Today, The National Post published an apology for an ad that ran in their paper. I’m not going to link to it. If you’ve seen it, you know why it was offensive, and if you haven’t, you could probably find it.
Here is the problem:
The National Post believes strongly in the principles of free speech and open, unhindered debate. We believe unpopular points of view should not be censored simply because some readers may find them disturbing, or even offensive. Free speech does not apply only to views that will not offend anyone.
The ad in question was attempting to make the case that the Ontario curriculum was teaching very young children about issues that, at that age, should be the domain of parents. In addition, it made the case that even when parents or teachers may object to the material being taught, they did not have the right, in the case of parents, to remove their children from the class, or in the case of teachers, to decline to teach the material on the grounds that they objected to it.
In an open society, these positions are worthy of being part of a debate on this issue. They are also legitimate arguments to make in a paid advertisement in a media outlet.
The problem here is in the statement that anything needs to be debated. If theÂ advertisementÂ had been about another minority, the ad would never have been run, and they would certainly not be talking about. Â What if the advertisement had been about education about race issues. Â Substitute Gay or Transgender from the ad, and put in black, or Chinese, or muslim. Â Would they dare to defend the ad?
Look, National Post, hate is hate regardless of the minority. Â When will you get that into your heads?
Yes their apology is ambiguously worded at best – they do go on later to say the following:
Where the ad exceeded the bounds of civil discourse was […] in its singling out of groups of people with whose sexuality the group disagrees.
So it’s hard for me to discern what they are referring to when they talk about “positions [that] are are worthy of being part of a debate on this issue.” What is the issue to be debated here when they also say that they don’t agree with the singling out of transgendered people in the ad?
And in case I’m unclear in my above post, I completely agree that there is nothing to be debated here.