Bernie Farber — still not gay

Kathy English — still not getting it:

I learned much about “snark” and nasty blogosphere invective this week from some bloggers who disagree with my take on what Zerbisias wrote. Mean-spirited personal attack, inaccurate facts, innuendo and even speculation about the identity of my spouse was lobbed my way, much of it anonymously.

“Inaccurate facts”?  At the risk of being a nitpicker, a fact by definition is accurate — truthiness is the primary requirement for factiness.  Apart from that, the gist of it is that English is taken aback that some mean bloggers disputed the Star’s  trashing of its best columnist.  Well, that’s what we do — call bullshit.   Welcome to accountability, proudly brought to you by the blogosphere.

I haven’t altered my view that Zerbisias’s blog comment (about Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber) fell short of the Star’s standards of fairness.

But I have learned more this week about its context. My own standard of fairness thus demands reconsideration of the harsh assessment I expressed in last week’s column.

At least she seems to realize that her public evisceration of AZ was uncalled for, although she’s still not completely clear as to why:

Though I gave Zerbisias opportunity to comment before publication of that column, she said little to help me understand the context of this comment she posted on her Star blog about Farber’s participation in the Pride parade: “Imagine my surprise when I saw Bernie Farber identifying himself as queer by joining a pro-Israel gay rights group in the parade … Funny because I didn’t know he was gay.”

Farber is not gay and Zerbisias knows that.

Sigh.  If English still doesn’t get snark, I shudder to think what she’d make of the “shorter” concept.

UPDATE: Did someone say “shorter”?

UPDATE II: “Some blogger in Abu Dhabi” responds.

16 Responses to “Bernie Farber — still not gay”


  1. 1 Alison Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Kathy’s self-pitying screed about “anonoymous bloggers” vs The Star’s “gold standard of journalism” opens with the line :
    “It is the opinion of some blogger in Abu Dhabi, upon reading my column of last week, that I am a “disconnected crony.”

    That would be Jen Gerson – Jen Gerson of Abu Dhabi – who blogs under her own name and used to work at The Star.

    Please tell us more, Ms English, about these gold standards of yours.

  2. 2 Dr.Dawg Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Alison:

    Once again, well said.

  3. 3 Ti-Guy Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Remember…these are the personality types that have governed news media for decades.

    I used to be happier when these people were more isolated and weren’t so aware of what so many people thought of their journalism and therefore, didn’t react to it. I never realised how petulant (with few exceptions, like Zerbisias) they can all be.

    English has managed to drag this issue so far away from the original point: the attempts by the Jewish community to define the parameters of any discussion about Israel.

  4. 4 pale Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 8:43 am

    The whole column was just one big whinge fest. 🙂

    Inaccurate, defencive, bitter.

    Ah well.

  5. 5 JJ Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Alison – I second the Doc’s motion.

    Also, it’s hard not to notice that her column from last week was itself lacking one of the most basic journalistic principles of which she speaks — fact-checking (get the whole story, context etc., before beaking off). If I was going to undermine someone’s journalistic integrity by saying they “made things up”, I’d want to make sure I had all the facts. To her credit, at least she set the record straight, but it’s a little rich for her to be griping about ‘principles’, and doubly rich for her to imply that somehow this was all Antonia’s fault!

  6. 6 JJ Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Ti-Guy –

    English has managed to drag this issue so far away from the original point: the attempts by the Jewish community to define the parameters of any discussion about Israel.

    I’m glad you made that point, because I wanted to mention it in my post and forgot. That’s the real issue, that someone was basically trying to silence Zerb because she expressed some things they didn’t like, and the Star played right along with them. But I don’t expect to see any apologies for that anytime soon. (As lame as today’s column was, I guess it was a backhanded apology of sorts.)

  7. 7 JJ Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 9:11 am

    pale – The media lived a charmed existence until the internet age, with nobody ever questioning them or their motives. Zerb is one of a very few MSM journalists who “gets” that things have changed and has adapted and used it to the benefit of herself and her readers. The rest look like dinosaurs by comparison.

  8. 8 Chimera Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 9:32 am

    “I learned much about “snark” and nasty blogosphere invective this week…”

    Let me correct a basic flaw in that statement of hers: She read about snark and nasty invective. She didn’t “learn” a damned thing.

    I wonder if anyone has ever pointed out to her the irony in her very name.

  9. 9 Ti-Guy Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I’m glad you made that point,

    We need to keep making it since we’re all falling into the trap. I’m sure The Star is quite happy with everyone focusing on Kathy English (which is legitimate as it reflects poor editorial standards…but that’s nothing new) while, yet again, everyone stops talking about the issues Zerbisias brought up in her original post.

  10. 10 deBeauxOs Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Well it is Antonia’s “fault” – but not in the way English’s faux-apology makes it out to be.

    Antonia’s columns and her Blogposts – especially her posts – are way ahead of the traditional news curve. That which should be acknowledged to be an asset for The Star becomes distorted through English’s lens.

  11. 11 JJ Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Chimera – No, I don’t think she’s learned anything more about snark than the fact that it’s something that exists in the creepy dark and lawless blogospheric underworld…

  12. 12 JJ Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Ti-Guy

    We need to keep making it since we’re all falling into the trap.

    You’re right, it’s deflection of the real issue. We should be asking the Star why they’d come down so hard on any columnist just for making such an obvious point. It seems that as far as they’re concerned, some are off-limits to even the mildest criticism.

  13. 13 JJ Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    deBeauxOs

    That which should be acknowledged to be an asset for The Star becomes distorted through English’s lens.

    This is what I don’t get — it’s like they want to stay in the 80s or something. Newspapers are bleeding readership to the internet — I used to read 3 papers a day, the Vancouver Sun, the Globe & Mail and the National Post, then it went down to only Saturdays, now I rarely open a newspaper — all I have to do is keep my browser open, it’s all there. So any columnist who can use the new media as adeptly as Antonia should be considered an asset, not a liability. Any medium that doesn’t recognize that kind of adaptability is necessary for their survival is doomed.

  14. 14 Jen Gerson Monday, July 20, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Alison: Cheers.
    I did decide to step into the fray one last time:
    http://www.jengerson.com/?p=714

  15. 15 JJ Monday, July 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Thanks, Jen. I linked to your post in an update.


  1. 1 Stageleft: life on the left side » Awh …. The Poor Dear Trackback on Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 6:04 pm

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