Memo to the Winnipeg Free Press: Disguising an advertorial as an opinion piece isn’t journalism. Why the self-accolades have got to stop.

Journalism was a profession rife with narcissism. Even in death, it behaves like an abusive spouse, forever telling the victim they cannot survive without their exploiter — and how lucky they are to get such a catch of a partner.

The Winnipeg Free Press has used their forum to pretend to have an opinion piece, that are, in fact, just advertising, going so far as to invoke the name Carl Bernstein as if the Winnipeg Free Press was ever of the same ilk.

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Fellas, fellas, just stop.

Stop telling the people how wonderful you are, and let’s look at the track record.

Do not gush over Bernstein, when there are the likes of Janet Cooke, Stephen Glass…and R. Foster Winans, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who ended up in jail for misusing his column to financially benefit with insider trading.

You have too many unrepentant sinners in your church to gloat about your morality and superiority.

Journalists gossip about one another, and often, the fodder for gossip is the alleged transgressions of other journalists.

Of course, the gossips do not publicly expose these in-house sinners. I recall one time when one journalist was jealously gossiping to me about a colleague who supposedly “got rich” reselling the same articles to other publications under assumed names.

I thought that canard of a cover story must have been hiding some far more egregious sins than that, considering that freelance fees would never make anyone wealthy, particularly in Canada (and it was the reason I focussed on writing for the more lucrative US market).

Journalism has always been about talking at people, telling them how lucky they are to have a free press. It is patronizing and self-serving.

Whatever replaces journalism needs to let the facts speak for themselves. Stop looking for the bravos. Reporters told the world all about Kardashian backsides as if no one else on the planet had one.

Yet, for decades, the abuse of Aboriginal women in Canada was relentless, with so many young girls homeless, and forced into prostitution as they all eventually disappeared into the night, and even now, the federal government exploits their suffering with a dysfunctional “inquiry” where connected and well-heeled people get a paper crown and a nice pay check.

Those women don’t need an inquiry. They need to be taken out of their squalor, given free counselling and drug treatment, and financial compensation along with a place of their own. We don’t need an inquiry to tell us these women were seen as unworthy of basic human rights. Why is it every time a group of dispossessed are exposed, tax money goes to hiring the financially thriving who have no clue what life is really all about?

If the Winnipeg Free Press was worth a cent, those women in their corner of the woods would have never have gone through what they did.

So stop morally masturbating in public. It’s disgusting. You wasted resources on nonsense instead of uncovering something real happening in your city — and in your own newsrooms — and pretending an advertorial is an opinion piece is not journalism.

Not at all.

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