‘Bad information is an occupational hazard’

by Aaron Wherry

The CEO of Sun Media says—and the Conservative campaign confirms—that a Conservative strategist forwarded a dubious photo of Michael Ignatieff.

Three weeks ago, our vice-president for Sun News, Kory Teneycke, was contacted by the former deputy chief of staff to Prime Minister Harper, Patrick Muttart. He claimed to be in possession of a report prepared by a “U.S. source”, outlining the activities and whereabouts of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff in the weeks and months leading to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. The report suggested that rather than being an observer from the sidelines, as he wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece after he entered Canadian politics, Ignatieff was in fact on the front lines and on the ground at a forward operating base in Kuwait, assisting U.S. State Department and American military officials in their strategy sessions. Muttart also provided a compelling electronic image of a man very closely resembling Michael Ignatieff in American military fatigues, brandishing a rifle in a picture purported to have been taken in Kuwait in December 2002.

What Mr. Muttart provided was apparently enough for the Sun papers to run a story that claimed Mr. Ignatieff was “was on the front lines of pre-invasion planning when he worked in the U.S.” Still, Mr. Peladeau believes this was part of an effort to discredit both Mr. Ignatieff and Sun media and that this episode should debunk any notion that the Sun is a tool of the Conservative party of Canada.




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‘Bad information is an occupational hazard’

  1. You know you are a professional news organization with integrity when your CEO has to run an editorial highlighting that you could have totally libeled someone based on lies but instead you only kinda libeled them.

  2. So let me get this straight- they got some dirt on Ignatieff, decided not to run the story, and are now offering this as proof they are not the Canadian equivalent of Pravda?

    Also, is anyone asking WHY they feel the need to declare they are not the house organ of the CPC?

    Sorry, I'm not buying.

  3. He claimed to be in possession of a report prepared by a “U.S. source”, outlining the activities and whereabouts of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff in the weeks and months leading to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    I do know a guy who was a Marine Colonel who cares about foreign policy, energy and Kuwait strategy sessions. Allen Weh, the former chair of the New Mexico Republican Party.

  4. "We are in the news business and what we care about more than anything else is the truth."

    From my experience of newspapers, you are in the business of selling advertising and avoiding law suits.

    • Bingo.

  5. Why on earth would the CPC want to discredit a Sun Media newspaper? Did they assume that no one, either inside the Sun organization or outside it, would be able to (or would bother to) fact-check their Iggy assertion? What on earth is going on here?

    • "Why on earth would the CPC want to discredit a Sun Media newspaper?"

      They don't. This is Paladeau's attempt at feigning independence for his new billionaire-run everyman network. His office and staff are filled with Tories. He's been running a scorched earth campaign against Ignatieff and the Liberals for years now, just as he's been doing with the CBC.

      The only thing that seems to have changed is the libel issue. A few weeks ago, the SUN had to publish an apology for a screed against George Soros (by Levant), which also was filled with easily debunked lies. I imagine that this, plus their financial and regulatory situation, has made their lawyers get up on their hind legs.

    • It's just their way of getting their message out – this one being that it's not clear whether Ignatieff planned the Iraq invasion, but suspicions that he was on the ground in Iraq, in army fatigues and weaponed to the hilt, ready to do battle, can't be confirmed. So stay tuned because your suspicions are probably right.

      They didn't have any more "leads" to publish, so this letter is a creative way to publish that message anyway and bring some attention to it. Then the CPC "fires" from their campaign, a campaign worker working from Chicago. Because, like, it is so easy to tell if someone residing in Chicago is or was doing anything behind the scenes anyway.

  6. He claimed to be in possession of a report prepared by a “U.S. source”…

    What is not said is what US stands for. While we all assume it means "United States", it actually means "Unbelievably Sleazy."

  7. A pox on all your houses The media in this country has lost credibilty with any one who's I Q higher then their shoe size. Sun media has the dubious distinction of heaping the garbage bags higher but this is still a hotly contested race. .

  8. Front lines in Iraq? Whatever. I'm much more interested in this crack commando squad (including John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, Jon Elster, Theda Skocpol and Cass Sunstein) that Ignatieff was allegedly with in the 1980s. I hear they took part in all sorts of ugly black ops in El Salvador.

