The Vancouver Sun and the CTF response, part 1

I emailed writers and editors of the Vancouver Sun, reiterating the claim of inaccurate reporting made in my article Never let facts affect the issue.

I received a preliminary answer today and the newspaper advises they submitted my comments to the CTF for examination. I have the Federation’s initial response in which they admit a fundamental flaw in the calculation of medical premium assistance assumed for their mythical family. Since the premium assistance level is based on the prior year’s adjusted net income, income increase in 2011 would not affect the family’s premium rate in the current year. That merely strengthens my argument of inaccuracy.

My specific complaint to the Vancouver Sun is not yet addressed. Here it is:

…I’m not sure that CTF is the appropriate party to determine if your published article was accurate or not. Surely you had a responsibility to do independent analysis. I do not expect a response to my argument about CTF’s motives; this is the crux of my complaint to you:

It is dishonest and foolish to choose one very specific situation and claim it can be extrapolated to report, as the Vancouver Sun did, “British Columbians will see their after-tax income shrink more than anyone else in Canada.”

I give credit to the Vancouver Sun for examining this issue. The BC Press Council requires the newspaper be given opportunity to respond and that discussion has been initiated. The newspaper and broadcasting industries have codes of journalistic conduct but their record of living up to the spirit of those codes can be legitimately questioned.

This release from the CTF has received broad distribution. Uncritical coverage is a fault that applies well beyond one misleading story and that drives the importance of today`s issue. Examine the relationships of Postmedia and its predecessors with the CTF, the Fraser Institute and other right wing advocates, and you will conclude those organization are too welcome to contribute unverified content that lacks balance.

I see this as a test for the new ownership of our newspapers. Are they willing to improve their journalistic standards, or not? We’ve seen positive signs recently that I’ve commented on here and one Postmedia writer, not at the Sun, told me there is still hope among staff that journalism will improve.

Categories: Journalism

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