John Carpay, The Post Millennial, October 6, 2019
The Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery has rejected the applications of both Rebel News and True North News to attend and report on the Monday October 7 political party leaders’ election debate. Collin Lafrance, Chief of the Press Gallery Secretariat, has excluded both organizations because they are “actively involved in advocacy.”
If Mr. Lafrance is correct in his assessment of True North and Rebel News, then these two media outlets would fit in well with many of the Press Gallery’s existing members, which advocate openly and actively for causes, perspectives and ideologies.
For example, the Xinhua (New China) News Agency is a member of the Canadian Press Gallery, despite being the official state-run press agency of the Chinese government. Xinhua’s president is a member of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party. In one example of Xinhua’s “news” is this recent article which states: “Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech during Tuesday’s National Day celebrations was warmly embraced across the globe, with politicians and experts in different parts of the world expressing support for China’s social and economic development. … China’s remarkable success in the past seven decades since the founding of the People’s Republic of China has come from its own way of governing — socialism with Chinese characteristics …” (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-10/04/c_138448277.htm) That statement from Xinhua comes in the context of an increasingly violent and brutal crackdown of democratic protests in Hong Kong.
Do Mr. Lafrance and the Press Gallery think that Xinhua is not engaging in “advocacy,” or is it that they OK with this kind of advocacy?
Another Press Gallery member that is “actively involved in advocacy” is our taxpayer-funded CBC, which consistently promotes left-wing ideology in and through its’ coverage, and even more so by way of what the CBC chooses not to cover. As just one example, the CBC refused to provide any coverage of the July 4, 5 and 17, 2019 BC Human Rights Tribunal hearings of Jessica (Jonathan) Yaniv’s complaints against female estheticians who had refused to provide a “Brazilian” bikini wax for Yaniv’s male genitalia. It was not until Yaniv’s human rights cases had made international headlines that the CBC finally wrote one story about this issue, in late July.
Killing stories that do not suit one’s own ideological narrative or preference is not limited to the CBC. Neither the CBC nor so-called “mainstream” media covered the sexually graphic materials that were provided to K-12 children on the government-funded Alberta Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Network website. The website was developed by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (ISMSS), under the direction of Kris Wells, a professional activist and propagandist who headed the ISMSS.
This taxpayer-funded GSA website provided children with links to “Super practical sex positions everyone can try at home” and “Eight things they teach you at blow job school.” This website also had links to introduce children to the “Zebra” sexual alphabet: ‘A’ is for Auto-fellatio, ‘F’ is for Felching, ‘U’ is for Urophilia, ‘Y’ is for Yellow and Brown Showers, etc. Felching is so revolting (and unhealthy) that no decent website or other publication could even describe this practice; google the term at your own risk. Calgary radio talk-show host Danielle Smith is the only media personality who took note of this story, interviewing one of the parents who had exposed the truth about the GSA website. All other media tried to kill the story by not covering something that might embarrass their ideological allies.
In similar fashion, the CBC and other “mainstream” media provided no coverage when Wells, a senior advisor to NDP Education Minister David Eggen, outrageously compared Christians to Nazis (https://www.parentchoice.ca/school_district_professional_standards).
Palpable media bias aside, there are also Press Gallery members who admit to covering the news from a particular angle or perspective, like the Aboriginal Peoples TV, Canadian Catholic News, The Lawyer’s Daily and the left-wing Rabble.ca.
There is nothing wrong with having a perspective, or even a bias per se. Rather, what is wrong is pretending to be neutral and objective when you are not.
Everybody advocates from and for a certain perspective. What differs between media sources is not the existence of bias, but the honesty (or lack thereof) about its bias. I would sooner read progressive views on Rabble.ca and conservative views on Rebel News than supposedly “unbiased” media which actually deny the fact that they adhere to a political ideology.
By rejecting True North and Rebel News as “actively involved in advocacy” while accepting many media outlets which are also undeniably “actively involved in advocacy,” the Press Gallery is revealing its own bias. Or perhaps the Press Gallery is simply taking its marching orders from the Leaders’ Debate Commission.
The Press Gallery has a Parliamentary email (email@example.com) and receives space from Parliament, exercising immense influence. Its choice to exclude conservative-leaning media organizations threatens a healthy and thriving democracy that tolerates diversity in thought and debate. As for the Leaders’ Debate Commission, it is clearly a government body. To the extent that the Press Gallery is implementing the will of the Leaders’ Debate Commission, the Press Gallery’s decisions must comply with the Charter. The Charter requires government bodies and agencies to be neutral, and to refrain from using ideology as a basis for rewarding friends or punishing enemies.
The Federal Court will consider these issues upon hearing the applications of True North and Rebel News to overturn the decision of the Press Gallery and/or the Leaders’ Debate Commission.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca).