Warped lens of the media distorts reality for Albertans

media framing story changes story

How the media chooses to frame a story will change the story.

In fact, defining reality for the collective public consciousness is often based less on what actually happened, and more on what the media says happened.

It has been two weeks since the Parents for Choice in Education peaceful rallies in Edmonton and Calgary, where over 4300 people joined together to advocate about the protection of Alberta children through upholding parental rights.

Since then, hundreds of people who attended the rallies have filed complaints with various media outlets and the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council because of the inaccurate reporting of the event.

Some people have shared their messages with me.  Here are two of those messages – one is from a Central Alberta grandmother who drove to the Edmonton rally and the second is a media “report card” written by a teacher who attended the Calgary rally.

Thank you to these two Albertans for their willingness to help publicly set the record straight on the truth of the PCE rallies, especially after the strikingly distorted portrayal of the event through the warped lens of the media.


Saturday May 14th, 2016 I traveled from Central Alberta to the Parents for Choice in Education peaceful rally in Edmonton, attended by over 4300 people in both Edmonton and Calgary.

There were many parents with small children, as well as many concerned grandparents such as myself.  Together we represented thousands more Albertans who couldn’t make it physically to the rally but have shown overwhelming support through social media and emails.

We are Albertans who are able to see past the transgender issues of Bill 10 and the Guidelines – and find it incredibly alarming.

The majority of people against Bill 10 agree the transgender group is one of many minority groups that experience bullying. That’s not in dispute.

Unfortunately, there are still many more Albertans who are not aware of the extent of Bill 10 and the Guidelines and the implications they have for families.

Why do so many Albertans remain oblivious to these tremendous concerns?

As I discovered, the biggest fault by far lies with the media.

While I watched the news on Saturday night, and again the next day, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.  I couldn’t even sleep because the injustice of it all outraged me so much!


There were many reporters at the event. They had cameras. They had a good view of what was happening.  They could hear just as well as anyone else there what was being talked about.

But what did they come up with? EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM? That the rally was about transgender rights, and how all these thousands of people were against transgender people.

WHAT?? What about the parts of the event they chose NOT to report?

NOT about parental rights being compromised.

NOT about the schools being legally obliged to now keep secrets of children from their own parents.

NOT about the hundreds of signs that had been printed declaring the importance of parents and family in a child’s life.

Certainly NOT about the very small – but very vocal – group of transgender supporters that day who spewed vulgar language and bitterness to be heard clearly by all around them, including many young children (how ironic that they claim to be supporting “safe, welcoming, caring” schools!).

NOT the courageous presenters at the rally who had to face the full onslaught of these aggressive verbal attacks for the entire 2 hours of the rally, and try to speak to us in spite of it. I even know of at least one of the presenters who asked to be escorted to their vehicle because of fear for their safety.  How’s that for human rights?

NO!! The only thing I heard from the news was that all these thousands of concerned Albertans were against transgender people.  EXCUSE ME??

And what footage did they show?

NOT any of the excellent presenters giving their talks about parental involvement, freedom to teach their values and the importance of family.

NOT the angry and vulgar transgender activist group trying to disrespectfully interrupt the speakers with their obscenities and loud chanting.

Instead the media stories focused on two people who had a verbal disagreement – one person out of 2300 from the peaceful rally who was unfortunately goaded to the point that he responded.

And GUESS WHAT??  THAT small little clip was shown as the main event!   Our supporters were shown with their signs, but the voiceover on the footage only talked about how all these people were so against transgender people!

WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?  I know as well as the next person that the media will skew stories to their advantage, but to make the story into something it completely wasn’t?

THAT is unacceptable.

I have no idea why all the media appears to be scared to tell the truth, but I do know it’s something that should scare everyone else.

All these TV stations have now lost any credibility with the thousands of people that know what really did happen that day.

Sorry CTV, sorry CBC, sorry Global and CTV national news, and every other news station that can’t or won’t provide the public with the truth.

Shame on you all!

So sad you think your viewers will continue to be so gullible and believe anything you say.

