Journalism

Globe & Mail writer Mark Hume responds

Honorable Mention Michener Awards

Mark Hume has had a distinguished career as a BC journalist and he certainly deserves fair treatment. After correspondence with Mark, I want to clarify statements about the Globe and Mail’s coverage of Basi and Virk. Hume says,

“If I waited until all the evidence was in, I wouldn’t have written a thing about this case. . . I have to go with the best information I have at the time, and keep pushing for more. . . . it is highly likely that the only way the public will get the whole story is if there is a public inquiry.”

Further, Hume defends the Globe and Mail, pointing out correctly they spent more time and resources than other newspapers in pushing to illuminate this case. After consideration, I think Mark Hume makes good points.
We must address politicians and the courts in seeking complete answers. It is not the Globe and Mail that blocks access to the whole Basi/Virk story; it is the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Crown Prosecutors. 
I’ll be writing more about this subject but readers deserve to hear Mark Hume’s words. I respect him for participating.

Categories: Journalism

13 replies »

  1. We appreciate his feedback. How many more documents can they get released? How about the complete files? And what about the Memo to File that Basi wrote? . .any comment on those? Would be nice to actually have mass coverage of those documents.

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  2. You make a good point. Sources say there were more than a million documents involved in the case and Liberals destroyed an unknown number before the trial. If prosecutors turned over 10,000 documents to reporters, that would be less than 1%, all first vetted by the crown. If the court is politically corrupt in this case, why would it hand over the evidence to prove complicity. An independent inquiry is the only way to proceed.

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  3. One thing we don't have that the financially abused Egyptians have is starvation. We still have food banks. The Solidarity protests against the Socreds in the eighties that were settled in Bill Bennet's Kelowna kitchen because of Union Jack's sellout of us will never happen again.

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  4. I am disappointed at Mr. Humes explanation that they have to go with what they have. Why say anything if you don't believe you have all the necessary material you need to do proper reporting.Wouldn't it be more honest for Mr. Hume and others to state that they are ill equipped to comment at all because of lack knowledge than to mislead the public?What they should be writing is that because a corrupt justice system is withholding evidence it would be unfair to comment,BUT, that is not what they chose to do. For that they should be ashamed!
    Don F.

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  5. Norm,I don't doubt Mr.Hume's comment to you, but it would be more credible if he printed the same sentiment in his column in the G & M.

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  6. I don't think that cuts it Norman. If Mr Hume is simply a stenographer then it is fair ball for him to suggest he's only 'reporting' on 'what's been put before him'.

    In fact, I've seen correspondence from Hume where he uses precisely that construction, to wit, “…since the beginning on this case I have worked with the factual material placed before me.”

    However, if Mr Hume sees himself as more than a stenographer then it is also required of him that he acknowledge that there is a significant information deficit inherent in discussing only some of the so-called evidence in this case.

    That's what separates an investigative reporter from a mere note-taker and, in this particular case (and especially in regard to the purposeful release of partial information from a trial over which there was a court-ordered embargo of ALL information to the public), the suggestion that the Globe and Mail's current behavior and actions have not overshadowed and clouded whatever good work Hume and the other reporters who have covered this story for them may have done is risible.

    The Globe's readers have a right to be outraged and Mr Hume's facile justification for his shoddy professionalism simply makes him and the paper look worse.

    As always, thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue. It hardly needs repeating that the Globe's policy (seemingly) of closing their own comment boards every single time that they publish a 'story' with any controversial implications also says something quite unflattering about what that paper's motivation actually is.

    I hope Mr Hume will take the time to read these comments because he may still have important work to do in informing the public about the 'real' story of Dave Basi, Bobby Virk and BC Rail.

    Cheers.

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  7. Norm,I enjoyed G West's comment very much and something he mentions about the Globe & Mail shutting down comments on controversial implications stuck me, here Mr. Hume is now awaiting comments on this issue and using your site as a platform to do so. Convenient way of keeping them out of there paper and away from readership??
    Just a thought.
    Don

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  8. I pressed Mark Hume to reply but I suspect the G&M heard comments from disappointed readers well before this. As one person pointed out, to stop unwelcome comments on their website, they would have to close every article to commenting because some readers simply left message on other articles.

    This is only my opinion but I think most people in the western bureau of the Globe are capable of and would like to do good journalism. I suspect though that senior editors in Toronto may have political objectives in mind.

    A blogger does not have to worry about ancillary constraints that affect mainstream writers. Occasionally, that leads to faulty work. Mostly, good blogs encourage intelligent conversation and we are better off with full and open discussion.

