Thursday, October 02, 2008

Media Bias, Part XXV: The Good Guys Win One

I've previously posted about Canadian writer Heather Mallick, whose September 5th CBC column savaged Americans in general, and Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin in particular, saying among other things, "It's possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she's a woman." The incomparable James Lileks torched her; Fox News protested; the Canadian National Post called Mallick, and the CBC, a "disgrace."

These critiques were well supported and richly deserved. Mallick's angry and intolerant article is reflected her entire body of work. The day of her CBC column, Mallick also appeared in the Guardian (U.K.) claiming Palin "did lie about billion-gallon slurps of oil and gas available for Americans to blow," faulting Palin's "smugness, her certainty that what's good for Wasilla is good for the world." And speaking about the role of the media in the abortion debate at a Canadian legal symposium earlier this year, Mallick:
[E]xpressed approval of student associations that cut off funding to pro-life groups — because "the rights of Canadian women are not up for debate." She also theorized that pro-life stirrings in the mainstream media were mostly the result of over-the-hill male editors seeking to control through repression the lithesome bodies that, in their decrepitude, they could no longer enjoy in the bedroom.
It's trite, but true, to note that--contrary to claims--the left, not the right, is both borderline paranoid and mired in hate speech. It's equally obvious to observe that--again, contrary to claims--the media is a cheerleader for the left.

To its credit, the CBC manned-up. Last week, Vince Carlin, the network's ombudsman, concluded that Mallick's piece failed journalistic standards:
Policy calls for opinions to be based on fact. Ms. Mallick’s item generally stays in the opinion column but she does offer some flat statements that appear to offer “facts” without any backup. For instance, there is no factual basis for a broad scale conclusion about the sexual adequacy of Republican men. In fact, that type of comment, applied to any other group, would easily be seen as, at best, puerile. Similarly, the characterization of Palin supporters as white trash lacks a factual basis. I asked Ms. Mallick to explain the basis for these characterizations. In a note she explained her opinions of Ms. Palin, but did not provide a factual justification for the statements. . .

There is a significant difference between censorship and appropriate editorial oversight. CBC journalists are required to exercise appropriate oversight over material that appears on CBC outlets. Ms. Mallick is entitled to her opinions, and those opinions should not be censored, but those opinions must also be expressed in a manner that meets our Journalistic Standards and Practices. Liberty is not the same as license.
On Monday, CBC publisher John Cruickshank admitted error:
[T]he CBC ombudsman . . . objects that many of her most savage assertions lack a basis in fact. And he is certainly correct.

Mallick's column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan.

And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the site.
Interestingly, Cruickshank also copped to a more systemic failure:
Ombudsman Carlin makes another significant observation in his response to complainants: when it does choose to print opinion, displays a very narrow range on its pages.

In this, Carlin is also correct.

This, too, is being immediately addressed. will soon expand the diversity of voices and opinions and be home to a diverse group of writers with many perspectives. In this, we will better reflect the depth and texture of this country.
Annoyingly, Mallick's column was pulled from CBC's website, though the author isn't ashamed: it remains available at her website. For those not wanting to boost Mallick's page views, it's still cached in Google and largely captured by Lileks.

David Warren of the Ottawa Citizen says Mallick "expresses openly what many, quite possibly most of her MSM colleagues are actually thinking." I don't doubt it. In contrast to Canada, here in the United States, Mallick and the MSM have the liberty to be left-wing loonies, a right they excercize in full, modulated by occasional acknowledgement of liberal bias. I only wish taxpayer-supported "National Liberal Radio" was as honest as the CBC was this week.

1 comment:

OBloodyHell said...

Not to denigrate the actions of the CBC, but this just shows how egregiously bad it has to be for the liberal twits to ack that something wrong was done.