24 October 2007

Talking with Ezra

The Calgary Sun apparently pulled this story from their website after deciding it was too hot to handle.

I emailed author Ezra Levant to see if he had any reaction.

He... unlike some of his media colleagues... replied promptly and courteously.

Ezra Levant
to me
4:32 pm (8 minutes ago)

Hi there. The Sun obviously approved the story -- they accepted it from me, edited it, laid it out on the page, wrote the headline, sent it to press, etc., etc.

I guess they just didn't like the heat they got from it -- which is really weird, because it was fairly innocuous, and the heat I've seen has been a few hard-left permanent-complainers.

Looks like political correctness has infected even the Sun -- who knew?

They took it off their website; but here is the original (unedited) version that I sent them.

The school bus accident last Thursday that killed a nine-year-old child and wounded others was a sorrowful tragedy. The amount of media coverage of the accident was appropriate: children should never pre-decease their parents.

Calgary’s radio stations, newspapers and TV news covered the event exhaustively – inspecting every detail, and asking good questions about how such accidents might be avoided in the future.

Every detail was examined except one: the woman who was the school bus driver was wearing a Muslim-style head covering that blocked her peripheral vision.

Why was this fact omitted? We read and heard hundreds of words about other elements of the accident. We know all about the truck on the side of the road; we know all about the little bus, and how it "drifted" over; we know all about the ongoing debate about school bus seatbelts. We know about everything detail except the most important one: the bus driver herself.

I saw two fleeting glimpses of the bus driver – once, quickly, in a TV newscast, and the other in a newspaper photo. Both showed her wearing a veil. Not a niqab – the full, cover-the-face veil that some Muslim women wear. But a smaller hijab – a scarf the surround the face. In both glimpses, the bus driver’s hijab was worn far enough forward that it clearly blocked her peripheral vision. It looked almost like blinders on a racehorse.

Is that not an extremely relevant fact in an accident where a bus "drifted" off the road, side-swiping a vehicle parked on the side? Wasn’t peripheral vision a key issue?

This was the leading news story of the day; the CBC even flew in its top TV reporter from Vancouver. Did no-one find it odd that a bus driver whose job requires keen eyesight wore a hood-like scarf?

I can’t believe that, of the dozen reporters there, none had questions about this. Who is the woman? What is her name? Why was she wearing a headscarf? Was the scarf a factor?

Reporters are inquisitive people. They must have asked those questions, at least to themselves.

I think it’s obvious why these questions were not asked: because it is politically incorrect to question a Muslim veil – or even anything that looks like one – for fear of being regarded as politically incorrect.

Maybe the woman wasn’t Muslim; maybe it was just a scarf to stay warm. Why didn’t a single reporter even ask?

Of course, it doesn’t matter if the woman was Muslim or not, or it if was a religious hijab or just a winter scarf. What matters is that a school bus driver was allowed to operate while wearing a hood. Clearly, that is an unacceptable risk – and something that should be banned by common sense.

Ten years ago, to say that head scarves on bus drivers should be prohibited would have been uncontroversial. But to say so today is to be called Islamophobic – even if the bus driver in question was not a Muslim.

The bus driver has been charged; we’ll know what the justice system says caused the crash. But for the dozen reporters there, they’d rather find any other reason than a head scarf – even a non-religious head scarf worn by a non-Muslim – than to admit that there are simply some parts of modern, secular society where it is inappropriate – and even dangerous – to allow politically correct multiculturalism to trump common sense.

Ezra Levant
Publisher, Western Standard

(first found via "let freedom reign")


SIDENOTE: Of course, in some parts of the world...

They don't just kill your story.
-- Washington, D.C., October 24, 2007 -- Alisher Saipov, a journalist who reported extensively for the Voice of America (VOA), was killed outside his office earlier today in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

Mr. Saipov reported for VOA's Uzbek language service on a variety of sensitive political issues critical to the audience throughout Central Asia.
It's all relative, isn't it?


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To readers of noted humanitarian "Canadian Cynic"
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