The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Sunday, April 17, 2005


The Black Rod originally posted March 10, 2005

There was a time you would read the newspaper and never once give a thought as to why they published certain stories.

The only reason it made the papers was because it was 'news'. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be printed. It stood to reason. They were professionals. They knew better than us what "news" was and what wasn't. And they were careful to separate the "news" from the paper's political leaning which was relegated to the editorial pages. We knew it was so because they told us it was.

Kinda quaint, ain't it. But that was newspapers PI---pre-Internet. We know better now.

This may be news to the Winnipeg Free Press where it is business as usual despite a recent dipping of a toe into the world of the blogosphere.

The Black Rod last commented on the shameless shilling of the Winnipeg Free Press in a post-budget, pre-convention Liberal love-a-thon.

We noted the many Liberal faces prominently being promoted in the news pages as if they were news. We even drew attention to how the Liberal choir sang the praises of "urban visionary" and former mayor Glen Murray, who may or may not be contemplating a triumphant return to our shores.

We noticed, but failed to mention, that one prominent name was missing from the pages of the shilling daily. But he didn't. Nevertheless, he must have been chuckling up his sleeve because he knew how soon he would be stealing their thunder.

For on the very day The Black Rod went out, Lloyd Axworthy stepped from behind the curtain in an op-ed piece for the ever-helpful Winnipeg Free Press.

Gone was the diplomat. Enter the unabashed warrior. And in his sights: the enemy, aka the government of the United States.

What prompted such a screed? The Black Rod suspects it was watching his entire world order chip away piece by piece thanks to George Bush.

Day after day there's been another "Bush Was Right" story. In Der Spiegel, Le Figaro, the Toronto Star, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, The Independent, McLean's magazine (not you, too, Peter Mansbridge?) and that was before the stories in Newsweek, on the Jon Stewart show, and on National Public Radio. We mean, how much could Lloyd take before he had to spew?

Well, instead of recommending a long rest, the Winnipeg Free Press took only a few days before hailing Axworthy as a hero in a page one story. "Cyberspace world all abuzz over Axworthy's Rice rebuke" sang their headline.

But it is instructive which blogs reporter Dan Lett quoted for his story. Were they the only ones he had been pointed to, or were they his personal favorites in his off-hours?
Either way, the blogs he cited, and the ones he didn't, illustrate how the pre-Internet ways no longer withstand scrutiny.

The two blogs named in Lett's story--- truthout and dailykos---are very familiar to anyone who followed the latest presidential election in the US. In case you didn't, let us enlighten you -- one is to the far left of the Democratic Party, and the other the extreme far left. The difference can be explained as the message of dailykos is "Bush is Hitler" and that on truthout is "Bush is Worse than Hitler."

Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga of the Daily Kos (he goes by the handle "Kos") was secretly accepting fees from the Howard Dean campaign for "advice" during the Democratic primary campaign. He received $3,000 (U.S.) a month for four months. Zuniga is now also a major Democratic fund-raiser.

William Rivers Pitt is the lead writer for the alternative daily news magazine He is a former New York Times reporter and author of two books: War in Iraq - What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition is Silence. Mr. Pitt is currently working on his third book, Four More Years--Truth, Justice and the Ethic of Total Opposition. He worked for a time as press secretary to leadership candidate Dennis Kucinic, the Democrat closest to the Canada's NDP.

We note that Lett did not quote any reaction from the right to Axworthy's article. So let us remedy that oversight. Here are some posts from the conservative site FreeRepublic:

To: bourbon
This is a really unprofessional letter. Is this really the former Canadian Foreign Minister or a parody?
posted on 03/04/2005 2:54:33 PM PST by Incorrigible

To: bourbon
Shocking really. I expect rants from radio hosts but not from those schooled in diplomacy.The Libs in Canada seem to be becoming more unhinged than the Libs in the USA.
19 posted on 03/04/2005 3:22:38 PM PST by Incorrigible

To: bourbon
This is really childish. Is it a parody of some sort?
23 posted on 03/04/2005 3:25:46 PM PST by 68skylark

To: 68skylark; Alberta's Child; headsonpikes; Clive; UpHereEh; NorthOf45 Could y'all please clear up the confusion on this thread surrounding, (1) who Lloyd Axworthy is and (2) whether or not this article is a "parody." No one seems to believe me. Many thanks, FRiends.
28 posted on 03/04/2005 3:33:39 PM PST by bourbon

To: bourbon
This is no parody - this is how fatuous Canucklehead pontificaters actually write when they think that the Americans aren't reading! Lloyd Axworthy typifies the smug and smarmy Liberal Party triumphalism that Canada has endured since the collapse of the Conservatives post-Mulroney.
Stephen Lewis is another Canadian lefty narcissist, full of bloated self-regard, who bloviates regularly on Canadian moral superiority. Google him at your peril, unless wearing gumboots. So please do NOT export to us any of your own corn-fed Yankee lefties; we've got more than enough of these quivering eunuchs already!
32 posted on 03/04/2005 3:47:48 PM PST by headsonpikes

To: bourbon
Good Lord, who is this condescending jerk? It may come as news to him that the unwashed below the border have heard of all those marvelous progressive snake-oils that he hands down as received wisdom from on high. Trouble is that we reject them. These guys do think they rule the world, don't they? Fortunately this particular intellectual dwarf has never been in a position of any political importance. I'd hate to think of the damage he could cause if he'd risen as high as, say, mayor of Toledo.
posted on 03/04/2005 3:03:58 PM PST by Billthedrill