    • Dworkin disarmed a platoon of rebels with logic alone.

  9. Sounds like someone is upset that they almost caught some fleas after lying with dogs.

  10. OK, now would the rest of the media care to comment on whether they received the same dubious information and photo? Or was only Sun Media so favoured?

    Honestly, did those idiots think Ignatieff had suddenly become a soldier?

  11. yup
    we are all being played,
    the ndp surge = harper majority

    this is working far better than planned for the Con-artists

  12. "this episode should debunk any notion that the Sun is a tool of the Conservative party of Canada."

    when all ya gots is lemons – ya gots to make lemonade!

  13. Interesting…. I'd love to see the timeline.

    Maybe Sun read Sheila Frazer's April 8 letter regarding the misuse by Conservative MPs of her old quote to justify G8/G20 spending.

    • Article says 'three weeks ago'. That takes us back to April 5/6 –

      If three weeks can be interpretted liberally (note the small 'l') as 'something less than 4 weeks' then it's at least possible the photo was delivered to Teneycke on April 1.

  14. Peladeau is just getting ahead of Monday. He probably senses something happening in Quebec, so he is covering his bases. If Harper doesn't get a majority, expect someone at Sun Media, whose name rhymes with Tory, to get the axe as he had once before.

    • Then he'd probably get re-hired again later, they could get a Steinbrenner-Martin thing going.

  15. Occupational hazard, business plan, what's the difference?

  16. Maybe: "this episode should debunk any notion that the Sun is a tool of the Conservative party of Canada."

    Definitely not: "this episode should debunk any notion that the Sun is a tool"

  17. Still, Mr. Peladeau believes this was part of an effort to discredit both Mr. Ignatieff and Sun media and that this episode should debunk any notion that the Sun is a tool of the Conservative party of Canada.

    This is hilarious. Mr. Peladeau must moonlight as a comedian.

  18. Especially since the new network seems to have failed to engage beyond its launch — and most of that ink was about the siliconed lady anchors wearing sleeveless blouses and high heels (and as Feschuk so innocently pointed out on Twitter: for some reason, the lady anchors were feeding cake off their fingers to the men anchors).

    Had they run with the story, and I"m sure Kory would have no compunction about doing so, they would have been discredited. Now, they appear more legit. I cannot imagine the money pit this network will be if it doesn't get any viewers.

    • "for some reason, the lady anchors were feeding cake off their fingers to the men anchors"

      ARE YOU F@%KING KIDDING ME?

      • work with Sun

        We are looking for experienced media professionals, journalists and support staff who understand Canada needs a stronger, better, bolder news and information network. One that matches hard-hitting, fast, investigative news with insightful, colourful, and clear commentary. One that keeps us informed minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, with the most trusted names in journalism. One that replaces the same old talking heads with more voices, new voices

        see: http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/work-with-us.html

        and good luck.

        • As I am a feminist, I am appalled. So as I am also a reasonably heterosexual male who enjoys cake and is looking for a new line of work, I am now filled with rich, creamy inner conflict.

      • http://ow.ly/i/ayRU

        Scroll down to the "Sun News Launched:" the photo is there.

        Now weep.

        • Wow, the mind reels. They really are parody-proof, and apparently fully resistant to any form of critical self-awareness.

          I turned on SunTV for 20 seconds about an hour ago, and saw a woman talking who was wearing sleeves, and I thought to myself as a joke "huh, must be a Liberal Party spokesperson". Turns out she was a Liberal Party spokesperson.

  19. Who is going to give Nanos and Bricker of Ipsos-Reid their poll numbers now?

  20. "I think it would be fun to run a newspaper."

    - Charles Foster Kane

  21. Probably more concerned about copyright infringement. Certainly more than truth.

  22. How about this spin

    Con Pat gives Con Kory a fake story (wink, wink) Kory prints it, (thinking he is so smart and Peladeau can't read anyway). Peladeau is smart enough to recognise a fake and fears a lawsuit and/or bad karma for smearing a leader with such an obvious fake during an election. Peladeau retracts. Con Kory will get his ass kicked when the election is over. Con/Rep Pat is already back home in the USA getting ready for 'the Donald'.

    Con Harper somehow seems to attract individuals like Kory and Pat. Why is that?

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