When asked the population of England, Scottish historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle gave as his answer,
Thirty millions, mostly fools.
If asked about British Columbia’s population, Time Colonist writer Les Leyne would say,
4.6 millions, mostly fools.
That would explain a pair of columns by Leyne that could establish a new low for lazy reporting — not an easy feat after 11 years mindless subservience to BC Liberal propaganda. Leyne merely expounds government issued talking points and makes no effort to consider validity of the message. His flaw is so fundamental that it can only be deliberate.
Legislative press gallery reporters ought to bring a neutral point of view to their work, reporting all sides of any story with fairness, disinterest and healthy skepticism toward vested interests. Factual and balanced commentary would be the result. Like too many of his colleagues, Leyne aims to please the Liberal government and the vested interests that continue to support Premier Photo-Op.
In Are van Dongen’s BC Rail questions real?, Ian Reid provided proof that Leyne’s journalistic ethics had gone absent when he wrote defensive puff pieces for the troubled Liberal leader:
Yesterday Premier Clark emerged from her bunker to add to Bond’s lies. According to Times Colonist columnist Les Leyne “Clark on Tuesday said she’s cooperated with every investigation and 40,000 pages of documentation have been released and “not a single one suggested I have done anything wrong.”
That’s a straight out lie. The government hasn’t publicly released 40,000 pages of anything.”
Readers might want Les Leyne to explain why he repeats outright lies voiced by Premier Photo-Op, particularly when the facts are so easily determined. Mark Hume and Justine Hunter, writing at The Globe and Mail, present Auditor-General takes government to court over BC Rail case, an example of factual and balanced reporting that is as good as Leyne’s recent work is bad.
Les Leyne has been covering the Legislature since 1985. Like a number of his fellow press gallery members, he’s been too long on this political beat where BC Liberals and friends have routinely worked to co-opt reporters. They’ve been successful, using schmoozy relationships, special access to people and background information and arrangement of supplemental earning opportunities for journalists and or their family members.
Les Leyne’s son works as a “public affairs/government relations research analyst.” A free Northern Insight subscription to any reader who can identify which party employs Andrew Leyne.