Facts matter

The BC Press Gallery has been a private club, reluctant to admit new members. Emma Gilchrist, co-founder of The Narwhal and Executive Director of its predecessor Desmog Canada, had media privileges blocked at the Legislature by Tom Fletcher, then Press Gallery president.

Fletcher, the Black Press advocate for climate change denial and right-wing libertarianism, concluded that Desmog was an “advocacy organization and not a media outlet.” As a result, he believed Emma Gilchrist’s organization was not eligible for journalistic accreditation at the Legislature.

By the way, Ms. Gilchrist and colleagues at The Narwhal are respected by fellow journalists. At The 2018 Canadian Online Publishing Awards, they earned four awards, winning both Gold and Silver for Best Photojournalism and Silver for Best Publication.

On occasion, I find fault with work of Fletcher and other Press Gallery found-ins. This is an example: Unreliable narrators.

The Tyee’s representative in the Legislature is always excepted. Recently, Andrew MacLeod offered a corrective to disinformation provided in the House by a Liberal MLA .

Andrew didn’t stop there:

My contributions to Andrew’s thread:

It’s odd that Gibson, an anti-choice Liberal from Abbotsford, opposes ferry construction in British Columbia. Our best super ferries were constructed here in the 1990s and Christy Clark’s hard hat was present at every photo op mounted at the Seaspan yard when the feds were preparing contracts for seven ships.

Tom Fletcher’s efforts four years ago to keep interlopers out of the Press Gallery came to naught. According to the BC Government directory today, five of the 28 reporter members are from non-traditional media.

Categories: Journalism

20 replies »

  1. Why does the BC Press Gallery have the authority to decide what is the news for us at all?
    They are the gatekeepers for us on deciding what is news?
    It ought to be dissloved in this day, and age of rapid change.
    Who on earth trusts the “official narrative” any more?


    • Yes, it certainly does explain the lack of real news in the MSM. The MSM just drops down b.s. as if it were gold. O.K. its like we’re mushrooms. The B.C. press gallery is just another form of censorship. Time for it go to. by restricting who is press, they restrict the information we are enable to access.

      How many of the “press gallery’ knew or had a dam good idea about what was going on in the Speakers office. Surely some one must have questioned why so many long term people were fired, if not the abuse of finances.

      It wasn’t until after the B.C. LieberCons were out of office that the Vancouver Sun had Sam Cooper start his writings about money laundering.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems that Tom Fletcher’s soul has been bought by the Black Press and they are supported by the BC Liberals. Fletcher would do well by offering his credentials to the Trump campaign where opinions are considered facts.
    The Narwahl Directors should file a complaint with the BC Legislature so that both sides of the story can be examined.
    Tom Fletcher would find it difficult to explain why the Arctic is warming or why his employer wants to build an LNG terminal in Prince Rupert. Perhaps he is more comfortable cranking out opinions from the Press Gallery in Victoria and excluding smart competition that includes facts.
    Perhaps Fletcher can deny that Sea Levels are rising along the BC coast in one his editorials. Or that the Pacific Ocean is warmer leading to acidic conditions that are killing the crustaceans along our coast.
    I’d like to see him explain why China produces more carbon in 3 days than Canada produces in a year … yet Canadians get to pay a carbon tax that includes PST and GST. China does not have a Carbon Tax but they do have expanding First World Military ambitions. It would be informative if Fletcher were to research the amount of Chinese government involvement in the Oil Sands, LNG pipelines and Site C Dam.
    Tom just might learn something useful that he could share with the public gallery.

    Note to Tom: BC needs more ship building and airplane construction. With a retiring older population there is a need for skilled workers … not just old news. Also, the climate is changing in the news business. Who will hire him?


  3. I support the Narwahl and most definitely will be voicing my concerns……it does appear that a lot of readers here are no longer taken for lowly ranters. Indeed our “professional” journalists are spending more time crying about loss of media jobs than figuring out it is people like visitors to this blog that used to be their biggest supporters……if only there were equal space given to pros and cons of some pretty big decisions being made by those who managed to get elected. If I add up my monetary support to other news sources it far outweighs what I used to spend on “real” newspapers.

    Hugh is absolutely correct. ” It ought to be dissolved in this day, and age of rapid change.”………and …….”Why does the BC Press Gallery have the authority to decide what is the news for us at all?”

    I did not vote for all of the bureaucrats, deputy ministers and Crown corporation CEO’s that seem to live on from government to government….they must have some pretty incriminating photos of everyone in order to be allowed to keep directing policy. I did not vote for members of the Press Gallery either. They do not have a mandate to decide who’s take on the day’s proceedings at the Legislature I decide to believe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see The Narwahl has 3 representatives presently listed on the BC Legislature Press Gallery/BC Government Directory……….so perhaps they are indeed now “members” and “trusted” to report? ….not that it wasn’t tough to break in. Regardless, comments above stand.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I understand that existing members now vote on inclusion or exclusion of new credentials. That may explain why more than 80% represent profit seeking corporate media.


  4. Yes Norm, facts do matter, and your post and the comments below it are a hash of factual errors. As Emma’s own account confirms, I did not attempt, much less succeed, in denying her entry to the press gallery. She was turned away once by security with no input from me, and has since acquired permanent credentials along with two other Narwhal employees. I did express my continuing personal opinion about her organization’s advocacy status, but last time I checked that was still legal in Canada. FYI I am no longer a member of the press gallery executive, a volunteer duty that has been taken up by others.


