I hope one day my iPod playlist is international news
It's been one of those mornings where I have to laugh. Mostly because otherwise, I'd cry. And I've got a reputation to uphold. An old pet peeve, a shiny new example I've always been troubled by the reliance on wire services for international stories. Just yesterday, for example, a high-ranking Iranian official criticized Canada's handling of the Kazemi case - a pretty substantial comment. Sadly, since no Canadian outlets have reporters in Tehran, the papers relied on wire stories and the opportunity to contextualize the story for a Canadian audience was lost. Today, this goes a step further. There is a major international donors conference on Sudan going on and Canada announced $90 million in aid. No problem, the Agence France-Presse report got that as part of its overall list. But at the same time, Canada announced that up to 31 soldiers would be sent to help with UN peacekeeping efforts - including one who will be the deputy force commander of the mission. Only the Toronto Star got that detail, the Post ran an AFP wire story while some smaller papers (Calgary Sun and Saskatoon StarPhoenix) ran an AP report. The Post example is even more troubling given that just yesterday they ran a story attributed to an anonymous government source saying that a troop commitment was forthcoming - they bloody well knew the announcement was coming this week and they still missed the story. This from a paper that constantly bemoans the lack of Canadian involvement overseas. There's a chance that the troop commitment broke late and the rest of the papers will get the story tomorrow, but wow. I understand that it's not economically feasible to send reporters all over the world, but when there's a major conference with three Canadian ministers attending, at least pay attention to what's going on. Border crisis looms! Yesterday the Post led with a story about border security concerns based on a leaked report of testimony before a Senate committee. At the time, I was concerned that there were no additional sources, but I assumed that in the spirit of the corporate-media deadline race, they got it late, ran with it and would clarify it today. Erm, I was wrong. Instead, they run a story headlined "American 'patience running out' over border." Fairly ominous eh? Too bad it's fear-mongering bullshit. The American source is a congressman who was clearly phoned by the Post and read the list of concerns from yesterday's story. The congressman then responded as you assume he would, saying the U.S. wants Canada to spend more money and address these problems. Then Anne McLellan is quoted saying that Canada is indeed spending more money ($400 million in the last budget alone) and that alot of the problems raised in the report have already been addressed. This information is, of course, in the continuation of the story on A8. To clarify. Post gets list of concerns raised at a Senate committee. Runs story based on that. Then calls a Republican congressman and reads him the concerns. Congressman responds based only on those concerns. Post buries the context of the report (that it was dated and many of the concerns have been addressed) and headlines it "American 'patience running out' over border." And just who is this Congressman? Here's a quote from him. “You can say you passed laws all you want, you can go to all the meetings but the bottom line is if your cotton-picking computer does not work, what good is it?” Cotton-picking computer. 'Nuff said. Bush listens to an iPod. I don't care. Both the Post and Citizen ran stories on what Bush has in his iPod. The Post focused on the Canadian content (Joni Mitchell and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings), while the Citizen dwelled on the "controversial" lyrical content of "My Sharona" by the Knack. The Post even wasted one of their own reporters on the story ("Sudan conference? Fuck it we'll use AFP, we need Agrell on this iPod thing") and ran it is a teaser above the fold on A1. Now, it's pretty standard for the White House to issue bullshit like this to take the heat off something else. Now let's see, what could they want to bury. . . Oh lookie here, turns out Bush's nominee for the UN job, John Bolton, is under investigation for allegations that he twice sought the dismissal of security analysts who did not provide intelligence that matched his conclusion. In fairness, the Post and Citizen both got that story too, as did most Canadian papers, but seriously, why even bother with the stupid iPod story? And is Apple paying you for that nice photo of its products on A1, Post? And the Oscar for worst argument ever goes to. . . The Post's George Koch and John Weissenberger argue in a full-page commentary that Romeo Dallaire isn't a hero because he followed orders in Rwanda. That's right, because he didn't disobey direct orders from UN superiors, he's a bad general. This is my favourite paragraph: "What Dallaire has done, in other words, is to have taken a story of horrific black on black murder facilitated by the UN, and adapted it to the specious, one-size-fits-all anti-Western narrative popularized by Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore - glossing over his own less than honourable role in the process." Hey Koch, Weissenberger, why don't you try to run a fucking peacekeeping operation?