July 27, 2015

It's only wrong when they say it's wrong: My complaint to the CBC Ombudsman after Terry Milewski said “tar baby” on-air

Dean SkoreykoRebel Blogger

Below is my complaint filed with the CBC Ombudsman July 26:

In 2009, following an outpouring of critical controversy over the use of the phrase “tar baby” by cabinet minister Pierre Poilievre, a complaint was filed with the CBC ombudsman noting that CBC columnist Larry Zolf had used the phrase.

In the published November 19, 2009 review that was printed on CBC.ca, the Ombudsman’s office concluded that the “tar baby” phrase “while perhaps current 50 years ago in some communities, can now easily be viewed as archaic and offensive to many,” concluding that going forward, CBC “editors should ensure that archaic and offensive phrases are not used on CBC platforms.”

On July 24, 2015, on the CBC News program “Power & Politics,” CBC correspondent Terry Milewski described the ongoing controversies surrounding the Senate of Canada as a political problem for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, using the phrase “the Senate Tar Baby that has so soiled his brand.” Judging from Mr. Milewski’s tone, I believe he chose his words deliberately and used them with specific emphasis.

In a tweet posted later that day, Mr. Milewski expressed no regret over using the phrase, and posted an excerpt from the “tar baby” page on Wikipedia, apparently in an attempt to justify his use of the expression as valid and appropriate.

In allowing Mr. Milewski’s use of what the CBC Ombudsperson described in 2009 as an “archaic and offensive” phrase to go unreprimanded, I believe the CBC has failed in its promise to “ensure that archaic and offensive phrases are not used on CBC platforms.”

Mr. Milewski should be suspended until such time as a review is completed on how the producers and CBC management will ensure Mr. Milewski and others appearing on Power and Politics never use this term again and if he is reinstated, be forced to issue an on-air apology.

Thank you
Dean Skoreyko


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commented 2015-07-30 08:54:55 -0400
They will respond to your complaint as they did with mine. They will go one and one about the journalistic integrity to justify their reasons for going against their own policies. I recently had that happen to me about my complaint stating how their own policies of not insulting any religious group. Their explanation of insulting the Christian group was because they felt no fear of reprisal from the Christians. So basically they will insult any and all religions just so long as they are not scared these groups will not riot and shoot them!!!!! Interesting eh!?
commented 2015-07-28 23:17:08 -0400
Jago – wikipedia claims that the case in question dates from World War 1. I gave you a counter-example from my personal history that gives an alternate meaning, and the reason that the story was referenced in that history. That example was supported by two other examples where “unlimited free speech” do not apply, and that was the context for it. I do agree that I brought it into the discussion, as part of a discussion of how universal rights aren’t (or, in my opinion, should not be seen to be) universal. Wikipedia claims that their article includes “new research”. I don’t trust Wikipedia on political items, and I do trust my former instructors. That was where the question of whether it’s new-speaked into the discussion came from – it was not the only place in history where “yelling fire” was a topic of discussion, but the other meanings and discussions are going down the memory hole. You were the one who suggested that I look into the source, and that was the top match and was referenced by several other of the matches. If you wanted me to use a separate source then you should have listed it. What I found when I did the search did not match what you had suggested (because I started from looking for “death by fire”), so I continued to look. In your latest post you mention "…boasting over the use of a disciplinary tool to go after a journalist. " That’s not how I saw this story. To me, it was trying to force the CBC to follow their own rules. At the risk of derailing the thread even further, it’s similar to using tax law to get Capone: the legal standard exists, it’s a proper use of the rule, and it’s a way to bring the bastard down that is much easier than following his rules. I’m glad to see that you’re willing to agree that the CBC can be hypocrites, but that’s different from what Ezra is facing. If the law society were to say something along the lines of “we hate all bigotry, and the jew-boy had better toe the line or else” then I think that the cases would be comparable.

