I picked up The Globe and Mail from the doorstep this morning. The headline on the front page read: “Ignatieff draws criticism for letting MPs break ranks.” I was intrigued. So, Iggy’s being criticized for allowing those Newfoundland and Labrador MPs to vote against the budget, eh? Interesting. I read on. I was curious to discover who was criticizing him.
The first person to criticize Ignatieff in the article was Tom Flanagan. As many of you will remember, Flanagan was – for an extended period of time – Stephen Harper’s right-hand man. Flanagan called Ignatieff’s decision “a sign of weakness in the brutal world of politics.”
The second person to criticize Ignatieff, in a single anonymous quote, was “one long-time Liberal.” This “long-time Liberal” said, “It looks bad.”(Wow, Long-time Liberal builds a convincing argument!)
The third person to criticize Ignatieff in the article was… no one. There was no third person.
So let’s recap.
1. The Globe and Mail apparently considers it front-page news when the Prime Minister’s former chief of staff, a Conservative, criticizes the Leader of the Opposition, a Liberal. This sets the journalistic bar a tad low, doesn’t it? Stop the presses everyone! Tim Murphy thinks Stephen Harper sucks at Boggle!
2. The Globe continues to grant anonymity to its political “sources” for reasons that can best be described as, “Uhh, why?” Anonymity should protect those providing important information at personal risk, not some gutless political hack with an axe to grind and some spare adjectives to emit. There’s always someone who disagrees with a political decision – it kind of matters who that someone is, doesn’t it? Is it Bob Rae criticizing his new leader? Or is it some old guy in Saskatoon who thinks the party’s gone straight to hell ever since Louis St. Laurent passed?
But if you’re going to be so lazy as a journalist, why stop with telling us what “one long-time Liberal” thinks? Don’t leave us hanging. What does “one Liberal MP” think? Where does “one former Liberal strategist” stand? How is “a senior party official” reacting to the news? How are we going to get the whole inaccurate and biased picture if we don’t get the full range of pointless and slanted quotes?