In a column Saturday, everyone’s favourite kinda-journalist Robert Fisk talks about why he thinks people are turning to blogs instead of newspapers. He doesn’t like blogs because they’re “irresponsible” (a valid criticism, though hypocritical, of some blogs out there), so … actually, there’s no reason for him to mention this, because he doesn’t explain it further.
To explain his case for blogs over newspapers, he uses two newspaper mea culpas: Mark Arax, an L.A. Times journalist who had a story about debate over the Armenian genocide cut because he expressed an opinion in the debate (albeit the majority-accepted one that the genocide did, in fact, happen); and Jan Wong, who wrote a column in the Globe and Mail about the Dawson College shooting, blaming it and the Fabrikant and Polytechnique shootings all on Quebec racism.
I’m unfamiliar with the Arax case (and it sounds kind of boring anyway), so I’ll deal with Wong’s.
First of all, I should point out that the Wong case has nothing to do with blogs, so I’m kind of curious why it’s mentioned in this column.
Second, Fisk doesn’t actually use any arguments to bolster Wong’s case. Instead, he goes on a tangent, bringing up a copyright dispute between his paper and hers, directly translating French terms and making fun of them, and pointing out that a newspaper’s editorial cartoon exaggerated her facial features (oh the horror!).
Since Fisk doesn’t argue the case, I’ll have to simply dismiss his opinion on the subject. Wong’s opinion can be easily discounted by the simple argument that none of the three shooters she talks about blamed racism or language bias against them. Polytechnique’s Marc Lepine blamed women, Concordia’s Valery Fabrikant blamed coworkers stealing his ideas, and Dawson’s Kimveer Gill’s motives are still unclear.
The Wikipedia article sums everything up quite well.
Robert, I know you’re a cranky old man, but if you’re going to rant like an idiot, maybe you shouldn’t waste newspaper space?