Update: All Of Canada vs. Gil LeBreton

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Posted March 8, 2010 by Jeff Prince in Blotch

Comparing Canadians to Nazis is something Fort Worth Star-Telegram sportswriter Gil LeBreton won’t do again.

He’s as sorry as sorry can be, people.

A little online reconnaissance shows LeBreton has been taking shrapnel from all sides.

The original column from Feb. 28 is still listed among the most read stories on the paper’s website. More than 500 comments have been left, mostly by shocked and angry Canadians.

Reading these comments, along with comments left on my original post and on other blog sites, indicates that many Canadians are under the illusion that Canada single-handedly defeated Hitler and Nazi Germany.

LeBreton’s subsequent apology column on March 1 has almost as many comments. It wasn’t very apologetic.

A Facebook page called “Hold Gil LeBreton and The Star-Telegram Accountable” has more than 2,200 members. One posted a tweet allegedly left by LeBreton after his original story was published but before the huge outcry that led to his apology: “The truth hurts, eh, Canada? It’s supposed to be an Olympics, not a drunken pep rally.”

Still, the Calgary Herald interviewed LeBreton and described him as “one chastened, regretful columnist” and “contrite and deeply apologetic.”

Check out LeBreton’s quotes from that story: “I want to apologize personally to you and to your readers. I want to apologize for my stupidity for picking the worst possible analogy for making my point… . I simply could not – could not – have picked a worse analogy. I hope you believe me when I say I know I should have been smarter and done better. . . I should have been a better American citizen as well as a citizen of the world.”

That certainly sounds better to Canadians than, “The truth hurts, eh, Canada?”

LeBreton isn’t the only one groveling. Another Facebook member complained to the Star-Telegram but was pacified after she received responses from big wigs, including publisher Gary Wortel: “Well I for one am satisfied the publisher did write (albeit a short) apology,” the member said. “His executive editor did respond to my email to management and apologized to me personally. So all in all I’d say I’m ok with the apologies and this issue for now.”

Of course, the Calgary Herald writer doesn’t mind throwing Americans under the bus. Check out this excerpt:

My theory was that some Americans, so convinced everybody on the planet only wants to be American, are puzzled by the patriotism of other nations. LeBreton obliquely confirms that thought.

‘Canada was having this great awakening, this flood of patriotism, and we should have sat back and applauded that. But in my case I didn’t know how to interpret that, and I let it influence my judgment Sunday night.’”


13 Comments


  1.  
    myname

    the truth hurts? you’re a jerk, man. that statement is “throwing Americans under the bus”? jeez, why don’t you find something better to do than trying to piss people off.




  2.  

    Hi Jeff,,, Most Canadians would and haven’t seen this apology you mentioned, as Calgary is one city in one of the many provinces,,,The apology that was posted in the star just didn’t answer to many of the problems we saw ..I personally witness standing ovations for US and other countries but that was left out…Everyone here knows that Texas as well as the rest of the US lost many souls to the war and that is why it was considered so hurtful to compare us to a country that in the case around here was responsible for some small fishing communities to have 50% of the male population never return. Yes Canadians came together ,waved flags and wore maple leafs…It was our turn…If Gil had posted a sincere apology we would have forgiven…Thks for reporting this…




  3.  
    Tom

    For God’s sake, the Canadians do not insist they won the fight against the Nazis by themselves. But they DID join the fight against the Nazis only a few days after war started, sending whatever they could to help defend England, to bomb Germany with the RCAF and to fight the U-boarts in the North Atlantic. Meanwhile, for two years (1939-1941), our “America First” congressmen insisted that Hitler wasn’t all that bad, that we can do business with him and besides, he’s an anti-communist! So the Canadians may not have won the war, but they DID join the fight against heavy odds while we were twiddling our thumbs.




  4.  
    jeff.prince

    America, more than any other nation, is criticized as imperialistic when it becomes involved in the world scene, and lambasted as twiddling its thumbs when it keeps its nose out of things.

    Most people agree that America was slow to get involved in WWII. It took Pearl Harbor to awaken the Sleeping Giant, but “we” got busy after that.

    I put “we” in quotations because I wasn’t yet born in the mid-20th Century.

    The crack about Canadians thinking they won the war all by themselves is called hyperbole, a writing technique used by smart-ass bloggers in the 21st Century.




  5.  
    Paul

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpMxF20x5wk

    Here Jeff,, This is one of the events I mentioned …
    Then go back and read Gil’s reporting…

    then check out Canadian fans standing for your Gold in Skating or Cheering your Bob Sled and Snowboard Golds..




  6.  
    Gary

    Hey Jeff: Hyperbole is a literary device best used in moderation in the right context. After the Nazi thing, misrepresenting Canadian reaction is probably not the right tack, even for a smart assed blogger.

    As for being imperialistic versus a thumb-sitter, the two are not mutually exclusive. One can invade countries and rape their resources while ignoring other situations where a wrong could be attacked. Many examples exist of this co-existence, so unfortunately you can’t use that as an excuse for non-action of the US while the rest of the Western world took on Nazism.

    As far as Lebreton’s alleged first response, check out this link and judge for yourself. It has him “saying the truth hurts” along with his tweet account and picture:

    http://tweetmeme.com/story/651109975/in-these-olympics-canadians-only-paid-attention-to-canada-olympics-sports-news-and-video

    Richie Whitt over at the Dallas Observer also wrote this morning that Lebreton, an old time drinking buddy, told him that he “was forced to pen an apology he didn’t want to write.” Doesn’t sound too contrite to me, and does show his so-called “apology” was a bunch of weasel words likely penned after he was taken to the wood shed. The Canadian columnist was fooled by the crocodile tears and phony repentance.

    The problem in all this is that it wasn’t just the Nazi reference, but all of the other misrepresentations and flat out untruths (lies?). Most American writers, like you, talk about the Nazi thing and ignore the charges of callousness towards the luger’s death, insensitivity, lack of support for foreign athletes, chauvinism, rigged ticket sales, etc etc. Whitt wrote:
    “I read his column the Sunday it came out. Insightful, I thought. My takeaway was that Canada’s hockey triumph and chauvinistic propaganda diluted a supposedly world event. No biggie, but I got his point.”

    The problem is that the point was a lie. The Berlin analogy was just another WMD – weapon of mass distraction – to allow the lies to go unchallenged because the focus was on the odious analogy.




  7.  
    Paul

    One posted a tweet allegedly left by LeBreton after his original story was published but before the huge outcry that led to his apology: “The truth hurts, eh, Canada? It’s supposed to be an Olympics, not a drunken pep rally.

    http://topsy.com/twitter/gilleb




  8.  
    Jason

    Richie Whitt has now edited his blog post, removing the reference to Gil being forced to apologize.

    Clowns.




  9.  
    Gary

    I saw the clumsy editing, but too many commenters reference the line to eliminate it, unless of course they also start cutting them out. What’s with these DFW writers anyway?




  10.  
    jeff.prince

    With friends like Whitt, LeBreton doesn’t need enemies (although he apparently has millions across North America).

    Before the Internet, LeBreton’s column would have been read by a relatively small number of North Texans and been bird cage liner the next day, gone and forgotten.

    I love the Internet.




  11.  
    Paul

    Lol,,,Jeff you really nailed it…The world is just one big blog now….But hey there is good and bad…I enjoyed some of the songs on Ballad of Pedro Nix..




  12.  
    jeff.prince

    Pedro Nix hated Nazis and loved Canadians.





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