UPDATE DEC 12: Audio clips fixed.
UPDATE DEC 11:The channel that broadcasts Charles McVety's weekly program Word TV has pulled the show until it is assured the program will comply with Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) regulations.
Crossroads Television Ontario (CTS) explained the decision in a statement sent to Xtra by its chief shared services officer, Lara Dewar:
As a regulated broadcaster we have a responsibility to comply with the Canadian Association of Broadcaster’s Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code. CTS is a member in good standing of the CBSC, the group that evaluates complaints related to these regulations. It is our policy in these circumstances not to air the program until we have assurance from the program that content will be compliant.
Meanwhile McVety has taken to his program's website to express his anger with the industry watchdog's decision:
On Wednesday, December 8th the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council launched a viscous [sic] attack against free speech and Word TV, knocking the program from CTS until further notice. Word TV is deemed to be "malevolent, insidious and conspiratorial" for using the term "sex parade" and opposing the proposed Ontario Sex Ed curriculum.
McVety's statement misrepresents the CBSC decision as a censure of his comments about Pride and the Ontario sex ed curriculum. The decision by the panel is quite explicit about what led to its decision and very clearly explains that McVety's general opposition to both were "acceptable." The CBSC release reads:
With respect to the comments about homosexuality, the Panel explained that the program was entitled to air objections to that practice generally, to government funding of gay pride parades and to changes made to an Ontario school curriculum that would include discussion of homosexuality.
The release makes quite clear that McVety's censure resulted solely from his suggestion "that homosexuals prey on children." In fact, the panel's release cites a specific clause, the "Human Rights, Religious Programming and Negative Portrayal Clause."
But it's not only McVety who reports the decision inaccurately.
Readers of both the National Post and CTV reports on the ruling could easily be left assuming the decision resulted merely from McVety's opposition to Pride and the Ontario sex ed curriculum – as neither source mentions his suggestion that gays could use both as recruiting tools for young children. The National Post report reads:
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, a self-regulated industry watchdog, said that Rev McVety disparaged gays in episodes that ran between July 2009 and February 2010 when commenting on Toronto's massive gay pride parade and a revised Ontario sex curriculum for grade schools.
While it's true the council said McVety disparaged gays, those comments alone didn't result in the censure. The CTV report also distorts the decision, omitting any reference to McVety's suggestion that all gays prey on children (UPDATE: For a report that doesn't mislead readers, check out this Yahoo News item).
McVety has not returned Xtra's calls for comment, but he did speak to Newstalk 1010's Jim Richards. On the show, Richards explains to McVety that his censure resulted from suggestions that gay pride is a "pedophile's dream," not from simple opposition to it, but McVety, the president of the Canada Christian College, denies it.
However, not 20 seconds later, McVety contradicts himself and ends up repeating the very claim that resulted in his censure by the council:
Listen to the rest of the interview here.
On Dec 8, a Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) panel concluded that anti-gay comments made on a program hosted by evangelical Charles McVety violated the broadcast industry's professional broadcast code.
The CBSC panel decision found that comments that aired "objections to that practice [of homosexuality] generally," as well as those relating to government funding of Pride and the Ontario school curriculum were acceptable (Gay Pride, explained the panel, is not "everyone’s cup of tea"), but "when, however, the program suggested that homosexuals prey on children," it violated the code.
From the decision:
“McVety may not like homosexuality. That is his entitlement, but to leave the totally unsubstantiated impression that gay and lesbian adults have a predilection toward young, underage people is insidious and unacceptable. In all, the Panel finds the McVety mis-characterizations as excessive, inappropriate, disparaging, and abusive [...].”
The comments were made on an evangelical Christian program, Word TV, broadcast on CTS (Crossroads Television Ontario). CTS also airs Michael Coren's talk show.
The decision cites a number of transcripts from the show, including this hostile rant against the need for a new Ontario sex education curriculum:
Why? Because unfortunately they have an insatiable appetite for sex, especially with young people. And there’re not enough of them, so they want to proselytize your children and mine, our grandchildren and turn them into homosexuals. And they’ve seized our Ministry of Education and now they’re implementing this! Back when we led the campaign to defend marriage in, oh, in 2005, we warned that once they legalized same-sex marriage, then that will be the legal groundwork for them to change our curriculum and to start teaching this to our children. Well, here it is, my friends. Something that we said five years ago is now alive and well in the province of Ontario.
Last April, days before Premier McGuinty pulled the new Ontario sex education curriculum, the Canadian mainsteam media gave a significant amount of coverage and attention to McVety's opposition to the new program.
Given this decision by the CBSC, it seems worth asking again: Why does mainstream media cover Charles McVety?