Manipulating narratives: When critics gloss over the facts to suit their own denial of reality.

Just listening to Jerry Agar on Newstalk 1010 over Patrick Brown. The screened callers aren’t exactly informed and are getting their facts messed up with no one to remind them of the basic facts of the case. Someone took issue with Patrick Brown’s accusers being “anonymous” and that Brown as a right to “face his accusers”. They are manipulating the narrative, without bothering with a single fact.

Because Brown knows exactly who his accusers are. Here is a passage of an article I have used before:

So Brown knows who are his accusers. He knows of the incidents in question.

So the narrative that these are faceless women, and poor little boy Brown has no idea who is talking, or what they are talking about is rubbish.

And I am quoting his own words.

Scandal doesn’t just happen when something is illegal. Canada is not exactly some country that cracks down on anything. We have the Gerald Stanley verdict to remind us that it doesn’t always matter if a law is on the books, you don’t always have to answer for your actions.

I don’t care if what Brown did was illegal. When a person in a position of power asks an underling for date, that is a form of bullying. You are not on equal ground. That’s not flattering. I am not on the job to get dates, or be noticed for my looks. I have to earn a living, stupid.

As I have said before, there are other things that Brown is associated with — the nomination process in various ridings — that have bigger ramifications, and show that a clear pattern of strong-arming and bullying. I don’t think the PC Party would have kicked him that fast and disavowed of him that quickly unless they saw an opening to rid themselves of someone of that ilk.

And when you see a glow and a popularity surge from a party who is in turmoil at this very inconvenient juncture right before an election, you know that things must have been horrific during the previous regime.

That tells us everything we need to know about Patrick Brown. He is going after women, while keeping quiet on the other issues surrounding his leadership.

But that doesn’t suit the narrative of the #MeToo critics who are hoping against hope that Brown can dodge this bullet with his blustering tirade. Harvey Weinstein is blustering, too. It doesn’t mean a thing.


Dear John Honderich: News producers squandered their power. The taxpayers owe you nothing. Stop the fear and pity tour and start looking how your profession destroyed itself.

It is very telling that Chair of Torstar John Honderich is having to recycle a column he wrote in the Toronto Star on January 26, 2018 where he throws a temper tantrum because the federal government wasn’t funding the dysfunctional Canadian newspaper industry.

So Torstar recycled that same flawed column on today, and then go on Newstalk 1010’s Jerry Agar’s radio program.

Once upon a time, Honderich’s decrees would have been considered important.

They aren’t, of course. This is a Fear and Pity Tour.

He doesn’t get it, and if the Chair of a newspaper company doesn’t get it, neither do any of his underlings.

And it explains a lot about why Canadian journalism dropped dead.

On the program, he blames Facebook and Google for taking the bulk of classified ads and not putting that money back in journalism.

Sorry, they won the spoils of that gladiatorial battle, and they can do with that booty whatever they want. Advertisers went to Facebook and Google because they reach a broader audience who were more receptive than they were over at newspapers. Classified ads and their ilk were never naturally decreed to be used for funding journalism; journalism lost those valuable dollars for a reason.

So Google and Facebook owe the newspaper industry nothing.

But then he goes off on the federal government as if the government owes the newspaper industry a dime.

Honderich thinks the partisan non-profit model of some American media outfits is a good thing. Its not: it’s propaganda used to support political ideology because that is going to be the only way you are going to shake down people for pity cash. They are not journalism. They are a modern version of the Partisan Press that had to change its ways because that model doesn’t actually work.

He then talks about getting funding through copyright protection, meaning information becomes less accessible. You are giving facts, and it is bad enough newspapers such as the Star scrape ideas from other outlets and people (and yet he has the nerve to complain that radio shows “rip and read” from newspapers on the program) — and now you want copyright protection for it when journalists are notoriously sloppy when it comes to giving proper credit and attribution of where they got their ideas? The legal fallout would be disastrous.

He wants some of the money the CBC gets, not realizing CBC is a crown corporation, and it is wiser and more strategic for a government to have one broadcaster they can babysit, then spread their cash to more outlets.

Honderich then muses that since Canadian magazine and book publishers get government money, so should journalism outlets, never questioning just how bad is Canadian publishing if it needs government funding for its survival. If you cannot make a go without constant government funding, your industry does not actually exist. It is fake.

The fact that now not even newspapers can survive without taxpayer money shows you a problem that exploded out of control because we never bothered to find the way to make it pay all on its own.

In other words, if Canada cannot produce quality journalism without a government welfare check, then you do not have journalism, let alone quality journalism. Period.

But the biggest knee-slapper is his suggestion that the government pay for news outlets’ lawyers. There are poor people being harmed as we speak and are in desperate need of good legal council — so you just want to snatch funds away from them? Really? Then you are as tyrannical as the boors you imply you are keeping accountable.

