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Showing posts from July, 2006

Free Press publisher has some 'splaining to do

Not so fast, Andy. As the publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press, you, Andrew Ritchie, are responsible for what goes into the newspaper. Which makes you responsible for the exceptionally rare apology that ran on Friday. It was actually the third time the Free Press has tried to beg forgiveness for the same story. Once in the daily Editor's Bulletin e-mailed to subscribers, once in the online edition of the paper, and now in the print edition of the FP. Each apology was slightly different, but it's the latest one that's especially telling. All this over two sentences in a story by your Ottawa reporter Paul Samyn. As we reported Thursday Samyn interviewed Lloyd Axworthy, the former Liberal Party foreign affairs minister, on the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon crisis. At the very end of his story he wrote: Axworthy also took a shot at Winnipeg's Asper family, saying they are using their media empire to advocate staunchly right-wing positions when it comes to defending Israel. &q

The latest dispatch from the War

At great personal risk, dodging snipers and volleys of brickbats, The Black Rod brings you the latest dispatch from the front lines of the Parliamentary Press Gallery's 'War on Harper.' On Wednesday, national radio host Charles Adler interviewed Globe and Mail reporter Alex Dobrota, who was wounded by Harper's refusal to answer questions following a news conference the previous day. Dobrota told a harrowing story of how he refused to surrender to the Prime Minister's insane demand that reporters sign their names to a list---a list, damn it---of those who wanted to ask questions at the press conference called to tell how the government planned to evacuate Canadians from Lebanon. Lesser men would have cracked under the pressure. Not Alex Dobrota. Medals must be struck for bravery such as his. Children will sing his praises in classrooms of the future. The Globe and Mail must be so proud that their reporter refuses to do his job. He would not, he told Charles Adler,

A Grandslam Homerun of Errors

Batter Up! Baseball scouts have been flocking to the Winnipeg Free Press after word leaked out that reporter Paul "The Babe" Samyn hit a Grandslam Homerun of Errors in Thursday's paper. With one story, Babe Samyn managed to antagonize his bosses, the owners of the Winnipeg Free Press; the Asper family; University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy; every Jewish advertiser and the Jewish readership of the newspaper. In the business, that's called a C.E.M. (translation for non-reporters: career ending move.) The Free Press has adopted full grovel position. An apology to both the Aspers and the mighty Lloyd will be forthcoming. As many times as necessary. How did Samyn manage such devastation, you ask? It begins with a small story on Page Four headlined: "Axworthy says Canada threw away peace role." It's the usual Axworthy spiel---Stephen Harper is a George Bush lackey; Canada shouldn't support Israel so much; because of Harper, Canada can't play

PPG summer offensive lacks heroes

They've seen comrades shot down in flames. Their best attacks have failed to stop the enemy. Worse still, they've been unable to win the hearts and minds of the people. They hate to admit it, but the war is going poorly. Stephen Harper is winning. It's been five months since the Parliamentary Press Gallery declared the War on Harper, proclaiming themselves the unofficial Opposition. With the launch of attacks by Israel on Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, the press saw their best opening yet. It was time to unleash the feared MSM Summer Offensive. First came the Katrina Flank Attack. The Harper government was too slow to react to the fighting in Lebanon. They didn't care about Canadians in Lebanon. Too slow. Too little. It's Stephen Harper's fault. Unfortunately, nobody agreed with the press gallery. Canadians thought the government did a good job given what they had to work with. No. No. You don't understand. It's not us saying it. We're pro

