Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And finally on Hate Groups Being Validated by the Conservative Movement

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

"Nothing has done the electoral and moral credibility of liberalism more harm than the failure to take this attack seriously" - Michael Ignatieff, University of Toronto, 1998

The final part of the documentary: White Power USA: The Rise of Right-Wing Militia in America, is simply an interview with the filmmaker and author of the book Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, Chip Berlet.

Berlet relays the same message that Michael Ignatieff did more than a decade ago. There is a great harm in not taking this attack seriously.

When the Reformers first hit the Hill in 1993, the Toronto Sun referred to them as a "bunch of dung kicking rednecks" and the media asked "who are these yokels and who voted for them?"

We; myself included, never took them seriously. Every horrendous remark and action just left us shaking our heads. When the party was infiltrated with the Neo-Nazi Heritage Front, no one was surprised, except the Heritage Front themselves.

"The expulsion enraged the Heritage Front, which saw the Reform Party's policies as very similar to, if not indistinguishable from, its own. How could a party that went on record opposing immigration policies that "radically alter" Canada's ethnic make-up turn around and shun a group like the Heritage Front, Droege asked, when the Heritage Front supports the very same approach? Privately, spokesmen for B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress admitted that Droege had a good point." (1)

My gut reaction is often to laugh, but I'm not laughing now. The Religious Right, the Conservatives (Republicans and CPC), and the far-right have created a volatile and toxic mixture. We have to start taking them seriously.

I've been writing about this and a new youth movement that is carrying on many of the same activities, and included a posting on Kyle Bistrow. My initial reaction to Kyle was that he was a hate monger, but after reading more about him and watching an interview, I saw something else.

Kyle emailed me and we corresponded a bit, and I think he's a smart kid with so much potential. He's now considered to be an up and comer in the Republican party and I hope by the time he wins a seat, and he will; that he's softened a bit. He's not a neo-Nazi, and not really even racist. He's just fighting for what he believes in. And I think for many people in all of these movements, their motives are just as genuine.

But it's the people who are exploiting them, and tapping into their fears, who really need to be exposed.

Murray Dobbin wrote a posting on Harper's new Fox News, and the thought that Canada will now have a station like that is appalling. The Glenn Beck's of the world are the real threat because they legitimize this stuff.

...The man in charge of developing the network – and getting it past the CRTC – is Tory* Teneycke – formerly Stephen Harper’s junk yard dog in charge of intimidating and manipulating the media.

You might recall seeing him on the CBC which shamefully hired him as a “commentator” less than a year after he left Harper’s employ (in violation of CBC rules). Like most of the communications types in Harper’s stable he specializes in bullying and attack-dog tactics, the very same approach honed over years on Fox news in the US.

Don Newman, CBC columnist and former host of Newsworld’s ‘Politics’attacked the idea characterizing Fox news in the US as “hugely polarizing.” Fox “mainly spews out propaganda that is dangerously misleading and often factually wrong….It specializes in drive-by attacks and misrepresentations, and is positively Orwellian at times, claiming to be ‘fair and balanced’ while implying that its competitors aren’t. (2)

Sigh.

Footnotes:

* Should be Kory. He was a "storm troop' for Preston Manning, part of a group that went around raising hell at Liberal campaign offices.

1. Web of Hate: Inside Canada's Far Right Network, By Warren Kinsella, 1994, Harper Collins, pg 243-244

2. Canadian nightmare: Fox News North, By Murray Dobbin, June 21, 2010

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