The Sunday Edition

Listener mail

Reaction to Michael's criticism of the media for its "mugging" of Green Party leader Elizabeth May; to our interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and to Matthew Crawford, who says immersion in social media is stifling our true selves.
Activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks at the National Press Club, April 7, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Listen7:12

You were busy at the keyboard after last week's program - our inbox was flooded. Let's begin with your reaction to my opening remarks about the excessive news coverage of Elizabeth May's speech at the annual Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner. The leader of the Green Party of Canada later admitted that her attempt at humour had flopped. She said she had had little sleep, and was jet-lagged. Her public faux-pas was the top news item of the day - then assorted panels and pundits analyzed and dissected it endlessly. I concluded my remarks by saying, "And we wonder why we in the media are held in such low public esteem."

 From Brenda Johnson, Toronto:

"I was at home the day after press gallery dinner, and from 5 am till 2 pm, Ms. May's behaviour was the lead story on the CBC National news.  At 2 pm I turned the radio off and attempted to write to the news department, questioning why they were doing this. Was there not another lead story - given the state of the world? Is Ms. May the only politician who has been indiscreet?"

From Elaine Oshell in Powassan, Ontario:

"This was the equivalent of dialing drunk. I am a former newspaper editor, and I always thought it my job to a.) sift through and prioritize all the dispatches and pseudo-news that landed in my inbox, and b.) get the pertinent stuff out to readers who trusted us to do that. Period. In the "sifting" process we checked for accuracy, slanderous possibilities and good taste. Was everyone asleep at the switch on a slow news day?"

 From Carole Grenier in Calgary:

"Mr. Enright, you redeemed your profession, when you spoke about Elizabeth May's mistake. Those of us who care deeply about the environment and climate change couldn't care less if Ms. May botches a speech. She is brave, dedicated and honest."

Also last week. I spoke with the activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, about her most recent book Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.

From Pamela Campion of Penticton, B.C.:

 "I am so impressed by Ayaan Hirsi Ali's bravery, lucidity and intelligence. I wish her well in her endeavours to suggest a remedy for the rising tide of violence among the Islamofascists. They are using an antiquated set of beliefs which are perverting Islam for their own narrow ends of world domination in a violent culture, which is not democratic."

Bridget McEwan of Halifax posted this on our website:

"How disappointing to hear a myopic view like this broadcast on my beloved CBC. I myself am Caucasian, very Canadian, and became Muslim three years ago. I'd dearly love to sit down with Ms. Hirsi Ali and have a talk. She seems to have stubbornly avoided seeing the abundant proofs in our Western Muslim Ummahs that counter her arguments. The Jummah khutbas (Friday sermons) I attend, endlessly oppose extremism. They clarify misinterpretations regarding women in Islam. The Muslim communities invite in the Chief of Police to speak at the Mosque, and they work with city authorities to root out potential problems.     

"The people are astonishing in their kindness, raising $10,000 in one day for various people in need throughout the community. Any group has good and bad, but to ignorantly slander an immensely diverse group of people, label them all Muslim, all dangerous, and all in need of reform, is simply not right. I can honestly say that Ms. Hirsi Ali's interview made me feel threatened, as a Muslim, as a peace-loving, patriotic Canadian, and as a human being. I'm terribly sorry for the wrongs that were done to her, but it doesn't give her the right to pass them forward and wrong others."

Also last week, I spoke with the philosopher-turned-motorcycle-mechanic Matthew CrawfordIn his latest book The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction, Crawford examines our fixation on digital technology. He wonders whether our screens, texts, and email are pulling us away from the work of becoming ourselves.

This is from Willi Boepple, who has a farm on the Saanich Peninsula, in B.C.:

"My hat is off to Matthew Crawford. FINALLY somebody is saying this publicly. Decades ago I gave up television and movies. I could see the trend - the attempt to turn us into shallow, copycat automatons with no critical thinking ability. 

"They want us to rush out mindlessly, to buy all manner of poorly-made, shoddy stuff whose manufacture pollutes - and which ends up in the landfill. People foolishly assume that having "Google" at their fingertips makes them smarter, when the reverse is true. Individuality is being relentlessly stamped out. I maintain that children brought up in front of screens will have measurable brain damage. Sure, they will be good at playing computer games. Pray, enlighten me: other than a mass-market way to keep people from thinking about real things, just what "good" are computer games???  I cannot help but view them as time-sucking, growth-preventing, mind-stunting addictions. I fear that several generations have already been lost."

And finally, this from our frequent correspondent, André Carrel in Terrace, B.C.:

 "After hearing Ayaan Hirsi Ali being interviewed on The Sunday Edition, I decided that I must get her book. After hearing Matthew Crawford's interview I decided that I must get his book too. The problem with The Sunday Edition is that I'll never catch up reading all the books I must read even if I live to be 100."

Thank you to everyone who wrote to The Sunday Edition. You can too. Our email address is thesundayedition@cbc.ca, or click here.

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