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  9. The G and M deserves what it gets and this, after the fact excusing, just shows spinless journalism.

    Spewing toxic ink continually instead of balanced journalism will only get you so far.

    Good riddance to the lot of them.

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  10. It wouldn't take that much to change the opinion of Accredited Journalists before they have their articles/columns published, by simply having us in attendance at OUR Courts.

    Robin Mathews did that for over four years just on the BC Rail trial alone, maybe more. I was there too, but only for ten or twelve times, including October 18, 2010.

    The Special Prosecutor would come out from Court room #54, head straight for the gathering Accredited Journalists to make his pitch, Robin Mathews was there too for the scrum ……. till one day, the last day before the final day of October 18, 2010 he was told that the discussion had nothing to do with the trial!

    Ian Reid heard the “pitch” from the SP to the Journalists and it was ALL, about the antics of Court Room #54 but only for the ears of the Accredited media.

    If there is ever another time, like that which has just passed where its been a very much political one, please, don't sit on the side lines, make the effort and attend the Court so that the PRESS will know, the Special Prosecutor will know, the Defense will know, that what is being said and heard (not overheard), in and out of the Court room, has been and will continue to be REMEMBERED by all those in the very much Public Gallery.

    Maybe I've seen too many Perry Mason television movies because every one that I've viewed, the public gallery was always packed. As it is right now:

    “Its important for journalists to be able to stand
    up for the rights of the media”

    Funny, I always thought the media was standing up for their readers and viewers, and of course the ratings.

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  11. Don F. and G. West, you make excellent points, and I'd like to raise a further, disturbing, point for consideration.

    As has been remarked on by others, why, if Mark Hume didn't have all the facts, did he trumpet across national media that “Christy Clark and Gary Collins have been exonerated”???

    Respect him if you want Norm, but Mark Hume's explanation doesn't have the ring of truth.

    But there’s more in his “explanation”, something that really isn’t explanation at all, and it troubles me. Look at Hume's statement that the Globe deserves kudos because they spent more resources on than other media outlets “in pushing to illuminate this case.”

    Wow, that's a load of bafflegab, especially coming from a precision journalist like Hume.

    First, what has the amount of resources/money spent got to do with motivation or results? The media who got Glenn Clark nailed for the deck/hunting knife travesty spent lots of money and resources too, all for a trumped-up smear campaign. BUT, it’s Hume’s other statement that troubles me.

    Hume says the Globe deserves praise because they were/are pushing to illuminate the case.

    To illuminate the case. Which case would that be, exactly? The case of the $6 million peanuts payout to the fall guys? The case of the much wider ring of corruption within, and beyond, the government on this business deal? The case of the even wider scandal of public resources being fleeced from BC citizens? The case of corrupt law authorities? Or, the case of the poor, wrongfully-tainted careers of those dedicated public servants, Ms. Clark and Mr. Collins?

    Mr. Hume coyly uses vague language that requires the reader to fill in whatever the reader thinks Mr. Hume is referring to. Naturally, most people assume that since he’s ‘splainin’ himself, that Mr. Hume’s just interested in all the truth there is to tell. [Definition of assume: makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.]

    Hume’s vague definition gave me the willies. You know, like Bill Clinton said on the stand during his Monica Lewinsky moment in response to cross-examination by a lawyer, “It depends on what your definition of “is”, is.”

    Well, whether the Globe and Mark Hume deserve praise or even the benefit of the doubt, depends on what his or the Globe’s definition of “this case” is. Maybe somebody outta ask him, “Mr. Hume, what exactly is “the case” as you see it, and what about it are you trying to illuminate?

    By my reading, his definition of “case” and “illumination” could well be this: that what he and the Globe wanted to illuminate, was that CC and GC were ‘exonerated’. Full stop.

    That’s what a majority of Globe readers will now have permanently embossed on their brains now. And the Globe knows it.

    As for me, well the follow-up vanity article on the cover of the Globe’s B section, complete with huge cheesecake photo of Gary looking for all the world like a studio-shot PR photo not a news photo, was kind of a clue to me. The quote excerpted from the article and displayed in large font about how Gary laments that he won’t have his day in court now, was over-the-top in my opinion.

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  12. It is unfortunate that all this 'refusing the truth' amongst our wealthy and educated population will only lead to hard times. Papers like the G and M are daily contributors to this house of cards and put our society at risk. What a game this capitalism is.

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