Mark Steyn

SOURCE:  Wikipedia, captured 2020-08-27
This page last modified: 2020-09-04 16:23:38 -0700 (PST)

  • Born: December 8, 1959, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Occupation: Author, commentator
  • Website: SteynOnline.com


    Mark Steyn (born December 8, 1959) is a Canadian conservative author and commentator. Mark Steyn has written numerous books, including the New York Times bestsellers America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, and After America: Get Ready for Armageddon.

    Mark Steyn has guest-hosted the nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show, as well as Tucker Carlson Tonight on FOX News, on which he regularly appears as a guest.

    Life and career

    Steyn was born in Toronto on December 8, 1959. Mark Steyn was baptized a Catholic and later confirmed in the Anglican Church. Mark Steyn has stated that "the last Jewish female in my line was one of my paternal great-grandmothers" and that "both my grandmothers were Catholic." Steyn's great-aunt was artist Stella Steyn. Mark Steyn's mother's family was Belgian.

    Steyn was educated at the King Edward's School, Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, the same school that author J.R.R. Tolkien attended and where Steyn was assigned a Greek dictionary that had also been used by Tolkien. Steyn left school at age 16 and worked as a disc jockey before becoming musical theatre critic at the newly established The Independent [British online news site] in 1986. Mark Steyn was appointed film critic for The Spectator [British weekly magazine] in 1992. After writing predominantly about the arts, Steyn shifted his focus to political commentary and wrote a column for The Daily Telegraph, a conservative broadsheet, until 2006.

    Mark Steyn has written for a wide range of publications, including the Jerusalem Post, Orange County Register, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, The New York Sun, The Australian, Maclean's magazine, The Irish Times, the National Post, The Atlantic, the Western Standard, and The New Criterion.

    Steyn's books include "Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now" (a history of the musical theatre) and "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It," a New York Times bestseller. Mark Steyn has also published collections of his columns and his celebrity obituaries and profiles from The Atlantic.

    Steyn held a Eugene C. Pulliam Visiting Fellowship in Journalism at Hillsdale College in spring 2013. As of 2010, Steyn was no longer the back-page columnist for the print edition of "National Review," conservative writer James Lileks having taken over that space in the print edition. Steyn's back-page column for National Review, "Happy Warriors," resumed with the March 21, 2011 issue.

    Steyn has contributed to the Ricochet.com blog, and has recorded numerous podcasts with the organization.

    Steyn has guest-hosted the Rush Limbaugh Show.

    From December 2016 to February 2017, Steyn hosted "The Mark Steyn Show" on the CRTV Digital Network. Following the cancellation of the show, CRTV sued Mark Steyn who countersued. CRTV lost completely and Steyn prevailed in a judgment that was originally ordered by Judge Elaine Gordon and later confirmed by Judge Eileen Bransten in New York Supreme Court.

    Positions

    Criticism of the news media

    In a May 2004 column Steyn commented that editors were encouraging anti-Bush sentiments after the Daily Mirror and The Boston Globe had published faked pictures, which originating on American and Hungarian pornographic Web sites, of British and American soldiers supposedly sexually abusing Iraqis. Steyn argues that media only wanted to show images to Westerners "that will shame and demoralize them."

    In a July 2005 column for National Review, Steyn criticized Andrew Jaspan, then the editor of "The Age," an Australian newspaper. Jaspan was offended by Douglas Wood, an Australian kidnapped and held hostage in Iraq, who after his rescue referred to his captors as "arseholes." Jaspan claimed that "the issue is really largely, speaking as I understand it, Douglas Wood was treated well there. Mark Steyn says Douglas Wood was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive." Steyn argued that there is nothing at all wrong with insensitivity toward murderous captors, and that it was Jaspan, not Wood, who suffered from Stockholm syndrome. Mark Steyn said further, "A blindfolded Mr. Wood had to listen to his captors murder two of his colleagues a few inches away, but how crude and boorish would one have to be to hold that against one's hosts?"