There are more pressing groups, such as First Nations people, who have been waiting far longer than newspapers. Get a number and go to the back of the line, like everyone else.

Yet both his advertising campaign/newspaper column, Honderich makes not a single mention of how those in the Canadian media landscape were at fault in any way, or need to make a single modification to their behaviour. He paints his ilk as noble, faultless, and blameless.

No, Mr. Honderich, that is not true. That is not accurate.

That is not realistic.

You are the Chair of Torstar. The buck stops with you.

It is you who has to make the internal changes to take on the external ones.

If your plan is to keep throwing fits and begging the government for money as you keep on the status quo, you do not understand what being a Chair means.

That is not a plan. Why should the government fund newspapers when your audiences keep falling? Why would they sink taxpayer money into a black hole? What’s in it for them?

Newspapers have bred arrogance within their own rosters. You sniffed haughtily at citizen journalism on the program. Yes, the little people are not as well-trained as your journalists who have no clue how to connect with those people who would rather do it themselves than trust the press.

That distrust did not come from nowhere. It came because journalists perpetually ignored all the signs around them, and then people walked away.

The people do not want newspapers. The government doesn’t need you.

Do you understand you have become beneath both.

Buried. Six feet under.

Journalism is dead. Don’t ask the taxpayers to fund the corpse. They’d rather invest it in the living, not the dead.


Canadian journalism’s inability to comprehend #MeToo

Women-blaming has been a problem in Canadian journalism.

Patrick Brown getting turfed has nothing do to with a witch hunt.

One talk show host doesn’t see the any “criminal” element in the allegations against Patrick Brown…so what’s the problem?

It doesn’t have to be criminal. If someone is in a position of power is abusing someone in a weaker position, that’s bad enough.

Brown’s behaviour was known to the PC Party. They ignored it.

And now you have journalists making all sorts of excuses how the takedown of Patrick Brown is a bad and chilling thing.

No, it isn’t.

Sexual abuse was always rampant in newsrooms and in corridors of power.

Being a female politician is no protection against workplace terrorism.

Journalists always knew about it, but never bothered to report it.

I was just a j-school student standing in one City Hall corridor and within five minutes, reporters certainly told me about a lot of dirt.

But journalists are twisting the narrative — in Brown case, the accusers were not grown women or adults — it was a particular type, and neither case could be accurately as a “bad date”. In one case, he was not her “date” — but had professional power over them.

These are not “mistakes” — it was deliberately calculating behaviour.

And the griping of career “ruining” was not the fault of the accusers, but the fault of a man who wanted to be a leader but proved to be a very incompetent one. Where was Brown’s accountability?

Worst of all, the defenders repeatedly — and manipulatively — try to equate power abuse with sexuality.

Nice try, but sophistry is not reality. People have been so conditioned by journalism to always see the rot as blessings, that they are becoming alarmed that their sunny view may actually be a big, fat lie.

Had journalism in this country been about reporting facts — they would be able to see it.

But they can’t see it. They are too busy sucking up to power, whether the power is government — or business.

Patrick Brown getting treated the same way women in this country have been treated for decades, has shaken Canadian media to the bone.

Because the little rules were supposed to make life simple, and now no predator is safe.

Good. Reality is a wonderful medicine.

And Canadian media needed that medicine a long time ago.

Memo to Newstalk 1010: Appealing to Appeal to Authority is just really bad logic twice over. Why opinionists need a clue.

The “Roundtable” on Newstalk 1010 is supposed to opinionists spewing opinion about a wide-range of subjects. Most of which they know nothing about, really.

But if we were to confine people who weren’t experts from speaking, very few of us would get to say anything at all.


News is about fact, but there is way too much opinion that has diluted the product. The Roundtable is a prime example of factual dilution: a host fires off a headline, and then everyone at the table gets to put their own take on the matter.

But this morning’s edition was peculiar as it was pathetic. The topic was why the federal finance minister had sold shares in a company shortly before a policy announcement had negatively impacted shares of said company. The minister had no answers to give during session.

That’s an important topic to discuss, and air time would be better served digging and finding out more about this incident. There may be numerous scenarios, but unless we have facts, it is difficult to say what the truth and reality of this situation is really all about.

But when one panelist expressed his concern that the process of disclosure may be flawed, leftist propagandist Scott Reid had a peculiar reaction to it: he appealed to authority, stating if Canada has these rules and do other countries, what made the panelist qualified to question it?

Really, Mr. Reid? Once upon a time countries around the world sanctioned slavery, genocide, homophobia, and treated women as property — and saw it as normal and righteous.

Are you saying all those who questioned their governments were wrong in doing so?

Well, yes, of course he is. When you try to shut someone down with an idea that people shouldn’t question a traditional way of conducting business because they are not experts, then you are being a tyrant. Once upon a time, it was acceptable to ban women from voting and running for public office. Many countries around the world also banned women from voting.

Did a woman require a PhD to challenge the government?

Don’t be stupid.

Citizens are supposed to question those in power around the world. That is their civic duty.

And if you truly believe that only experts should be allowed to open their mouths, then resign from your little gig on Newstalk 1010 and don’t open your mouth again.

Mind you, I am not of that ilk. Sometimes experts miss the obvious, and it takes an outsider who is not corrupted by the confines of the discipline to take a look around, and ask the important questions the experts missed because they were too in love with their positions, perks, and book smarts to notice.

And we always need free ideas for the world to progress and grow, regardless of who asks them.

The Blinders of Journalism, Part Two

I was listening to Newstalk 1010 this morning to their panel of opinionists (called a Roundtable), and it is always interesting: spewing know-it-all decrees with panelists wearing blinders and giving no context is supposed to be informative entertainment.


When I was writing When Journalism was a ThingI used to listen to it just to break down the ways journalistic blinders tainted the news product. I had my fill of it, but as things are slowly beginning to ramp up over here, I began to listen to it again.

This morning’s offering was particularly instructive.

Hollywood’s sexual harassment woes aren’t going away just yet, which it shouldn’t. Decades-long workplace abuse should be hashed out in public. In a world where news cycles are too short to be helpful, this story is a throwback to an era that had a longer attention span.

The morning’s prattle revolved around Kevin Spacey getting scrubbed out a movie. (This article is skewed as its author pushes a little too hard cheering the move, which is not surprising given that Hollywood is a business filled with attention-seeking narcissists who must be having a prolonged trauma being called out on the carpet for their tolerance of uncool behaviour, but I digress).

But to hack Christie Blatchford, it was all too much, and she whined about the “saturation point” of this ongoing story.

Mind you, it was all too much when it first broke out to her. The implication was that somehow, this was all a “witch hunt” — a very popular phrase for people who were happy sweeping the rot under the rug. Blatchford is in the same boat as relic Gay Talese who said actor Anthony Rapp should have “sucked it up” and kept quiet at what Spacey did to him when he was fourteen because it ruined a letch’s career.

Truth should not be reported, according to these alleged journalists, because it ruins the lives of people who ruined the lives of others, and who are we going to invite to the next dinner party so we can all pretend everything is wonderful, wonderful amid the fake laughter and hors d’oeuvres the wait staff spat on prior to serving them?

Blatchford’s illogic for being offended by the story was that — get this — she alleges that since she was never sexually harassed at work…that somehow this story was getting blown out of proportion.

This isn’t even thinking. This is what sheltered and judgemental helmet-haired women who wear white pantyhose even in the summer say at church when a kid complains that the priest molested them. “Well, the priest didn’t molest me; so, therefore, he didn’t molest you, either.”

I have worked with people who were beyond nice to me, but they weren’t nice to other people. Abusive people don’t always abuse every person in their wake. There are families where a relative sexually abuses one child, but not others. Just because you (a) weren’t sexually harassed, (b) thought you weren’t sexually harassed, but were used to being abused in that way to the point of thinking this was normal, (c) know you were sexually harassed, but keep quiet because you don’t want to burn bridges or tarnish an tough image, and keep quiet, or (d) made your way up on the casting couch thinking it was your idea, but were too gullible to know that you were being primed and groomed to think it was all your idea to crawl through gutters for a nothing gig that let other predators know it wasn’t your brains or talent that got you that job — doesn’t matter — people get abused on their jobs, and abused frequently.

Getting a job in Hollywood is seen as coveted. Billions of dollars are at stake, and we are supposed to believe all these camera-mugging egotists are always professional? In a place where there is heavy drug use, anything can and does happen.

There may be a lot of smiling in front of those cameras, but actors never struck me as being particularly happy people. Women get lousy roles, and show a lot of skin as they chase after and drool over men in storylines. It never particularly appealed to me as a form of entertainment. I can’t remember the last time I went to a movie theatre. I binge watch shows from time to time, but I haven’t watch a single American program once the scandal hit, and knowing me, I don’t think I will for a very long time.

It’s not a boycott. I just have other things I would rather do, and don’t feel like giving attention to that industry right now. I can always reassess at a later date.

But Establishment journalists who blindly follow the idea of the Great Man, such as Talese and Blatchford, have their preset narratives, ready to cheer those who hold power at any cost. Defending those in power may be their thing, but that isn’t journalism. It’s spin, and it has no place in the news world.