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Winnipeg Free Press: manipulating election coverage to boost Liberal fortunes

How far will the Winnipeg Free Press go to manipulate their election coverage to promote the Liberals?

We got the answer Saturday when FP columnist Dan Lett went so far as to invent a scenario which allegedly took place at an all-candidates meeting in Winnipeg South Centre, one of the ridings the Liberals hope to recapture in Winnipeg, and which he then used to smear the Conservative incumbent.

Under the rubric 'Analysis', Lett, who had been the moderator at the meeting, wrote:

"It was all going well until (Joyce) Bateman piqued the ire of the crowd when she starting reading off a list of names from the Liberal campaign -- volunteers, paid staff workers and candidates alike --who had been identified by the Tories as "enemies" of Israel."

Mission accomplished. The column was gleefully snapped up and reprinted in pro-Liberal sites across the Web.  

It was enough to attract the attention of media watchdog Ezra Levant who did a bit of digging and discovered that Lett's observations were a crock.

Joyce Bateman  never used the term "enemies". That was a complete concoction by Dan Lett

And there was never any suggestion that the people referenced by Bateman "had been identified by the Tories as "enemies" of Israel." 

This, too, was a total invention.

CBC Manitoba linked to video of the Winnipeg-South-Centre meeting. It showed the context of the FP smear. At the conclusion of the meeting, the candidates were allowed to make a short summation of their pitch to voters. 

Bateman commented that if Liberal candidate Jim Carr was elected, his colleagues in government would include:

"Omar Alghabra, his colleague Liberal candidate, who called Israel's efforts to defend itself from Hamas rockets in 2014 blind and cruel. Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who called for the legalization of Hezbollah and its removal from the terror list. Darshan Kang, a Liberal candidate – his colleague, attended and spoke at a Gaza rally that turned violent in 2014. And Andrew Leslie, Liberal candidate and colleague of our Liberal candidate, accused Israel of indiscriminately bombing women and children."

This prompted Lett to write:

"It is hard in retrospect to escape the feeling the "enemies of Israel" blacklist Bateman was reading had a McCarthyesque blush to it. The names were read quickly and without any information establishing the veracity of the charges against the individuals named. It was a truly creepy moment."

With that he proved he is not a reporter, not a journalist, nothing but a Liberal Party flak. 

Any real journalist knows that "google is your friend."  

It took 90 seconds to, ahem, "establish the veracity of the charges against the individuals named."
JULY 26, 2014 8:20 AM
As rockets by the hundreds flew between Gaza and Israel last week, I received an email from Cory Hann, director of communications for the Conservative Party of Canada.

It referred to former Mississauga-Erindale Liberal MP Omar Alghabra's Facebook post calling Israel's response to Hamas rockets "blind and cruel." The email called Alghabra's remarks "offensive and ignorant. We are urging [Liberal leader] Justin Trudeau to condemn his remarks and demand an apology. We know that when we stand by Israel against anti-Semitic terrorists and extremists, that is Canada at our very best."
Vancouver Province: When asked if he was in favour of Hezbollah being taken off the terror list, [the Liberal member for Etobicoke] (Borys Wrzesnewskyj) said: 'Yes, I would be.' He likened the situation in the Middle East to Northern Ireland.
That is in the Province of Aug. 21, 2006.

His views on Hezbollah were so toxic he was eventually forced by the Liberal Party to resign.
Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj resigns 
VANCOUVER — Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2006 2:49PM EDT 
The Liberals' deputy foreign affairs critic has resigned after an uproar over his statements that Canada should negotiate directly with Lebanon's Hezbollah, which is on Canada's list of terrorist organizations.
Borys Wrzesnewskyj created a backlash within his own party when he made the statement during a visit by opposition MPs to Lebanon last week.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014 ... EMERGENCY NEW GAZA PEACE RALLY is called to echo in strongest possible terms the condemnation by United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, of Israeli Occupying Force’s criminal attacks on UN shelter for refugees in Gaza despite several warnings resulting in indiscriminate loss of civilian lives... Dr Arthur Clark, MLA Darshan Kang, Peggy Askin, Miriam Meir and each and every one of you for coming out and supporting.
Pro-Palestinian rally organizers are apologizing for the violence seen last Friday at Calgary's City Hall. 
Hundreds attended the protest to call for a ceasefire and condemn the current attacks in Gaza but it turned ugly when Israel supporters came to stage a protest of their own

Transcript: Andrew Leslie

So, Hamas launches rockets attacks. Up until the moment the Israeli ground forces launch their invasion there had been three fatalities after 2,700 rockets have been fired at Israel, because they have a system to knock them down.
So, tunnels [in Gaza] were not an issue at the time. They go in, they obviously get involved in the street fighting.
Hamas throws more and more resources at it and more casualties are caused by the Israelis using very heavy weapons systems, firing indiscriminately onto Palestinian women and children.

Lett's analysis column was published on a Saturday, the most read newspaper. 

Today, Monday, the least read newspaper, carried a "correction."

"In a column published Oct. 3, the use of quotation marks around enemies and enemies of Israel were intended for emphasis and were not intended to be seen as being quotes attributed to Joyce Bateman, Conservative candidate for Winnipeg South Centre."

That's not even close to the apology owed Joyce Bateman for the fabricated scenario presented as truth by the Free Press. 

That comes as no surprise to longtime readers of The Black Rod. 

We predicted a year ago where the FP was going under their new politics editor Shannon Sampert.

The drive-by smear of Joyce Bateman by Dan Lett answers another question, as well---why the newspapers parent company FP Publications Inc. has become a penny stock (47 cents a share), losing 90 percent of its value in the past five years. 

Once you have only contempt for your readers and think they'll be fooled by biased stories and fake corrections you have nobody to blame for your failure but yourselves. 

Penny stock has become laughing stock.

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