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Thursday, April 07, 2005

The donut guy played hockey too?

A few people have asked me why I haven't touched on all the Gomery Inquiry stuff yet. There's no really good reason, except for the daunting amount of coverage it's getting. Frankly, I can't make heads or tails of what I read day-to-day. As a general comment, the Toronto Star seems the most reserved, choosing to report on what little news actually comes out of the inquiry and passing on all the election speculation bullshit. But on to the other stuff. Why is this a special feature? During the election campaign, the Citizen started doing these bizarre little analyses of top stories by contrasting the spin with the truth. This site didn't exist then, but I often ranted about how silly this seemed. Then today, they brought it back to deal with the aforementioned avalanche of Gomery-related coverage. On page A4, Jack Aubry provides a "Just the facts" analysis of "The Spin," "The Counterspin" and "The Truth" about Martin's claim that the Liberals are the victims in the sponsorship scandal. Maybe it's just me, but shouldn't this be part of every story? By creating a special section to counter the various party talking points, aren't they admitting that the rest of their coverage is spun? The role of the press is not just to print the various party lines for them, it's to provide context. That the Citizen has to provide a special section to do this is absurd. Police and theives in the street . . . There's a really interesting opinion piece in the Globe today by Robert Muggah from something called the Small Arms Survey in Geneva. They're dedicated to monitoring small-arms proliferation around the world, and evidently, the U.S. has been violating a 13-year-old arms embargo by selling weapons to the interim Haitian government. You remember, the one that was installed after the U.S. led a coup to overthrow a democratically-elected president? Muggah is understandably upset at this development, and rightfully so. The interim government (see also puppet regime) is fragile, the country is unstable, and the last thing anyone needs is $7-million worth of U.S. guns in the streets. My question is why wasn't this reported anywhere before? Violating an embargo and adding to the already ridiculous number of guns in Haiti is a pretty significant story, no? Compare and contrast the historical significance of the following: Not to sound insensitive, but does anyone really care whether or not Tim Horton was drunk when he crashed his car and died 31 years ago? And if the answer is yes, is there anyone out there who can explain how this is front page material? Citizen A1, starting above the fold. Meanwhile, the Toronto Star was the only paper that bothered to report that Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. continued to dump tens of thousands of gallons of hazardous radioactive waste into the ground for a decade after promising to stop. It's understanable though, the Tim Horton thing was a scoop, they had to obtain records and everything. The AECL story came out at a public hearing. If a scandal breaks at a public hearing and no reporters are around, does it make a story? Joe admits he was (sort of) wrong Yesterday I expressed skepticism that anyone would pick up on the UN Human Development Report story on democracy in the Middle East. The Citizen ran an opinion piece by Marina Ottaway, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about how the report should be required reading for the Bush administration. I stand by my assertion that it didn't get the play it deserved, but I suppose at this point, we take what we can get. Finally, some cow shit (heh heh) There's also a cute little piece in a couple papers about mad cow. Apparently, there's a rumour going around that the U.S. department of agriculture is covering up cases of BSE in the U.S. A whistleblower named Lester Friedlander, who inspected meat plants for a living, brought it up. So far only the Regina Leader-Post, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald and Montreal Gazette got the story, but he's appearing before the Parliamentary committee looking into BSE stuff next week. Stay tuned for that.

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