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You are correct Kristin....Conservative, Liberal, New Democrat or non-voter...all of us should condemn the hateful behaviour you describe.

You are wrong, however, in casually tossing Poilievre into your piece. You topic was harassment--not this week's "nom du jour"-- and the thin link to his well-deserved media attacks weakened it.

Journalists must face reality: mainstream media behaviour and taint have debased your trade. You must re-earn the credibility and trust once automatic to journalists.

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My ideal would be to have police investigate these threats and issue warnings to the people who’re making them. People seem to feel emboldened to make threats online for the same reason they swear and rage at other drivers when in their cars: a feeling that they’re anonymous and can utter threats to vent their spleen without consequences. This needs to be supported by legal requirements to associate social media, messaging, and email profiles with a verified identity. (This would be great for anti-spam and anti-scam efforts too - no verification, and they’re simply blocked.). Finally, when police speak to these people, I’d like them to do it at a workplace or other venue where others can learn what they’ve been doing. Shame can work wonders at checking bad behavior.

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 14, 2022

I completely agree with this... such harassment from anybody, directed to anybody, is totally unacceptable. I would point out, though, that while the case made by the article is non-partisan and non-political, institutional media itself is not. Frustration and anger directed against journalists that takes this form is inexcusable; but what gives rise to it is journalists' wilful disregard of exactly the same virtues of decency and fairness the article lauds, and their embrace of the very hypocrisy and partisan unfairness the article denounces.

Far from being neutral observers above the fray, reporting factually on the culture wars, journalists now try to win those wars for one side or the other and shape their narratives accordingly. This is not the proper role of information providers; and the exasperation of people who lack platforms themselves, and see their access to information--information they need in order to form their own judgment--compromised in this unethical way, is understandable.

To be clear, I'm not defending threats. I'm suggesting that admonishing people for behaving badly without acknowledging what's provoking them is itself a form of 'blindness,' resulting in an article that, while good and very welcome, is not as complete as it might have been.

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We need to be careful about how we define harassment. Threats of violence are criminal and should be dealt with firmly by police. Gender based or racial slurs are offensive and nobody should be making them.

Ongoing accusations of lying, laziness, bias, being shills for the government, or being corrupted by state funding for media are appropriate for many journalists, and should be expected. Poilievre's treatment of David Akin was appropriate and long overdue.

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Well said. It is quite literally the least people on all sides should do. I don’t know if Covid is to blame or if it’s been a result of watching the show to our south but somehow a large number of our fellow citizens have forgotten what a self imposed filter and/or common decency are in this time period. The anonymity of the internet has surely not helped. I also fear this is not just a battle against women journalists or politicians but has become a war against women in general. I neither condone nor understand it and cannot consider supporting politicians of any stripe who do through omission or action.

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I would prefer it if Chrystia didn’t get harassed.

On the other hand her government threatened and harassed people to get a vaccine they did not want. They threatened the loss of their livelihood and in a lot of cases executed that threat. They harassed those who opposed these measures by accusing them of being Nazi’s etc.

So sure it would be great if our politicians could board elevators in peace but wouldn’t it be nice if our fellow citizens could freely choose to get a vaccine or not without threats to their livelihood or being called a Nazi? The scale of these things are not the same.

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Well written and timely. One additional thing that comes to mind is the somewhat sad throat clearing that seems to be required for articles like this to pre-empt the inevitable "Oh, you think you have it bad, x has it worse"... It reminds me of a grief group I was part of where a parent was sharing how horrific it was to lose their infant to SIDS. A mother next to her actually said, her grief was worse because she lost two children in a car accident. ?!?!?!?! Its not a competition. Perspective is always an important background variable, but honestly, you should not have to couch "Oh, I only receive x death threats a day and others get 2x." Death threats are well over a line. At some point the plot is lost if the discussion becomes how far over the line it is.

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This behaviour is totally unacceptable. Men do this women don’t.

Something is terribly wrong in our society.

There is nothing wrong with being angry, but so many today have never learned to value anger, listen to it and express it without judging or blaming. A failure of how our community functions.

Older societies had ways of teaching, of initiating young males into adulthood. We have lost that custom, that skill even. At the same time, human ingenuity has created so many paths for dysfunctional ways to be angry. Older communities, where people knew each other, where elders, people with a lifetime of experience were in close communication with the young handled anger in far superior ways.

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Thank you for your article. I agree that we have lost our common civility and the ability to engage in arguments on substance rather than personal attacks. We need leadership on this from every level - politicians, journalists, and all the Twitter influencers, otherwise we will continue to descend into chaos and it won't be good for anyone.

