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 since 2005, 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:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Winnipeg Health inspectors are breathing down the necks of Winnipeg Free Press employees foot.

Now, meet other foot.

Reporters and columnists at the Winnipeg Free Press were all high and mighty during the Taman Inquiry. They looked down their noses and lectured Winnipeg and East St. Paul police officers about cover-ups, honesty, justice, yadda yadda yadda.

Now listen to the deafening silence as they are caught up in a cover-up of their own.

And don't confuse it with the deafening silence from the other reporters in town, who were part of the mob attacking the honesty of the police but who have turned a blind eye to the cover-up in their own ranks.

It was revealed yesterday on a local radio talkshow that city health authorities have started trying to trace the source of three-quarters of a ton of minced pork that the Free Press employees union bragged about getting during the recent strike at the newspaper. Oh, would that be the same union that represents most of the other reporters in town as well?

Health officials fear the meat might be contaminated and a hazard to anyone eating it.

The pork, as it turned out, might have been stolen from a local food bank. It was improperly stored, we know, thanks to the account of one Free Press striker who said an unspecified portion of the 1500 pounds of meat had to be thrown out because it had spoiled. But that wasn't stopping the FP employees from refreezing the meat and, said the reporter, planning to re-gift it in Christmas hampers to the poor.

The health department will start their investigation by asking for the footage from surveillance cameras around the Winnipeg Free Press. They will try to identify the driver who handed out boxes of pre-packaged pork from the back of his truck.

Hmmm. You don't think the FP will say they have no surveillance footage? ... that, golly gosh, it wasn't working the night of the pork delivery. ... that the tape was erased, because, heck, who thought it would be needed for anything?

No matter.

There are dozens of eye witnesses who can help the health authorities identify the driver and his truck. The strike website wrote how the pickets eagerly unloaded the boxes of pork and took it to strike headquarters.

Surely, some of these highly trained observers noted details of the mystery man making his generous "donation" to the picket line. Or will they say they "don't recall" him at all.

The health officials can start by asking reporter Bruce Owen, who saw he saw with his own eyes the spoiled pork being discarded. His trained eye undoubtedly picked up small points that might be missed by others, like what was written on the side of the mystery truck? Or the driver's name.

Maybe columnist Dan Lett, who had plenty to say about the duty of Winnipeg police to tell the truth, can ask around and provide health inspectors with valuable information about the source of the pork.

Maybe FP union rep Connie Budney can offer some suggestions on how the union got the free food.

Columnist Lindor Reynolds was on the picket line, and her daughter works for Winnipeg Harvest which distributed the packaged pork to one of many Winnipeg food banks which then either discarded it or had it stolen from them -- by someone who thought the Winnipeg Free Press employees needed it more than the poor and hungry.

Maybe Reynolds can use her investigative skills to ferret out the source of the pork.

And what about columnist Gordon Sinclair. He cares about the poor. He really, really caaaaaares. Just not enough to ask how food intended for the poor wound up in the freezers of his co-workers. But there's always hope he might be stricken with conscience at Christmas.

Because this isn't a joking matter. The city health department is worried the spoiled pork is a health hazard.

And they don't want to see the poor made victims of the hubris of the Winnipeg Free Press employees union.

The Winnipeg Free Press made mileage out of mocking the Winnipeg police and the "thin blue line" that prevents honest investigations of police by police.

What colour is the line that prevents honest investigations of journalists by other journalists?

The answer is in an old riddle...

What's black and white and read all over?

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