Medicine Hat News disparages local man's views on library policy.

Medicine Hat News disparages local man’s views on library policy.

(Image is a fair use satire of the MHN logo imposed upon an image of the main character of the popular video game “Hitman”)

Today, Medicine Hat News (MHN) published an article by Collin Gallant laced with typos, about local man Sheldon Johnston’s letter to the editor of MHN. As of the time of publishing this, two independent residents have not been able to locate a posted full text copy of Mr. Johnston’s letter, anywhere on the MHN website.

Gallant purports that Mr. Johnston was not pleased with a social media post by the Medicine Hat Public Library, (the Library) which, according to Gallant, Johnston said was favoring one view over another. Without the full text of Mr. Johnston’s letter, we are left to accept Gallant’s word alone on the matter.

From a printed piece, one can expect to have to look up referenced material one’s self, but with a web article, linking to relevant material is exceptionally easy, as I have already shown. Gallant mentions the Library’s social media piece which allegedly sparked Mr. Johnston’s letter, but does not give the text of it, and no photo reference is given anywhere in the piece. We are told of the Library’s program called “Human Library Catalogue,” but are not even given detailed info on that.

As a matter of full disclosure, Mr. Johnston and I have in the past worked along side each other in CPoSD76 matters, but more than a year ago myself, the CPoSD76, and Mr. Johnston parted ways because of irreconcilable difference in approach to certain matters. Yet, despite our disagreements, I can not abide hit pieces by media groups against private individuals in the community. Make no mistake, this was a hit piece.

The article is a hit piece for two reasons:

1. Gallant and the MHN do not give you the full context of what Mr. Johnston wrote, nor the full context of the social media conversation that Mr. Johnston allegedly referenced. I am no lawyer, but it looks to me like Mr. Johnston has ample room to pursue libel against MHN. The only reason I know that, is because of research I was forced to do on libel when CHAT News did a hit piece against myself. A news agency with it’s own sordid history of poor reporting and attacking those they don’t agree with.

Without the full text of Mr. Johnston’s letter, we, the public, are unable to verify the veracity of Gallant’s claims as to the content of Mr. Johnston’s letter. We have no context to the statements Mr. Johnston allegedly made. Was Mr. Johnston being sarcastic in any of his statements? Did he give multiple examples of the bias he allegedly believed the Library was displaying? Did he give suggestions on how to thwart the alleged bias? Was he just ranting, as is common in letters to the editor? We will never know, because MHN didn’t deign to tell us. In so doing they have potentially defamed the character of a private resident of Medicine Hat, who holds no public office or position of authority.

2.  Gallant opened the piece by describing Mr. Johnston as “A Medicine Hat man with a history of commenting on gay and transgender issues”. Shortly there after also stating that Mr. Johnston, “… has been a vocal opponent of gay-straight alliances in schools as proposed by the Alberta government.” Immediately and willfully painting Mr. Johnston in an anti LGBTQ light, before even getting into the alleged details of the as yet, unproven letter to the editor. Neither statement being necessary to the topic at hand. If we can not know what it is that Mr. Johnson is supposed to have written, what is the point of Gallant’s piece, other than to belittle a man for having an opinion? Are we to presume that there was sufficient evidence in Mr. Johnston’s claims to warrant a follow up by MHN, without even showing the public what led them to dig deeper and seek out the Library’s response? A response, I might add, to something no one has seen.

As I referenced in my post about the Solidify prong of the C.P.O.S. plan, MHN news has it’s own pro LGBTbias. No more clearly evidenced than the statement by it’s official social media account that “it’s a pretty straight line from strict social conservative to those who back conversion therapy groups.” It is common knowledge that the public understands “conversion therapy groups” as those who employ such tactics as beating, electro shock therapy, and self-abasement as legitimate tactics to ‘force’ the conversion of a homosexual individual. Gallant even mentions one commenter on the Library’s alleged social media post, that allegedly makes that connection to forced conversion therapy. It is clearly evident that MHN knows well the public connotations that go with “conversion therapy groups” and they are all to happy to promote that false narrative.

Laying aside the fact that this was a hit piece, one has to consider a few other facts. In order for this piece to have been written, the editor of MHN would have to have received Mr. Johnson’s alleged “letter to the editor,” the editor would then have to assign the piece to a writer, the writer would have to submit their piece for approval, and a copy editor would have to correct any mistakes. Given the number of malformed sentences and punctuation errors in the piece that I have archived, it would appear that this piece did not get properly screened. We can not lay the blame solely on Gallant, as a number of senior staff members would have had to be in the know on this piece before it was ever published.

If you take into consideration the social media statement on social conservatives by the official MHN account, the fact that a letter to the editor sparked Gallant’s piece, the multiple miss-characterizations of the Concerned Parents in the past, and the ridiculous understanding of the United Conservative Party’s founding AGM policy proposal that MHN encouraged, I can only conclude that the MHN has systemic anti conservative bias. In my opinion, they have lost all credibility to report impartially, and as such, if I can not take them at their word on social issues, I can not trust them on any topic.

As to the other point of Gallant’s article, whether or not the Library was showing bias against religious groups in favour of the LGBT dogma, I can not go into great detail. I am lacking sufficient facts to form an opinion. All I can say is, while concerned parents and business owners were being harassed and threatened during the petition period, for refusing to kiss the ring of any and every self-proclaimed pontiff of the LGBT, MHN news and other local media were nowhere to be found. Some media were even participating in the disparaging attacks. But the minute a private citizen dares to resist the LGBT doctrine, MHN is there to slap on their inquisitor credentials and burn them at the stake. I’m being hyperbolic of course.

So, on the Library situation, ask yourself this. Would a publicly funded library be OK with a Christian employee proclaiming their Christianity at work, and would the Library suggest that patrons go and ask that employee what a Christian’s believes are and life is like, as they did for the trans employee? If you can’t see the answer to that being yes, than the Library is absolutely anti-religious and bias in it’s policies. And hey it’s been widely publicized that I’m intersex, so I can expect my invitation to participate in the “Human Library Catalogue” to arrive any day now. … Any day now.

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