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Let's be clear what these efforts are: they are campaigns. The messaging is typically very aligned and the targeting has a clear goal of intimindating people to change their behaviour. Social media has made delivering these campaigns really, really easy. From what I can see, you don't even need to formally organize people anymore -- just build (or buy!) a following, deliver your talking points, and let the algorithm deliver it to people who will feverishly agree and 'go after' the enemy du jour. It's cheap, easy ... and really bad for Canada.

This only works because we -- the crowd -- stand back and allow it. If you watch someone you disagree with get attacked in this manner and you think: "well, that's extreme, but they kinda had it coming" you are part of the problem! Threatening people is never ok.

We're devolving into a society where people who hold opposite points of view to us are evil, the enemy. Social media amplifies this trend -- anger gets engagement and what gets engagement gets more eyeballs -- but that doesn't excuse the behaviour. Civil society relies on tolerance of people who live and believe things you don't -- of being able to navigate our shared spaces with people very different than you. That's hard and everyone is going to have 'red lines' -- beliefs they cannot tolerate. But, we seem to be *defaulting* to intolerance, which isn't sustainable.

And, before you write about Trudeau being the divider (or Poliviere or whomever) -- it's become part of our political lexicon because it works. It drives fundraising and voting. That's on all of us. Politicians do what they need to do to get elected; if we reward crapping on "the other" we'll get a lot more of it.

If there is any modern trend that gets me upset, it's this one.

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There has been a lot of conversation here on why Kristin brought Mr. Poilivre into the essay. A fundraising email went from CPC yesterday saying David Akin was “ swearing, shouting and heckling”. The email concludes by saying “ we are up against the media.” Mr. Akin was doing his job.

Mr. Poilivre chose this strategy of media bashing - don’t question why his name was included in an article about increasing threats to journalists.

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The growing uncivilized and aggressive behaviour of Canadians is a curse and is fuelled along by social media platforms that allow posts in anonymity. Attaching a real name to racial slurs, taunts and threats of violence is an effective throttle to ignorant and dangerous messaging. Remember, journalists like our hosts at The Line are real people extending their real email addresses, and like all Canadians deserve to be able to earn a living free from harassment.

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A commenter yesterday complained that in 3 days since Poilievre ascended, there had been two negative articles; now we're 3 for 4.

Except it isn't! Unless chiding Poilievre for his silence counts. (But, also, Poilievre speaking up would be him accepting the role of the leader of the threateners, perhaps? Probably why he hasn't.)

Nope, the article mostly condemns those actually making the threats. Poilievre's political problem is that great line that dogged Donald Trump: that whatever he said he liked, White supremacists all liked him.

His opponents just have to keep harping on the fact that "he's followed around the Internet by a squad of death-threat-making protectors, who all love his every word", and it'll hurt.

In the States, loud dog-whistles to this crowd, and only the most mealy-mouthed, minimal distancing ("both sides"), worked, bringing in more people from the cold, who'd found their man at last, than it pushed existing voters away. In Canada, that simply will not work; there are not so many of them, and more who will push away. It's a negative-sum strategy, here.

Here, these guys will doom Poilievre if he doesn't figure out how to shut them up.

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I'm sure this was happening long before Trump, but he normalized attacks on the media. The idea that people receive death threats for reports facts or opinions is measure of just how far we've fallen as a civilized society, and it's tragic. Ignorance is no bliss, and shooting the messenger doesn't change reality. The far- anything needs a significant reality check, and IMHO, one of the best things that our police forces could be doing is knocking on these people's doors and letting them know the threats they're making are being noted. Social media is the opposite of social, but it seems the tool of choices for this small collection of "tools". That's it's women being threatened speaks to the pathetic frail male ego, and just how stupid we really have become. It's all very sad, and like so many things needs to be addressed by real leaders...which Canada does not appear to have.

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I seem to be reading a quite different article than many on here. The author is writing about the receiving of serious threats that are meant to intimidate her and stop her from doing her job. These are not minor.

Below, someone wrote that racial slurs and sexist comments are unpleasant but not serious. No. They are serious. Threats and intimidation are serious. ‘Racial slurs’ are serious. Sexist comments are serious. They are serious because, besides causing stress and alarm for the target, they normalise this behaviour. You can see that for yourself just by reading the dismissive comments below.

This is the second article in a row that has spawned some really odd and unpleasant ideas.

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I totally agree!! I have grave concerns about the rise of vitriolic hatred in Canada. This country has lost its sense of civility - for whatever reasons. We need leadership at all levels of government working in consort to restore it.

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