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Calgary Herald Hits a New Low

Canadian politics tends to be a tame affair, without the mudslinging, drama and circus of our neighbors to the south. Most of our political spats are chump change compared to the electoral fever and rhetoric that sweeps the US and for the most part we’re proud of that. Sure we have our share of cynicism, low voter turnout and disenfranchisement from the political process, but there are pockets of governance where people elect someone they actually like and who does a good job on their behalf. Not often, but it happens.

One of the proudest things we’ve done is separate church and state in that a candidates political beliefs rarely enter the public arena and tend to have no merit on perception of their competence. Our leaders don’t have to hug the Bible/Koran/Torah as a mandatory pre-requisite to convincing the voters of their supposed righteousness, and I cannot convey how proud I am of that fact, since ethics, ability and qualifications have nothing to do with someone’s religion.

Which is why I was absolutely infuriated yesterday to see the local daily paper, the Calgary Herald, put out a story with the pathetic headline:

The thing you should understand with this mayoral election, is that religion hasn’t come into it once yet. I personally had NO IDEA what religious persuasion ANY of the candidates were until this pathetic headline which prompted such a furious outcry from Calgarians (which I’ve never been prouder of), that the paper changed their headline to a more neutral:

By the way here are some of the comments, which are awesome, and simply sorted by ‘Highest Rated’:

And the local Twitter community chimed in as well:

I just cannot express how pathetic this paper seems, given that they have to pander to the lowest common denominator through religious issues, on par with gender, racial or other pathetic forms of division that we as society are valiantly trying to move past. And from a newspaper no less, which is supposed to be neutral and impartial. The standard of neutrality should be higher on official media, shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t they be focusing on the platform of each candidate, and evaluating each one on its own merit? Is this what gives mainstream media such a bad name? Where’s my sarcasm font?

I’m not sure what kind of mayor Calgary is ready for, but it sure seems we’re ready for a new damned newspaper.

Here is a much more restrained and eloquent post expressing a similar disbelief at the Herald.

**Screen shots provided by a fellow Calgarian Rohadi Nagassar whose sites are found here.

6 comments to Calgary Herald Hits a New Low

  • Wow. That is something. I don’t read calgary Herald, so I have no clue what they’re typically like. I get the feeling, though, that they were aiming for something else; perhaps they were trying to show the rest of the country, if not all of North America (and perhaps other parts of the world) how open-minded the residents of Calgary are, and how they’ve embraced religious diversity (primarily Islam), which many other areas of the world are bashing. Maybe they attempted to do that – AND FAILED MISERABLY. No matter what they were trying to accomplish, they handled it badly. Religion/ethnicity/race/genger – none of these things matter, and they shouldn’t be mentioned.

  • admin

    @WR – I’m sad to say there is no misinterpreting their intentions. Someone on Twitter has excellent screenshots of the article – before and after. Like I said, the religion thing has not ONCE come up on its own, not once. And I’ve paid attention to every mayoral forum to date, read twitter feeds and online and printed news. For them to have a huge photo of the candidate and proceed to discuss his religion, not policies is shameful and sad. He is the only candidate that has concrete policy and solid ideas and I guess they’re THAT scared of the status quo changing.

    @ Teena – that’s about it. 🙁

  • You’re so lucky to live where that stuff is kept separate. I agree with you that it’s much better that way so I would also be with you and be infuriated when it starts to creep into your politics. Don’t let it happen! It cracks me up how here we’ll have some obviously ignorant individual who knows very little about history, foreign relations, law, or whatever is needed to be a good political leader, but they say the right religious words and people love them. Thanks for such an interesting post!

  • admin

    Yep, luckily the public outcry has been pretty loud. I don’t know what kind of ridiculous editing allows for a byline to read ‘ethnic kid from northeast Calgary’ but it smacks of condescention. They have would not dare to speak of any other candidate in such a manner. I am beyond disgusted by our paper and then they wonder why they’re losing readers… at least blogs are mostly upfront about their biases.

  • What has being Muslim got to do with anything? It’s kinda sad that in a civilized society there people who stoop very lowly.

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