It was a recipe for disaster. Mix four moderately sane human beings and pathological racist and right-wing hack Kate McMillan and, sooner or later, bad things are going to happen.
Here, Politicagrll Marcie Abramovitch describes how McMillan is yapping on about suing for libel because someone points out what a hateful racist she is. Someone might want to point out to Kate that it's kind of late to be locking that barn door -- that horse is long gone. But that's neither here nor there. To come up to speed, read the article that is the point of contention here, follow the link to Somena Media, check that out as well, then come on back. I'll wait.
So ... what exactly do we have here then? First, while I am not a lawyer, I think it's safe to tell Kate to go suck eggs. She is a public personality of her own creation, and it's hard to imagine any court in Canada taking her whining about being libelled seriously. But that's just my off-the-cuff opinion; cooler heads might want to jump in here. In any event, that's not the issue. There are bigger things happening here.
In the first place, when the CBC first rounded up that crew to produce regular pieces on the election, what exactly was it after? Self-contained pieces? Sober political analysis? What? Because, given the personalities involved, someone might have suggested that there was at least a small possibility of some fireworks.
Did the CBC lay down any ground rules about cross-column sniping? Because if I was in charge, I would have done just that. I would have made it clear that everyone was entitled to their opinions but, because this was being done under the banner of the CBC, things would be a little more structured and genteel than one would find on your typical PB blog.
In short, would any one of those columnists have been allowed to rake one of their colleagues over the coals? If that was one of the ground rules, then Marcie can be viewed as having crossed the line, but I have no idea what guidance these folks were given. All that aside, I think Marcie made a bigger mistake.
If you read her Election Roundtable piece, the title, "Another example of bad taste for the Liberals," suggests that she's going to talk about (sigh) "Klandergate." Which she does for almost her entire piece. But having written about that for almost the entire piece, she veers off-course in her last two sentences:
OTOH I've come across many tasteless blogs being written by Conservative candidates (or blogs heavily linked to by Conservative Candidates) as well. Somena Media has some good examples of this.
That final observation comes pretty much out of the blue. If Marcie wanted to draw comparisons, she should have made that point right up front, perhaps even in the title, but she didn't. She spent the majority of her time talking about Klander, which makes that last part seem almost gratuitous -- kind of a parting shot that doesn't really hang with the rest of her article. But that's not the only problem.
In backing up that last bit, Marcie doesn't really supply any of her own examples. Instead, she relies entirely on a link to Somena Media, which I think fails badly as supporting evidence. If, as a columnist, you have a point to make, I think it's your responsibility to make it, then provide at least some of the evidence yourself.
Marcie doesn't do that. Instead, her last couple of sentences effectively read as, "Oh, there's another point I want to make, and you can read about it over there." I don't think that works well. I think Marcie should have decided on her topic more clearly and stuck to it.
In any case, I don't think Marcie has any cause to worry about libel. But I think she could have been a lot more focused in her piece by picking a single topic and sticking to it, rather than taking that last gratuitous shot at right-wing hypocrisy. We now return you to your regular ideological crossfire.
And Kate can still, of course, suck eggs.
AFTERSNARK: Back here, in a maddeningly vague statement, Marcie writes:
After my last entry on the cbc roundtable Kate has sent out a letter saying that the part of my post that includes a link to Somenia [sic] Media should be cut off and that she will sue me (and everyone else in the world) for libel.
Now, what exactly means "and everyone else in the world?" Because if that explicitly included the CBC, then the CBC should have fired Kate's sorry ass on the spot and had security metaphorically escort her outside to the curb.
Perhaps things work differently in Kateworld but, where I come from, it's considered bad form to threaten, even indirectly, one's patrons or sponsors with legal action just because someone points out what kind of raving, hateful loon you are.
If Kate really threatened to drag the CBC into this, then the CBC would have to be jaw-droppingly negligent to not get rid of her that instant. They wouldn't even need to get into the sordid details; perhaps just a short statement along the lines of, "Kate McMillan has stepped down from the election roundtable in order to spend more time figuring out the correct dosage of her medication. We wish her all the best in the future in her treatment program." Or something like that.
Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing more about Kate's threats 'cuz, you know, I just don't get near enough wingnuttery in my life.
WHOOPS: I guess all I needed to do was follow a link or two. Dr. Dawg has the details.