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:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MSM election bias on display: Stadium cost overrun under wraps

David Asper did more dancing than a chicken on a hotplate when he appeared on CJOB Tuesday morning, to give an update on the new stadium he's building.

OB was chasing our story three days earlier in The Black Rod that a sports fan with his ear to the ground had heard the cost of the stadium was wildly out of control, as high as $190 million instead of the $115 million the city and province agreed to pay.

Asper came armed with an encyclopedia of excuses to avoid putting a total on the tenders.

There were more than 100 tenders, he said. They were very complex. They needed to be evaluated. There might be overlap. Time was the enemy. Blah blah blah.

"My sources tell me its in over the $130 million mark," said radio host Richard Cloutier, adding that this meant a proper stadium would cost $150-$170 million.

Everyone wants a "proper" stadium, Asper volleyed, and that's why he was counting on the partnership (that would be unelected Premier Greg Selinger, incumbent Mayor Sam Katz, plus the cashless Winnipeg Blue Bombers) to step up if "costs are more than originally anticipated."

"I'm thinking this will have to go back to (city) council at some point," said Cloutier.

"I don't know what would cause that to occur," said Asper.

Asper said his "partners" were briefed on the tenders last week. That means Sam Katz knows if the stadium project is careening over the cliff, but isn't telling the electorate.

The public, said Asper, could learn the new cost of the new stadium in a couple of weeks, which would be the day before the date of the civic election, Oct. 27.

In the meantime, construction continues even though the "partners" don't know what they're building or how much they're paying for it. The stadium site has been dug out to a depth of 15 feet, said Asper, and in a week or 10 days work on the superstructure will begin.

That's how your local governments spend your tax money.

As predicted, Tuesday the mainstream media in Winnipeg openly demonstrated how biased their election reporting is.

The CBC, Winnipeg Free Press, CTV, Global News, and Winnipeg Sun all went ga-ga over the news that embattled River Heights incumbent John Orlikow filed a complaint about a flier attacking him for his role in backing a contentious bicycle path through the neighbourhood.

This would be the same media mob that's studiously refused to report that eight complaints have been filed against NDP candidate Ross Eadie in Mynarski ward following his public confession that the NDP is helping fund his campaign. It's against the law for any political party to contribute to an election campaign.

The mainstream reporters, many of whom live in River Heights, are quick to jump on a complaint filed by one of their favorite councillors, while ignoring a much more serious election scandal across town in the North End which involves the NDP candidate and NDP party.

The biggest hypocrites are the "team" from the Winnipeg Free Press. The newspaper is running television spots and printing house ads touting their coverage of the election.

"Winnipeg's most comprehensive, in-depth civic election coverage" they brag. "Every twist and turn of the mayoralty race. Every ward race. Every school board race."


Reporter Melissa Martin was at the candidates meeting where Eadie blurted out that he couldn't afford to run without funding from the NDP. Did she run with the scoop? Nope. She did report that the moderator put down his microphone and left when Eadie wouldn't stop interrupting the other candidates.

Has the Free Press "team" reported on the flood of complaints about Eadie to the city's senior election official Marc Lemoine? Nope.

Has the Free Press "team" reported on the alleged breach by the NDP of the NDP's own financing legislation? Nope.

Has the Free Press "team" reported on how toothless the legislation is? Or compared it to the impotence of the NDP's whistleblower legislation? Nope.

Has the Free Press "team" reported on Marc Lemoine's refusal to investigate the complaints that the election financing law is being broken? Nope.

Has the Free Press "team" reported on whether Winnipeg's senior election official has any power or resources to investigate breaches of the law? Nope.
Just today, we received a tip that the Judy Wasylycia-Leis camp was campaigning outside the advance poll at the University of Winnipeg. Was the Free Press "team" there?

Is this "Winnipeg's most comprehensive, in-depth election coverage?"

Sad to say, it might be.

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