Anyone seen a National Enquirer lately?  I’ve heard they report ‘news’ as well.

CALGARYblog post - media awareness - CTV report card

PDF: CTV report card


  1. Ron Voss

    Theresa, the image you chose for the start of your post re how the ‘progressive’ “media distorts reality”, brought to mind a real-life example of “How the media chooses to frame a story, will change the story” contained in the first three-and-a-half minutes of this video by Bill Whittle, an American conservative political commentator, explaining “The Narrative – Political Correctness”:

    The really upsetting part about the CBC (Pravda North) is that this distorted reporting to support the ‘progressive’ narrative is supported by my tax dollars! Grrrr!
    While the first letter by a Central Alberta grandmother mentioned that, “There were many reporters at the event. They had cameras. They had a good view of what was happening. They could hear just as well as anyone else there what was being talked about. But what did they come up with? EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM That the rally was about transgender rights, and how all these thousands of people were against transgender people”, that is true when it applies to the mainstream media (the media party). However, Sheila Gunn Reid, with the Rebel.Media, was there and she reported the event fairly:


  2. Ron Voss

    When one considers the “media party”, that is, the mainline media sources like CBC, Global, CTV, The Globe & Mail, etc., its warped lens “distorts reality” for all Canadians. A very recent example came to light. A Muslim woman, Urz Heer, clearly a long-time strong Liberal Party of Canada supporter, infiltrated the recent Conservative Party of Canada’s Convention in Vancouver posing as a CPC delegate. She stood up at the party’s Convention and tearfully complained about its purported stance against Muslims. The media party gobbled it up, because it fit the narrative that those in the CPC are racist, Islamophobic, ….. whatever.
    Despite the extensive resources available to the media party conglomerate, none of its members made an effort to check out Heer’s background before writing their stories. Ezra Levant’s tiny Rebel.Media did:
    So was Sheer, the perpetrator of this hoax, contrite? Nope, she doubled down and recently posted a tweet, If #Conservative Ezra Levant & other online trolls keep up the hate &division of Cdns, #CPC will never have another chance in govt. #.
    I get it, telling the truth and exposing fraud, if it goes contrary to the ‘progressive’ narrative is denounced as hate and causing division. For the ‘progressives’, the truth is irrelevant as long as the desired politically-correct narrative is maintained.


  3. L S

    I’ve read and extensive number of posts and comments on the “Parents for Choice in Education” Facebook page and website, along with the comments of supporters. I would say the media cut to the heart of the matter: these are bigots under a thin cover of parental concern. Most of what they say is spin for what can be summarized quite easily: they think homosexuality is a sin, and they don’t want anyone suggesting any differently to their children, lest it turn out that one of their kids is homosexual or transgendered and actually experiences a moment of acceptance (either form a group or from self).
    Let’s be clear, children are always free to tell their parents about their sexual orientation or identity, that schools will not step in and do it on behalf of the children is a basic protection of minors’ privacy, which is guaranteed them by a UN declaration (note, the group also refers to another UN declaration to claim the right of parents. They can’t just pick and choose amongst the UN declaration as it suits them.) It is also a clear protection of the schools, and teachers, who if they were obligated to report would find themselves in a dangerous situation of liability were kids then send for conversion therapy, which most professional psychologists and psychiatrist recognize is inhumane. Let’s reiterate, kids are free to tell their parents about their sexual orientation, and free to join or not join a Gay-Straight Alliance club.
    This group talks about protecting kids from sexual abuse? or from suicide? All adults have a duty to report to authorities when they think a kid is at a risk of either. The idea that preventing kids from joining a GSA could reduce their risk of suicide is ridiculous, the idea that it could a GSA could increase their risk of being sexually abused is equally so. The quote statistic about LGBQT kids doing better when parents are supportive, and I am sure those statistics have a basis in fact, but the spin part is this — notifying parents, against a students will, is in no way going to guarantee that they will support their child. Adolescents probably are the best at gauging whether their parents will support them. Let’s remember that the vast majority of the people supporting the movement belong to religions that believe that homosexuality is a sin, it is unlikely they are going to be supportive of a child that comes out of the closet.
    Of course personal believe is a basic freedom, adults have it, and are free to teach their personal beliefs to their child, but there is no basic human right which protects people from never having to hear, or never having their child hear an opinion that they disagree with. Students do not have to joint GSAs, they may occasionally be asked to hear what they say. Parents for Choice in Education say that nothing sexual or ideological should be taught in school, or parents should be notified if it is, but they are not fighting against he blatant sexual message that having cheerleaders in short skirts jumping around at halftime at a football game sends, they are not demanding that no student be allowed to attend a release time religion activity or an at school religious activity without parental notification. No, they have singled out one particular subset of the population to target, and they wish for public funding at schools where those particular members of the population are denied freedom of association and freedom of speech. They talk about parental rights and forget that minors too have rights. They are hypocrites, and their hypocrisy is born of bigotry. They are an embarrassment.


