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Senator Mike Duffy threw down some tough words for Canadian journalism schools this week. Duffy gave a speech to Conservative party members Monday in Amherst, saying that journalism programs these days train their students with a leftist bias.

“When I went to the school of hard knocks, we were told to be fair and balanced,” said Duffy. “That school doesn’t exist anymore. Kids who go to King’s, or the other schools across the country, are taught from two main texts.” He said the major problem was the mixture of focusing on Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky and books on critical thinking (which, technically, are not two texts but one text and one variety of texts).

“When you put critical thinking together with Noam Chomsky, what you’ve got is a group of people who are taught from the ages of 18, 19 and 20 that what we stand for, private enterprise, a system that has generated more wealth for more people because people take risks and build businesses, is bad.”

I won’t belabour the fact that Duffy seems to lament that teaching journalism students how to think critically seems a little weird, nor the implication that doing so would generate young minds acerbic to the open market. What I will question, though, is the ridiculous claim that Duffy came from anything that can be called a “school of hard knocks.” Unless he spent an undisclosed part of his childhood living in Red Hook, or UPEI offers an unadvertised course in shiv-handling.

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About the author

Jonathan Ore was the Chief Copy Editor for the Spring 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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