Too Controversial for CBC

A few months ago, I began amusing myself by posting comments on stories on the CBC News web site (http://cbc.ca/). These comments are moderated. I was shocked the first time one of my comments was rejected by the moderators. It felt like a slap in the face. Since then, I’ve had 18 comments rejected and 287 accepted. A 94% acceptance rate isn’t bad, I guess, but I still feel the sting of censorship.

I also dislike the idea that some of these comments – the crafting of which took more work than you might imagine – might never see the light of day.

I refuse to let the CBC moderator silence me, so I’m listing all of my rejected comments below, along with a brief commentary on each.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashes, killing co-pilot

Spaceflight is hard.


This is the strangest rejection that I’ve ever received from the CBC moderators. What is wrong with this? There was a tragedy. A pilot of a private spaceship was killed and another seriously injured when it crashed. Though spaceflight has become commonplace since the late ’50s, it’s still a dangerous enterprise. Too often people think that spacecraft are nothing but advanced aircraft. They aren’t. They’re a far more difficult engineering problem. I thought about writing a long dissertation on the difficulty of space flight and the bravery of the men and women who understand the dangers and fly anyway, but I decided that a three word epitaph would suffice. I have no idea whatsoever why some CBC moderator thought it did not.

Did the PQ mislead Quebecers about the legality of its values charter?

The parallels between the PQ and the Nazis in Germany in the ’30s are obvious. Hyper-nationalism. A vision of a strong and racially pure country. Continual claims that they are victims of external oppression. Persecution of minorities within their borders. Lust for power at any cost. Willingness to lie to their own people.

But there is one big difference. The majority of Germans in the early thirties bought the vision and kept the Nazis in power until it was too late. The majority of the Quebecois see the PQ for what it is and, though willing to flirt with them. don’t buy their whole agenda.

I guess the moderator didn’t like my comparison of the Parti Quebecois to the German Nazi party in the ’30s. Personally, I think it’s a valid comparison. I didn’t say that the PQ are Nazis, only that there are points of similarity. In fact, similarities that are obvious.

China’s moon rover leaves traces on lunar soil

Landing a rover on the Moon is a significant accomplishment. If China’s next step is to land a man on the Moon, that would be a huge leap. Even the US no longer has that capability. On the other hand, if China’s next step is to land a rover on Mars, that would be much easier. And that would put China close to American’s current capabilities.

Disabling this has to be a mistake. I don’t see anything objectionable in this comment at all. China put a rover on the Moon. I’m just speculating about what their next step is likely to be and what implications that has for America’s lead in space technology. I’m guessing that the moderator didn’t even read my comment. Or didn’t understand it.

Pot-smoking Mountie Ron Francis charged with assault

Guess he wasn’t smoking enough to mellow him out. Maybe he needs his prescription adjusted.

This seems like another case of CBC not getting my sense of humor. I shouldn’t try to be funny.

Man found electrocuted at Enmax substation – Calgary – CBC News

Evolution is a law of nature. It’s inevitable that some people will take themselves out of the gene pool. A man who cuts into live high-voltage wires with a bolt cutter is a good candidate for natural selection.

Okay. Kind of nasty. And, just because the man who was electrocuted after breaking into an electrical substation was carrying bolt cutters doesn’t mean that he was cutting into the big cables, trying to steal the copper. Maybe there’s some other explanation. I just can’t think what it might be.

Or maybe, the moderator is a creationist and didn’t like my first sentence. We’ll never know.

Rob Ford speaks with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge – Toronto – CBC News

He’s not being punished for admitting anything. He only admitted it because he was already caught. He’s being punished for allegedly smoking crack, drinking to excess frequently, threatening violence, and sexually harassing women. He should understand that much because he claims to have a “zero tolerance” policy. Or maybe he doesn’t understand what “zero tolerance” means. He’s not the first conservative talk radio host to spout off about zero tolerance until he gets caught, and then plead that he’s a special case and needs instant forgiveness.

Most of this is a recitation of widely reported facts. So what’s CBC’s beef with my speculation about whether Ford understands what “zero tolerance” means? CBC headquarters are in Toronto, but I seriously doubt that the moderator who rejected this comment is in the “Ford Nation”. Maybe CBC is spooked because Ford has started threatening to sue everyone in sight. Is that why all of my last four rejected comments were about Ford? But CBC has allowed comments that are less flattering to the man than this one, so they’re looking a little hypocritical to me.

