Friday, July 02, 2010

Faytene Kryskow talked about another Hitler Youth?!?

[Originally posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, May 9, 2010]

Whatever I might eventually say about Marci McDonald's new book, The Armageddon Factor, which I have two days before its release on the 11th, I have to admit that she has a heck of an ear for a newsworthy quote.

So much so that I almost called this post "Why Faytene Kryskow may sue Marci McDonald for libel."

I'll explain about what I found in McDonald's new book attacking Canada's Christian right....

I'll need to preface this by saying that I would categorically say that neither Faytene or her followers are Nazis in any way, shape, or form. What follows is a ghastly gaffe on Kryskow's part.

But her luck run out. Assuming that McDonald heard her correctly, assuming that she was rolling tape and has proof that that was what was said, assuming that Faytene Kryskow didn't apologize then or later...well McDonald has caught Kryskow in an act of dumbness that may cause her carefully cultivated Tory friends to start backing away from her.

To reiterate, Kryskow does not sit around her house wearing lederhosen and reading Mein Kampf. But McDonald is quite right to cite her for being very very thoughtless.

McDonald is in the audience at the March 2008 Toronto Missionfest. Faytene Kryskow is speaking to a large plenary audience as McDonald recalls on page 152 of her book:
Winding up her spiel at Missionfest, she summons the crowd to political activism with an unusual pitch. "Imagine an army of young people, five million strong," she says. "Imagine their passion to arise as a youth force that effectively decided who would get elected to political office--a force so powerful that it literally began to change their nation." Her audience is warming to her message when it takes a bizarre turn. "This actually happened," They called themselves the Hitler Youth and they changed the face of their nation and the world." As her listeners sit in stunned silence, she delivers her closing call to arms: "If they could mobilize their cause to become that mighty with the power of evil backing them," she tells the crowd, "how much more could we accomplish with the power of God backing us up."

You could argue that she is trying to use a variant of the "Hitler built the autobahns, so we, being good..." argument. But these days, and properly so, any comparison to the Nazis invites thinking of evil, diabolical cunning and such is both parts of your comparison. That's why Stephen Harper, say, wouldn't use it.

Why mention this?

If Kryskow is not quoted totally accurately, I would predict that McDonald and her publishing company will probably be sued for libel. If that were to happen, sales of the book would be hampered, as Random House Canada either refused to ship the book, to save their necks, or started pulling it off the shelves.

Truth is an ironclad defense, but you'd be left wondering "What happened to that book that I read about on BDBO?"

Kryskow is not going to comment on the book at all. Watch for her to issue an apology for this--if she hasn't already done so--and disappear for a bit. (Yes, the quote is a couple years old, but I don't think you can brazen it out...)

("Why did she cancel her appearance at my church the week after that book came out?")

Her carefully cultivated allies, mostly in the Tory Party, are going to wonder what goes on in her head, if nothing else.

The left, either in blogdom or in the newsroom, would, I am sure, have noticed this. I just happened to do so first.

Bloggers on the right might be tempted to say "This is a clear case of bias. She talks about so many things that McDonald saw, and this is what she quotes. Hardly representative. Not objective at all." And they might be right...but at the same time anyone who has worked in a newsroom would say: "I would say that it is newsworthy to compare what you hope for, in a left-handed way--to the Nazis."

McDonald, for her part, hates the Christian Right, it is fair to say.But she must have seen Kryskow as a godsend for her thesis. Want someone to say that the Christian right wants to take over the world? Kryskow obliges. And any left leaning reporter would jump all over a reference to the Nazis by a conservative person if it is not handled exactly right. (I bet that Kryskow will learn this now, the hard way.)

Well, if libel writs start flying, or Kryskow decides that she needs an immediate vacation, you will know exactly why.