‘Yellow journalism of the worst sort’

by Aaron Wherry

Independent MP Peter Goldring—he resigned from the Conservative caucus 11 months ago—has issued a statement to condemn the CBC’s reporting on a Canadian Forces video that poked fun at Osama bin Laden.

Edmonton East Member of Parliament Peter Goldring has expressed outrage and disgust over the manner in which the CBC conducted cheap, amateur, yellow journalism of the worst sort against Canada’s proud military.

The 2010 video of a private party skit in question involves a Canadian soldier dressed up in Taliban attire and posing as Osama bin Laden`s brother, ‘Eugene’. The CBC has latched on to this video and used it to paint the Canadian military and its members as both offensive and culturally insensitive persons.

“This video was meant as nothing more than a little black humour intended for a private audience,” Mr. Goldring stated. “The Canadian military didn’t make this video public, The CBC did. The CBC, who did the right thing to report it to the Canadian military, then had the opportunity to do the next right thing and simply put this video in the garbage can along with the rest of the copies where it belongs. Instead, the CBC are the ones inciting hate and hurting the Arab community worldwide by blasting this video out through national media to be picked up internationally.

“By engaging in yellow journalism and irresponsibly disseminating it for the world to see, the CBC hurt Canada’s image, our military’s image, and unnecessarily offended Arab’s around the world. By spinning this and putting it out for international consumption, the CBC is propagating racism. They took a video that was internal, personal, and limited to a very few, and turned it into an outward Canadian racial attitude for the rest of the world to believe.

“By calling upon CBC comedian Shaun Majumder – a visible minority – to speak out on the supposed ‘cultural insensitivities’ of this video is the height of hypocrisy, as Shaun has portrayed bin Laden as an Arab himself. The CBC attempted to detonate a racist scandal where there simply was none to be found.

“To frame this in perspective, the late Leslie Nielsen has portrayed Osama bin Laden in film – does that make him decidedly racist or insensitive? No, in fact he is recognized on Canada’s Walk of Fame and has also received an Order of Canada.

“Shaun Majumder – the CBC spokesperson condemning the actions in this video – has portrayed Osama bin Laden in skits himself, most notably in a spoof video poking fun at both bin Laden as well as the H1N1 virus during the outbreak. Majumder never faced any backlash or criticisms for his portrayal although it certainly could be said that he was propagating racial hatred not in a simple private event but worldwide.

“This video should not have been news-worthy, but the irresponsibility of the CBC’s reporting has served to define what this harmless skit has now morphed into.

“In the face of this incident, we have to thank the men and women of our Canadian military who were doing nothing more than relieving themselves of the endless stresses of their jobs with a little bit of black comedy that from time to time many people of all races of all countries enjoy, and ended up showing us where the evil truly exists in this country – the CBC headquarters.

“God help us if we have a CBC that does harm to our military and to our country worldwide by exploitative sensationalism.

“I call on the Prime Minister to call up the CBC to issue a sweeping apology to not only our military but our entire country. Their reckless reporting surrounding this non-story has done a great disservice to both our military and out country’s reputations.

“It’s time to consider whether the CBC is with Canadians or against.”

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the video included “inappropriate content and poor taste.”




Browse

‘Yellow journalism of the worst sort’

  1. What I find the most distasteful is that Peter Goldring is attempting to equate our soldiers with comedians.

    • I dunno, I think Goldring has a point. It was one instance of poor taste among millions and millions of instances in a constant stream since the beginning of time. Maybe we all should get off this sensitivity arms-race. It’s tedious.

      • Majunder has a point too. It’s the military. I work for my town. Would it be appropriate for some of the guys to put together a video taking the piss out of Newfies or Aboriginals? [ both would cause some comment where i live, particularly the second] I get your point entirely, but Goldring comes off like someone who needs to be a little less offended himself This for instance – “It’s time to consider whether the CBC is with Canadians or against.” – is dumb hyperpole in itself. I remember Thatcher spouting that bs at the BBC over the Falklands – it’s pure bull.

        The video was leaked apparently. I don’t know if i would have shown it. For the same reasons i wouldn’t have shown the stupid one in California. If one person, be he/she a Canadian forces personnel or anyone loses their life over this it will be a travesty.

        • Well, you have a point about the overheated rhetoric by Goldring, I can’t dispute you there. I will, however, dispute you on the comparison of you and your co-workers versus a bunch of soldiers blowing off steam. Bin Laden wasn’t just some token Arab that they were mocking out of generalized racism, he was the Enemy, clearly identified.

          If these same soldiers had actually killed Bin Laden, then they would be heroes. But speaking about him disrespectfully? That just will not do! *Sniff sniff*

          I think a lot of the urban gentry has some pretty fu*ked up illusions about their own chivalry. They love to tut-tut about the transgressions of the ignoble savages they send out to do their dirty work. Frankly, they leave a pretty bad taste in my mouth, so I can forgive Goldring his excesses. A politician will always grind a political axe but that doesn’t detract from the real point, IMO.