    Conrad Black trial

  • See also: Conrad Black ยง Criminal fraud trial

    Mark Steyn wrote articles and maintained a blog for Maclean's covering the 2007 business fraud trial of his friend Conrad Black [Canadian-born, past-British newspaper publisher, convicted fraudster] in Chicago, from the point of view of one who was never convinced Black committed any crime. Doing this, Mark Steyn later wrote, "cost me my gig at the Chicago Sun-Times" and "took me away from more lucrative duties such as book promotion." Steyn expressed dismay at "the procedural advantages the prosecution enjoys -- the inducements it's able to dangle in order to turn witnesses that, if offered by the defence, would be regarded as the suborning of perjury; or the confiscation of assets intended to prevent an accused person from being able to mount a defence; or the piling on of multiple charges which virtually guarantees that a jury will seek to demonstrate its balanced judgment by convicting on something. All that speaks very poorly for the federal justice system."

    After Black's conviction, Steyn published a long essay in Maclean's about the case, strongly criticizing Black's defense team.

    Muslim immigration views

    Steyn opposes unfettered Muslim immigration to the United States, which he describes as dangerous. According to Steyn, the West faces a choice "between liberty and mass Muslim immigration."

    Steyn believes that if mass Muslim migration to Europe is not stopped, Europe will turn into what he calls "Eurabia," a future society where the European continent will be dominated by Islam. Mark Steyn writes, "much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear in our lifetimes, including many, if not most Western European countries."

    In his book "America Alone," Steyn likened Europe to Bosnia in the lead-up to its civil war and genocide:

    When some critics claimed that Steyn was advocating genocide in that passage (above), Steyn wrote:

    Support of the invasion of Iraq

    Steyn was an early proponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2007 he reiterated his support while attacking Democrat John Murtha, stating that Murtha's plan for military action in Iraq was designed "to deny the president the possibility of victory while making sure Democrats don't have to share the blame for the defeat. ... Murtha doesn't support them in the mission, but he'd like them to continue failing at it for a couple more years."

    In 2013 Steyn blamed the United States' lack of success in Iraq on "geopolitical ADHD" [Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder], writing "the unceasing drumbeat of 'quagmire' and 'exit strategy' communicated to the world an emptiness at the heart of American power ... An awareness that America lacks "credibility" and "will" is what caused crowds to attack U.S. embassies and the consulate in Benghazi." Steyn's column prompted The Atlantic to call Steyn an "unapologetic hawk," noting how Steyn's column failed to take account his own declarations of victory in Iraq in 2004 when Steyn wrote: "After 15 months of running Iraq, the Americans are out ... the Americans have bequeathed them a better Iraq than the one the British invented for them eight decades ago ... So I'm relaxed about Iraq: its future lies somewhere between good enough and great."

    Books

    America Alone

  • Main article: America Alone

    Steyn's book America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It is a New York Times bestselling nonfiction book published in 2006. It deals with the global war on terror and wider issues of demographics in Muslim and non-Muslim populations. It was recommended by George W. Bush. The paperback edition, released in April 2008 with a new introduction, was labeled "Soon to Be Banned in Canada," alluding to a possible result that Steyn then anticipated from the Canadian Islamic Congress' human rights complaints against Maclean's magazine.

    Response to America Alone

    In an essay about "America Alone," Christopher Hitchens wrote that "Mark Steyn believes that demography is destiny, and Mark Steyn makes an immensely convincing case," then went on to detail many points at which he [Christopher Hitchens] disagreed with Steyn. For instance, Hitchens believed that Steyn erred by "considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes; seeking asylum and to build a better life." Nevertheless, Hitchens expressed strong agreement with some of Steyn's points, calling the book "admirably tough-minded."

    After America

    In 2011, Steyn published After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, a followup to "America Alone." In it, Mark Steyn argues that the U.S. is now on the same trajectory towards decline and fall as the rest of the West due to unsustainable national spending and the subsequent borrowing involved to pay for expanding government. Within its pages, "After America" discusses the U.S. federal debt specifically and more generally the rise of bureaucratic state control as individual initiative declines.

