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Our unorthodox picks for Newsmaker of the Year

There's just enough time on the last day of the last year of the first decade of the 21st Century for us to name our Newsmaker of the Year.

It seems in hindsight like there were only two stories that dominated the year 2010. A tumultuous mayoral election pitted NDP pawn Judy Wasylycia-Leis against battered, chipped and dented incumbent Sam Katz.
And millionaire moocher David Asper played the long con with the city and province in a tawdry proposal to build a new football stadium, allegedly on his dime, but which ended up tens of millions of dollars over budget with the government, paying the whole shot, and Davey walking away with four or more million in his pocket.

While others might nominate a con man or a deceitful politician of one stripe or another, our standards are higher.

When the dust settled, we could see clearly the two who deserved to be named Newsmaker of the Year, 2010---for, yes, it was a tie --- a tie between JHendrix70 and AlexLV.
Sure, our choices might seem a little unorthodox. But there's method in our madness.

JHendrix70 did more to expose the stadium con job than any MSM reporter in town. At a time when they were still shilling for Asper as hard as they could, he brought the whole charade down simply by posting the truth as he learned it on the Internet.

JHendrix70 posted on on Sept. 30 at 8:19 p.m.:
You guys think the Museum is an issue. Let me give you this little tidbit:

Cost of new Bombers Stadium = 113-120 Million. ( 130 Total, 15 million going to U of M Facility )
Cost of Material alone for new Bomber Stadium = 165-190 Million.
You do the math......
Tenders were awarded today. Job will be priced again & will obviously have significant reductions.

It was more than a week later before we picked up on the tip and ran with it in a prescient story headlined:

Saturday, October 09, 2010
The tenders are in. Is the bill for new stadium $190 million?

Note the dates.

JHendrix70 had the facts five weeks before Asper acknowledged (on Nov. 4) the cost of a new stadium was wildly out of control. Even then he would only admit to $160 million.

It was another five weeks (Dec. 9) before everyone confessed the true cost was -- wait for it --- at least $190 million.

Readers of the Internet had known the truth for 10 weeks before the MSM reported anything close to it.

- They knew throughout most of the mayoral election that incumbent Sam Katz was lying when he professed he had no idea what the cost of the stadium would be.

- They knew throughout November that unelected Premier Greg Selinger was stonewalling the Legislature when he refused for three weeks to say anything about the true cost of the stadium---a cost he was secretly committing the public to pay.

- They knew for 10 weeks that David Asper was lying to the public whenever he professed that the tenders were still being counted and, boy, oh boy, how he wished he knew the cost so he could tell everyone.

JHendrix70 blew the whistle on the stadium con, giving the public the information they needed to hold the politicians and David Asper accountable, but which the MSM refused to report for 10 weeks. For that alone he deserves to share the designation of Newsmaker of the Year.

And what a week it was that last week of September.

For only one day before JHendrix70 posted his blockbuster news, another political scandal exploded. And, again, it was on the Internet and not in the pages of the daily newspapers.

An all-candidates meeting in Mynarski ward two days earlier was the scene. NDP candidate Ross Eadie was making a fool of himself by shouting to overpower the other candidates and the moderator who was trying to keep order. During his tirade he let slip that he was getting financial support from the New Democratic Party. His shocked opponents couldn't believe their ears. The NDP had made great hay from passing election finance laws that prohibited financial support from political parties, and here was their candidate admitting they were breaking their own law.

Winnipeg Free Press reporter Melissa Martin was there and heard Eadie. She failed to report his statement. It took another day or two for the news to filter out of Mynarski.

AlexLV posted this play by play on the Winnipeg Free Press website:
Posted by: AlexLV
September 29, 2010 at 6:36 PM
Ross Eadie disrespected the people of point douglas and his fellow candidates at the debate on Monday. I was sent to this debate to cover it for a local community paper...Eadie's outburst followed a lot of theatrics, screaming and shaking, but it began when a question was posed to Polsky about party politics in city hall.
Eadie interrupted the candidates response by standing and yelling at the top of his lungs that he wouldn't have been able to run without the financial support of the NDP, but once he was elected he would drop his NDP ties.

AlexLV wasn't the first to reveal Eadie's statement, but he was the first on the record in print where the public could read the details in days to come.

What a story. We jumped on it as soon as we became aware.

Local blogger Cherenkov later summarized the implications of the Eadie story as well as anyone could:
"..., a sitting councillor being investigated for potential election finance violations, or the failure of the elections official to conduct the investigation, is a fairly significant story. Especially if it implicates the provincial governing party. Better to get on top of it now, even if it turns out to be that he simply mispoke and everything is cool, because if it eventually does come out that he was breaking the rules then it could be embarrassing for the Free Press that they knew about it all along and failed to report on it."

Where to start? A huge political scandal involving the ruling political party and possibly every NDP candidate in the city election. A coverup by the newspaper that's cozier with the NDP government than any independent news outlet ought be. And even the newspaper's editor using her influence to kill a radio talk show whose host wouldn't stop talking about the alleged law-breaking or the Free Press refusal to report on it.

AlexLV was there and he reported what he saw and heard. The "professional" reporter was there and didn't.

AlexLV and JHendrix70. Two Internet posters who sparked two of the biggest news stories in the city in 2010. And that's the reason they are the Newsmakers of the Year.

Their citizen reporting is a demonstration of the growing irrelevancy of newspapers. If you can get the news 10 weeks in advance on the Internet, why bother opening a copy of the Free Press? If you can read news that the FP won't print, why subscribe at all?
That's the lesson of 2010.

With the clock counting down to midnight, The Black Rod wishes a HAPPY NEW YEAR to....

* Dr. Larry Reynolds. Welcome back. You're proof that sometimes the good guys win.

* Colin Craig. Keep raisin' hell in O-11. You've got 'em on the run.

* Jenny Motkaluk. Remember, you can go to bed every night knowing you're not a cheat.

* Wade Miller. Four years to get ready. It's your chance.

* Jacque Pierre. Our election correspondent. You did good.

* Marty Gold. You took one for the cause of free speech and holding them accountable. It hasn't gone unnoticed.

* Menno Zacharias. You're sitting on a great story. We'll do our best to shake it out of you.

* Laura Rance. The hidden treasure of the Winnipeg Free Press. You're worth a dozen humour and editorial columnists put together.

* George Dangerfield. They've got you in their sights, but you've got us in your corner. They haven't got a chance.

* Krista Erickson. Well, well, look who's here. Does Sun TV News know what a fan favorite they've hired? You bet they do. See you in the new year.

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