Sunday, October 2, 2011

Did the National Post Capitulate on Free Speech?

Did the National Post Capitulate on Free Speech?
By Stephen J. Gray

“We obviously don’t want to offend anyone, but we also understand that everyone has a freedom of speech,” [1] Enzo Loschiavo “National Post’s manager of advertising sales,…” Quoted in Xtra, Sept. 29, 2011. Canada’s, Gay and Lesbian News.

The National Post says it believes in free speech and free expression, yet it recently withdrew an ad after some people were, “offended” and who did not like the ad. In fact, it issued a grovelling apology in defence of its suppression of free expression. The newspaper stated: “The ad in question was attempting to make the case that the Ontario curriculum was teaching very young children about issues that, at that age, should be the domain of parents.” Parents “domain” should certainly include the right to object, and expose what they consider indoctrination of the minds of their children, especially when “human sexuality” is being taught to them. The paper went on to state: “Where the ads exceeded the bounds of civil discourse was in their tone and manipulative use of a picture of a young girl; in the suggestion that such teaching “corrupts” children, with everything that such a charge implies; and in their singling out of groups of people with whose sexuality the group disagrees.” Oh really, when did it become “manipulative” to show a picture of a young person in an ad. Or wrong to “disagree” with anyone on anything?

Newspaper ads show pictures of children and adults all the time, in an attempt to sell the product, are these not “manipulative?” And the National Post “disagrees” nearly every day in editorials as do some of its columnists writing on various issues, such is the role of a free press. But, it seems with its censorship of the ad in question the paper’s stand is as the old say goes, “free speech for me, but not for thee.” The paper also said: “The National Post believes strongly in the principles of free speech and open, unhindered debate. We believe unpopular points of view should not be censored simply because some readers may find them disturbing, or even offensive.” The newspaper’s apology for suppressing free speech and free expression is surely bizarre? They say they believe in “unpopular points of view” and they also say: “This ad will not run in the National Post again.” Are they confused or what? Do they need some kind of help to straighten out their thought processes? Or were they under pressure from special interest groups to suppress the ad?

Xtra, Canada’s Gay and Lesbian news of September 29, 2011, stated: “A coalition of queer community groups has also drafted an open letter response to the ad. The signatories, including Egale, the Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line, the 519 Community Centre, Sherbourne Health Centre, Rainbow Health Ontario, Queer Ontario, Fife House, Ontario AIDS Network, Black CAP and the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, call on the leaders of Ontario's political parties to denounce the ad and clarify "where each party stands on the position advanced" in it.”

Questions need to be asked regarding the behaviour of the National Post regarding this ad. First they publish it. Then they make a craven apology and say:
“The fact that we will not be publishing this ad again represents a recognition on our part that publishing it in the first place was a mistake. …The Post will also be donating the proceeds from the advertisement to an organization that promotes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.” [2] (emphasis added)

People should be asking themselves; is the National Post practising censorship and trashing the principles of free speech and free expression by capitulating to the strident voices of political correctness?

Stephen J. Gray
October 2, 2011.



Note: A picture in the ad can be seen at link below: