Saturday, January 12, 2008

It shouldn’t be the role of journalists to knowingly propagate lies

There is a very curious dance going on between the Harper government and Canadian journalists. With the latter being taken for a complete ride along with their readers who rely on the press for the truth.

On the one hand we have journalists lamenting the fact that Stephen Harper has an aversion to meeting with the press in the normal fashion, typical of most democracies. And yet these very same journalists are the ones who are being hauled around by their noses as they dutifully report on the snippets of information that there are served, one spoonful of pablum at a time by the likes of paid government propagandists, such as Sandra Buckler and Dan Miles .

Here’s a classic example afforded by a recent article by Carol Goar in the Toronto Star in which she dutifully regurgitated all the nonsense of the past about income trusts. When confronted with information that refutes what she had written in her article, her response is simply:

“I didn't explore the possibility that [Flaherty] was lying. Perhaps I should have.”

Let me repeat that once again: “I didn't explore the possibility that [Flaherty] was lying. Perhaps I should have.”

Perhaps I should have? Well, yeah, isn't that your main occupation?

If Carol Goar is in possession of information that refutes what she has written in the past or present, it is incumbent on her to correct the record. Failing which she has simply made herself an instrument in Stephen Harper’s Propaganda Ministry.

Meanwhile who in the media or elsewhere in the general public finds Jim Flaherty to be deserving of the public’s implicit trust, as evidenced by his proud pronouncement of today that he is descended from pirates ?

While Carol Goar engages in the exercise of correcting the record about the existence of a comparable instrument to income trusts in the US namely Master Limited Partnerships, perhaps Carol Goar would benefit from Digging Deeper .

Perhaps Carol Goar would also benefit by acquainting herself with what has now happened to BCE following its denial to become an income trust. Perhaps she is unaware that the $30 billion of new debt that is being used by the private equity consortium that will turn BCE into a junk bond private company will mean Ottawa will collect $793 million less in taxes each year from BCE that had it been a trust .

However all is not lost as the Catalyst Proposal can put this Humpty Dumpty back together again and preserve BCE as Canada’s most widely held public company, preserve its investment grade credit and maintain its widely held Canadian ownership. Do you suppose that outcome might be better aligned with the Telecommunications Act that is enforced by the CRTC whose stated policy goal is to:

7. (d) to promote the ownership and control of Canadian [telecommunications] carriers by Canadians

Failure in the part of Carol Goar and the Toronto Star to correct the record that has been so abused by them, will place them in good standing to receive the Judith Miller Award for Propaganda in Western Journalism 2008.

Last year's winner was Eric Reguly of the Globe and Mail, who had the temerity to recant his printed words with mere spoken ones and not widely circulated printed ones.

I expect more from all journalists upon being proven wrong otherwise they become culpable in the crime. Derek DeCloet has shown the way recently with his righteous admission of error at year end 2007.

From: Goar, Carol
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2008 9:45 AM
Subject: RE: Income Trusts

Dear Mr. Marshall,
I understand your sense of betrayal. I've heard from a great many retired Canadians who share it.
Unfortunately, the questions you're asking go beyond the level of detail I can provide. I was worried when Stephen Harper asked voters for their support on the understanding that he would not touch income trusts. The Liberals had tried the same approach and reluctantantly decided to abandon it.
I have no way of telling how many large companies would have converted to income trusts as BCE did, but the finance department evidently believed a dangerous trend had begun.
As for my apparently ill-informed remark about the U.S., here is Jim Flaherty said at the time: "Clearly, Canada is out of step in its treatment of income trusts. The structure being used in this country was shut down in the United States and Australia." (Oct. 31, 2006).
I didn't explore the possibility that he was lying. Perhaps I should have.
Sorry I can't be more help. Thank you for the courteous tone of your message.
Most of the e-mail I've received on this topic has been quite hostile.
Best wishes,
Carol Goar
Toronto Star


Dr Mike said...

Harrrrrrrrrr maiteys!!

It`s your old pirate buddy Jimmy O`Flaherty--I come from a proud family history of sacking & pillaging of our neighbors back in the old country.

I thought it was only fitting if I did the same as Canada`s guru & eminent Finance Minister.

I found with the help of elves like Flanagan & Mulroney , it was easier than skinning ill-gotten sheep , after all flock fleecing was a natural progression.

Those poor income trust buggers didn`t know what happened--I had their wallets picked before they knew what was up.

All I would need is an eye-patch & I would be good to go as an attraction at Disney world--I guess that would be something to shoot for in another time.

If that does not work out , I could always get a job writing fiction in Hollywood--I hear they need a few good writers--imagine getting paid just for lying.

Jimmy (Walk the plank) O` Flaherty

Robert Gibbs said...

As Brent's reference to (former) US journalist Judith Miller implies, the same shameful tragedy in journalism that occurred surrounding the lies and deceit with respect to the US invasion of Iraq has now occurred in Canada with respect to the income trust issue.

Sadly, it took years before the untruthful and deceptive warmongering propaganda of George W. Bush and his Republican regime registered in the collective conscience of the US press and general public.

And frighteningly, Harper is a Bush-loving wannabe.