Saturday, June 07, 2008

Shoddy Journalism or Just Institutional Bias?

A friend of mine recently remarked that I often talk about the severe left-wing bias of much of the media in Canada but don't provide enough examples. Here's one, an extremely distorted account of what occurred this past week written by the Toronto Star's Petti Fong. Here's her opening paragraph, that sets the tone for the rest of her editorial news article:

A high-profile B.C. Human Rights Tribunal heard yesterday that an article published in Maclean's magazine drew responses from readers that called for the mass killing, deportation and forced conversion of Muslims.

Really? Strange that she failed to mention that such comments were actually posted on Internet websites, most, if not all of which operate outside of Canada. And whether there's a direct correlation between Mark Steyn's article and these responses is very questionable and was definitely never proved during the proceedings. Fong knows this.

But she never lets the full set of facts get in the way of her agenda reporting. For example, further on she writes:

The tribunal was called after two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress – president Mohamed Elmasry and Dr. Naiyer Habib – complained, saying the article promotes hatred against Islam and incites fears Muslims are taking over the world by criminalizing the religion and its followers.

Dr. Habib, a B.C. cardiologist, testified that a handful of Muslims hold extremist views. He said he was ashamed to see Islam demonized in that way.

Really? Strange that she failed to mention that Dr. Habib's co-complainant, Mohamed Elmasry, has publicly stated that "any adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for a terrorist attack." A reader not so familiar with the case would think that both complainants are purely innocent victims. That's not really the case with Elmasry, is it?

A bit later Fong illuminates us with this:

During the week, while Steyn supporters continued appearing in the public gallery, a growing number of Muslim Canadians also began attending to show their concerns about what they consider is a growing hatred for their religion.

Surrey resident Lazina Yasir said she thought it was important to hear what was being said. She began weeping quietly in the public gallery when the lawyer for the CIC read some of the blog responses to the article, such as one writer calling for the use of DDT to eradicate Muslims, while others suggested throwing the Qur'an in the mud and "pissing on Muslims."

This is an example of "fair and balanced"? On the one hand we have supporters in league with that terrible white guy Steyn (my words, not Fong's) and on the other we have a poor Muslim woman "weeping quietly". Give me a break!

Why didn't Fong seek out the countless Muslims we've heard on the other side of the fence, who are deeply embarrassed that a small number of their own faith are trying to trample on Free Speech? For example, I'm sure that Tarek Fatah would have been more than wiling to talk with her. But his views don't fit in with her narrative reporting so he was excluded.

Soon after, we read this:

Yasir's husband, Areeb, said he doesn't see the issue as one strictly about free speech. "There's never been any question in our mind that we need to have both free speech and a free media," he said. "But even here at this hearing, we are encountering people who don't want to acknowledge that some people may not see things the way they see it, when it comes to religion."

And your point is, sir? From her perspective, the purpose of Fong's inclusion of this quotation is clear, trying to emphasize the alleged close-mindedness of those "people" the gentleman was referring to but the deep irony of his words in relation to free speech undoubtedly sailed well over Ms. Fong's head.

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