• Perfectly said, Ricardo. What you describe in the first paragraph parallels the findings of research into the media strategy of the populist far-right (authoritarian, nativist, ethno-nationalist) parties in Europe and the USA. First, a statement is made by a party leader that transgresses norms of political discourse (e.g., a statement that is anti-semitic, misogynistic, or otherwise racist). This creates a scandal, taken up by the mainstream media, thereby amplifying the message of the far-right party. The leader then denies that the statement was (or was intended to be) racist, without actually apologizing or retracting. (This is called the “ambivalence” strategy, which allows the “base” to hear the intended message while preserving the aura of political acceptability for the party vis-a-vis the broader public.) In addition, the leader will say that his/her freedom of speech is under attack by “politically correct” media or social activists. In this way, he/she becomes the “victim” of the “repressive” establishment (rather than the racist harasser of the groups singled out in his/her discourse), and the “defender” of liberal freedoms. This strategy has been very successful in moving the whole frame of acceptable political discourse to the nativist, anti-immigrant, racist right in recent decades. When stereotypes of immigrant groups or internal minorities are repeated often enough, along with false claims about the threats to “native” populations, the claims become “normalized” and are typically taken up by other political parties. Rather than moving onto the terrain of “free speech,” defenders of human rights could try to maintain the visibility of the boundaries that populist far-right discourse repeatedly transgresses, reminding citizens of the value and importance of universal rights, and the harms done to individuals in targeted minority groups (along with other harms) when these rights are usurped by ethno-nationalist or other nativist movements. As you point out, Ricardo, the Tea Party in the US and its President, DJT, have exploited American-libertarian ideas of individual liberty (to use hate speech, to carry weapons, to discriminate) and pluralism (everyone has the right to his/her own facts) to install an authoritarian, racist, patriarchal, plutocratic regime. Very similar politics are alive and active in Canada (in evidence in the base of the UCP), and must be exposed and resisted. Ideally, the mainstream media would stop falling into the same trap, repeatedly, of amplifying the lies and frames of these parties, but they appear to put the sellability of scandal above investment in investigative journalism. Also, as we know, social media are “a whole other story” . . .

  • Great write-up. Kenney is a buffoon and a serial panderer. And the AB extreme-right is so uninterested in fact-checking, favoring lazy memes, that they eat it up without thought. Discouraging to see a “politician” get support like this in 2017. Makes me question this province’s average IQ.

  • “Even on those occasions when experts, academics, and mainstream media have called out the lies, they don’t register with the public”

    This is overstatement, surely. A great deal of the American public has pounced on and denounced the constant lying and pressured the mainstream media to be more aggressive in doing the same. Bill Smith’s deceptive municipal campaign, a model for the same tactic here in Alberta just as sure as Kenney’s is, galvanised a strong response for the same reasons and ultimately led to his defeat and the defeat of the suspiciously samey-sounding slate of candidates challenging the incumbent Council. That it works on a *subset* of the public and creates needless division is obviously true, and more than problematic enough without exaggerating it further.

  • Dear Ricardo, Your “microscope lens is distorted or filthy..I could suggest to clean it once you remove it from where you keep it before using.

    Response to paragraphs 1to 4: This equally true of both sides..no relevant point made. I am bombaded by ridonkulous meme and troll armies of all sides. One only needs change the party name.
    The fourth paragraph is analogizing Trump, We are Canadians in Canada…

    Para 5 He is filling up new years eve, like a lot of us did to save the 4 plus dollars!!! Um thats kinda the point!!! like last chance…to do thattttttttt! And thats a false narrative!!! as stated by you, in said paragraph.

    Par 6 yay the LGBT+ community thats the thing i see this guy consistently attacked on. How can he possibly get any points there? He didnt show up to one of their invites and its on. They got their in and thats how this battle is going to get won by them only. because: you are damned if you do, and damned if you dont. This is a political minefield. There is nothing to say here…theres is no possible way to stay within the lines. and avoidance is seen as intolerance..what can ya do? He took the high road there.

    Par7 I fail to see anyone who had this perception of 75% when the real number was terrifying enough.. i did not see memes on either side distorting the facts. We are to 7 paragraphs and only one mention of kenney. Your title< of this article alludes to Kenneys alleged lies.

    Par 8 ok you finally get to some meat and potatoes of the articles title here,Dude check your facts you forgot to add the tax and its $3.52 cents a g!!!!!! where are you getting your info lmao You are either sorely mistaken or you have come up with some low numbers to downplay the reality for your readers. ha ha so sad whos the liar now!!!!!!!

    omg I was going to waste my time explaining every paragraph here I can see its a waste of time. peace out.

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