Inaccurate reporting in the Globe & Mail, what a surprise

After looking at the Globe and Mail headlines this morning, I planned to write about Sean Holman’s contribution. However, Ian Reid at The Real Story beat me to the keyboard.

Reid makes the points well so I won’t bother to repeat except to state that the Globe and Mail headlined a non-story. Holman ‘reveals‘ that lawyer John Heaney adhered to all professional, moral and legal requirements when he set up a meeting between a client and an NDP caucus member while Heaney was on retainer to the NDP.

Now that is a change from the occasion when BC Liberal guru Patrick Kinsella – Christy Clark’s present puppeteer – dealt with BC’s registrar of lobbyists. This was a CBC report from two years ago:

A Liberal insider is refusing to co-operate with B.C.’s registrar of lobbyists in investigating allegations he improperly lobbied the government… Patrick Kinsella, the co-chair of the last two B.C. Liberal election campaigns, has been accused of working as a lobbyist without joining the B.C. lobbyists registry as required by law.

Considering documents from the corrupt sale of BC Rail, is there any doubt that Kinsella was a lobbyist? The accusation remains unanswered about whether or not he was lobbying both buyer and seller in the BC Rail scandal. The subject is not pursued by most members of the Victoria Press Gallery.

Keep an eye out for more journalistic garbage as the two main political parties struggle to don new masks. One example I noted today is the Globe and Mail’s headline that “Leonard Krog could win NDP leadership.” That would surprise almost everyone, perhaps including Leonard Krog.

Another phony report was from Shaw TV’s Keith Baldrey. He was placing NDP front runners on the left/right spectrum. Well, actually on the spectrum of the left.

For our information, he says that Mike Farnworth represents the middle/left, John Horgan, further left but with a tinge of populism, and Adrian Dix, the far left. Apparently standing up as the health critic, or previously the children’s critic, and demanding proficient performance by government is “far left” in Keith Baldrey’s world. If that is the qualification, I’d belong there too.

It is worth remembering the roots of the expression ‘Yellow Journalism’. In the late 19th century, using newly evolved color printing, American newspapers engaged in wild struggles for circulation. William Randolph Hearst routinely invented sensational stories, faked interviews, ran phony pictures and distorted events. At the time, a character favorite in New York comics was ‘The Yellow Kid.’ Hearst papers and other sensation seeking papers that used it were generically called “The Yellow Press.”

In 1898, a minor revolt in Cuba caught full attention of the New York newspapers. They loved screaming headlines claiming horrific details of Cuban life under Spanish rule. Wild stories flooded the newsstands and legions of correspondents were sent to recount Spanish atrocities. The trouble is, they found little to report.

“There is no war,” Frederick Remington wrote to his boss, William Randolph Hearst.

The publishing magnate sent a cable in reply: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”

Thereafter, Hearst’s press devoted numerous pages daily to hysterical fictions about atrocities in Cuba. Other journals repeated demands for American military action. Thus began the Spanish-American War which sort of continued, even today, as many Americans lust to dominate Cuba again.

5 replies »

  1. Norm, I've said before that Sean Holman's greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. He has no problem asking the stupid question. Sometimes, the stupid question turns up a really good story. He's brought up a few stories simply by filing an FOI that no one else thought of.

    Unfortunately, and this would be one of those times, he often uses the banal answer to a stupid question as a base for a story, even when there's no news there. I don't know what his ratio is, but it's probably running 70:30 banal:good.

    The Globe should be asking why they paid freelancer rates for this piece, given the lack of actual news.


  2. Norm, thanks for the link. I have to say I was motivated by two things – the glaring gap between the headline and the evidence and my knowledge of John as a smart, upstanding and principled person. In other words, he knows the rules, believes in rules and follows rules.


  3. Note contrary to a comment posted here today and now removed, Sean Holman's spouse does not work for the provincial government or the Public Affairs Bureau (PAB). I know of no conflict involving Sean or members of his family.

    Despite having had a few minor differences in news judgement, I respect Sean Holman and the important work he has done over a long period.

    I apologize that I did not check that allegation before posting. I should have done that and Sean has always been easily accessible.


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