On "Extremism"


Last week, Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick called Conservative MPs Michelle Rempel and Peter Kent "extremists" for complaining about the Khadr settlement in U.S. media. The CBC's Matt Kwong called Breitbart.com an "extreme-right website" even though his point was that its writers can be highly critical of President Trump. Such variations on the Reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy are now so commonplace as to pass unnoticed in our mainstream media. They constitute not merely a deliberate distortion of our partisan politics, but a dangerous rhetorical escalation. If former CBC news anchor Peter Kent is an extremist, what new language must we invent to describe the politics of violence?