Warren Kinsella is cancelling his subscription to the National Post - along with lots of others. He cites two reasons - the fact they are running Anne Coulter's column and the fact they are running Colby Cosh's
. I have no opinion on Coulter. I don't read her and am not very interested in starting. I would assume that her rather odd right wing views would be balanced by the inclusion of Maureen Dowd's remarkably silly left wing ones.
I was surprised at Kinsella's really visceral feelings about Cosh,
Cosh, meanwhile, is someone I dislike - and vice-versa, naturally (he calls me his "adversary;" personally, my rule of thumb is that actual adversaries are only those who rise up to your level). I was astounded that the Aspers would hire someone like him. I am quite certain he costs a lot (a lot) less than Mark Steyn - but Steyn had a panache, and an intelligence, that Colby Cosh could not achieve in a lifetime of trying. Cosh clearly aspires to be Mark, but Mark he is not.
I marvel, too, that the Post apparently paid scant attention to Cosh's recent past as Senior Editor at Report, which was a mean little publication based in my home province. For many years, plenty of us were certainly of the view that Report was anti-native, homophobic, misogynistic and borderline anti-Semitic. (On the last point, the defunct magazine's May 8, 2000 edition actually contained an article suggesting there existed a secret "kosher tax," a canard long favoured by anti-Semites around the globe. And in April 2002, the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission found, after a lengthy investigation, that the magazine had published material that indicated "discrimination against the Jewish people." ) So Cosh's addition to the Post was bad enough - but Coulter's inclusion in the Post's editorial pages made the cancellation decision an easy one.
Kinsella seems to have two points here. First, that Colby is not Mark Steyn. Second, that a magazine Colby worked for did not subscribe to prevailing political orthodoxy and, on occasion, veered into anti-semitic territory. Kinsella's second point is why I long ago stopped reading Reports. Once Ted Byfield's steadying hand was removed from the tiller the danger of reading right wing hate propaganda grew significantly. But so far as I am aware, none of this bile flowed from Colby's rather more urban conservative pen. Working for a magazine is not the same as endorsing all or, for that many, any of its loonier editorial positions. It is pretty contemptible to smear someone whose writing and positions are anything but homophobic or anti-semitic using the most McCarthyist of tactics: guilt by association.
Kinsella's first point, that Colby is not Mark Steyn is simply fatuous. Of course Colby isn't and there is no reason to believe that Colby or the Post is under any such delusion. Colby's pieces rely on solid reporting, a Western perspective and a general appeal to reason which is never amiss in a columnist. Admittedly, Colby's pre-occupations are often with events which occur out of line of sight of the CN Tower and that may disturb ex-Albertan Kinsella.
My suspicion is that Kinsella, as a Liberal operative, is more than a little worried that the sensible, well-researched material which Colby pumps out is the sort of stuff which will take the policy debate on the Right out of the hands of the Anne Coulters and David Frums and ground it in everyday reality. Running against ideological idiots and religious zealots is a heck of a lot easier than trying to justify, to pick a couple of examples, half the Liberal Cabinet accepting favours from a family which is asking for favours from the Federal government or sending our troops into harm's way in the military equivalent of a Pinto.
I enjoy Kinsella. He is a happy political warrior. When he stoops to this sort of sleazy personal attack it suggests he is more worried than he wants to let on.