    Should decline continue to affect peoples lives and the expansion of debt go on, Steyn's ultimate worries are apocalyptic, with him declaring,

    The book achieved significant commercial success. "After America" peaked at number four on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. Although written in a polemical style about controversial issues, praise came from publications such as The Washington Times, where Steyn received comparison to George Orwell, and The Spectator, where Steyn's sense of prose received comparison to pyrotechnics.

    On August 17, 2011, Steyn discussed the book and a variety of related things while delivering the first lecture in The NHIOP Bookmark Series, a program of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. C-SPAN recorded Steyn's comments.

    Legal issues

    Canadian Islamic Congress human rights complaint

  • Main article: Human rights complaints against Maclean's magazine

    In 2007, a complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission related to an article "The Future Belongs to Islam," written by Mark Steyn, published in Maclean's magazine. The complainants alleged that the article and the refusal of Maclean's to provide space for a rebuttal violated their human rights. The complainants also claimed that the article was one of twenty-two (22) Maclean's articles, many written by Steyn, about Muslims. Further complaints were filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, later stripped of its mandate by the Canadian parliament in 2011, and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.

    The Ontario Human Rights Commission refused in April 2008 to proceed, saying it lacked jurisdiction to deal with magazine content. However, the Commission stated that it, "strongly condemns the Islamophobic portrayal of Muslims ... Media has a responsibility to engage in fair and unbiased journalism." Critics of the Commission claimed that Maclean's and Steyn had been found guilty without a hearing. John Martin of The Province wrote, "There was no hearing, no evidence presented and no opportunity to offer a defence -- just a pronouncement of wrongdoing."

    The OHRC defended its right to comment by stating, "Like racial profiling and other types of discrimination, ascribing the behaviour of individuals to a group damages everyone in that group. We have always spoken out on such issues. Maclean's and its writers are free to express their opinions. The OHRC is mandated to express what it sees as unfair and harmful comment or conduct that may lead to discrimination."

    Steyn subsequently criticized the Commission, commenting that "Even though they (the OHRC) don't have the guts to hear the case, they might as well find us guilty. Ingenious!"]

    Soon afterwards, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission issued a public letter to the editor of Maclean's magazine. In it, Jennifer Lynch said, "Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free reign [sic]. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."

    The National Post subsequently defended Steyn and sharply criticized Lynch, stating that Lynch has "no clear understanding of free speech or the value of protecting it" and that "No human right is more basic than freedom of expression, not even the "right" to live one's life free from offence by remarks about one's ethnicity, gender, culture or orientation."

    The federal Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissed the Canadian Islamic Congress' complaint against Maclean's in June 2008. The CHRC's ruling said of the article that, "the writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike." However, the Commission ruled that overall, "the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature, as defined by the Supreme Court."

    Steyn later wrote a lengthy reflection of his turmoil with the commissions and the tribunals. The reflection appears as the introduction to The Tyranny of Nice, a book authored by Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere on Canada's human rights commissions.

    Defamation lawsuit

    In July 2012, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) blogger Rand Simberg accused American climatologist Michael E. Mann of "deception" and "engaging in data manipulation" and alleged that the Penn State investigation that had cleared Mann was a "cover-up and whitewash" comparable to the recent Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, "except that instead of molesting children, Michael Mann has molested and tortured data." The CEI blog Editor then removed the sentence as "inappropriate," but in a National Review blog post, Steyn cited the deleted sentence / misallegation, and alleged that Mann's hockey stick graph was "fraudulent."

    Michael Mann asked CEI and National Review to remove the allegations and apologize, or he would take action. The CEI published further insults, and National Review Editor Rich Lowry responded in an article headed "Get Lost" with a declaration that, should Mann sue, the discovery process would be used to reveal and publish Mann's emails. Mann's lawyer filed the defamation lawsuit in October 2012.

    Before the case could go to discovery, CEI and National Review filed a court motion to dismiss it under anti-SLAPP legislation, with the claim that they had merely been using exaggerated language which was acceptable against a public figure. In July 2013 the judge ruled against this motion, and when the defendants took this to appeal a new judge also denied their motion to dismiss, in January 2014. National Review changed its lawyers, and Steyn decided to represent himself in court. Journalist Seth Shulman, at the Union of Concerned Scientists, welcomed the judge's statement that accusations of fraud "go to the heart of scientific integrity. They can be proven true or false. If false, they are defamatory. If made with actual malice, they are actionable."

