Platforming racism

Proud Boys interview symptomatic of CBC’s tolerance of hate

From Ann Coulter to Gavin McInnes, the public broadcaster keeps airing the unchallenged views of white supremacists
Wikimedia Commons

CBC News has become the Airbnb of hate. The still largely pasty white proprietors of our broadcaster’s news division have invited a host of white-pride, “Christian” disciples masquerading as “journalists” to spend valuable time on CBC to parade — with little, if any resistance — their odious vision before viewers and readers.

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The decision to give prime, unfettered space and airtime to these preening purveyors of smut cannot be dismissed as unfortunate or isolated errors of judgment.

Rather, it constitutes a pattern of unconscionable behaviour that reflects not only the CBC’s tolerance of the intolerable, but its abandonment of decency and editorial responsibility in the name, apparently, of the “cleansing” power of journalism.

CBC News has sullied its already fading reputation by happily providing a forum to the likes of rancid Rebel Media “contributor” Sheila Gunn Reid, Ann Coulter and, of course, most recently, Gavin McInnes — the screeching leader of a band of bigoted brothers who have traded white sheets and hoods for polo shirts.

Public positions and statements that once would have been deemed disqualifying are now considered not only palatable, but worthy of courtesy, respect, and even “debate” at CBC News.

McInnes’ promotional appearance on the perpetually monochromatic Power and Politics earlier this week must be viewed in this broader context to comprehend appropriately its true and vile meaning. Public positions and statements that once would have been deemed disqualifying are now considered not only palatable, but worthy of courtesy, respect, and even “debate” at CBC News.

How else to explain the decision to publish the unrepentant architect of a tweet describing Iranians and Iraqis as “sand box savages” on CBC’s online opinion page?

That was no regrettable “mistake.” It was a calculated decision by a senior CBC editor to accept blithely or at least countenance the nakedly racist claim that Iraqis and Iranians are indeed “sand box savages” and then to grant the xenophobic excrement who said so a paid license to share her “wisdom” with the patina of respectability CBC News knowingly afforded.

It was a disgraceful decision and an indictment of what passes for editorial decision-making at CBC’s popular online portal showcasing “opinions,” including of avowed racists.

How else to explain the dearly departed Peter Mansbridge’s fawning interview with that other human sewer, Coulter.

I dare you to watch Mansbridge’s gentle surrender to the embodiment of hate and not come away from the sorry exercise concluding that CBC News and its cloying former chief correspondent willingly and enthusiastically participated in the platforming of a repellant charlatan in the transparently vacuous service, once again, of “journalism.”

Mansbridge’s friction-free chat with Coulter was so obsequious, viewers may have been lulled into a CBC News-like bout of amnesia regarding the human sewer’s long, signature history of racism and bigotry.

Remember — because Mansbridge either conveniently forgot or let intolerant bygones be bygones — Coulter once described a U.S. presidential candidate as a “faggot” and Mexicans as “wetbacks.”

Predictably, Mansbridge didn’t mention any of that well-documented and offensive record.

If you smear Arabs and Muslims as “sandbox savages,” or you publicly hurl “faggot” and “wetbacks” as taunts, CBC News considers you more than qualified to write for its opinion page and to get an invite on its vaunted national news broadcast.

To have done so, would have meant exposing the interview for what is was: a 10-minute bit of revisionism during which every ounce of Coulter’s repulsive nature was stripped from view in order to justify her presence on CBC’s flagship newscast of record where she was treated with deference and a stupefying measure of appreciation.

So, let’s recap: If you smear Arabs and Muslims as “sandbox savages,” or you publicly hurl “faggot” and “wetbacks” as taunts, CBC News considers you more than qualified to write for its opinion page and to get an invite on its vaunted national news broadcast.

Is it any wonder then that if you pen a top-10 list of reasons reciting what you despise most “about the Jews” while waddling down a street in a white T-shirt with a cigarette dangling from the corner of your mouth, or pen this delightful tweet about “chinks,” that CBC News would eventually and politely come calling?

For any public or private institution with a scintilla of ethical and moral standards, McInnes’ repugnant list — number five, by the way, was Jewish “spit-talk” — would be a disqualifying offence, not an opportunity to argue its merits.

But consistent with its white-bred hubris and homogeneity, the insipid political gabfest, Power and Politics, had an agreeable tête-à-tête with McInnes, ostensibly to discuss the official fallout of his militia’s disruptive visit to an Indigenous celebration in Halifax.

Like Mansbridge, host Hannah Thibedeau and her complicit colleagues at Power and Politics chose to ignore who and what McInnes is in order to rationalize providing him with what amounted to another CBC News-sponsored infomercial for organized prejudice — this time euphemistically known as the “Proud Boys.”

Incredibly, Thibedeau began by describing the “Proud Boys” as an innocuous “men’s movement” and offering McInnes — wearing his slimy outfit’s trademark polo shirt — this cheery salutation: “Gavin, thanks for joining us.” How sweet.

Thibedeau then watched like a lost tourist as McInnes exploited his CBC-provided stage to defend his angelic acolytes and rewrite Canadian history by claiming that the Mi’kmaq were murderers and while the bounty on their scalps was justified, it was never collected.

The decision to grant McInnes a platform wasn’t a “mistake.” It is a permanent stain.

McInnes played T-ball with a timorous, woefully inept host who robotically read her next question without bothering to listen or even remotely challenge his torrent of obfuscations and lies.

Scores of justifiably outraged Canadians who did listen, promptly challenged the CBC to explain the pre-taped, nationally-televised insult and abomination.

To repair the damage, CBC trotted out their beleaguered clean-up PR man, Chuck Thompson, to tell Canadaland that Power and Politics had “erred” in not rebutting McInnes “on some of his and the Proud Boys’ controversial views” and for failing to inform viewers of his “anti-Jewish sentiments.”

Reading Thompson’s limply-worded exculpatory nonsense, you might have believed that McInnes and his “Proud Boys” had been holed up in some modified version of the Witness Protection Program that prevented CBC News from discerning the defining nature of this foul lot.

For her part, Thibedeau repeated, like a metronome, Thompson’s suggestion that she and the other breathtakingly ill-informed and ill-prepared dunces at Power and Politics, had simply made a few “mistakes.”

The decision to grant McInnes a platform wasn’t a “mistake,” Ms. Thibedeau. It is a permanent stain and it is perfectly in keeping with CBC News’ shameful coddling of racialism and intolerance.

Finally, to the usual gaggle of apologists who recycle the lamentable tropes that CBC is “shining” a necessary “light” on and acting as “disinfectant” against hate; clearly, Gavin McInnes and company have developed a powerful resistance to that allegedly curative exposure.

It’s well past time to stop making feeble excuses and employing discredited clichés. It’s time to consign McInnes et al to the obscurity they so richly deserve.

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