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Fox News insults the Canadian military – Canadians pay attention

March 24, 2009

Fox News on the Canadian military and the mission in Afghanistan:

I saw this video, of commentators on the Fox News program Red Eye making fun of the Canadian military, last week, but at the time I didn’t want to draw more attention to it than it was already getting. Now that it has drawn an absolute torrent of comments and articles, I am curious enough to want our bloggers and readers to weigh in. This video has been viewed 345,908 times on YouTube (other versions of it are also drawing in tens of thousands of viewers)  and there are 15,470 comments on it (!!!) A piece on the Fox News commentator’s apology on theglobeandmail.com is the most viewed article on that site today, and has inspired 682 readers to comment.

In my 20 months with Canada’s World, I haven’t seen any other story related to Canada’s role in the world inspire this level of activity online. It’s insane. With something so controversial (and so angering) I’m not surprised that it has been getting attention, but the level is really astounding. What does this say? I’m not even sure what to take away from it yet.

UPDATE: Vancouver Moose goes through some of the blogosphere’s reaction to the Fox News nonsense.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Gerry Kelly permalink
    April 6, 2009 11:14 am

    I think this person should take some time to learn something about Canada and it’s military history.
    Canada’s armed forces came to WW1 opposing Germany in 1914, America showed up a couple of years later. The same thing happened in WW2. In that war the Canadian armed forces had the highest number of soldiers per capita, of any country in the world.
    I thank God that all the Americans that I know are definitely not like him. They are mostly like family to me and mine, and we have a great deal of love and respect for each other.

    • Ron Smart permalink
      April 14, 2009 8:36 pm

      AN OPEN LETER TO OUR AMERICAN READERS

      Firstly let me say, I have nothing against Americans. My stepmother is American and I have American friends from Alaska to Florida.

      Secondly, I am a proud veteran of 34 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. I have personally known many of the brave soldiers who have fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that the people of Afghanistan can ultimately have a better life free of terrorism and fanaticism.

      It is these same Canadian soldiers who have given their lives and who have contributed to fighting the war on terror so people like you and I can enjoy the freedom we enjoy today. Our fathers and grandfathers fought side by side for this freedom in generations past on the beaches of France and in Italy.

      Unfortunately the ignorance of a few deranged idiots at Fox TV who think they are funny have placed a large blot over how many Canadians feel about our American neighbours.

      It is indeed very sad that soldiers, regardless of their nationality, who fight for both Afghan and your freedom, security and freedom of speech are made fun of in such a way.

      What is even more sad is the fact that nobody in the senior executive of the FOX network “had the balls” to take corrective action and can their ignorant smug asses off the network permanently.

      One step further…why do we continue to allow the FOX network to broadcast on Canadian satellite and cable stations? These hopeless FOX executives need to know that this type of humour is neither appreciated or accepted by members of the Canadian Forces or the Canadian public as a whole, and banning them from the Canadian airwaves might just rectify the problem.

  2. Wanda permalink
    April 1, 2009 4:02 am

    Taking a breather huh? Perhaps lowering myself to that level for a moment will give some insight. Certain topics are simply not made for comedy. Do you sit on TV and crack racial jokes? Tsk, tsk, don’t think so.

    Well it certainly does take a particular calibre of person to comment on this topic as they have. Especially since they were tradgically ill-informed to begin with and didn’t even know that Canada was in the war. Had they done their research they would have learned that Canada has a long standing history
    (since WWI) of contributing to the success of war attributable to its keen ability to recognize when preparation and supply requires servicing and
    reconditioning. Canada has been praised for its command capacities and cooperation in this disaster of a war spoken of and we have proven that planning and preparation are the most crucial and efficient factors
    in enduring and overcoming war, while preserving the innocent lives that they so obviously gave no regard for.

    But I thank them for their well thought out, witty comment regarding Canada’s relation to the US being “good allies” and “becoming a tourist spot, while we take a nap.” It allowed me to understand ignorance at stake. It is true however, that we are good allies to the US as we are to the UK, Australia, and every other NATO country. This, my dear, is why so many immigrants aspire to become Canadian citizens. Oh, I might also add that this is also why when Canadians go abroad they proudly display their Canadian symbolism (the red and white maple leaf flag, in case they didn’t know) and are greeted and welcomed by people rather than being flipped the bird or spit in the face because they were mistaken for an American. Did you also know that the US is not the only country that exists and runs in the world? You have a world map, no? I’ll forgive that comment however, because I feel sorry that you didn’t even know we were in the war.

    For the gentleman that made this crack at our Mounties, “We have Police Officers, they have Mounties. Our cops ride heavily armoured cars and
    they ride horses. We have bullet proof vests they have wonderful little red jackets that can be seen a mile away. This is not a smart culture,” allow me to educate you.