    • informedalbertans

      As the author of this site I welcome respectful discussion on this topic and appreciate your comments. However, I would ask that any of your future comments refrain from name-calling and accusations or they will not be published. Calling people bigots, an embarrassment and hypocrites does not contribute to a thoughtful, balanced, reasonable discussion.

      Despite your extensive reading, it seems you have based your conclusions on a number of incorrect assumptions that require some clarification.

      1. Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) stance on GSAs – I would encourage you to read the letter from Donna Trimble, Executive Director of PCE, that was written as part of the rally information package. The letter provides a summary of PCE’s main concerns and standpoint regarding GSAs: http://parentchoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Rally-Info-Package-Overview-Letter-final-796614.pdf .

      In addition, for a summary version of PCE’s stance, please refer to this “Finding Balance & Building Bridges” document: http://parentchoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Finding-balance-and-building-bridges2.pdf

      2. Parental notification of K-12 student struggles – It seems from your comment that you assume concerns on this issue are based solely on “An Act to Amend the Bill of Rights to Protect Our Children” (formerly known as Bill 10). However, the concerns of many Albertans are based on the content and implications of the Guidelines for Best Practices released by Alberta Education in January, especially regarding the section of parental notification (Best Practice #2).

      If you are not as familiar with the concerns about the Guidelines document, I encourage you to read the section of my site called “About the Guidelines”, which includes a link to access the document for yourself: https://informedalbertans.wordpress.com/aboutguidelines/

      Re: your statement that “notifying parents, against a students will, is in no way going to guarantee that they will support their child,”
      PCE has never advocated for notifying parents against a student’s will. In fact, PCE has always advocated for mediation, not isolation. Donna Trimble, Executive Director of PCE wrote a Calgary Herald column about this concern: http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/an-alberta-mothers-call-to-action-when-parents-lose-rights-children-are-endangered

      Re: your statement that “the vast majority of the people supporting the movement belong to religions that believe that homosexuality is a sin.”
      PCE exists as a non-partisan, non-religious organization in order to represent the concerns of a diversity of Albertans, some who are religious and some who are not. In fact, parental concerns regarding notification of their child’s struggles are not limited to “religious” parents and parental concerns are not dependent on religious/non-religious beliefs, or the gender identity/sexual orientation of the parent or the child. In fact, many parents who are non-religious, and even those who have LGBTQ children, support PCE and are contributing to advocacy efforts to ensure that parents are aware of their child’s struggles at school.

      Re: your statement that “All adults have a duty to report to authorities when they think a kid is at a risk of either [abuse or suicide].”
      You are absolutely correct – there are already provisions for the circumstances of abuse. The Guidelines and Bill 10 do not change those already existing protection protocols.

      3. Developmental Age Appropriateness – Based on your comment, it seems you assume this discussion is focused purely on “adolescents”, however nowhere in the Alberta Education policies or legislation are any age considerations provided. So in the absence of any such qualifiers these policies and legislation apply equally to all K-12 children.

      According to the “best practices” in the Guidelines document, many which are now adopted into school district policies across the province, the decision of whether information about a child’s gender identity/sexual orientation struggles is shared with parents is based on the child’s explicit permission. That means we are now giving decision making authority regarding a child’s welfare to the child. Is this always in the child’s best interests?

