, that purpose is ‘freedom of speech.’ Previously it has been national unity, economic well-being, etc. It’s always disingenuous, it’s always erroneous. It’s always nonsense.
It’s satisfying to watch you shine a light on the pale parents’-suburban-basement dweller of the Blogging Tories. But let’s leave them aside for a moment, if only to avoid lending credence to the utterly insignificant ramblings destined to be read (mostly) only by the equally insignificant. Without them, the National Post is certainly the worst offender. Journalism is obviously too daunting a task for the good folks from Don Mills. Instead, with John Baird-esque chortling, the editorial board and friends pander to peoples’ worst instincts. Gleefully incendiary, then wide-eyed and innocent when challenged. You’re too good a man for the NP.
Fight the good fight.
Mick [Last Name Withheld]
You seem to enjoy posting letters from people who make the anti-HRC side look really bad, so I figured I'd throw a sensible response in on the off chance that you haven't gotten any thus far. Speaking for myself, I have no inclination towards stringing you up, using you for bayonet practice, or any of that other nasty stuff that hate-mailers the world around seem to get perverse joy from talking about. On the contrary, I think your position is well-intentioned and sensible on the surface(after all, who doesn't want to find an effective way to stop racist filth like Holocaust denial from poisoning public discourse?), but it suffers rather badly from something I see as a flaw with many Liberal ideas - too much emotion, not enough reason. So far as I'm concerned, you're letting legitimate sympathy for victims of terrible hatred and bigotry get in the way of a more abstract, but far more fundamental, appreciation for the virtues of essentially unfettered free speech. It's not a rare mistake, of course, but it is a mistake.
The point I'm trying to make here, however, is not my opinion of your opinions, since I'm sure you've debated that often enough over the years to have some understanding of where I'm coming from, and I'm equally sure that I'm not going to sway you on this. My point is that I'm not disagreeing with you on human rights committees because I'm looking for an excuse to spread my assorted hate and bigotry freely. I'm hardly a racist, sexist, or whatever-else-ist, and aside from the occasional off-colour joke told when I was sure it wouldn't offend, I don't think I've ever said could be construed as such. I find people who hold positions like that to be offensive and small-minded, and I oppose them whenever I see them. I will certainly attack ideas, on the large scale or the small, but I do not attack groups simply for being groups. I oppose the Human Rights Commissions and their associated laws because I believe that they stand in the way of free expression of ideas, and that free expression and exchange of ideas is sufficient to marginalize any especially offensive and stupid ideas that may float around. I know you think differently, and that that is where this whole debate stems from. I just dislike the assumption that I'm a bigot merely because I dislike legal prohibition of certain unpopular ideas.
• Exactly. “…freedom of speech has its limits. According to the Supreme Court, "hate propaganda contributes little to Canada ... in either the quest for truth... or the fostering of a vibrant democracy." In other words, the nature of hate speech is so far removed from the spirit of constitutional guarantees that it enjoys little judicial deference.”
• Two things. One, there is only newspaper that would publish John Tory’s pandering, code-language tripe. Two, we encourage him to give this speech in the Legislature. Oh, right.
• This looks familiar! Hmmm, I wonder…
• …but they richly deserve it.
• Jim Coyle’s the new Queen’s Park columnist! I should’ve made that bet, because I’d be rich now!
• And finally: The Definitive Mark Steyn Clubbing!
Consider the source, here: Jean Lapierre - that is, the Bloc Quebecois founder who illegally fired Jean Pelletier, and called Jean Chretien's Clarity Act "useless" - is now considered a reliable source by CTV about Messr. Chretien and Pelletier's innermost thoughts. That's not just bad journalism. It's actually insane.
Lapierre notwithstanding, I think the Grits should pull the plug for an election now. If they run a solid campaign, they have as much of a shot at a minority as the Tories. That's a fact.
Now, regular reader Helen was one of a few Libs who sent me the CTV link, adding: "Perhaps, one of Chretien's friends should run the war room!" Yikes!
Well, that's very flattering, Helen. And, now that I've resigned my freelance columnist gig with the National Post, one of two obstacles to federal Grit war room fun is removed. But the other one won't be resolved anytime soon - or at least until September.
Anyway, like I say: consider the source. Jean Lapierre may know many things. But knowing what Jean Chretien and Jean Pelletier think ain't one of them.
"Some observers said immigrant youths were protesting against perceived police harassment and suggested the reprinting of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers Wednesday, may have aggravated the situation."
So here's a suggestion: let's send a few of these tough-talking Canadian conservatives over to Denmark, shall we? It'll be an adventure! We'll send them right into action, on a busy intersection in one of the afflicted parts of Copenhagen. We can get National Post contributor Kathy Shaidle to tell them their children are "parasites" - and fellow Post contributor "Kate Hate" MacMillan can tell them how they are "Muslim shit-heads." Former Postie Mark Steyn can then scream at them to stop making babies, because they are destroying European culture - and then Post opinion editor Jon Kay can tell them their brains are full of "toxins," and they should all just accept their prophet being depicted as a terrorist, because it's a valuable contribution to the marketplace of ideas.
That's my suggestion. If anyone else has a better idea, they can ring me down at the travel agent, where I'll be picking up four one-way tickets to Denmark.
Notwithstanding what some cynics and pundits are claiming, the Standing Committee is finding out things we did not know before.
They need to keep doing their job.
Hockey, karate, soccer, you name it: my gal and I run a sports chauffeur service, pretty much. Today, swimming will figure prominently. Plug in "swimming" and "funny" in YouTube, and this is what you get.