Reporters and cameramen for CKY, Global and CBC T.V.were on the steps of the Manitoba Law Courts getting reaction to the sentencing of murderer Corey Spence who killed Phil Haiart five days before turning 18.
They were listening to Isora Van Dreser, Haiart's girlfriend, when the murderer's mother and some of his thuggish friends began to taunt, insult, and, according to the Winnipeg Free Press, threaten the girl.
Note we have to depend on the Winnipeg Free Press for the news that threats were made because none of the television newscasts broadcast any threats. Which is not the least bit surprising as you'll see.
All three television stations treated the incident as an irritation that detracted from the real news.
The reporters had their stories carefully plotted out. Intro, voice over old footage of the murder, clip from girlfriend, clip from defence lawyer, reporter's standup and it's time to go home to the suburbs for supper.
But then, wouldn't you know it, news happened. Damn.
NOT ONE newscast showed the incident from start to finish. You had to watch fragments of the incident on all three stations to piece together what happened.
It started with a red-haired woman making sneering comments to Isora Van Dresser. A young man and woman behind her are yelling something. A woman tries to shield Van Dreser from the threatening group. A female sheriff's officer steps in to shoo them away. They continue to hurl comments at Van Dreser, and a male sheriff's officer strides over to help his female colleague control the group.
CKY and Global showed the killer's mother interrupting Van Dreser's comments to taunt her over the death of her boyfriend. CBC either missed it or chose not to use it. Global identified her and the thugs behind her as "family" of the murderer.
CKY was the only one to identify the red-haired harridan as his mother.
Apparently none of the television reporters on the scene thought it newsworthy to question the killer's mother or her son's friends about their intimidating outburst. That would involve acting as reporters instead of recorders. Phooey on that.
The television reporters came to the Law Courts to do a story about the sentencing of Corey Spence. And they were going to do that story come hell or high water.
In the process they missed the bigger story--- how easily gang members and their families can threaten witnesses and the families and supporters of victims.
Corey Spence's thuggish friends and family weren't the least bit worried about making their taunts in front of the cameras. There were no police protecting Isora Van Dresser. There were no sheriff's officers separating her from the goons. And the reporters watched in amusement rather than putting the spotlight on the supporters of the murderer.
The Winnipeg television stations deserve thanks, though, for one thing.
They've provided real-time study material for journalism schools across the country into how "professional" television reporters can ignore breaking news in front of their eyes when it interrupts the by-the-book stories they plan to do.
And once again we see that Dave "Six Months" Chomiak is as useless in the Justice portfolio as he was in Health.
Lately he's been puffing himself up to look like a tough gang-fighter.
- Oh, look, there's Chomiak going to Ottawa to pound his little fists on the desk and demand tougher laws against crime. Oh, look, there's the federal NDP laughing at Chomiak and publicly announcing they're going to undercut the changes he wants.
- Oh, look, there's Chomiak announcing more prosecutors. Oh look, there's the Crown attorney's office botching another prosecution.
- Oh, look, there's Chomiak announcing better protection for witnesses... Uh, skip that one.
Because exactly one day later the gangs and their supporters bitch-slapped "Six Months" Chomiak in front of the cameras.
They demonstrated that they have no fear and no respect for the police, the Crown, and the courts. They openly taunted, and maybe even threatened (if the Free Press got it right) innocent people in front of the Law Courts.
Because they can.
Is there one viewer out there that isn't worried about the safety of Isora Van Dresser this morning?
Maybe Winnipeg's T.V. stations should save their outtakes.