Rob Ford crack video submissions in court today – Toronto – CBC News

Rob Ford brands himself as “just an ordinary, regular guy.” But ordinary, regular guys don’t smoke crack.

I’m mystified why this one was rejected. Rob Ford went on TV and admitted that he smoked crack, so there can’t be anything wrong with my mentioning it indirectly. Maybe calling someone an “ordinary, regular guy” is some kind of unmentionable insult now?

Rob Ford crack scandal: Why Toronto’s mayor finally fessed up – Canada – CBC News

Is he now willing to submit to weekly drug tests?

I’m completely serious about this question. Rob Ford has finally admitted smoking crack, but only the one time that he was caught on video. He claims that it’s all in the past, but we know that he lied about his drug use over and over. As the mayor of Canada’s biggest city, he should be subject to at least as much scrutiny as someone who snowboards in the Olympics.

Rob Ford video: What next for Toronto’s embattled mayor? – CBC News – Latest Canada, World, Entertainment and Business News

I’m sure it was all a misunderstanding. Maybe Harper took Ford fishing and commented about the G20 protesters, “Gotta be tough. Crack heads.” and Ford heard only, “Gotta be … crackhead.”

I thought this comment was hilarious. It refers to stories that Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has taken Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, fishing; that the police abused protesters at the G20 meeting in Toronto; that there’s rumours that Ford smokes crack and video evidence that seems to show him exchanging packages with crack dealers; and that Harper cancelled a photo-op with Ford at the Conservative convention in Calgary. I guess CBC doesn’t share my sense of humour. Again.

Saudi women at the wheel campaign underway – World – CBC News

In my experience, women driving is a convenience for men. It must be hard for Saudi husbands to have to drive their wives everywhere.

What on earth is wrong with this comment? It is nothing but an observation and an inference about that observation.

British Indians seek legal protection from caste system – World – CBC News

The problem with multiculturalism is that culture is so much more than funny dances and unusual foods. Countries that encourage multiculturalism always face the problem of trying to pick and choose the parts of the foreign culture that they like from among the parts that they don’t like. Foreign cultures include caste discrimination, honour killings, genital mutilation, polygamy, tribal warfare, arranged marriages, non-pharmaceutical drugs and so much more. There are an awful lot of foreign cultural practices that we don’t want in our country. So how is it fair to tell immigrants that they are welcome to practice their culture in Canada but later tell them that we won’t allow the parts that they consider most important and have been practicing for centuries?

I assume that this was rejected because it mentions racially-sensitive issues like honour killings and genital mutilation. But I believe that my point is valid. Any culture, including ours, contains some practices that are considered unacceptable by other cultures. Canada, like many other industrialized countries, aspires to tolerate a variety of other cultures. But this will invariably raise a problem when some of those practices are unacceptable to Canadians.

Smaller Sea King replacements would mean big changes to navy – Politics – CBC News

We need a good navy so we can be ready to go to war with Denmark over Hans Island.

I guess CBC doesn’t like satire on its news site.

Ariel Castro’s guards skipped checks in hours before suicide – World – CBC News

I really don’t care if someone like that is confined to prison for life or dies by suicide or misadventure. I’m just happy that our world has become a better place as a result of him no longer being in it.

I admit that my comment was rather nasty. But, even if Ariel Castro died before he was tried and convicted of his crimes, we all know that he was a nasty guy. He didn’t care about the women that he kidnapped and abused for years so why should I care about him. I’m happy to dance on the grave of a man like that.

Kenya rioters burn church after Muslim cleric killed – World – CBC News

@Jamie Sorensen You mean the Quebec government that rules under the shadow of a large Catholic crucifix, symbol of a church that burned heretics and waged crusades for centuries? That “religion of peace” that was only brought under control by the rise of the secular enlightenment in 18th century Europe? That government that wants to allow tasteful Christian religious jewelry while outlawing all non-Christian religious symbols?

I was responding to another person’s comment that implied that Islam is a less tolerant and peaceful religion than Christianity. I don’t think that my reply was any less fair than the original comment. Its rejection leaves me wondering if the anonymous moderator was a Catholic from Quebec.

‘Freemen’ take over Grande Prairie cabin, trappers say – Edmonton – CBC News

Of course “freemen” don’t like the government. “Freeman” is synonymous with “thief” and thieves never like the police.

