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 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:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A soldier comes home. Will the Press hold their fire?

The mainstream media has decided to pepper every story about Afghanistan with the factoid that 18 Canadians (17 soldiers and one diplomat) have been killed there since 2002.

This is a partial truth.

A more accurate measure of the cost of Canada's commitment would be to report that three Canadian soldiers have died in combat against the Taliban in Afghanistan, while seven soldiers and one diplomat have been killed by roadside bombs or suicide bombers.

The other fatalities were accidents.

The last IED deaths were three months ago. One soldier was killed in March, one in May, and one this week in July.

The MSM has chosen to use the lump sum of deaths as the defining figure to maximize casualties for what's shaping up to be a press campaign against Canada's role in the NATO operation in Afghanistan, in particular, and against Stephen Harper, in general.

The first victim of the drive-by media has turned out to be Cpl. Anthony Joseph Boneca, 21, a reservist from Thunder Bay, who died Monday in a firefight west of Kandahar City. The media killed his reputation without remorse.

The Toronto Star Jul. 10, 2006
Slain soldier felt 'mislead'
Man considered talking of suicide to get discharged

A Canadian soldier killed yesterday in Afghanistan was so unhappy with his mission, he had asked an army priest if talk of suicide would get him discharged, says his girlfriend's father.

CBC Radio
An uncle of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan today says his nephew was ready to quit the military. Bill Babe says the last few times he spoke to 21-year-old Cpl. Anthony Boneca, he got the impression he was disheartened and disillusioned with his service in Afghanistan:

"I don't think he believed totally in what he was doing, because I think he saw things that he didn't expect to see and didn't want to see, and probably did things he didn't want to do. So, no, I would say, no, he didn't, at the end of his tour, or near the end of his tour, because he still had three weeks left, I don't think he really cared about helping people any more, he just wanted to get home."

The Globe and Mail
Mr. DeCorte's 19-year-old daughter Megan, who had been dating Cpl. Boneca since just before his first deployment to Afghanistan, met up with her boyfriend in Italy in May when the soldier took a scheduled leave. "He said he just didn't want to go back. He was scared. He was scared for his life. He was scared of the whole thing. He was scared of the Taliban, scared of everything."

The Winnipeg Free Press
Harsh Words for slain soldier
Defence Minister shows little sympathy after hearing reports Canadian casualty felt "misled" and wanted out.

That's how people will remember Cpl. Boneca, thanks to the press. Scared. Wanting to quit. Willing to lie to get out of combat.

Not even his father's denial of the image of his son painted by the media will restore his son's honour.

The damage has been done. The media will continue to repeat the allegations of near-cowardice because it fits their template: The war is bad. We can support the troops--- if they admit its wrong to be in Afghanistan. Stephen Harper and his ministers are to blame for fighting George Bush's war.

Expect reporters to question whether Cpl. Boneca's father actually said what's in the statement released Tuesday defending his son. He speaks with a thick Portugese accent, they'll say, and couldn't be as articulate as he sounds in the written statement. It's a phony, prepared by Defence staff to take the heat off the military, they'll say. And a second man's honour will be attacked and undermined.

Cpl. Boneca's body will be returned to Canada Wednesday evening. It appears that pool photographers will be allowed to take pictures of the coffin arriving at the airport. But the family has begged the press to respect their privacy while they grieve.

We'll see how the mainstream media behave when they're in the limelight. Will they abide by the family's wishes, or will they proclaim some higher duty to the public to explain why they had to intrude on the family's suffering?

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