By Frank Moher
The last time Avaaz.org organized an online petition, I wasn’t too nice about it. But when it comes to “false news,” the activist organization is right on money.
What is false news? Funny you should ask. I wondered exactly the same thing, when I first heard the phrase last week. Actually, what I wondered was: “What the hell is ‘false news?'”
Apparently, the CRTC currently has a regulation in place barring broadcasters from disseminating false news, which seems reasonable, yes? After all, another word for it would be “lies.”
But a parliamentary committee, believe it or not, is on the CRTC’s case to change the edict, so that broadcasters would be allowed to spread false or misleading information so long as it doesn’t “endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.” In other words, if the CBC decides to tell you the Prime Minister is a tranny, why, that will be just fine. Not true, mind you, but just fine, since no one could possibly get hurt as a result (unless, of course, his cabinet were to begin cross-dressing, in the interests of job security, and the heels proved too much for them, and . . . oh, but what are the chances?)
False news. While they’re at it, why doesn’t the government legalize “dry water”? Could be sold by the bottle. Nobody’d get hurt. How could you possibly get hurt by a bottle filled with air? Or “penis-enlarging websites”? You’re reading one right now. That’s right. Simply by reading this website, your penis will get bigger. Even if you’re a woman. And if it doesn’t? Well, no harm done.
The parliamentary committee behind this absurdity is apparently concerned that the current regulation contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Well, I tell you what: leave the current wording in place, and let some news organization come forward and launch a challenge because it feels it can’t conduct its business without lying to us. (After all, SUN TV will need some way to establish its brand.) Then let’s see if the Canadian public really thinks that’s okay.
Meantime, you might want to sign the Avaaz.org petition against the change. Doing so will make you more beautiful and able to leap tall buildings. Really.