why alberta media is bad at covering bigotry
On March 19, 2019, the Edmonton Journal wrote an article about star UCP candidate Caylan Ford resigning due to making white supremacist and homophobic comments. The headline read, “Caylan Ford Resigns Due to Controversial Comments.”
For those who are unaware, the controversial comments were blatant white supremacist rhetoric. The following image is from Press Progress.
These are blatant white supremacist beliefs that align directly with the christchurch shooter who was motivated by similar views. In fact, his manifesto was entitled “The Great Replacement.”
The headline would change later that day. I assume because a tweet I made making fun of this headline got traction online.
Journalists don’t write headlines!
Yes. Some journalists are probably cringing at the fact that I just focused on a headline to describe a story. They often emphasize that headlines are not written by themselves but editors. This is fair, however, headlines are still important because they are often written by editors or people with more authority. This is important since headlines show how higher ups in the newsroom view a story which thereby gives you an indication of how they assign stories or give angles for certain stories.
Beyond that, the actual stories themselves are just as vague and strange. Let’s go into the first article I mentioned and read the first paragraph.
“United Conservative Party candidate Caylan Ford says she is no longer running in the riding of Calgary-Mountain View after a report surfaced about remarks she made suggesting white supremacist terrorists are treated unfairly.”
That’s a lot of words to say “Caylan Ford resigned after she said white supremacist terrorists are treated unfairly.” Since that’s what actually happened - she didn’t suggest it. She said it.
If you look at Caylan Ford and Eva Kiryakos (another candidate who said refugees are raping people enmass and that muslims are committing genocide and “breeding” with Christians” and said being trans is a perversion) you see similar reporting.
They never mention what the ‘smear campaign’ is...I guess it was her own words.
I mean they didn’t resign cause they posted a photo of food on instagram, they resigned cause they posted racist and homophobic stuff.
Funny enough, CTV Edmonton was actually good - “UCP candidate steps down after racist, transphobic social media posts.”
Bless that editor.
Why are you cherry picking things?
I think the important thing to note is that these cases go back a year. You can look back at the half a dozen vetted candidates or nomination candidates who said racist things and see how it was covered. You can look up Cindy Ross who was a vetted UCP candidate that said putting a mosque in her community was like “jailing the bank robbers in the bank vault.”
Here are two articles covering her.
At this point i’m getting a bit tired writing this so just consult this excel sheet and google yourself. You’ll see a similar trend.
Atleast they are willing to write about these things
Yes, they are writing about these things. However, we should note that these articles are in response to something broken by someone else. No outlet I mentioned above - CTV, CBC, Global, Journal, SUN - has broken any of these stories. Instead it falls on an internal leak to Press Progress or some random person scrolling on social media.
Furthermore, no deep dive has gone into this problem or launched an investigative piece into the UCP since this issue only affects them. I mean unless you think being a white nationalist is the same as opposing a pipeline (which was a serious argument made by pundit Danielle Smith). On a side note, i’m surprised that Smith still has a platform considering she refused to kick out a homophobic candidate and that she pushes conspiracy theories on her show. Here, watch this to get some context.
Also, more UCP candidates named Todd have been disqualified for racism or homophobia than candidates all candidates in the NDP, AB Party, Liberal Party *combined*.
Let’s just focus on politics!
Being racist, islamophobic, or a white nationalist is a political view and has serious policy implications.
Well at least Kenney is cracking down on them
Not really. In the Cindi Ross case the UCP executive director defended her by saying people's opinions change. Even though she was a grown person by the time she said those comments and the comments were pretty recent. Note, Cindi said that having a mosque in her community was like “jailing bank robbers in the bank vault.”
And it was also just reported that Kenney is allowing Caylan Ford - a white supremacist - to stay in his party. He said he’ll only kick members out if they belong to a hate group. This is not a strong position and is weak. White supremacy should not be seen as an acceptable ideology to hold as a member of a political party
So what now
Journalists need to realize this is a problem and do serious reflection. I hope this provides some context when people like myself critique you for your coverage. Also, we know this isn't’ all your fault. The ownership of your papers is a problem too but I don’t have time for all that. Keep in mind, I just do this on my free time.
This stuff doesn’t take much work.
Edit: Just realized that this article is more of a “how” vs a “why” this coverage exists. I’ll likely write the “why” piece later. Right now i’m pretty tired.