Media criticism

Merchants of hate: Canadian media are platforming Islamophobia

Mosque shooting puts spotlight on racist guests and the hosts who love them
Photo: Screen capture / Rebel Media

“Sand box savages.”

That’s the obscene slur one loud and proud member of this nation’s vast rancid right-wing media employed on Twitter to describe human beings from Iran and Iraq not long ago.

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I’m not going to sully myself or Ricochet by naming the author of this racist epithet since that would, no doubt, satisfy her insatiable thirst to attract attention to not only herself, but also the sewer of bile disguised as a media outlet to which she happily contributes.

Caught and cornered on Twitter, the sewer-based correspondent tried, pathetically, to defend her odious expression by claiming it was aimed not at Iranians and Iraqis, but ISIS. Beyond her xenophobic allies, no one else was swayed by such transparently idiotic, exculpatory reasoning.

So why resurrect this noxious tweet from more than two years ago?

Last Sunday, a young white man — whom I also refuse to name because, like the sewer-based correspondent, I suspect that’s what he desperately wants — walked into a Quebec mosque and murdered six Muslim Canadians and critically wounded many others during evening prayers.

In the immediate aftermath of the massacre, the usual libertarian suspects working at the usual libertarian places were loath to describe the murders as terrorism since the murderer’s motives were, as yet, they insisted, unclear.

Apparently, these suddenly “let’s-wait-for-the-facts-to-emerge” types weren’t convinced by the fact that the prime minister, the premier of Quebec, and various other high-profile authorities they often pay loyal heed to had already repeatedly and emphatically described the murders as an act of terrorism.

Recall, as well, that these were largely the same libertarian writers who rushed to outduel one another with saccharine-laced, hyperbolic columns about how Canada had “lost its innocence” and we should stand fast against the dying of the light when another man with a gun ran amok on Parliament Hill — a shooter they almost universally and instantly agreed was a terrorist.

Still, these libertarians were quick to dismiss as depressing “ritual” any connection between the terrorist, the massacre, and the Islamophobia that has been, for decades, stoked in a raging bonfire by a lengthy list of hate merchants masquerading as Canadian politicians and journalists. How convenient.

Make no mistake, that “sand box savages” sewer-based correspondent has many accomplices — including at Canada’s allegedly leftist-dominated public broadcaster, the CBC.

Imagine for a moment if a journalist had described anyone other than Arabs and Muslims as “sand box savages.” What do you think the swift and blunt penalty would have been?

The writer, to be sure, would have been shunned and permanently disqualified from using the CBC as a platform to share her ideas. Right? But alas, she was neither shunned nor made persona non grata by our public broadcaster.

Instead, on Nov. 7, 2016, she was given prime space on the CBC’s online opinion page to wail like a colicky baby about how she and her fellow sewer-dwellers had been denied media credentials by the United Nations to attend a climate conference.

It’s instructive — but not particularly surprising — to note that in her woe-is-us harangue, she failed to inform CBC readers of her “sand box savages” tweet.

To do so would have meant fatally undermining the absurd construct that she and her colleagues were the victims in a principled dispute with unprincipled UN bureaucrats over the right of responsible journalists to be considered journalists and not hate peddlers.

Why did the CBC give a platform to someone who had described millions of human beings as “sand box savages”?

Admittedly, this may be a rhetorical question given that Peter Mansbridge invites the Miss America of hate, Ann Coulter, onto Canada’s public broadcaster from time to time to share her ideas about Mexicans and Muslims with such signature ooze. Mansbridge also gives Rex Murphy, another decrepit mind who defends the racist provocateur in the White House, a national megaphone.

The truth is much of Canada’s corporate media is content and prepared to give hate-mongers a platform to tar Muslims and Arabs, albeit in slightly more palatable terms lest these hosts be accused of being racists too.

Whether they’re prepared to admit it or not, much of the dominant and rabidly reactionary press shares and peddles the view that Muslims and Arabs are, by and large, terrorists who must be banned from entering Canada, and their homes must be invaded and destroyed in an existential clash between Western civilization and “sand box savages.”

These days, intellectual cover for racism is proffered by a familiar army of mostly white, male “new atheists,” who have turned Islamophobia into a thriving and lucrative business under the guise of scholarship.

Occasionally, however, the veil doesn’t slip, it plunges. On the very day that three Canadians were remembered at funeral services in Montreal by grieving loved ones, CTV’s Don Martin once again laid out the TV welcome mat for Coulter, urging viewers to tune in and watch the “[n]ever boring, usually incendiary conservative political commentator.”

Martin’s giddy little tweet is testament to the prevailing attitude that, even in death, Muslims can be insulted, denigrated and violated by a hate merchant — euphemistically referred to as a “conservative political commentator” — with the eager approval and tacit consent of those who populate Canada’s airwaves.

It is also a measure of this television host and the private network that permitted this disgrace to be broadcast under the imprimatur of journalism. And all of it was countenanced precisely because the victims of a terrorist attack just outside Quebec City are considered disposable, forgettable Muslims and not Canadians.

To prove this undeniable point, while mourners gathered to bury their dead, another charlatan reportedly reposted old video of himself at a gun range featuring his prowess with the type of high-powered weapons that claimed six Canadian lives.

That shameful act should disqualify Kevin O’Leary from contesting the Conservative leadership, let alone becoming prime minister. It won’t.

His belated, vacuous apology was promptly accepted by his fellow Conservatives and much of the loathsome reactionary media who believe that most Muslims in Canada are indeed “sand box savages.”

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