Free speech at stake: group
Edmonton Transit won’t carry ads by atheist organization
An atheist group running bus ads that declare there probably isn’t a God says Edmonton Transit is blocking free speech because it doesn’t want to carry their messages.
No “atheist group” says that in the entire article anywhere.
“The request has just gone to them, but (based on) earlier discussions with them, I don’t think this would go … on our property,” [ETS business development director Pat Waisman] said.
“We did talk [to Pattison Outdoors, the company that runs advertisements in Edmonton] and they said, ‘We sell products, not personal opinion.’
“We said, ‘Yes, we continue to support you in your decision.’ “
Well that’s hearsay. Let’s actually go to Pattison to see what they said:
Brian de Ruiter, Pattison’s vice-president and general manager for the Western region, said Friday the group hasn’t asked to put up ads in Edmonton.
In principle, he doesn’t object to campaigns in which enough space is purchased — probably at least $8,000 to $15,000 worth — to make them legitimate, but said many advocacy groups try to spend a minimum amount in hopes of attracting media coverage.
This sort of controversy can swamp his office with hundreds of calls and e-mails, and isn’t worth the disruption, he said.
“For us, the first thing is, is it advocacy or is it advertising?
“Are we being taken advantage of with the goal of creating a media stunt?” [emphasis added]
So Pattison “doesn’t object” to the ads, but someone made a quick statement at ETS saying what they thought Pattison’s position was – and this constitutes a story?
I’m glad they cut my interview from this tripe.
The journalist then grabs some quotes from Justin Trottier (who heads the Freethought Association of Canada and the Atheist Bus Campaign) and councillor Ben Henderson. Both argue that it’s a free speech issue, Henderson suggests a look at all the city’s policies as he’s received complaints about the rampant “anti-abortion” (the words the Journal uses) ads in the city.
So it seems to me that all we have here is a reporter who’s trying to make a story appear out of thin air. It must be a slow news day.