          • I’m all for giving the boys some latitude – it’s a tough job. But i think you may be missing the bigger picture. They weren’t just taking the mickey out of BL [who cares] were they? They were stretching it to stereo types about taxi drivers and goats. Again, i think they could have dealt with this internally, a couple of slaps on the wrist, leave it at that – the video wasn’t anything official. I wouldn’t have made a big deal of it, as long as it was understood it was naughty and frowned upon officially. It’s a pity the CBC got their grubby paws on it really.

          • If the CBC hadn’t, I’m sure some other media outlet would have done the same in short order.

          • Sure, we always have competition. You’re right of course. Still, it was a pity.

          • Are we still maintaining the fiction we care about the citizenry of Afghanistan and are trying to engage them in a manner that will cement ties, increase security thwart terrorism send young girls to school etc. etc. ‘Cause if so, then maybe the people dealing face to face with arabs in their own country shouldn’t be going back to base and recording racist videos about the people we are apparently there to aid.

  2. Mr. Goldring needs an editor.

    “Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the video included “inappropriate content and poor taste.””

    By Goldring’s reasoning, it’s time to consider whether Peter MacKay is with Canadians or against.

  3. White people engaging in yellow journalism to criticize other white people who were using black humour to make fun of brown people.

  4. This is like the people who showed off their UK riot loot on Youtube…..and then complained because they got arrested.

  5. About Goldring`s point concerning CBC allowing Majumder`s portrayal as Bin Laden and then criticizing the soldier`s skit:

    Had the soldier`s been paid up members of one of the 9 certified unions carrying on business at CBC headquarters—there would have been no problem.

    Had there been the proper percentage of the soldiers as visible minorities and women in the skit ( there is a formula for that) —there would have been no problem.

    Had they hired Mansbridge to introduce the skit with a witty remark and a quirky grin, then flirt with an Australian weather lady—there would have been no problem.

    • Still a lying waste of skin, I see.

  6. “How
    does the Canadian Forces define integrity?”

    I
    was on duty with the Canadian Forces in 2009 when I received the H1N1
    shot (AREPANRIX by GlaxoSmithKline) and had a severe adverse
    reaction resulting in PERMANENT neurological, cardiovascular,
    gastrointestinal, and respiratory symptoms: dizziness, vertigo,
    irregular heart rhythms, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and
    pain, and numbness in hands and feet. My physical fitness changed
    from special forces fit to that of a 70 year old in a matter of days.
    The Department of National Defence (DND) ordered all personnel to
    attend the vaccination, but claimed the vaccination was voluntary.
    Prior to receiving the vaccination, the DND advised personnel the
    H1N1 Influenza “could cause a virtual shut down of military
    operations”, ” Just because you’ve never caught the flu in
    the past is not a valid reason to not get the H1N1 shot this
    year”, “Be proactive. We all have a role to play in
    minimizing our risk and being prepared”, “Personnel …
    must provide proof of the vaccination … otherwise, they will be
    required to attend the clinic (flu)” and “Without your past
    record (of immunization), you will have to be re-immunized”.
    Canada First Defence Strategy states “first and foremost, the
    Canadian Forces must ensure the security of our citizens … requires
    the Forces not only to identify threats … but also to possess the
    capacity to address them quickly and effectively”. Personnel who
    volunteered to take the H1N1 vaccination were helping to preventing a
    virtual shut down of military operations and ensure the CF maintained
    the capacity to provide security to its citizens. Veterans Affairs
    has taken the position that injuries resulting from this vaccination
    are not service related and personnel are not eligible for
    rehabilitation. The DND also advised “having mild chills and
    fever a few days following the shot means it is working” which
    is false and contradicts GSKs product information provided by Health
    Canada. The DND also stated “There is a 1 in 1,000,000 chance
    of acquiring a serious neurological complication” which is false
    and contradicts the product information which states “neurological
    disorders” are “very rare (may occur with up to 1 in 10,000
    doses)”, a significant difference. According to Health Canada,
    55% of adverse reactions reported from the DND had neurological
    symptoms of which 60% were not resolved. The DND and CF are aware of
    the concept of “informed consent” according to DAOD 5028-0 and
    understand its purpose which Health Canada defines as “information
    given to participants (which) should provide adequate information for
    the participant to make an informed decision about his/her
    participation”. The DND listed 3 of the 28 side effects, two of
    which were the most common and least bothersome and significantly
    understated the risk of a neurological disorder. However, the DND
    did provide a detailed list of “Symptoms of H1N1 Pandemic
    Influenza: Almost always: Sudden onset of cough and fever, Common:
    Fatigue, Muscle aches, Sore throat, Headache, Decreased appetite,
    Runny nose, Sometimes: Nausea Vomiting, Diarrhea, Most Patients say
    its like getting ‘hit by a bus’!!”. Thus soldiers were
    “informed” their choice was chills and fever or getting hit by a
    bus. PSYOPS or Psychological Operations use methods of communication
    and other means in order to influence perceptions, attitudes, and
    behaviour, affecting the achievement of military objectives. In
    order to use PSYOPS domestically it must be directly
    requested/approved by Cabinet and be in accordance with applicable
    Canadian law and Canadian doctrine.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *