Readers who have followed my entry into expressing opinions online about what is going on in this city, and where we are heading, know why I began.
It was because I and many in my family and circles of friends, did not trust what was coming out of the mouths of politicians, and in many cases the reporting on those politicians.
This weekend, I was sent a link to this radio interview by Geoff Currier on CJOB about a column that ran in the Winnipeg Free Press.
It not only verifies my concerns, but raised an entirely new one.
The interview with Deveryn Ross runs just under 12 minutes and is well worth listening to.
In brief, Ross discusses a column he wrote in the newspaper last Friday about a website that is “trading on the credibility of the Free Press” and other media by completely inventing quotes to discredit Conservative leader Brian Pallister.
The mailer is so dishonest, the name “Brian Pallister” doesn’t even appear in one editorial cited as ‘proof’ of something ‘bad’ his policy would do to Manitoba families like mine and yours.
It even revives the lie about ‘1000 fired nurses by Gary Filmon’, which was based on a single sentence describing the transfer of nurses to regional health authority employment by a Free Press reporter in the 1990’s. (Wondering… who wrote that, anyone know?)
As Currier points out, “this stuff doesn’t pass any sniff test, it’s flat out dishonest”, including using 2 other Free Press reports about debates from the 1990’s to pretend Pallister would cancel some health care construction projects in the current day.
“It’s at minimum unethical, it’s misleading …if you’re going to make claims like this you should expect people to spend a minimum amount of time just checking out if what you’re saying is actually true,” explained Ross. He continued –
“There’s a responsibility on the media to protect themselves, from having their name and their credibility used and misused and abused by political party to say we said things we didn’t say”
I counted the examples in this column and there are 7 falsely-attributed -to-the-Free Press ‘facts’ about Pallisters’ statements on policy in the latest flyer.
In microscopic print at the bottom, it says: “Authorized by NDP caucus”.
My concern is this:
It should not be up to an occasional contributor like Mr. Ross, to expose the NDP caucus attaching long-ago bylines of the WFP to substantiate invented quotes and conclusions and call out Greg Selinger for it.
If a restaurant did the same thing, and lied about Marion Warhaft’s reviews of their competitors food , would they be allowed to get away with it, Bob Cox?
Will the Free Press tell us subscribers exactly what it is doing to stop the use of old headlines to hide falsified quotes behind, before the NDP does the same thing to Rana Bokhari?