Opinion is not news

Two City of Calgary councillors won’t accept interview requests from the Calgary Herald until they apologize for a column by Naomi Lakritz who wrote that the #MeToo movement has created the equivalent of a Salem witch trial for Justice Kavanaugh, an American being confirmed to a lifetime appointment on their Supreme Court.

The problem these two councillors have is that the editorial/opinion page is not news.

If an opinion/editorial page is doing its job, it will have competing ideas that stimulate open debate within a democratic society.

Whether they and half the population, find Lakritz’s comments offensive, you can be sure at least half agree with her opinion.

Two of my 60+ year old female friends would totally agree with Lakritz as not more than six months ago they were lamenting “enough already with this #MeToo movement” and expressing dismay for what men are being put through.

Whereas last night, with another 60+ year old female friend, we were remembering past incidents of unwanted, inappropriate touching, verbal sexual harassment, and in her case, almost rape.

What really became poignant was how often these incidents actually occurred in public spaces with witnesses.

Frankly, we should be happy that this debate has become very public. Societal values towards women are changing, albeit very slowly and I would argue Lakritz’s opinion will be on the wrong side of history.

But right

now many still hold and believe that ‘boys will be boys’ and that their past shouldn’t affect their present.

The Calgary Herald uproar reminded me of a letter received by the publisher from an ex-reader this summer.

She said until the ECA Review got rid of my column, she would not read the Review and would actively encourage business owners in her community to stop advertising in the Review.

The reality is all columnists and journalists receive hate mail, but this threat was not against my person, this threat was against a small, independent business owner whose livelihood depends on advertising.

And it could potentially impact the livelihood of the Review’s six full-time and 13 part-time employees, and four stringers working in seven different communities.

It’s safe to argue that the majority of readers of the Review are Conservative-minded. Yet I was recruited to write an alternate view because my publisher believes reasoned dialogue and debate is a pillar of democracy.

The Review’s publisher is the most apolitical person I know, and if you think she always agrees with my point of view you would be totally wrong.

It might be comfortable to hear only your views reinforced but there are consequences.

We see the proof today — facts morph into alternate facts, competing groups dehumanize each other and anarchy wins.

 

B. Schimke

ECA Review

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