      Children, especially of an elementary age, are not able to accurately discern reality, with all its complexities, tensions, and nuances. Children are not miniature adults. Children are children. It is why they do not have driver’s licences, cannot buy alcohol or tobacco and have many other provisions in law to protect them as minors. And to expect a child who is already in distress to accurately perceive and evaluate the potential responses of adults in their lives – and base critical decisions regarding the child’s welfare on these perceptions – is, in my opinion, not reasonable, healthy, or in the best interests of the child.

      The fact that these vast developmental differences are NOT explicitly addressed is one of the reasons so many people feel quite strongly about this issue and needing amendments to legislation and policies. After all, if it does just apply to teens, who are potentially at an age/stage that they are able to better advocate for themselves, then why is the differentiation not made clear in policies/legislation?

      The reality is that increasing numbers of children at the elementary age level, aged 4, 7, 10, etc are identifying as transgender/LGBTQ (even one child in Edmonton in grade 5 already self-identified as pansexual). For many parents and teachers, these years are most concerning because these children are more impressionable and vulnerable. For the government to suggest that children at-risk, especially at these younger ages, should ever be in a position to make critical decisions about their own well-being and be isolated from parents due to their gender identity/sexual orientation struggles is very concerning to many parents and school staff.

      4. Respect for School Board Autonomy and Religious Freedom – Regarding your references to religious views, another person once wrote to me a similar concern saying “It seems so unloving to not protect a vulnerable people simply because they are perceived to be unnatural or in sin. It seems equally alarming that Christ-followers are demanding that a public, non-religious institution adhere to standards of morality that hold little value to those who don’t believe.” Furthermore she said that if people weren’t happy with the legislation and policies that “ample choice” existed outside the public system to accommodate their religious views.

      My response to her included the following points, which I believe also apply to your comment references to religion:
      The Guidelines and Bill 10 apply to ALL schools – public, independent, separate, private, Charter, etc. That means that “ample choice” is rendered meaningless if all choices must adhere to the same government mandates, no matter if the ideology contained in those mandates imposes policies that are contrary to the very foundations of why the schools exist in the first place.

      Most agree there is a need to protect the human rights of LGBTQ students and to ensure vulnerable LGBTQ students are supported. That is not the point of most concerns being expressed by tens of thousands of Albertans when it comes to respecting religious freedom and school board autonomy.

      The reality is that the principles of Bill 10 and the Guidelines extend far beyond this purpose and do in fact impose a certain value/belief system on everyone who attends any school in Alberta.

      That said, when it comes to these complex and personal issues of sexuality and identity, value systems are value systems, whether you call them “secular” or “religious”. Value systems are not neutral.

      Public money IS public. People of all different cultural and religious/non-religious perspectives and value systems use their taxpayer dollars to fund public education for everyone. Should not the public system then try as much as possible to reflect, honour and balance all these varying values?

      Furthermore, when it comes to Bill 10 and the Guidelines, the argument of money has indeed been used by some as a “motivation” to comply. The reality is that most Charter, private, independent, Catholic schools, (even homeschooling) educational options receive public funding in some form or another.

      This creates an important question: should government funds ever justifiably be used as a tool of coercion by a democratic government in a pluralistic society to enforce a non-neutral value system on all children and families through all forms of educational choices available?

      For many thousands of people who do have personal beliefs that lead them to enroll their children in a faith-based school, whether it be Muslim, Christian, Catholic, etc. they likely expect teaching based on the doctrine of that particular faith. Whether you or I, or even the Minister of Education, happens to personally agree with that doctrine as true is totally irrelevant. Should the government have the authority to mandate beliefs that are directly contrary to the beliefs that motivated those “choices” to exist in the first place? Are they really “choices” if they are forced to be the same?

      Keep in mind that though I am a strong supporter of PCE, I am not officially affiliated with their organization, so the thoughts and opinions I have written here are my own.

      I hope this clarifies your concerns and please let me know if you have any further questions that I could help with.


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