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.

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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: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The newspaper that makes up quotes calls Sam Katz unethical

Oh this is too rich for words.

The Winnipeg Free Press, the newspaper that fabricated a key quote in a front page story ( http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2006/09/true-but-false-driskell-inquiry-like.html ), is lecturing Mayor Sam Katz about ethics.

The Winnipeg Free Press, the newspaper that reported on a non-existent complaint about Sam Katz ( http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2005/10/how-free-press-built-smear-campaign.html ), is criticizing the mayor for challenging his critics.

The Winnipeg Free Press, the newspaper that seemingly concocted a phony explanation for a story that embarassed the Asper family ( http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2006/08/credibility-cloud-over-axworthy.html ), is attacking Sam Katz for an "unseemly controversy" that exists only in the eyes of the newspaper's editorial board.

The Winnipeg Free Press, the newspaper that had to publish an unprecedented "clarification" for a series of blatantly wrong headlines and misquotes in stories about Sam Katz ( http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2006/09/winnipeg-free-press-oops-we-did-it.html ), is demanding Katz be held to a higher standard than simply abiding by the rules of city hall.

The editorial in Friday's Winnipeg Free Press is a new low for the newspaper whose standards sink deeper into the abyss with each passing week.

Not content with two failed smear campaigns against Katz---both exposed by The Black Rod ( http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2005/10/free-press-hatchet-job-on-sam-katz.html ) and both rejected as junk journalism by the rest of the news outlets in the city--- the FP has resorted to shameless grasping at straws.

Their latest editorial acknowledges that Sam Katz broke no rules and bent no laws when he voted with the majority of city council to bail out the Burton Cummings Theatre last year. But, but, but, sputters the FP, the theatre paid off a mortgage held by Sam Katz six months before the bailout. So there.

Just because the mayor had no financial interest in the theatre when he voted to give it a grant, doesn't mean there wasn't a conflict of interest that precluded Katz from voting to help the theatre.

Er, does it?

The phony controversy was raised Thursday by reporters Dan Lett (whose byline appears in the first Katz smear story in 2005) and Bartley Kives (the new boy at City Hall who's been pretending he knows nothing about the non-existent complaint reported by his colleague Lett).

Their story stated that Katz personally pumped $330,000 into the Burton Cummings Theatre in a series of short-term loans, for which he accepted a $50,000 buyout of a second mortgage. Somehow that astonishing generosity didn't merit a story of its own. Not when the FP can sink to still another cheap drive-by smear.

The only person complaining that Katz got any money back was Katz challenger Kaj Hasselriis, whose personal contribution to the arts in Winnipeg has been his performance in the 2004 fringe festival production Hey Hetero which promised "a taste of the high-flying homosexual lifestyle... behind the pink curtain of the homo world" which would "reveal all the dirty little secrets of gay life."

Sam Katz's response to the latest allegations was to call them "cheap theatrics belonging on the stage of the Burton Cummings Theatre"...

To which we add that the roles of Town Fools are being played by Winnipeg Free Press reporters and editors.

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