Dean is the author of this post, and the one who tried to point the CBC’s hypocrisy out to them. Since the CBC can’t see anything wrong in their double-standard, he obviously sought another soap box from which to announce his message. As Ezra enjoys calling the left on their hypocrisies, it was a natural fit. I don’t see it as the call of a censor, I see it as a call for “if you’re going to impose a rule on those you don’t agree with, you’d better follow it yourself.”

Thanks for keeping it civil, the others with whom I’ve disagreed on here are usually swearing or using ad-hominems after the first exchange. I enjoy an exchange of ideas where both admit they can be wrong (as I appear to be by introducing the “yelling fire” example).
commented 2015-07-28 21:09:41 -0400
Michael Doll: The fire thing was ‘old speaked’ into stepping on free speech rights. The case in question dates from World War 1, and my reference to it does not come from Wikipedia. The discussion of the topic comes from you, who introduced it.

As for CBC hypocrisy, if this were a blog post pointing out that this anchor used a term that an MP was asked to apologize for – that would be one thing. And one thing I wouldn’t give a damn about. CBC are hypocrites, they let their hosts use terms like “Indian giver” without really any consequences either … something I’m not a fan of. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about boasting over the use of a disciplinary tool to go after a journalist. The same type of disciplinary tool that Ezra Levant is raising money to defend himself against. That’s the little picture next to the dictionary definition of hypocrisy.

I don’t care who Dean is, what he’s about, any of that. My comment is about the publisher, who should be ashamed of himself for giving a platform to a censor.
commented 2015-07-28 20:20:32 -0400
The straw man was “You either believe in unlimited free speech or you don’t.” The main topic of discussion is CBC’s hypocrisy. 6 of the 10 deadliest incidents in US history related to fires in a single building / single building complex are fires at a theatre or nightclub prior to 1940. Death by fire was a real risk, and there was a real risk of death by stampede if someone did yell “fire” in a crowded theatre. I first heard about it in an Engineering ethics course as a discussion item (regarding probability of causing death and whether manslaughter charges could result in event of crushing deaths). It was part of the introduction of liability in case of mistakes. The term is now being new-speaked into being an argument for limiting speech, but it was originally an argument in favour of being held accountable for your actions. Your attempted delving into the minutiae (incorrectly or not) is another deflection from the main topic at hand: CBC’s double-standard on words that are acceptable to them for use in discussions and newscasts.

And I’m not surprised to see that Wikipedia is the top source listed for the interpretation you’re using, but I am surprised to note that they say it needs more verification because they can’t authenticate the source.
commented 2015-07-28 13:24:17 -0400
Michael Doll: I don’t see what ‘straw man’ argument you’re referring to. Re: crying fire in a crowded theatre, that’s from a court case, Schenck V United States – you should look it up. The term was introduced to censor people from handing out anti-war pamphlets – it is the mother of all straw man arguments.
commented 2015-07-28 12:08:01 -0400
A perverted Jew hater is a Jew hater is a Jew hater. Who could possible defend this POS???
commented 2015-07-28 08:22:24 -0400
Jago – so when did free speech become an absolute? You don’t have the right to cry “fire!” in a crowded theatre when there isn’t one, you don’t have a right to issue death threats or make obscene phone calls. Do you think your argument is so weak you have to raise and attack straw-men instead?

