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Showing posts from March, 2006

The Free Press scalps The Black Rod for the true story about the Matthew Dumas shooting

Imagine our surprise to find a story from The Black Rod in the Winnipeg Free Press --- without attribution.

Oh, not the attribution part. We've come to expect that whenever we see the FP cribbing one of our stories.

The surprise was in seeing which story they scalped. And trying to guess why.

Last April, almost one year ago, in an exclusive story, The Black Rod told how a 10-year-old girl witnessed Matthew Dumas fighting with police in a back lane mere minutes before he was shot to death by a police officer on Dufferin Avenue.

It was the critical piece of the puzzle to understanding what happened that afternoon and what was going through the minds of Dumas and the police officers chasing him.The Winnipeg Free Press, along with the other mainstream media in Winnipeg, have studiously avoided reporting our exclusive, until now.

In a story about the gunning down on Saturday of Leon Dumas, the cousin of Matthew Dumas, reporter Bruce Owen writes:

"Matthew Dumas was fatally shot by a city…

A Week of News: Past, Present and Future

It's not every week you get to see the past, the present and the future of news displayed before you.

This past week was a rare treat.

First, the past...

Last weekend, in advance of the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, both the National Post and the Globe and Mail carried stories about the sputtering anti-war "movement" in the U.S. The gist of both was that the anti-war campaign had failed to find any traction in the general public, and was driven by leftover hippies who were trying to relive their anti-Vietnam protest days.

Those, you may recall, were the glory days of the mainstream media, when anti-war protestors were deified and reporters were applauded for being openly critical of the government and of the military fighting the Communists in Vietnam.

Sadly (for the MSM veterans of Vietnam past), there was the present...

The next day we saw the proof of the advance stories. Anti-war marches across Canada, the U.S. and Europe drew pathetic "crowds." In W…

Decoding Charles Adler and the Tory Three

It was just by fluke that The Black Rod caught the strangest interview on television since the days of Pollock and Pollock.

While switching channels past the nightly infomercials for Ab-Flex, miracle juicers, and girls just waiting for your call, we landed on Global's daily five minutes with Charles Adler.

Catching our eye was his guests---the three candidates for leadership of the Manitoba Consevative Party. Given that he had devoted a segment to them less than a week ago, we wondered why he had them back so soon.

Then we wondered why they were doing the whole show in code.

Luckily, unlike any other insomniacs or masochists watching, we had a code-book handy so that we were able to decipher the discussion.

On the surface, Adler was exploring the positions of his guests on the question of funding private abortion clinics. Ron Schuler had given an interview to The Winnipeg Sun on the topic and Adler had corralled the other candidates to discuss the matter, sort of.

Except that it was…

Trouble in Toryland?

The editorial board of the Winnipeg Free Press knew something was wrong.

The "race" to replace Stuart Murray as leader of the Manitoba P.C.'s was more than lacklustre. It was downright strange.

Instead of using the opportunity to float bold ideas that would attract voters, the contenders were announcing eye-glazing platforms about obscure party rules.

The FP even wrote an editorial asking "What gives?"

Their first mistake was relying on the newspaper's Legislature reporters to give them a clue. They should know, by now, that if you have questions, you go to The Black Rod. Because we were thinking the exact same thing. What gives? Only, we knew where to go for the answer---the blogosphere.

Political reporting is usually peppered with anonymous sources---Insider Abe spinning here and Backroom Bob spinning there, all on the understanding that their insights are "not for attribution." But if you know where to go on the blogosphere, you'll find a sea of…

Waddell Ignored but Scrapping for Attention

They say the first impression is the strongest. And our first impression of Ken Waddell is that he's a scrapper.

Which could be fun to watch, given how the race for leader of the Manitoba Tories has been so listless that the Winnipeg Free Press was driven to write an editorial about it.

Because his base of operations isn't Winnipeg, his campaign for the leadership of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party has flown under the radar of the mainstream media's reporters.

But being an unknown to the big media players isn't necessarily a bad thing. It lets you define yourself instead of having them peg you.Waddell threw his hat into the ring two weeks ago, but you'd hardly know it by the amount of coverage he's received within the Perimeter Highway. Maybe there will be more after he formally files his papers tomorrow.

Meanwhile, The Black Rod decided to find out more about this farmer/publisher who's challenging two sitting MLA's for the party's top job.

Now is No Time for Fiscal Restraint

We don't need no stinking public inquiry into the Crocus Fund, said Premier Gary Doer last week.

He had, he told the public, questioned himself and found "I have nothing to hide."

Of course, the last person who went on the record with that same statement was Wally Fox-Decent, and we all know how thatturned out in the audit of Workers Comp.

If Doer had shut up right there, it would have been bad enough. But he had to give more reasons for stonewalling. And with each reason, he made a stronger argument for holding an inquiry a-s-a-p.

It would cost too much, said the Premier.

Uhhhh-huhhhh.

Do you need any more proof to dispel lingering doubts?

Here's an NDP government that's overspent every budget by hundreds of millions of dollars -- suddenly worried about spending. They're draining the Rainy Day Fund during the sunniest years in history and they've decided to draw a line in the sand.

No public inquiry on Crocus.

We can't afford it.

Finally, some fiscal restraint…

Cindy and Strauss skate down Portage from different directions

If covering speedskating Olympian Cindy Klassen was a sport, we could call it the Cindylympics.

And the 'gold' would surely go to 92-CITI-FM host Cosmo.

Cosmo scooped the rest of the city's corps of journalists last week with Cindy's first post-Olympics interview on his afternoon drive-home show.

Even better, Cindy accepted Cosmo's invitation and pledged to lead an Olympic winners parade of rollerbladers down Portage Avenue when she returns to Winnipeg, likely in early April.

Now that's news. And you didn't hear or read it anywhere else, because the maintream media doesn't aircheck Cosmo's show. After this, they better start. He's an entertainer who obviously makes things happen.

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The Winnipeg Free Press thought it was making things happen when it launched a counteroffensive to a stinging story that appeared in the Globe and Mail. The story, by Globe reporter Julius Strauss, ran ten days ago and its still reverberating.

Strauss wrote ab…