Tony Spears should be fired.
I know, I know – insert your response arguing his right to ‘free speech’ and against the tyranny of political correctness here.
First, let’s remember – I am not the government and neither are you and I am not asking for Spears to be arrested – so let’s leave that ‘over-the-top, nonsensical tirade about freedom’ aside shall we?
Second, what some like to call political correctness, I prefer to think of as sick and tired.
If you are expecting me to supply an explanation as to why a journalist working for a major Canadian newspaper, should not refer to the grooming, controlling, manipulating and sexually assaulting of a child by her sexual predator teacher, as a ‘tryst’ may I suggest reading any of the many, many books written about this. Start with criminology move on to psychology, then the law, etc.
It’s 2016, if I ever had the inclination to explain these things for a man who is a paid a good salary to know them already, it’s gone. The issue has been settled – the sun does not revolve around the earth.
So if believing a journalist should not be allowed to make rape sound like a romantic rendezvous makes me part of the political correct police – send me the badge and swear me in.
The PC badge seems better than wearing the robes of the Inquisition.
You can also add to my list of charges that I don’t have the desire to explain why the earth isn’t flat to a science reporter. Likewise, what a stove is to a food writer – what the United Nations is – well, you get the idea.
Basically I’m asking you to hire people who can do their damn jobs.
Jobs have job descriptions. If you can’t meet them, you can’t keep the job. In the case of Spears, it really is kinda that simple.
And let’s be clear here – this is not a one-off event. Tryst seems to be his preferred word for describing sexual assaults on children by adults in positions of trust – he used the same word in this case of a 25 year old coach sexually assaulting a 12 year old girl.
Our choice of words often reveals so much more about us than what we are writing about doesn’t it?
Clearly over the years, Spears hasn’t had the time, inclination or motivation to educate himself AND/OR he doesn’t care about facts, accuracy and truth – or worse still, desires to downplay it.
Regardless of which – he should be fired.
There are many qualified candidates to fill his position. If you want to be ‘innovative’ may I suggest you try looking beyond the traditional media gene pool.
What is the equivalent of ‘dog-whistle’ politics in reporting? White noise?
The winks and the nods in the rape articles. The racially-rigged coin toss between using the rap sheet and mugshot versus the family photos and CV.
We see you.
We read the indignant words declaring a woman’s decision to cover her face to be an assault against Canadian culture and values. I’m Canadian and my values don’t feel attacked by a niqab but they definitely do by a reporter downplaying the depravity of child sexual abuse.
We’ve been watching and reading for a long time. Cursing under our breath. Shaking our heads at the arrogant whine.
We know all about you and your ideas and values.
You know what political correctness really is? It’s saying to your face what most of us have been thinking and saying privately for a long, long time.
“STFU – you don’t know what the hell you are talking about and I am seriously tired of your ignorance.”
And just for the record – in case you are inclined to lean into those assumptions that get written about ‘people like me’ – I like my reality served raw.
I’ll pick heated debate over polite chatter every time. It’s either foreplay or foreclosure depending on the situation.
I expose myself to a wide array of ideas on a wide range of topics – including, maybe even especially, those that are different and disagreeable to my own. Sometimes I even plug my nose and dive into the rambling ravings of humanity’s worst. When I do so I am dissecting, not digesting.
I believe in and defend free speech and if I ever have the power to arrest or own a prison to put someone in, I promise you no one will do time for what they say.
Holocaust deniers have blog pages and so too can Tony Spears – but he doesn’t belong in a Canadian newspaper.
If having standards is considered political correctness – why no venom for the style guide? Surely such a fascist restriction on the free expression of journalists cannot be tolerated.
Inspire us with some integrity and try integrating some real Canadian culture and values.
Fire Tony Spears.