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, June 11, 2008

Winnipeg's MSM catches up to The Black Rod on the Dumas shooting

It's only taken the mainstream media in Winnipeg THREE YEARS to catch up to The Black Rod on the Matthew Dumas story.

And even then they've managed to mangle the story so much it's barely coherent.

After Dumas was shot to death by a policeman he had been menacing with a deadly weapon, the daily newspapers devoted reams of copy to native demagogues who accused the police of racism and of killing an innocent aboriginal boy on his way to his grandma's for tea.

Now, when the truth is coming out at the inquest, the MSM is asleep at the switch.

Witness Rod Pelletier testified police caught up to Dumas on his doorstep and lead him away. The next thing he knew, his daughter was calling that Dumas and the police were fighting. He rushed back to see Dumas on the run again.

Only Carol Sanders of the Winnipeg Free Press managed to report accurately what Pelletier said. And even then its hard to say if she recognized the importance of a witness who demolished the native community's fa├žade of an innocent lad gunned down by police for nothing at all.

Other news outlets complained Pelletier's testimony was garbled, and they couldn't hear him. And best of all, they devoted space to explaining that police had told him not to talk to the media. Which, they hope, explains why they hadn't spoken to him in the past three year.

Pelletier wasn't garbled when he spoke to The Black Rod, nor was he intimidated by the police. His story was the missing link of the minutes between when Dumas bolted from police and when he was shot. And it spoke to his state of mind---escape at all costs---something that pundits had claimed they needed to know.

You can read our exclusive, ungarbled interview with Pelletier THREE YEARS AGO (yes, we're going to keep reminding the MSM of that) here:

Local news outlets have known for years that Dumas violently fought with police only a minute or two before he was killed. But they suppressed that news and ceded the airwaves to self-proclaimed aboriginal spokesmen who have attacked the police ever since.

The CBC did an interview with Pelletier on videotape in 2005, then canned it. Instead, their reporter at the inquest this week filed a factually inaccurate account of his evidence.

A reporter for one of the Winnipeg Free Press weeklies confirmed Pelletier's story and uncovered that Dumas had fought with the police TWICE while trying to escape. She promptly deep-sixed the information.

Witness Willie Sinclair testified Tuesday to the second fight. The Black Rod had that exclusive as well.

The suppression of uncomfortable news about Dumas was not a mistake.

The news agencies had their own agenda and inconvenient truths would not be allowed to undermine that agenda.

Remember that the CBC at the time of the shooting of Dumas was diligently promoting the argument that if police had only handcuffed Dumas when they caught him, they wouldn't have had to shoot him. The idea that Dumas resisted arrest and attacked police would not be allowed into the debate.

The CBC reporter who interviewed Pelletier reported that police led Dumas away from Pelletier's front door peacefully. But acting like a good MSM news gatekeeper, he kept out any reference of Dumas' fighting to get away.

That reporter was also aboriginal. As was the reporter for the FP weekly. Does that explain why news that contradicted the official defence of Dumas by aboriginal spokesmen never saw the light of day? It's a discussion that should be part of every journalism school in the country. Along with the fact that CBC then-host and non-native Krista Erickson was also aware of the Pelletier evidence and the story never ran on CBC news.

Over the past three years it's looked like the local news media just couldn't be bothered with something so pedestrian as reporting that involves locating and interviewing sources, following up on a major story, and accurately bringing the news to the public.

In that Media Hall of Shame belongs the Winnipeg Sun's Paul Turenne.

In 2006, he piously wrote that the public still didn't know what happened in the Dumas shooting. When informed that many of the relevant details were in The Black Rod, Turenne had a sarcastic retort.

From: PaulTurenne
To: Black Rod

I guess we'll be seeing you on the witness stand come inquest time.

Well, Paulie, you have seen us at the inquest. You've seen us with every witness.

How do you like us now?


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