Friday, May 18, 2007

Feminist thinks pro-lifers shouldn't be on CBC radio

From Meeker on Media:

I’ve heard many rowdy listener call-in shows, but none as boisterous as this. In fact, the racket it raised is still echoing within the corridors of the CBC.

The Monday, May 14 edition of Crosstalk on Radio Noon started out quietly enough. The topic was abortion, and the guest was Patrick Hanlon, representing the pro-life side of the debate. The pro-choice side was also invited to participate, host John Furlong (above, CBC photo) explained, but they declined. Furlong had noticed a recent survey which found that 34 per cent of citizens in this country feel that abortion is wrong, which struck him as a large number considering that people are not vocal on the issue.

After a quick preamble with Hanlon, a soft-spoken 24 year old with deeply held religious beliefs, Furlong opened the lines to callers. And that’s when it hit the fan.

Well-known activist Peg Norman was the first caller. And she went ballistic.


Peg Norman: First of all, I’m absolutely appalled that CBC has given the Crosstalk show over to the anti-choice, misogynyst group of people that Patrick Hanlon represents. I was approached on Friday by somebody who had been tasked by you to come up with a guest to be on as a counter-point. And I said absolutely not. I would not do it for two reasons: one because the issue of abortion in Newfoundland and Labrador is not a current hot topic… Abortion in Newfoundland and Labrador is acceptable, it is covered by our health care plan and it is a medical procedure available to all women in this province. Two, to go on Radio Noon as a counter to Patrick Hanlon and his hateful misogynyst views is a waste of my time. Patrick Hanlon will never have to make the decision to have an abortion. Patrick Hanlon will never have to be in that position. And to give him a full show to spew his hateful, misogynystic views, I think is deplorable on the part of CBC. The issue of choice in this country is still very much current. There are still threats to it, as Patrick Hanlon represents, and people who think like him. The issue of choice in this world is still very much an issue. There are many women in this world who are still dying every day because of hateful people like Patrick Hanlon who think that women have no right to control their bodies. And I am absolutely shocked that the public broadcaster would give him a full show to (broadcast this). I am absolutely shocked. I cannot believe it.

Hateful? Ma'am, look in the mirror.

And you do not speak for me: I say pro-life is NOT MISOGYNY. And millions of women agree with me!

For his part, John Furlong stayed cool during the program, despite the verbal attack from Norman and several others. I called to ask if he was at all shaken by the incident.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I was taken aback at the all-out attack on freedom of speech.”

You know, there have been shows that have featured anti-semites. And I think having them on a show exposes them. Geraldo used to have all kinds of crazy people on his show, and the US is none the worse for it.

Furlong also expressed disappointment that he has not received the unqualified support of CBC management on this issue.

“I’m still paying the price here at CBC, because the CBC brass are thoroughly pissed off,” he said. “I’m not quite sure why, but I get the distinct impression that they are not pleased. There are people who won’t even make eye contact with me… If the CBC had upset Patrick Hanlon, they would have said ‘That’s ok, that’s only Patrick Hanlon, don’t worry about him.’ But if you upset Gerri Rogers, Peg Norman and Nancy Riche, then you’ve got a problem on your hands if you’re the CBC.”

That is a darn shame. This guy should be commended.

“I think one of the talkback callers that we had on said it best: ‘Your first pro-choice caller frightened me. Obviously, she does not believe in free speech. In her world, only her right to speak is sacred.’ That is so true.”

Read the whole thing. It's a long post. Worth the read. Pass it on.

H/T: Canadian Journalist.

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