Self-proclaimed feminist and Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick — a longtime leftist shill — has sparked national outrage over a column that she penned for The Hamilton Spectator.
In exceedingly apparent ways, that column plays defense for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party with characterizations of the SNC Lavalin scandal that are more than just a few standard deviations from the mean.
Many political reporters, especially in the United States, refer to the practice of shilling for a favored politician, proverbially, as ‘sucking-off’ the individual who benefits from the publicity. It’s so clear that is what she was doing on behalf of Trudeau in the recent Spectator column that many conservative activists are calling on The Star to terminate its relationship with her — even though that publication did not run the piece.
On Twitter, Mallick says that she is receiving hate mail as a result of the column. It’s not the first time. One does not have to scroll her Facebook commentary to recognize which biases she holds.
When Mallick is known at all, it is often for her use of vulgarities in describing Republicans and Conservatives. In 2008, after Sarah Palin was selected as the U.S. Republican party’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Mallick, among other things, labeled Palin as “white trash” and an “Alaskan hillbilly” and likened her to a “toned-down … porn actress” in a column for the CBC.
Jonathan Kay, writing in the National Post, accused Mallick of “childish vulgarity” and “hypocrisy” and said that her writing “is haunted by hateful hang-ups about Americans, country-dwellers and the political right. Some of her obsessions are downright weird — such as her prurient insistence that male conservatives embrace bad policy because they are impotent and horny.”
An investigation by the CBC ombudsman found that “many of her most savage assertions lack a basis in fact”, and that her aspersions on the sexual inadequacy of Republican men “would easily be seen as, at best, puerile” if “applied to any other group”.
The publisher of CBC news, John Cruickshank, apologized for publishing Mallick’s column, which he called “viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan”.
On July 28, 2011, the Star published a column by Mallick entitled “What to do when a monster likes your work”. A British journalist mentioned in the column, Melanie Phillips, promptly commenced legal action.
The Star printed an apology, stating in part, “The column made reference to Ms. Phillips’ writings in an entirely misleading and inappropriate manner.” The paper also removed the column from their website and settled with Phillips for full legal costs, in addition to offering a donation to a charity of her choice in lieu of damages.
But Mallick’s unpopularity in Canada has been reflecting negatively on the Canadian media industry much more broadly. Many question how she could have advanced to the highest echelons of the national media without more systemic and institutionalized biases allowing for it.
Mallick was born in Norway House, Manitoba, to an Indian father from Kolkata and a Scottish mother. She was raised in the northern Ontario town of Kapuskasing, and in other remote communities where her father worked as a physician. She holds degrees in English Literature and Journalism from the University of Toronto and Ryerson University.
After graduation, she was employed at the Canadian financial daily newspaper Financial Post where she first worked as a copy editor and later became a news editor. She then went on to the Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star.