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Showing posts from January, 2008

The Cruickshank Redemption

The CBC is about to learn the fundamental lesson of political scandals---it ain't the crime that kills ya, it's the cover-up. CBC Publisher John Cruickshank confessed the crime a week ago. One of the corporation's Parliamentary reporters, Krista Erickson, collaborated with the Liberal Party on questions for former P.M. Brian Mulroney at a meeting of the Commons Ethics Committee. Cruickshank fiercely rejected any allegations of partisanship by the CBC. HOW DARE YOU, he snarled at anyone suggesting such a thing. The poor girl was just trying to get a scoop and went about it the wrong way. She needs more training, and the CBC, gosh darn it, will give it to her. In Toronto. For almost a week Cruickshank tried to cram the genie back into the bottle, but then lawyers for Mulroney popped the cork with a letter to the chairman of the ethics committee, Liberal MP Paul Szabo, containing this sentiment: "...given the way the p

War in Afghanistan 2008 Week 4

While Canada's news agencies this week fixated on the Manley Report on Canada's mission to Afghanistan, they completely missed the big news---the Taliban insurgency is splintering into pieces right under our noses. Asia Times Online reported Thursday that highly placed contacts in the Taliban told them that "Mullah Omar has sacked his own appointed leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, the main architect of the fight against Pakistani security forces, and urged all Taliban commanders to turn their venom against North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces." Then Omar's choice to replace Mehsud, Pakistan Taliban leader Moulvi Faqir Mohammed, turned him down. Last month Mullah Omar fired Mansoor Dadullah as the chief commander of insurgents in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, the birthplace of the Taliban. And that announcement came a week or two after a key Taliban commander in the Helmand town of Musa Qala, which had been held by the Taliban for 10

CBC's coaching plan for errant Krista Erickson

The CBC is learning the hard way about the law of unintended consequences. John Cruickshank, CBC Publisher (his grandiose title, not ours), must have thought he had cleverly disposed of that pesky Krista Erickson problem with a one-page public letter released Monday. Until, that is, it came back to bite him on the arse. Yes, he wrote, Erickson did "collude" with the Liberal Party by providing questions to one of their MPs so they could, before the televised Parliamentary ethics committee, link former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to the current Conservative government. But she did it with the best of intentions--"in pursuit of a journalistically legitimate story." However, since she technically breached a section of the CBC's policy handbook, she was being reassigned from Parliament Hill to Toronto, he wrote. But then he crossed the proverbial bridge too far. " Given the potential risk to the journalistic credibility of our Ottawa Bureau, its reporters, and

CBC to Canadians: Sure Krista helped the Liberals ambush Mulroney. Get over it.

Well, isn't that just too precious. The CBC has investigated itself and found itself guilty-- of trying too hard . Today CBC Publisher John Cruickshank issued a terse and self-serving reply to the Conservative Party regarding a complaint about "collusion" (Cruickshank uses the quotation marks) between a CBC reporter and the Liberal Party of Canada at the Mulroney/Schreiber hearings in Ottawa. "Following an investigation by senior management of CBC News, we have determined that our reporter Krista Erickson did, in fact, provide questions to a Member of Parliament in the lead up to the Ethics Committee meeting in December." She may have breached CBC News policies and procedures (specifically Principles, Sec.3), said Cruickshank, but she did it for the best of reasons--"while in pursuit of a journalistically legitimate story" and from her own "journalistic zeal." All together now: AHHH. Releasing this response on the eve of the Manley Report on

Sinclair ambush fails to spark feud between Stenning and Katz

The Winnipeg Free Press continued its unexplained vendetta against Mayor Sam Katz this weekend, but in the process revealed just to what depths they're willing to stoop to smear one man. Nothing, it appears, is too low, including literally manufacturing "news" to suit their purposes. As usual, columnist Gordon Sinclair was given the lead role in the personal attack. But, with nothing to work with, he overreached, and wound up exposing the type of yellow journalism that's become the newspaper's stock in trade under its current owner and editors. Sinclair saw an opportunity with the announcement that Annitta Stenning, the former city chief administrative officer, was starting a new job today as executive director of the Cancercare Foundation. Pretending he wanted to speak to her about her change in careers, he turned the interview, the first since she left her city job, to what he really wanted her to say--how much she hated working with Sam Katz, how he drove her o

