Monday, February 20, 2006

The Standard was right, Canada's media and pundits were wrong

I have argued with anyone who has tried to say that the Western Standard's publishing of the Muhammad cartoons was the wrong thing to do. I did so on Simon Pole's blog, and on several blogs on Progressivebloggers.ca. I was most eager to comment on Simon's posts, since he began to show a torrent of negative press and public reaction to the Standard's publication. He said the Standard was beginning to get more and more isolated. I countered that it was only a matter of time before the absurdities of the opposition would be shown for what they were--absurdities.

It seems today and yesterday have been the beginning of a counter-response. First, even though the United Church condemned the publication of the cartoons on the (potentially libelous) grounds that it was pure hate, the United Church online forum sparkled with opposition to their own Church's statement. Ezra ripped every reporter he debated apart. I don't think a single reasonably dispassionate observer can say that Ezra did anything other than teach Ottawa Citizen ed-in-chief Scott Anderson a lesson in debating [RAM], and the CBC's Harry Forrestel [RAM] what it means to have a clear, coherent, and reasoned argument. Today, Mary Laney of the Chicago Sun-Times rips into those who didn't publish the cartoons (including the Sun-Times itself). A blogger defends Ezra as the Levantithan. Closer to home, Ottawa folk want to see the cartoons, and are asking for the Standard. Meanwhile, the National Post defended the Standard on the grounds of freedom of speech and expression and, in a big setback to Standard naysayers, fully 70 per cent of Canadian journalists felt that the media ought to have published the cartoons [PDF].

Yes, you heard that right: 70 per cent! Let me try this again, just in case you weren't paying attention, fully 70 per cent (almost three-quarters) of Canadian journalists polled said that either most (18 per cent), all (17 per cent) or at least some (25 per cent) Canadian media organizations SHOULD HAVE PUBLISHED THE CARTOONS.

Let that sink in... Go read the poll, there are plenty of interesting tidbits in there.

I think it is time the more honourable naysayers admit when they have shitty arguments, and that they were wrong all along. It is the right thing to do, to admit you were wrong when the weight of your wrongness becomes a burden too great to carry.

Go on. Admit it. You were wrong. The Standard was right. You'll have an opportunity to rip on the Standard in the near future. Trust me, you will. They have shown tremendous courage and depth of integrity. And since that means they will cover the news regardless of what their advertisers do, and will give editorial independence to a team of ass-kickers, you will be pissed off with them soon enough. Get a subscription and follow the Standard closely. They're teaching the rest of Canada's media what it means to have editorial independence and excellent news judgment, so you might as well see it for yourself.

Just don't sap all of your integrity on this issue, my friends, because the next time you get on a moral crusade against Ezra and the Standard, we might not listen.

[Oh, and the Canadian Golden Girls won again. I watched in Bowling Green, and let loose a slightly embarrassing howl of happiness when the third period was over. I had to explain I was Canadian. They understood. And I was happy.]

2 Comments:

Anonymous shell said...

Congrats on the Felix Morley Journalism Competition. I've been going through the list of finalists and shaking my head. Well done. Not quiet sure why I bother to enter. You work and many others is of a higher caliber than mine for sure. Best of luck with your journalism career. I enjoyed reading your articles.

4:20 PM  
Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

Thanks for that, shell. I appreciate you reading my articles, and sending me a note of encouragement.

The importance of a good editor can't be understated. You'd be surprised how much better an article can be when the right person is helping you out.

11:21 AM  

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