Er, never mind (II)


CBC confirms that Shawna Richer, the Telegraph-Journal’s editor-in-chief, has been fired and James Irving is no longer publisher. CTV says Irving has been “temporarily suspended.” And Canwest reports the Prime Minister was not pursuing the matter legally.


Er, never mind (II)

  1. Ah, the media. Our source for facts and current events. If only they could check their partisanship at the door in the interest of fulfilling their duty.

  2. Interesting that none of the stories mention anything about the Priest. Maybe we just read far too much into the fact he was mentioned, albeit contextually in the apology.

    • By "we", do you mean the people who keep suggesting that this story was a fabrication? Because if you remove that statement from the apology, what you have is bad editing: Instead of stating that the PM slipped the wafer into his pocket, the paper should have stated something like, "a senior priest told the TJ that a parishioner told him that they saw the prime minister slip the wafer into his pocket, and now wants to know what happened to it". The priest would still be demanding an explanation, and the rest of the story would stand. You can debate whether it *is* a real story, but it wouldn't be nearly the outrage that some are claiming.

      • It is inconceivable to me that the TJ would have fabricated that quote from the priest and then issued this apology without apologizing to the priest.

        I suspect they threw the priest in because it is a way of lessening the message that senior Catholics were in any way upset or critical of Harper and they rationalized putting this into the apology because they had written that the priest "demanded" an explanation, whereas the priest's quote is more along the lines "hopes the PMO will explain".

        In other words, I suspect this apology is an attempt to undo whatever negative impact resulted for Harper as a result of this story. From that perspective, it does a reasonable job. It comes at the cost of putting this back in the news, and for the critical and astute few, the details of the apology do not really make sense, but the apology and terminations seem sufficiently overblown to leave the less astute with doubt on the entire story (provided they don't view the video). If that was the TJ's goal, I don't think they could have done any better. Of course, if my speculation is true, the apology itself is shady journalism.

        This apology really is overblown compared to any I have seen (assuming no quotes were fabricated). For example, when the Toronto Star published a news story during the election that Dion was backing down from the Green Shift and took the first few words of one of Dion's responses out of context to leave readers with a different impression than if they had published more of his response (and this story was then picked up by the blogging Tories, CBC and some other papers) the Toronto Star published a brief correction inside the paper and no one was fired. That seems standard procedure, even when the entire premise of the "news" story is false.

        • I can't see anyone fabricating a direct quote. What I can see is that perhaps the direct quote was over interpreted as a "demand" from the priest that the PMO do something.

          The apology does seem an over reaction, which is why I'm still saying: think ship-building contracts.

          • Gee BCL, maybe the media will run with your 'Harper strong armed the Irvings' conspiracy, 'using anonymous sources'……and then again, after this series of events, maybe not.

          • The apology does seem an over reaction, which is why I'm still saying: think ship-building contracts.

            Translation: The apology does seem an over-reaction, which is why I'm still peddling some complete fabrication that I just dreamed up.

      • Nope. Because I never suggested that a fabrication was the definite end result By "we" I meant the people discussing the curious nature of the apology, I speculated about a few things, but didn't definitively think the quotes were fabricated. In all honesty, I think the priest was only included to provide context as to the article in question. I'm assuming this got more than one day's worth of coverage, so if the bad editing happened in one article, (seemingly the initial one?) they would have to source specifically. I've always been under the assumption that the priest didn't make the allegation – he just commented on it. The article certainly cites the video rather than headlining "Priest claims he saw PM pocket host"

  3. Someone in the media gets their comeuppance for wrongly besmirching Prime Minister Harper's reputation based on lies and distortion. A rare and remarkable occurrence.

    Too rare, it should happen more often.

    • At least the Irvings can have their shipbuilding contracts back, right?

    • Darn right. When it comes to tarnishing reputations with distortions and lies, don't mess with the King. See Stewart, Zytaruk, Arar, Bains, Martin, Keen, Casey, Turner etc.

      • and Alan Riddell. That was a clear cut case after a judge ruled in Riddell's favour, although the susequent libel suit against Harper was settled out of court on a weekend with a confidentiality clause.

    • Indeed, if only others who were besmirched "based on on lies and distortion" had the same recourse. But, since the ads are off the air, I guess it won't happen…

      • I can't help but think of CTV and what they did to Dion in the last election…

  4. It's unfortunate that the media doesn't do more self-regulation like this.

    They seem about accountable as the civil service.

    If there was more accountability, you wouldn't see so much sanctimonious self-righteous left/lib biased drivel passing off as news and reporting.

    • i'm with you jarr bear, but then again, how would the national post survive?

      • Ba dum!

        He's here all week. Try the veal!

  5. Why didn't the Rocky Mountain News think of this?

  6. So, a priest, the PM, and Mike Duffy walk into a room . . .

    • …and finally, Harper says "Yes, that's a communion wafer in my pocket, and yes, I'm happy to see you!"

      • …and only Duffy walks out?

        • Because it was a low fat wafer ?

      • ""Yes, that's a communion wafer in my pocket"

        And Duffy says : "Darn. I thought it was a Dorito."

  7. Is Kory Teneycke's resignation connected or is this morning's announcements just a really, really weird coincidence?

    • Coincidence, obviously. Sometimes two unrelated political news stories can happen on the same day in Canada. Go figure.

    • There's a conspiracy here somewhere. Probably involving Bush and Haliburton.

      • And the Irving's.

  8. With this new precedent, can we expect an apology from the PM for besmirching Tom Zytaruk's reputation?

    • If you remember correctly, Zytaruk changed the story when some of it was challenged.

      • I remember that we never got a straight story from Harper — inside the Commons or out — about his early denials of meetings and offers; his "evolving" version of events once the tape emerged; about who offered what to Cadman and why; or about why Harper claimed defamation and misappropriation of personality against the Liberals, but not against the reporter who actually taped him and wrote a book of the events — nor against the family and staff who repeated and corroborated the allegations. I remember Harper's accounts shifting by the day and the theatrical antics of his staff until the libel chill suit came down.

        Then I remember the sound of crickets after the deal to drop the whole matter post-Dion.

        I also remember Zytaruk being left twisting in the wind by many of his colleagues.

  9. Uh, speaking of journalistic malpractice and conflicts of interest, how come no here's taken up the Shona Holmes and the Canadian Constitution Foundation story? Too boring for some national editor at MacLean's?

  10. I wonder if other lib-left media people have taken note of this?

    How much crow has been eaten in the last few days over this story?

    • Yes, in the future they should wait a few years before reporting anything about Harper or any Conservative, just in case the initial media source has been guilty of fabrication or distortion.

    • The media response will be a 10 day refrain from quoting 'anonymous sources and insiders' when tweaking the story.
      10 days, 3 weeks tops.

  11. As tempests in a teapot go, this whole story from the beginning has to rank as one of the worst ever. 99.9999% of practicing Catholics don't handle the host properly, since everyone accepts the host and walks immediately back to their pew. As many priests regularly instruct, we are supposed to chew and completely swallow while still at the alter. I base my statistic on 47 years of church attendance, including several years as a youngster serving in the church and attending on average 9 times per week, counting funerals and weddings.

    • You NEVER chew the host. EVER.

  12. The PM isn't going to sue anyone over this? That's a first…

  13. BCL: Do you have any shred of evidence to justify your "shipbuilding" story, or is it 100% pure unfounded speculation?