Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A non-partisan edition of Crappy Moments in Journalism

While most of the entries in my new regular feature, Crappy Moments in Journalism, will likely focus on the progressive end of the spectrum (my Conservative friends keep a sharp eye for crappiness, real or imagined, down in their neck of the woods) sometimes incidents will be egregious enough to deserve an entry here.

And this entry from the CanWest News Service certainly meets the qualifications. The article covers a United Nations women's rights conference where Conservative minister Helena Guergis would be speaking, and making her first public appearance since news of her Hurricane Helena performance at a PEI airport came to light.

Now, obviously the PEI incident merits mention, and were I a reporter at the event I'd use the opportunity to ask her about the incident, will she resign, did she read Anne of Green Gables as a kid, wasn't Road to Avonlea lame, yada yada. All fair ball. And most of the story is fine, talking about what she plans to talk about, and her government's record on women's issues, with comments from women's groups.

But the first three graphs of this story? Pretty crappy:
Status of Women Minister Helena Guergis kept her temper on an even keel Monday as she spent Day 1 representing Canada at a major United Nations women's rights conference -- just days after apologizing for using her own status to allegedly disparage Prince Edward Island airport workers and their province.

Scheduled to take part in what the UN billed as a "high-level" roundtable debate, Guergis planned to stick strictly to the rule that she speak for no longer than three minutes, her handlers said.

That contrasts with her alleged off-the-cuff outburst at Charlottetown Airport after she arrived late for a flight Feb. 19 -- for which she issued an apology Thursday.
They make her out to be like the Incredible Hulk. Is this going to be how they cover every Guergis public appearance now, watching for signs of the emergence of evil Helena? "Conservative Minister Helena Guergis refrained from throwing her shoes and calling the province a hell-hole as she spoke to the Podunk chamber of commerce Monday..." You won't like her when she's angry.

Guergis deserves all the flack she's taking for her behaviour. Maybe she won't be able to get past it, time will tell. I'd support the call for her resignation, but one has to wonder, just who would take her place?

But the Incredible Hulk stuff is lame. If she does explode, report that. Otherwise, stick to the news.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


rob said...

That's pretty ridiculous. Good catch.

CanadianSense said...

Jeff many from the right and left complain about a lack of fair coverage.

Some of us complain about the bias of a few cheerleaders for each others team.

The MSM, political parties go for the nuke option too often to be taken seriously.

I have lost count how many times the opposition have overplayed a weak hand by calling for a resignation.

No one is disupting her outburst was WRONG. Very few have excused it, even though we may share her frustration with AIR Travel. She made a mistake, apologized.

Can you explain how a detailed letter made it's way to the Liberal Easter?

Can you explain why the CBC is protecting the identity of the 'whistleblower' at the airport who sent a detailed letter to Easter?

This reminds me of the wafer story and without going into great detail, I suspect some editing may have taken place.

RuralSandi said...

CanadianSense - did it ever occur to you that perhaps the employee wrote to Easter may be in Easter's riding and is writing a complaint to his MP?

Protect identity of whistleblower - duh, perhaps afraid to lose his/her job?

People do that you know.


900ft Jesus said...

Yeah Jeff. Get with it, will ya? Can you explain these points CS brings up which were not part of your post, because really, Jeff, being a Liberal and all, you personally should explain it in this post that addresses something entirely different.

And Jeff, while you’re at it, can you explain how Guergis’ verbal abuse and attempts to by-pass security is a mistake as opposed to a display of a major character flaw embracing a false sense of entitlement and a contempt for what she calls “you people?”

Well, Jeff, can you? Eh? Eh?

CanadianSense said...


The media were caught with their pants down for not double checking the story regarding the wafer.

A full page apology followed up to everyone including the REPORTERS.

My questions are fair, and your objection and suggestion sending a letter to your MP because of an incident is a little too convienent.

Do you remember the attacks regarding the single mother trapped?

She is married, and the two differnent people who showed up were 7" apart in height reports show.

Do you remember how your party demanded we pay $ 2.5 million to settle?

The TRUTH is the defence and this 'whistleblower' may be an operative of the Liberals unless we can verify the identify of this person.

Is it not worth it to clear this matter up?

Jeff said...

On wafer madness, I'd refer you to this post where I analyze just what exactly the TJ apologized for, and what it didn't:


And who blew the whistle on Guergis is irrelevant, because she did do what she is said to have done. She hasn't denied anything. And she has apologized for her actions.

It could have been the ghost of Pierre Trudeau that wrote the letter. Doesn't matter if it's true, and she has confirmed that it is.

CanadianSense said...

Jeff we can agree to disagree on this point.

How does it benefit to Helena to deny her outburst. No one is denying it did not take place.

I have only asked about the veracity of details/bias from the "protected" source who has the support of the Liberals and the CBC.

You would think this "deepthroat" has uncovered a state secret.

It does matter who forwared a 'detailed' letter of an incident meant to embarass a minister of the government to a Liberal MP.

If the letter was from an operative from the Liberals would the average person opinion of the letter change?

We can both argue about bias and accuracy of witness reporting.

We both agree our media is doing a lousy job on sticking to facts and double checking them without inserting silly points.

The Reporters did NOT include the information added later by "protected source" which resulted in one dismissal of an editor and suspension of a family member.

I see you allege a financial considerations for a "Big Contract" may have influenced the retraction.

wilson said...

The tone of the article, is disrespect, belittling a public servant.
Many so called journalists inject this attitude into their work.

But then look at Question Period,
where disrespect rules.
And have you noticed that your guy calls my guy 'that guy'?
That's just rude.