The Tim Sale Story: A Free Press fairy tale

Someone call a doctor. She's got a bad case of amnesia. How can you write about Tim Sale and not mention Hydra House, the granddaddy of the scandals that's tarring the NDP government. * Whistleblower Jim Small wrote to then-Family Services Minister Tim Sale warning him about the free-spending of the managers of Hydra House , a non-profit housing corporation. * Sale, setting the standard for NDP investigations, slandered him in the Legislature by dismissing his complaints as coming from a "disgruntled employee". * He then ordered a review of a carefully selected slice of Small's allegations, which, as expected, "cleared" Hydra House of all wrongdoing. * Until two years later, that is, when the auditor general did his own investigation and substantiated all of Jim Small's complaints. Of course, a couple of million dollars had been misspent by then but Tim Sale didn't care, he had moved on to the Health portfolio, and it was someone else'

Brodbeck tricked by rigged Sophonow Inquiry

Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck continues to propagate the canard that Tom Sophonow would have been aquitted at his many trials for murder if only the prosecution hadn't hidden crucial evidence from the defence. His source for this hoax? The bogus inquiry set up by the provincial government under former Supreme Court Judge Peter Cory. Brodbeck knows better. He's been corrected numerous times by The Black Rod in private e-mail exchanges. But he's decided that the facts don't matter when they contradict his personal crusade. Inquiries need teeth (Saturday, July 15, 2006)... The Sophonow inquiry exposed how police and Crown prosecutors withheld crucial evidence from the defense, in some cases "deliberately," that would have exonerated Sophonow at the time. But they didn't. And to this day the police and prosecutors involved have never been held accountable for their actions. Sophonow got his settlement from government, taxpayers shelled out $2 million f

The Black Rod: A soldier's letter

The body of Canadian soldier Cpl. Anthony Bonseca was returned to Canada from Afghanistan Wednesday evening and the mainstream media got their first chance to cover a repatriation ceremony live.While commentators spoke in hushed, reverential tones, their cameras scurried for close-ups of crying relatives and friends---- the televison money shot. And as the television hosts pretended to honour Cpl. Bonseca, they and their reporters on the ground repeated the published slanders against him over and over again, except this time trading the excited delivery they've used for the past few days for faux respect. A soldier serving in Afghanistan with Cpl. Bonseca has written his opinion of how the news media has treated the fallen soldier. The letter first appeared on the internet site forums (,47110.msg410542.html#msg410542). It was reprinted in the blog The Torch (

CHUM to tell CRTC "Newscasts? We don' need no stinkin' newcasts!"

This story started out to be what's known as a 'quick and dirty.' Now we've had to add 'and bloody', too, thanks to the Wednesday whacking of CityTV, formerly A-Channel, formerly MTN. With no notice, 28 CityTV staffers were fired and another 18 placed on death row pending the next round of parking lot executions. Host Glen Kirby is gone. His co-host Lisa Saunders is on vacation with no job to return to. The 6 o'clock news show is history. Ditto the 11 o'clock. Of the other "personalities" listed on the CityTV webpage, the status of Ed the Sock was uncertain at press time, although there are rumours he will have to share time with his twin Edd the Other Sock. By now you know the nuts and bolts of the story. Bell Globemedia, which owns CKY locally, has made a bid to buy up CHUM Ltd., which owns CityTV as well as other TV and radio holdings. To sweeten the deal, CityTV cancelled its evening newscasts in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver

A soldier comes home. Will the Press hold their fire?

The mainstream media has decided to pepper every story about Afghanistan with the factoid that 18 Canadians (17 soldiers and one diplomat) have been killed there since 2002. This is a partial truth. A more accurate measure of the cost of Canada's commitment would be to report that three Canadian soldiers have died in combat against the Taliban in Afghanistan, while seven soldiers and one diplomat have been killed by roadside bombs or suicide bombers. The other fatalities were accidents. The last IED deaths were three months ago. One soldier was killed in March, one in May, and one this week in July. The MSM has chosen to use the lump sum of deaths as the defining figure to maximize casualties for what's shaping up to be a press campaign against Canada's role in the NATO operation in Afghanistan, in particular, and against Stephen Harper, in general. The first victim of the drive-by media has turned out to be Cpl. Anthony Joseph Boneca, 21, a reservist from Thunder Bay, wh