Broadcast regulator raps Sun News, Levant for on-air obscenity
by Steve Ladurantaye Media Reporter The Globe and Mail Published Wednesday, Jun. 13 2012, 2:40 PM EDT
Sun News Network has lost a battle of semantics with the country's broadcast watchdog, and must tell its viewers it violated the country’s voluntary broadcast ethics code for Ezra Levant's attack on a banana mogul (and his mother).
Mr. Levant railed against Chiquita Brands International in December, after it said it would stop using fuel from Alberta's oil sands.
Mr. Levant challenged the company's ethical record, but the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council was more concerned with a portion of the show when he stared into the camera and told a company executive "Hey you, yeah you, Manuel Rodriguez. Chinga tu madre."
The comment translates roughly into "go have sex with your mother."
The ethics panel – which is funded by broadcasters – receieved 22 complaints, all of them referring to the slur. The network argued the word "chingar" is fluid in meaning, including "get lost" and "stop bothering me."
“The complainants noted that the phrase is one of the harshest insults in the Spanish language and that it was utterly inappropriate for Levant to directly insult an identified individual in this manner,” the ruling stated. “Sun News acknowledged that Levant had ‘intended to be both profane and offensive [... by] ‘calling out’ the person he was attacking by name’ but that broadcasting rules allow for the expression of strong opinions on any topic.”
While the network tried to justify Mr. Levant's use of the term, the ethics panel said that only made things worse.
"He provided a scholarly etymological discussion on the origins of the word ‘chingar,’ but avoided using it with the words ‘tu madre,’ ” it stated, pointing out that Mr. Levant said on air a month later that he had used the term at least 2,000 times since the original segment aired. “The Panel considers that this was seemingly an attempt to obfuscate the facts and avoid addressing the complainants’ concerns about the use of the specific phrase in the precise.”
The network must air a statement during prime time announcing that it violated the voluntary code of conduct to which broadcasters adhere.
Earlier this year, the watchdog ruled in favour of Mr. Levant after complaints that slammed a subsidized housing project as providing “free” housing for Edmonton artists. Mr. Levant and guest Kathryn Marshall talked about a housing project for artists in Edmonton called “Arts Habitat.” Mr. Levant repeatedly called it “free housing,” although the artists do pay to live there (it does receive subsidies from the municipal and provincial governments).
In that case, the ethics panel ruled he had the right to criticize freely.
It did, however, rule that he violated the rules by basing his critique on bad facts. But since he apologized quickly, it dropped the case.
Sun News host Krista Erickson, whose interview with Canadian artist Margie Gillis set a record for the number of complaints received by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, was also cleared earlier this year.
Earlier this year, the watchdog said Global Television must apologize to its viewers for not warning them about the bloody, drawn-out death of Bugs Bunny at the hands of Elmer Fudd during an episode of Family Guy. It wasn’t the violence that bothered the regulator, but the lack of warning.
If I've learned anything at all in several decades of broadcasting it is that no matter what you say, SOMEONE will be offended. (and let's face it, the earstwile United Fruit Company and its record of death, destruction, and rapacious economic enslavement in meso-america, to say nothing of its callous underwriting of political intereference and fake ravolutions (their board included many of the cold war power brokers of the Washington insider community) causing more deaths than any other private corporation in history (including Krupp), has no right to be, and shouldn't be, offended by ANYTHING!!!)
It's like a pedophile expressing horror at "Toddlers in Tiaras." (Ok, hate to say it, but I'd at least agree with that sentiment, as if those slimes would ever object. Those sub-humans probably record those shows.