The blatant hypocrisy of the CBC shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone else. One set of rules for them, one set for everyone else. Because although all animals are equal, some are more equal than others.
commented 2015-07-28 03:36:08 -0400
I remember when the black licorice person penny candies were called “nigger babies”…
They do still make them, (sell em @ dollar stores & bulk barns in Ont.)
but I doubt people refer to them as such now…
They think hey’re the only ones allowed to use the term…
Who cares right?
Maybe I’m the only one left that still refers to those “black licorice person” candies as…
$1 Bag of “Nigger Babies” please nigger!!
commented 2015-07-28 02:33:51 -0400
Does Terry Milewski have a bladder problem?
I mean he always looks like he really has to ‘go’, when he does his talking-head-spewl…
commented 2015-07-28 00:19:51 -0400
It’s a toss-up betwern Terry and Dean for smug self-righteous sob’s.
commented 2015-07-27 20:58:31 -0400
So if someone were to say Milewski’s rebuttal is a bit of a scum sucker (type of fish), everything would be okay in progressive lands? Not likely.
commented 2015-07-27 20:26:05 -0400
Jago, the story is more about the incredible coincidence that it’s the exact same phrase that the CBC was spanked for previously.
commented 2015-07-27 19:54:51 -0400
I don’t have a problem with the term “tar baby” but that isn’t the point. The CBC routinely censors my comments over far less.
commented 2015-07-27 19:49:36 -0400
CBC is and always will be bias. Their reporting is bias, the people they interview are bias, their so call journalist are bias and now how they describe words are bias. The CBC can say and do what ever they want but other people who are not on their team can not.
commented 2015-07-27 19:32:29 -0400
You either believe in unlimited free speech or you don’t. The actions of your opponents shouldn’t affect your principles. CBC is his employer, employers have a right to set standards and respond to their clientele – so I don’t deny the right of CBC to take action against Milewski. However, I do take issue with someone who “works” for Ezra Levant, the capo of the ‘speecher’ movement in Canada, trying to censor a journalist. It’s absurd to see him there with his hand out on one page of his site – and on this page, using that hand to smack down a journalist for what they said on air. Does ‘the Rebel’ only stand up for free speech for Ezra Levant?
commented 2015-07-27 18:47:00 -0400
Remember the socialists were able to justify internment camps and slaughter millions in europe, china and russia.

Over-riding some racists making racist comments is a no-brainer for these socialist pigs.

And seeing Terry Milewski’s tweet is just another fine example of the dim-witted mentality socialist pigs like Terry Milewski have – the only real issue is that this foul socialist pig Terry Milewski lives off our tax dollars.
commented 2015-07-27 17:18:40 -0400
“I don’t have a problem with the definition of Tar Baby, or usage of the term, as long as it is used in the context of -a sticky situation.”

LISA ROSIE, you’re dead right…though as it pains me to say it because it amounts to a defence for something Milewski the dickhead said. But it’s about being fair and honest – something that CBC hypocrites will never appreciate. If Harper or another Conservative had said “tar baby” two weeks ago Milewski and the rest of the media would have been all over it like scum on a pond.
commented 2015-07-27 16:49:25 -0400
I’d like to stick a tar baby on his mustache. The more he moves his mouth the stickier it gets.
commented 2015-07-27 15:58:10 -0400
All of the Uncle Remus “Tales of the South” are based on stories that slaves taught their children as strategies for the weak to prevail over the strong…many times I have prevailed over mean bosses and supervisors with the “please don’t throw me in the briar patch” strategy…..that is to say that just because your tormentor would dread a certain situation that does not mean that you would not thrive in it and become beyond your tormentor’s reach.

The tar baby represents being tricked into a reactive response and becoming stuck and vulnerable to your enemies as a result.

Sorry I cannot support your efforts to use political correction as a weapon…..it is lower than I am willing to stoop. My vocabulary…including idioms related to cultural reference was honestly acquired and I do not intend to conform to political correctness.
commented 2015-07-27 15:46:43 -0400
I wouldn’t have made a complaint because I don’t have a problem with the definition of Tar Baby, or usage of the term, as long as it is used in the context of -a sticky situation. You know the left would have been all over it had say Ezra said it though.
commented 2015-07-27 15:17:44 -0400
Good Luck with trying to get anybody at the CBC to criticize anything that Terry Milewski says!… He is the soul father of all the lefties at the CBC whether they are on the air or behind the scenes in production…
commented 2015-07-27 13:11:38 -0400
I guess in only “sticks” when they say it sticks, huh?
commented 2015-07-27 11:24:02 -0400
Very interesting point Mr. Skoreyko. Since I have been busy with gardening and house repairs, I have not been following newscasts. It is obvious that not everyone got the Ombudsman’s message. The tar-baby really is tar, though with a symbolic image. I remember when as a child, always in a dress, that getting sticky tar from the roadway on a dress was a dreadful experience.