War in Afghanistan 2008 Weeks 2 and 3

Paging Al Gore... The winter in Afghanistan is the worst in years, having already claimed the lives of more than 200 Afghans. Worst hit so far are the four provinces in the west of Afghanistan--Herat, Bagdis, Ghowr, and Faryab (English spellings vary widely, so don't hold us to them). But the severe cold extends even into the southern provinces; at least 20 people have died in Uruzgan province. "Local people are saying the winter conditions have been the most severe in decades." says the BBC. "At the other end of the country, the north-east, people say recent snowfalls have been the heaviest for 20 years." Most of the dead are herders, although the cold and avalanches have killed women and children as well. 17,000 sheep and other livestock animals have either died or gone missing. The one benefit of the severe weather is a dampening of insurgent attacks as evidenced by daily summaries of coalition aircraft sorties. For days now U.S. and NATO air power is being u

National Post misses mark in Erickson editorial

The National Post broke ranks with its mainstream media colleagues Thursday and published an editorial on the CBC investigation of collusion between a CBC reporter and the Liberal Party to damage the elected Conservative government. The CBC has been counting on MSM solidarity to keep the story out of sight--off the pages of newspapers, off the nightly television newscasts, and definitely off the public's radar. Their PR problem has just increased exponentially, even though, as you'll see, the National Post failed its responsibility to be as honest with its readers as possible. The story of the collusion between the CBC and the Liberal Party of Canada is a watershed in journalism in the country. Never before has the great divide between the Old Media and New Media been so stark. From the very moment TVA reporter (and former Liberal Party cabinet minister) Jean Lapierre revealed on CTV's Mike Duffy Live that a CBC reporter collaborated with the Liberals to the point of writin

War in Afghanistan 2008 Week 1

By this time last year, the Taliban had already laid out its plan for the takeover of Afghanistan. 2007 was going to be the decisive year when NATO forces would be driven out of the country and the Taliban would capture Kandahar City, pausing briefly to enjoy their triumph before moving on to take the capital, Kabul. But after a year of being mauled relentlessly, sent running from even their longest held strongholds, and watching their dreams go up in smoke, often with their leaders, the Taliban have entered 2008 without their annual boastfest. The first week of the new year delivered some of the reasons for the insurgency's new humility. Afghan authorities say 200 fighters were killed last month in the operation to retake the town of Musa Qala which the Taliban had held for 10 months. And we don't know if that includes the 50 Taliban killed when the fleeing fighters tried to salvage a shred of dignity by attacking the nearby village of Sangin--- only to be driven off by the Br

CBC honcho waves rulebook to deflect accusations of partisanship

The head of CBC News says you're undermining the very foundations of Canada's political system if you question CBC's impartiality. CBC "Publisher" John Cruickshank has written the Conservative Party objecting to a fundraising letter which uses the latest example of political bias at the CBC to ask for donations. The letter highlights the revelation by TVA reporter Jean Lapierre, a former Liberal Cabinet Minister himself, that a CBC reporter wrote questions for a Liberal member of the Commons Ethics Committee examining former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, off-topic questions designed purely to damage the current Conservative government. HOW DARE YOU, thunders Cruickshank. HOW DARE YOU say CBC is anything less than non-partisan. The CBC cannot be biased, he wrote, because they have a journalistic standards and practices book which "covers conflict of interest; it covers issues of journalistic fairness and balance." Therefore, any examples of partisanship

War In Afghanistan 2007: Weeks 50, 51 and 52

One year ago The Black Rod started writing about the war in Afghanistan because of the great divide between what we read on the Internet and the overwhelmingly defeatist reporting in the mainstream media. We were especially incensed at learning, belatedly, about the tremendous victory of the Canadians in Panjwai who forced theTaliban into a humiliating retreat, something we hadn't heard a word about in the national newspapers or on television newscasts which spent 2006 concentrating on Canadian casualties and predicting the imminent success of a "resurgent" Taliban. The reporting has gotten marginally better with more stories being published, often from reporters embedded with Canadian troops. But the news outlets are still so indoctrinated in anti-Americanism that they leap to report the slightest bad or negative news from Afghanistan while ignoring oceans of positive news. So we've decided to continue our Afghanistan coverage in 2008 as a much-needed counter to the