Sunday, July 26, 2015

Canadaland is the Worst

"Christie Blatchford is the Worst," blares the headline of a recent Canadaland blogpost about the Gregory Allan Elliot case.

It actually gets worse from there, as blogger Anne Theriault goes on to complain that Blatchford is insignificantly sympathetic to the complainants of the trial, and not hostile enough to the defendant. Theriault then goes on to spin on behalf of the complainants -- who in my own opinion, and based on the facts of the case are the ones who should really be on trial -- trying to pass off Blatchford's reporting as not sufficiently rooted in fact.

Yet, instead, it's Theriault's account that chooses to leave a vast swarth of fact out, and for reasons that strike me as fairly obvious.

For example, she makes no mention of the foul malfeasance in relation to not only Elliott himself, but towards Bendilin Spurr, a man who created an incredibly stupid online game in which those playing it could punch Anita Sarkeesian in the face until she's bruised and bloody.

For this, Guthrie targeted Spurr for harassment. In the online parlance, she doxxed him, and suggested that those participating in her harassment campaign against him should take care that he become unemployable in the Seault Ste Marie area.

When put on the stand, Guthrie expressed a stunning degree of callousness toward her target. She testified that she would feel no guilt whatsoever should Mr Spurr's life be ruined, or even if he took his own life.

Guthrie admitted that she also targeted Elliott himself, and declared that she actually thought herself entitled to attack and smear Mr Elliott without having to face a defense from him.

If that isn't demanding privilege, I don't know what is.

What's worse is that Guthrie and her supporters, via bail conditions, were actually granted such privilege. Guthrie's supporters continue to smear Elliott and can do so without without him having the opportunity to defend himself.

Theriault at least has the ethical wherewithal to identify herself as a friend of Guthrie and co-complainant Heather Reilly. However, this is where another interesting detail of the trial -- which I personally refer to as the Guthrie Trial, as that is who I personally believe should be on trial -- comes into play: that of the "August meeting" wherein Guthrie, Reilly and several other women involved in the WiToPoli community met in order to decide how they would communally attack Elliott.

Was Theriault, friend of these two women, present at the August meeting, wherein a conspiracy against Elliott was obviously hatched? If she was, this is undisclosed. I do have to admit that if Theriault were to claim she was not present at that meeting, I wouldn't be predisposed to believe her, as she has insisted on expanding the smear campaign against Gregory Alan Elliott to Christie Blatchford.

Theriault closes her blogpost by attempting to blame Blatchford's reporting for causing Guthrie and Reilly to be harassed. She offers less than a handful of cherry-picked tweets in order to serve as evidence of this.

There is some irony in this. First off, if the facts of the case, as revealed via testimony in court, are sufficient enough to provoke this scale of public disgust with these two women, perhaps Theriault has chosen the wrong horse to bet on. (Speaking strictly metaphorically, of course.) Second, if we are to be disgusted by harassment, perhaps there's a better horse for Theriault to bet on than one who herself was so proud of the harassment campaign that she instigated that she gave a TEDx talk about it, and actually bragged about the number of people she was able to get participating in that campaign.

But then we must consider one further point of irony: Theriault herself. The general line of smear against Gregory Alan Elliott by Guthrie's supporters is that he's a "creep" who doesn't respect people's boundaries.

Anne Theriault first got attention from the internet by spying on, and live-tweeting, some hapless couple's first date. Does this seem to you like someone who respects other people's boundaries?

In the final analysis, it's all incredibly ironic. Jesse Brown has managed to elevate Canadaland from some run-of-the-mill weblog into something of a destination blog because he frequently sets out to take the piss out of the mainstream media, usually on ethical grounds.

Well, this attempt on Christie Blatchord's reporting on the Guthrie Trial was an attempt that Brown should have simply declined to permit Canadaland to become involved in. Anne Theriault's ethically-dubious account of the story is ample fodder for anyone who may feel it necessary to take the piss out of Canadaland.

At least Christie Blatchford probably got a good laugh out of it.

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