    For the record Einstein, We have Municipal Police Officers and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Your cops ride around in heavily armoured cars..Well I reckon son that’s due to fear from routinely being shot at. Our RCMP enforce the law up here, and are valued and admired for their purpose but sometimes have to deal with a couple of bad apples. They also ride around in their seasonally equipped vehicles up here in Canada since horses were “discontinued in the Police field in the late 1930’s.” Now, occasionally the RCMP ride around on horses depending on the
    ceremonial activity and circumstance (parades and special events). There is also a time honoured tradition here called the “Musical Ride” which displays “traditional cavalry drill movements.” The reason why you still see them riding around on horses is because of a respected tradition and popular image that our Mounties possess as “fearless upholders of the law in the Canadian wilderness.” I know that must be a difficult concept to understand for them way up in their spaceship and all. Now where was I, oh yes, their cops wear bullet-proof vests on the exterior, which only taunts those armed villains (gangs) I’m sure and is an obvious,”shoot me, I can take it” bullseye. That’s an excellent way to attract ammunition! What an honour it is to not have to worry about such trinkets, (and if we do…pssst…it can also be worn under your jacket) while we wear the “little wonderful red jacket” that displays your own country’s peaceful colours. What a wonderful place to live! This is a brilliant culture.

  3. nmboudin permalink*
    March 31, 2009 8:07 pm

    I heard about the furor over what these guys were saying, and my first thought was that when I initially heard Andrew Leslie, I kind of giggled at the incongruity of the words “Army” and “Taking a year off.” Clearly a cheap shot, that combination of ideas ended up seeming kind of funny at the time.
    I am actually proud of the efforts of our soldiers, they are doing one hell of a hard job. Moreover, I agree with the idea behind the mission. I suspect that the Fox guys, self-admitted miscreants, also saw that incongruity, and decided it was good-enough copy. Having seen the whole video, I do see some mean-spirited ignorance as they beat the theme to death following the initial cracks.
    And all of that is why I think it is even more embarrassing that Peter Mackay would even bat an eye at them, let alone demand an apology. With that one action, he actually attached importance to their lowbrow goof session.

  4. Paul permalink
    March 27, 2009 10:15 am

    We Americans greatly appreciate Canada’s support in Afghanistan and friendship over the years and hope that you will now join us in helping to rid the world of Fox News and Rupert Murdoch. That’s right 90+% of Americans don’t like Fox!

  5. Kristin permalink
    March 26, 2009 1:27 pm

    Luckily Fox News is the National Inquirer of Network News so honestly I give them as much thought as I do when they report heavy set ghosts are responsible for bad karma. Honestly. They put uneducated people like this on tv to stir up controversy so that it is talked about on a international level. Look at that they achieved. And why do they do this because it gets them more viewers who tune in just to bitch about what they will say next. More tuners = more money.

  6. conservative74 permalink
    March 26, 2009 3:25 am

    I think “comedians” should really refrain from news commentary. They sound like buffoons. I am a
    Fox News watcher and I like many of their prime time reporting. I have never watched Red Eye until this clip, and I don’t foresee watching it in the future. This type of mindless commentary is annoying.

  7. canworldjon permalink*
    March 25, 2009 10:14 pm

    As some of the blogs pointed out, this may have generated a lot less heat if not for the fact that we lost four soldiers the same week as the Fox news broadcast.

    Interestingly, Canadians are reacting as if this piece came from the U.S. Government. But Fox does not speak for the Government, for Americans, nor even most Americans.

    So why the reaction? Sadly, these comedians probably believed what they said — they really were ignorant about the contributions from Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. And Canadian probably think a large part of the responsibility for such pervasive ignorance falls at the feat of the U.S. Government which clearly has failed to educate the American people about the sacrifice and important work done by U.S. allies in war torn regions of the world.

    So while Fox is not the U.S. Government, the ignorance and stupidity of its own broadcasting, is a product of failed government leadership.

  8. corsullivan permalink*
    March 25, 2009 1:11 pm

    I clicked on the clip expecting to find it pretty banal, and I did – but it also made me chuckle a few times. I suppose the humour was lazy and sophomoric, and the people on the show hardly demonstrated a deep knowledge of Canada, but that’s all the more reason not to take what they had to say very seriously.

    In my opinion all the blogospheric outrage over this piece of amusing late-night fluff is frankly embarrassing. It just makes Canadians seem like huffy, insecure people who can’t handle being snickered at, and who are desperately concerned with how America perceives them.

    • Just Rob permalink
      April 14, 2009 10:05 pm

      Being a Canadian who has had the oppertunity to travel around the world and live in other countries, I can feel the anger of the Canadian people because we are always compared or worst brushed away as Americans because we unfortunately sound the same in our accents. Most of the people I have met have very little understanding of Canada other than our role as peace keepers and the propaganda of the Americans which seem to view us as non-violent polite people. It isn’t until I explain the difference of the Canadian culture to these people that it becomes clear to them that Canada is the mature older brother to the big immature brother to the south. I wonder if the Taliban view the Canadian soldier as a push over and I wonder if the families of their dead see the funny side of their loss or can ignore the disrespect that has been shown towards them. I really get annoyed being compared to an American or confused for one. I am proud to be a Canadian, if a Canadian news group did the same to the American military would the Americans turn the other cheek?

  9. March 24, 2009 2:18 pm

    a really interesting question though is: does it take this kind of offensiveness to get canadians involved in online conversations about our role in the world? i’ve never seen this kind of reaction to something before.

  10. March 24, 2009 2:11 pm

    This is sickening. What is the most frightening thing about this video is that there is an audience for this show (thankfully in the dead of the night). While I feel strongly about freedom of expression, this isn’t humour and it isn’t informed commentary. It’s brainless drivel.

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