Here, friends, is the latest from an avid Zundel-Watcher:
Thirty years ago, in Canada, marked the beginning of Trudeaumania, when a young and charismatic law professor named Pierre Elliott Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and, by extension, Canada's next prime minister.
Running opposite Trudeau, vying for the party's leadership, was an also young and very charismatic German-Canadian artist named Ernst Zundel. Today Trudeau, long retired from the game of politics, is said to be living a life of lonely seclusion; Ernst Zundel, however, is in the fight of his life, fending off the Establishment lackeys who desperately want to be able to control and censor the informational traffic on the Internet.
Warren Kinsella, author of *Web of Hate*, was a guest on CBC Newsworld's phone-in show "On the Line" on Easter Sunday. Kinsella was there to argue in favour of censorship and *against* unfettered free speech for all us netizens.
Eloquently arguing the opposite viewpoint was Dan Gardner, a reporter with the Ottawa Citizen, the capital's paper of record. In fact, the question tabled for debate was "Should the Internet be censored?" Viewers were invited to phone-in or e-mail their comments; or else vote on the matter in an informal telephone poll.
Right from the start, Kinsella took aim at Bernard Klatt and his Fairview ISP. He was obviously there in the role of hatchet-man. Kinsella on Klatt: "...a little guy...who runs a little server..." Kinsella then, and afterward, made ominous--but false--noises about Fairview hosting websites rife with hit-lists and death-threats and what not.
All of which evidently made no big impression on viewers. For, when the votes had been tallied and the results released at the end of the program, an overwhelming 82% of callers had voted in favour of free speech, and *against* Kinsella's Big Brotherly scheme for Net censorship.
Throughout the almost hour-long show, the name that seemed to be on everyone's lips, just about, was that of Ernst Zundel. A careful count reveals the Zundel name was uttered no less than twenty-two  times. Zundelmania was definitely in the ether.
Indeed, the subtext to this CBC program (our non-Canadian friends should be aware that CBC is Canada's taxpayer-subsidized *public* broadcaster), the second clear, if unofficial, question on the table was "Should Ernst Zundel be censored?"
(Ingrid's gleeful insert here: In other words: Your worthy Zundelsite that obviously belongs to me!)
Those who were unable to watch the show need to understand exactly how it was layered. For example, it was divided into segments to air the usual commercial messages, and each time the program cut away to spot the ads there'd be a short clip of the "man (or woman) in the street" expressing some censorship-friendly viewpoint and, incidentally, taking a swipe at Ernst Zundel.
This occurred more than once--several times, in fact--so that it was ***obvious*** that these folks had been asked point-blank to opine on the presence of the Zundelsite in cyberspace.
You didn't need to own the IQ of a rocket scientist, like Werner von Braun, to grasp the game that was afoot here: Employ a "populist" context to smear Zundel.
Meanwhile, e-mailed opinions were run as sentence-long blurbs at the bottom of the TV screen. Samples included: "Let free men and women discuss and debate openly" and "The Internet is the most participatoty form ever of freedom of speech." That, from a couple of Torontonians.
But the best commentary came from a Nova Scotian: "Censorship is the tool of dictatorships, where the media of information are controlled by any self-proclaimed moralists, we lose our basic freedoms of thought and diversity of opinions."
In the end, if the show was intended to build a public consensus in favour of Internet censorship it backfired badly; if anything, it was a resounding bang delivered on the snout of the wannabe censors."
Thought for the Day:
"I believe that the pendulum has swung about as far as it will go and is beginning to swing back. If so, we shall witness some ground-breaking and history making events in the very near future."
Back to Table of Contents of the April 1998 ZGrams