Dr. Dawg

Journamalism at the Ottawa Citizen

| Disqus Comments


On an error scale of one to ten, the PSAC’s brief foray into interactive political cartooning yesterday would merit maybe a 0.5. The site, quickly taken down after vulgar and hateful comments appeared, allowed anyone to paste up a caption on a number of photos of Stephen Harper.

Through some rookie mistake, the public captioning wasn’t moderated, and it wasn’t long before some pretty gross stuff was posted—including racism and attacks on Harper’s family. This was almost immediately noticed, the site was promptly deep-sixed, and apologies were Tweeted and Facebooked by the PSAC, its National President, Robyn Benson, and the National Vice-President, Chris Aylward. President Benson also posted a classy apology on her blog.

In a normal world, this would have been more than sufficient—a dumb error made, quickly rectified, and due apologies made. But not when it comes to a union, under the perpetual yellow-eyed gaze of the corporate media and the shills who work for it.

This morning’s Ottawa Citizen (print version) is a case study of that apparent oxymoron, “journalistic ethics.” The matter was deemed important enough to appear on page 1, above the fold. Not even the outbreak of World War Three, it seems, would have kept the Citizen editors from serving up this juicy anti-union morsel as the top news story of the day. Thousands of people who would never have heard of the site, much less visited it, were now informed of it. “Union’s ‘bone-headed’ bubbles backfire” screams the hed.

The article itself, by Teresa Smith, was one of the most dishonest pieces of journalism I have ever seen, and I’ve been around. The matter, quickly dead and buried, was yanked from its fresh-dug grave. The PSAC “is risking a strong public backlash,” Smith states, no doubt trying to keep a straight face as she does her best to create one. Finger-wagging “experts” were assembled, like Conservative hack and union-hater Ian Lee, who performed as expected. PSAC is “risking a backlash,” he says, oddly echoing Teresa Smith’s lede. Canadians “don’t tolerate personal attacks against the family of a politician.” Well, duh. There was a reason that the site was pulled down almost as soon as it went up.

Lee was joined by CTV “political analyst” Scott Reid, a former flack for Paul Martin. “Spectacularly bone-headed,” he shrieked. “[The PSAC] just completely undermined their ability to advance their legitimate arguments.”

This histrionic overkill should be shrugged off as the propagandistic ranting that it is. But it’s all too typical of the way unions are baited by the media these days under the slightest pretext. This morning’s manufactured imbroglio perfectly illustrates what many of us have been saying for some time: the corporate media and the hacks who labour in that jungle have a political axe to grind, and the axe-handle is Conservative blue.

Anyone still harbour the quaint notion that journalism is all about even-handedness and dispassionate observation? That politics plays no part in the construction of news stories? Go read today’s Citizen and get the real scoop.

[Declaration of interest: I’m a former VP of the PSAC.]

Return to the home page

blog comments powered by Disqus

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 12, 2013 8:30 AM.

Rehtaeh Parsons was the previous entry in this blog.

Young adult fiction is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 6.3.6