    The defendants again appealed against the decision, and on August 11, 2014 the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press with 26 other organizations, including the ACLU, Bloomberg, Gannet (USA Today), Comcast (NBC), Time, FOX News and the Seattle Times, filed an amicus brief arguing that the comments at issue were Constitutionally protected as opinion. Steyn chose to be represented by attorney Daniel J. Kornstein.

    An appeal to get the lawsuit thrown out, filed by Steyn's co-defendants (National Review, CEI and Simberg), was heard in the D.C. Court of Appeals on November 25, 2014. Steyn was present for oral arguments but did not join in the appeal, preferring to go to trial. On December 22, 2016 the D.C. appeals court ruled that Mann's case against Simberg and Steyn could go ahead. A "reasonable jury" could find against the defendants, and though the context should be considered, "if the statements assert or imply false facts that defame the individual, they do not find shelter under the First Amendment simply because they are embedded in a larger policy debate.." A counterclaim Steyn filed through his attorneys on March 17, 2014, was dismissed with prejudice by the D.C. court on August 29, 2019, leaving Steyn to pay litigation costs.

    The defendants filed for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in the hope it would hear their appeal. On November 25, 2019, it denied the petition without comment. In a dissenting opinion, associate justice Samuel Alito wrote that he had favored hearing the case on the basis that, even though the defendants might yet prevail in the case or the outcome itself come before the Court for review, the expense of litigating the case this far may itself have a chilling effect which would deter speakers. Mann said that he looked forward to the trial.

    Critical reception

    Steyn's writing draws supporters and detractors for both content and style. Martin Amis, who was harshly criticized in "America Alone" yet nevertheless gave it a positive review, says of his style: "Mark Steyn is an oddity: his thoughts and themes are sane and serious -- but he writes like a maniac." Mark Steyn's style was described by Robert Fulford as "bringing to public affairs the dark comedy developed in the Theatre of the Absurd." Longtime editor and admirer Fulford also wrote, "Steyn, a self-styled 'right-wing bastard,' violates everyone's sense of good taste." According to Simon Mann, Steyn "gives succour to the maxim the pen is mightier than the sword, though he [Mark Steyn] is not averse to employing the former to advocate use of the latter."

    Susan Catto in Time noted his interest in controversy, "Instead of shying away from the appearance of conflict, Steyn positively revels in it." Canadian journalist Steve Burgess wrote "Steyn wields his rhetorical rapier with genuine skill" and that national disasters tended to cause Steyn "to display his inner wingnut."

    In 2009, Canadian journalist Paul Wells accused Steyn of dramatically exaggerating the rise of fascist political parties in Europe. Wells also accused Steyn of repeatedly "shrieking" about Islam in his political writings.

    Awards

    In 2005, Mark Steyn received the Henry Salvatori Prize in the American Founding at the Claremont Institute, established by philanthropist and conservative leader Henry Salvatori. It is awarded in honour of those who "distinguish themselves by an understanding of, and actions taken to preserve and foster the principles upon which the United States was built."

    Mark Steyn was awarded the 2006 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism for writing which "best reflects love of this country and its democratic institutions."

    Roger Ailes of FOX News Channel presented the prize, which included a check for $20,000.

    Steyn received the Center for Security Policy's "Mightier Pen" award in 2007, receiving it at an event that featured a convocation by Jewish scholar and rabbi Yitz Greenberg and remarks by Board of Regents Honorary Chairman Bruce Gelb.

    In 2010, Steyn was presented the Sappho Award from the International Free Press Society in Copenhagen, Denmark for what was described as both "his ample contributions as a cultural critic" and "his success in influencing the debate on Islam, the disastrous ideology of multiculturalism and the crisis of the Western civilization."

    Steyn received the inaugural George Jonas Freedom Award at a gala hosted by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms in Toronto in 2018.

    Personal life

    Steyn lives and works mainly in Woodsville, New Hampshire. Mark Steyn has three children.


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