  5. Is there an issue on wordpress? Logged in but will not allow me to ‘like’ any comments? Thank you earlier posters for your comments.
    Once again, Norm Farrell shines the light on the partisan darkness at the BC Leg. Fletcher’s columns tend to be vitriolic. Must be unhappy his wife lost her job in Christy’s office?


    • I hear occasional complaints about problems responding to articles on IN-SIGHTS. The WordPress platform generally works well but I post articles using a 15″ laptop and people using smaller mobile devices will experience a view that is a little different.

      Use of the WordPress reader, instead of visiting my website directly, will produce a result that excludes certain features.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Poor old Tom Fletcher. He just doesn’t get it. Of course as long he receives his paycheque he won’t get it either. Like many others he doesn’t really know where his interests lie. Currently, they lie with his employer, but if they weren’t his employer, lost his job, where would his interests lie?

    by denying others rights, he may be simply be trying to ensure he keeps his job. If bloggers and on line journalists were admitted to the “circle” at the Leg. who knows what information would get out. Given there is some work being done right now at the Leg, which if the press had reported, we might have saved millions and a lot of jobs for people who worked there. They could not have been ignorant, in my opinion.

    As to ferries being built in B.C., better here than in Europe or Asian. If not in B.C. we could have them built in Washington State, where their ferry corporation builds all their own ferries.

    We had ferries built in Germany. Now I understand some work is being done in Poland. That may not turn out well. A short documentary was on one of the PBS stations about how North Korea continues to obtain money for their “dear leader” Kim 3. Well its slave labour, but the slave labour is sent all over the world and their salaries collected by the Government of North Korea. China employes 100K, Russia approx. 40K and then un countable in other parts in Asia and Africa. All that money going to Kim 3 What was really interesting is that some shipyards in Poland are employing these “contract slaves” in their ship yards. cheap labour, no strikes, work 7 days a week and as many hours as ordered to. This contravenes E.U. laws, but it goes on and some ship yards in other parts of the E.U. are sending work to Polish ship yards for just this reason, i.e. the Netherlands. Some one might want to ensure B.C. Ferries are not being worked on or being built by slave labour in the E.U. The collective salaries keep Kim afloat.

    So we might want to come back from trade agreements with the E.U. or ensure they don’t open companies here, and bring their own “workers”. Of course this maybe why trump is so cosy with Kim 3, his good friend, the guy he loves. Yes, Kim has slave labour. I’m sure trump would love to get away with slave labour also.


  7. “We will work with CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) to amplify our energy mandate and to be a part of the solution to keep Canada competitive in the global marketplace. The National Post will undertake to leverage by all means editorially, technically and creatively to further this critical conversation.”
    The agreement between Postmedia and CAPP is textbook advocacy.
    Which might explain why the excuse to deny membership to The Narwhal reps vanished with the change of Press Gallery Presidency. Even hypocrisy has its limits.
    With journalists like Andrew MacLeod and these three showing the rest the way, there may yet be hope for the Press Gallery.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The power of ‘The Inner Ring’ seduces its members and applicants. It seduces the outsiders first by co-opting them, leading by varying degrees by turning applicants into supplicants.


    • I would welcome a response by Mr. Fletcher to the facts presented in this link. I would like the opportunity to determine for myself just who is hashing what……I will go over it sentence by sentence. Unless his response changes it, my opinion remains that Black Press has done nothing to dispel it’s own status as an advocacy group.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mr. Fletcher, I find your comment regarding factual errors interesting. You make your living using words. For that reason one could reasonably expect that you choose them carefully. And you no doubt also carefully choose which words not to use.

    In this case you choose not to address how Ms. Gilchrist’s request of you in 2014 to revisit the determination by security personnel that her organization did not qualify as a media outlet was handled. She says you did not respond. Notwithstanding your statement that she was turned away once by security with no input from you, it is clear from her reporting on interactions with the Deputy Sergeant at Arms at that time that security personnel were relying on your determination. Can you tell us whether you took her request to the membership?

    Now to the message you sent her in 2015:

    “I’ll contact them and ask them to give you a guest media pass for today, although I am inclined to agree with their initial assessment that Desmog is an advocacy organization and not a media outlet.”

    It should go without saying that neither Ms. Gilchrist nor legislative security personnel were contacting you about press credentials because they valued your personal opinion. They were contacting you because of your position as President of the Press Gallery. Your attempt to act as if you were a bemused observer in this matter while security personnel were calling the shots falls flat.

    As you say, Ms. Gilchrist has since acquired permanent credentials along with two other Narwhal employees. Can you advise in the interests of factual accuracy whether that happened before or after your presidency, and if it required a membership vote how you voted?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Its a thrill to read good journalism again now I’ve discovered form Norm about Narhwal, and Tyee. I’ve joined with a subsription to the Narwhal with an amount I can afford as well.
    The comments in this blog putsTom to shame on his newsworthiness.


  11. Tom Fletcher, angry old white Luddite.

    The times they are a changin…….

    Sad fact is, the Victoria press gallery is stocked mostly with corporate lickspittals.


    • Total agreement,
      The Media in BC are so close I believe they drink each other’s bathwater.
      God forbid one of them “scoop” the others with real news.

      I’m also somewhat nauseated by the time worn practice of media types to resign their jobs as “political pundits” only to immediately crawl out of the political slime as a “media spokesperson” for the very same govt they were supposed to be reporting on????????

      One would think that the people employed in the media would be able to recognize bad “optics” when they see themselves as being “critical” of the govt one week and a govt “Lickspittle” the next.
      They would only have to look in the mirror


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