Set your faces to stun
Well, it appears as though claims about the Alberta shooter's marijuana grow-op were slightly exaggerated. Though every outlet led with the "shootout at a grow op" angle last week, it appears his operation was rather small and inconsequential to the whole thing. The media can be forgiven somewhat for that, given that RCMP commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli came out condemning such operations just hours after the shooting. But yesterday, Zaccardelli admitted that, perhaps, that was a bad call. He said "I gave what I believed was the best information I had knowing full well that at that time I didn't have all the information." Bold admission. So why did the Globe not get the story? And why did the Post bury it on A5, amidst a flurry of other pot-related articles? In fairness, many of the CanWest local papers gave the story the play it deserved, but wy did the national dailies let us down? Turns out the comments came in an interview with a CanWest reporter, thus explaining the Globe's silence (if you count the failure to ask poignant questions as an explanation), but why wasn't it on A1 in the Post? It's pretty standard journalistic practice that you clarify or correct misleading information by giving the new information the same play that the old information got. The grow-op angle was plastered all over A1 last week... it even took over the Liberal policy conference - why did the Post bail on us? The media can be forgiven for buying the RCMP line in the fog of deadline on a tragedy - though as pot activist Marc Emery points out in a few papers today, gun lobbyists, rural Albertans and fundamentalists Christians didn't get tarred the way marijuana growers did by this story (despite Blatchford's best efforts) - but there's a responsibility to update this story fairly. The Post didn't. We'll see how the Globe and other non-CanWest papers play it tomorrow. David Frum legitimizes my hate Oh David Frum, you so crazee. I admit, I was a bit taken a back by the first half of his column in the Post's new Issues and Ideas section. He almost seemed to be admitting that there are real concerns about the U.S. checkpoint policies in Iraq. But then it becomes clear that it's tokenism - he's justifying the irrational points he makes later by being "balanced" (See FOXNews: slogan of). In true Frum fashion, he talks around his point a bit, but he's arguing that the reason that the Italian journalist's car was shot in Iraq was because of Italy's policy of paying ransoms to kidnappers, therefore, it's Italy's fault that one man is dead and this journalist was wounded. I'm sorry, what? Frum argues that because Italy didn't tell the U.S. that the car was coming (ostensibly because they knew the U.S didn't approve of the ransom payment and they wanted her out of the country before the U.S. found out), it's understandable that the U.S. shot at the car. So, Iraqis, listen up. Frum says that unless U.S. officials know that you're out in your car, in your recently-liberated country, you can expect to be shot. Lovely. Don Martin hurts my head Keeping on the column-bashing fun, Don Martin actually criticizes Conservative leader Stephen Harper and others for NOT seizing on the shootings in Alberta to advance their gun registry agenda. The fact that gun registry opponents say "See, his gun wasn't registered, so the system doesn't work" blows my mind, but Martin goes a step beyond and criticizes people for not trying to score political points on the backs of dead RCMP officers. To justify this, Martin points out that instead, the government was taken to task with "predictable and increasingly desperate queries" about meaningless issues like missile defence, student tuition and immigration. Wow. Just wow. Ja Rule was in Canada! OMG! It's depressing, if not all together predictable, that Michael Jackson's rape trial is all over the papers. It's even more depressing that Ja Rule punching some dude in the face is worthy of extensive coverage. But the Post takes it a step further, once again. "Not even the court's bottled water was up to Ja Rule's standards: His contract demands: Rapper used to more plush public appearances." That was the headline on the supplemental story on Ja Rule's Toronto court date, a lovely little piece detailing the rapper's rider - a list of required items in his dressing room. Hmmm, perhaps Ja Rule is used to more plush public appearances because - and I'm just throwing this out here - the media propogates a celebrity culture where every tidbit of banal minutia is considered newsworthy, like a rundown of a rapper's rider. Don't sarcastically bemoan the demands of celebrities as you cater to the mainstream celebrity culture. You build the beast, you live with it.