Yeah. Okay. I guess I was slandering anyone who chooses to call himself a “freeman”. But, I have a difficult time imagining how any of those people expect to live, except by taking government services that they refuse to pay for. And, in my book, that means that they intend to steal those services. It doesn’t help that one of my wacky cousins has decided that he’s a “sovereign man” and is causing his mother considerable grief.

Stand Up for Science rallies target federal government – Technology & Science – CBC News

@RealityBased Based on what you say, I’m pretty sure that you’ve never met a real scientist. Being one myself, and having known a great many over the course of my career, I can assure you that, in general, scientist are not leftists, are no more or less political than anyone else, definitely do not try to shut down discussion; and do not demonize people. Generally, they prefer to talk about ideas, facts, and experiments rather than calling people names.

This is another case of a reply to someone else’s comment where I think that my point is not as offensive as the original comment that was accepted by the moderator. In this case, the original moderator was calling all scientists “lefties” and claiming that their demonstration in support of science in Canada was an attempt to suppress dissent. I don’t see how he can be permitted to slander a whole class of people and I be denied the opportunity to set the record straight.

Unpaid intern replaces Ont. MPP’s staff job, says ex-worker – Toronto – CBC News

Maybe Rod Jackson should be replaced by an unpaid volunteer.

More satire. A member of the provincial parliament was caught firing a paid employee and assigning an unpaid intern to do her job. Since when is suggesting that turnabout would be fair play unacceptable?

Japanese rail passengers push train to free woman trapped in gap – World – CBC News

@Marksist Sorry. Lots of animals murder each other. For example, the most common cause of death in wild mice is not starvation, disease, old age, or cats – it’s being killed by other mice. Animals that live in packs, from monkeys to wolves, kill each other frequently. Chimpanzees set up ambushes to kill chimps from other groups. And so forth.

I can only assume that this comment was rejected because it strayed off the topic of the original story. But when someone makes a foolish statement like “humans are the only species that murders each other”, someone should be permitted to set the record straight.

Unpaid internships exploit ‘vulnerable generation’ – Business – CBC News

Is someone at CBC being paid to moderate these comments, or is some intern doing it for free?

I still wonder if this comment was rejected by an unpaid intern.

Yours, Ashley

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About Ashley Zacharias

I'm a post-modern woman who lives a vanilla life and dreams about kinky adventure. I write BDSM pornography but have no interest in acting out my fantasies in real life. Find my work on SmashWords.com and Amazon.com
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5 Responses to Too Controversial for CBC

  1. Damon Johnson says:

    Right on, Ashley. I’ve had the same treatment from CBC moderators and have been so incensed that I’ve quit my account… several times, as I always seem to be drawn back when I read some nonsense written by a totally uninformed person on a particular subject. I’ve often thought of writing a blog of my own on the issue and was very happy to see yours (laughed out loud at the Ford comment).

    FYI, CBC moderation is performed by ICUC Moderation Services and you could read this article on their industry: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-01/dirtiest-web-jobs-grow-with-outrageous-spontaneous-filings-tech.html

    Beyond the obvious need to moderate the most vile and violent comments, I find this type of service no less than censorship.

  2. Damon Johnson says:

    By the way, my last moderated comment was just now.
    Article: Analysis “Is a ‘walk in the snow’ in Stephen Harper’s future?”
    My post: “I’d settle for a ‘long walk off a short pier’ when it comes to Harper’s future.”
    The mod must be a CPC supporter, lol!

  3. Nothankyou says:

    I empathise with your comment. CBC’s president was appointed by Harper to, effectively, down-size the CBC. CBC lost the Hockey Night in Canada theme song, then Hockey Night in Canada, and along the way a lot of CBC supporters who posted comments on line.

    In Harper’s eyes, Canada needs to be America. Harper is from Ontario, which is closer to the US than is Alberta. He was clearly stunned by the distance between Alberta and the US when compared with Ontario. He is now fixing that concern. Canada is losing the CBC, built to protect us from the US, and becoming more and more America.

    Remember, Harper said we would not recognise Canada when he was done with it.

  4. Steven says:

    Hi Ashley, Do you know of any recourse available for these censored comments or of anyone’s specific experience with challenging moderated comments

    • On occasion I have modified a censored comment and resubmitted it and had it approved. For the most part, though, there’s not much that can be done if the moderator doesn’t like the substance of the comment. Ergo, this blog post. 🙂

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