To: Billthedrill
On this score, you might want to explore the concept of the 'Responsibility to Protect' while you're in Ottawa. It's a Canadian idea born out of the recent experience of Kosovo and informed by the many horrific examples of inhumanity over the last half-century. Many Canadians feel it has a lot more relevance to providing real human security in the world than missile defence ever will.
Axworthy's concept of "real human security" sounds suspiciously like a backrub or a warm hug. Oh, and just how does Canada exercise this 'responsibility to protect?' With kindly-intentioned backpackers and aid-workers? Surely, he can't be foolish enough to suggest that Canada's weighty "responsibility" can be discharged via deployment of the country's underfunded and miserably depleted armed forces?
12 posted on 03/04/2005 3:12:45 PM PST by bourbon

To: bourbon
These Canuckistani tinkerbells can really get snippy, can't they?
42 posted on 03/04/2005 4:07:54 PM PST by Tacis

Soros, Moore and Kennedy, nicely bundled and spewed forth as liberal hurl.

We now know something we did not know before, and that is that Canada can no longer be depended upon as a friend, and trust is waining fast.
71 posted on 03/04/2005 5:43:47 PM PST by Cold Heat

To: bourbon
New Canadian nuclear shield, each Mountie will carry a pocket full of sharp rocks and in case of missile attack they will hurl them at the passing rockets with vengeance!!!
76 posted on 03/04/2005 6:05:18 PM PST by TheForceOfOne

Here's the laugher... Axworthy was Foreign Affairs Minister during Kosovo. There was no UN Sec. Coun. Resolution, but they went ahead anyway. Him and Chretien, Clinton, France, Germany et al... they can bitch forever about Bush not having a 17th, 18th or 19th Resolution for Iraq, but they don't have a single one for Kosovo until after the fact.
145 posted on 03/05/2005 10:35:30 AM PST by captcanada

To: Trinity_Tx
I too, thought it was a parody at first. Nobody could really be that rude and insulting, and just plain wrong without it being a joke. But I continued reading and it became clear that this is what passes as intelligent and enlightened writing among the elite left in Canada. It doesn't speak well for the University of Winnipeg, I might add.
162 posted on 03/05/2005 3:15:04 PM PST by Dog Gone

To: gipper81
"Lloyd is still pissed that his ice hockey team left Winnipeg years ago." Me too. I still cannot believe that Winnepeg does not have a team. That is just wrong.
152 posted on 03/05/2005 10:53:32 AM PST by concrete is my business

In the interests of being fair and balanced, we should note that the Axworthy article was received extremely well by the website of the extremely loony left wing of the Democrats, Democratic Underground.
On the anti-Bush continuum, DU is "Bush is Hitler and we should have shot Hitler". Here, then, is a sampling of the posts on DU:

3214930, I know Lloyd AxworthyPosted by Canadian Socialist on Thu Mar-03-05 08:36 PM
as he was my MP when I lived in Winnipeg. As well, I'm an alumni of the University of Winnipeg. Great liberal arts school! I have so much respect for this man; he's always been one of my heroes.

3217607, I want to kiss this man
Posted by MountainLaurel on Fri Mar-04-05 10:19 AM
It's so refreshing to hear someone calling a spade a spade when it comes to the Bush junta. However, this guy should probably stay away from small planes for a while. :scared:

3212658, Almost like saying "Condi, go take a flying f**k at yourself"
Posted by indepat on Thu Mar-03-05 02:27 PM

3212871, Here's to condi... A good swift kick in the face.
Posted by Auntie Bush on Thu Mar-03-05 03:00 PM:kick:

3216030, Lloyd Axworthy
Posted by journalist3072 on Thu Mar-03-05 11:32 PM
I was listening to Radio Canada Intl on my shortwave radio this evening, and he was interviewed on As It Happens. I absolutely loved it. He was saying how basically, there really isn't any debate here in Washington nowadays. It's basically Bushie's way or the highway. And he said Condi needs to come to Canada and see the debate that takes place there, with all points of view being expressed.

3216165, The 'master' comment is going to get him in trouble
Posted by quaoar on Thu Mar-03-05 11:59 PMAs in referring to Bush as Condi's "master." The slavery allusion probably went right over his head. Otherwise, he's dead on.

3216753, You gotta love Lloyd
Posted by yvr girl on Fri Mar-04-05 03:17 AMThe letter was snarky and erudite at the same time. A thing of beauty.

In his follow-up column in the Free Press, Lloyd Axworthy has confirmed Dan Lett's view that he is a hero to a new generation, and does he rejoice in the adulation. His ego now well fed by the attention, the Ax wants more.

He wants to engage in public diplomacy with average Americans through the Internet.

Having bought into the conspiracy theory that the US government is controlling the information being presented to the public, he thinks if they only knew the "truth", Americans would join the "global community" who, in his mind, see things exactly as he does.

Unfortunately unless he reads the Black Rod, Lloyd won't know - that he is only being applauded by the rabid anti-Bush camp. The same bunch that congratulated Dan Rather for his "expose" that was based on made-up documents. And Rather was exposed, humiliated and driven out of his anchor chair - by the bloggers.
We sent a copy of this Black Rod to Free Press owner Bob Silver, just as we have sent every one previous. However we struck a nerve, because for the first time, he responded via email, and told us, he never wanted to hear from us again.

Makes you wonder what he was so upset about.