Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mark Steyn: erroneous quotes and Editor’s notes

As noted here and on the website Regret the Error, an Editor’s note appears at the end of Mark Steyn’s recent article in Maclean’s.

Editor’s Note: In this column, “True North strong not free,” (April 12, 2010), quotes were attributed to the Canadian Jewish Congress that came from The Mississauga News. The CJC had posted the quotes on their website under the heading ‘Articles of Interest.’ Subsequent commentary and satire in the column was linked to those quotes. Maclean’s regrets any confusion they might have caused by attributing certain positions directly to the CJC. Link

Mr. Steyn has other problems with quotes and errors, for which no Editor’s Note or correction has yet been provided.

An update on this post about a problematical Mark Steyn article.

In addition to the chunks of Steyn’s 2006 Western Standard column, “History swings both ways”, which appear to have been recycled into Maclean’s “We’re in the fast lane to polygamy” (2009), another chunk of "History swings both ways" also appears in Steyn’s book, America Alone (noted along with other recycling examples here, see item 2). Between Maclean's and his book, that Western Standard piece seems to be very substantially reused.

There's also an attribution problem:

Steyn, Western Standard, 2006: Stanley Kurtz of National Review thinks it's part of her wholesale dismantling of the institution…As Mr. Kurtz writes: ‘Stressing 'the multicultural nature of Canadian society,' Bailey claims that Canada has an urgent practical need for more Muslim immigrants. If Canada can just 'expand the pool of applicants,' says Bailey, it just may win 'the global competition for highly skilled immigrants.’”

Steyn, Maclean’s, 2009: A couple of years back, the Toronto Star quoted Martha Bailey advocating polygamy on economic grounds: Stressing ‘the multicultural nature of Canadian society,’ Bailey claims that Canada has an urgent practical need for more Muslim immigrants. If Canada can just ‘expand the pool of applicants,’ says Bailey, it just may win ‘the global competition for highly skilled immigrants.’”.

In 2006, the quote is attributed to Stanley Kurtz in the National Review. But three years later in Maclean’s the same passage is attributed to a Toronto Star report.

Kurtz it is. A small thing, but not dissimilar to the problems indicated by that Editor’s Note.

And in the same piece in which this 2008 Toronto Star quote:

“In the past five years, Hindy said he has officiated or "blessed" more than 30 polygamous marriages; the most recent was two months ago.”

Turns into this:

Mark Steyn: “Last year, Aly Hindy, a Scarborough imam, told the Toronto Star that he’d performed 30 polygamous marriages just in the last few weeks”,

Steyn also writes: It was confirmed last year that in the province of Ontario thousands of polygamous men receive welfare payments for each of their wives”.

Confirmed? By who? On Feb. 14, 2008, Steyn had made a similar claim in Maclean’s: “Last week, the British and Ontario governments confirmed within days of each other that thousands of polygamous men in their jurisdictions receive welfare payments for each of their wives”.

Did Steyn confuse the 2009 figures with the 2008 version? UK government reports did cite “thousands”, but no “government confirmations” of “thousands” of polygamists seem to turn up for Ontario, as this National Post quote from MLA Ted McMeekin in the Provincial Legislature made clear …There are no multiple marriages being registered in the province of Ontario.” And another government official: “We found… nothing to indicate that there had been any polygamous marriages performed."

McMeekin and other officials were responding to reports in the Toronto Sun and CanWest quoting a Toronto Imam, Mumtaz Ali, who boasted that there were “hundreds” of men in polygamous relationships. Reports do quote city and provincial officials (who) said legally a welfare applicant can claim only one spouse”, and that "names and addresses are cross checked for possible fraud". "'I can assure you that polygamy is not recognized under immigration legislation', immigration spokesman Karen Shadd-Evelyn said."

So where are those government confirmations of "thousands" of polygamists in Ontario?

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