The Elephant In The Room

Posted February 28th, 2011 in Blogging and tagged , , , , , by Adrian MacNair

I guess I put this off longer than I wanted to, but it’s probably time to clear the air regarding me and my journalism career. A number of people have cast aspersions on my integrity lately, implying my opinions are somehow shaped or formed by journalism school, going as far as to suggest that what I write has to do with trying to get a job in media. Those comments are not just wildly off-base, but they’re actually personally hurtful.

First of all, I didn’t really know I was going into journalism until I was laid off from the construction site at the end of November 2009. I had always been interested in writing and journalism, but I was also a high school dropout and a construction worker, so my options seemed relatively limited. Being laid off gave me an opportunity for the first time to wonder if I still had the opportunity to change my life and do something with my writing.

Before I started journalism school last September, I didn’t have any delusions of grandeur. Although the National Post picks my stuff up now and then, it isn’t as though I’m going to finish school and go work on their editorial board. Actually, the truth is that in about a month from now I’m probably going to be looking for work at any newspaper that will have me, whether that’s in a big city paper or a town of 2,000 people.

A bit about journalism school for a moment. Although there’s some political stuff in it, most, if not all, pertains to the manner in which journalists are expected to conduct themselves. And as far as the people in my program go, I’m probably the only one who’s interested in politics at all. Sure, some of them probably lean to the left, but then again so do most people in Canada. And if it seems as though most journalists lean to the left, that’s probably because writing and media is an occupation that attracts a greater number of people from that demographic. (It’s not high finance, after all)

The idea that journalism school is some kind of brain-washing camp or echo chamber for the left, is patently ridiculous. In fact, it’s so misguided that I can’t really begin to describe it. Would every single person in my program be happy to be offered a job at the CBC? Of course they would. As they would CTV, the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, the Toronto Star or Canadian Press. They’re in school to get a job, not to join a political movement.

So, do people really think I’m going to join the media and conform to some kind of imagined left-leaning editorial directive? To be quite honest, I’m more worried about the getting hired part first. Beyond that, I’m concerned about the perception of a political pundit trying to back his way into journalism after having written politics for four years. It usually happens the other way around for a good reason. For the same reason some people mistrust any CBC reporter who offers an opinion, it’s possible that people won’t trust a reporter who’s done the same thing in the National Post.

But people who think I’m being changed by journalism clearly don’t understand me. When I went to Afghanistan, I got to spend time around journalists, some of whom have been doing this for 30 years. It’s not as easy as it looks.

You can’t just present a story based on what you think is right. You can’t just grab the facts you think are relevant or talk to the one person you think should be listened to. You can’t dismiss a story because you don’t like what a person is saying, even if it’s something you disagree with. When I went to report on George Galloway and was barred admission on my media credentials by rabble blogger Derrick O’Keefe because he accused me of being a propagandist, I didn’t turn around and submit a story about leftwing censorship. Because that’s not the mandate of a journalist, nor is the story about me.

Writing for journalism is hard. If you don’t think so, you try it for a day. Try picking a story, finding the most important part about it, interviewing all sides to it, finding the right balance, gathering the background information, ensuring all your facts are correct, and then writing 350 words using the correct newspaper style and spelling. And then try doing that several times a day, and know that you’re expected to do that every single day you want to call yourself a journalist. It’s hard.

I just finished writing a 2,300-word business article for a trade magazine. It doesn’t matter what I think or what I believe. I had to gather facts and information and opinions from the business world, and my credibility and integrity depends on the fairness, accuracy and truth of every single word of that article.

So there’s my rant. If you think my opinions are being self-censored or influenced by my getting an education in journalism, you’re free to believe that. But don’t tell me about it. I’d rather you and I just go our separate ways, because I don’t think I can respect a person who can’t show me — and my chosen profession — the respect I deserve.

63 Responses so far.

  1. BrrrNo Gravatar says:

    While I’ve never leveled the accusation at you, count me among those who have noticed a distinct change in the style and substance of your writing. I did not know that you were attending journalism school, but I definitely could see that you had changed your focus from looking for the truth to looking for the “gotcha”.

    I’ll also admit that when I did read that you were a journalism student, my first reaction was, “that explains it”.

  2. Alberta GirlNo Gravatar says:

    “Try picking a story, finding the most important part about it, interviewing all sides to it, finding the right balance, gathering the background information, ensuring all your facts are correct, and then writing 350 words using the correct newspaper style and spelling”

    And if that is what the majority of our news media were doing I would not be complaining – that IS the proper thing to do, however time after time after time, the news media use opinion as news – they put their own spin on it, quoting sources that they know will agree with the basis of the story. They leave out facts that are well known, they take comments out of context. They dwell on stories about Conservatives while glossing over or ignoring a similiar story about a Liberal.

    All those kinds of things lead the perception to be that they are biased – no matter the political stripe.

    I heard Dave Rutherford interviewing some guy from the Globe and Mail a few weeks ago – when Dave mentioned that their was a left wing bias in the Press Gallery, this guy denied it; when Dave mentioned the CBC and Toronto Star, this guy said that he didn’t think they were biased.

    It hit me then that they really and truly don’t see what the reader/listener sees and hears. They truly do think they are presenting the facts. Perhaps you are being challenged because your readers see that you are also looking at a story through a narrow lens.

    There was a time when a reporter could take time to do proper research, spend time finding out all sides of the story. In this day of second by second reporting on the internet, I believe there is a need to get the story out as soon as possible. This has made journalists sloppy, going to their “inside sources” and then running with that story because they have the demand to get something out.

    I do however, believe that you will have an added benefit in your new career – you have heard from thousands of potential readers as to their thoughts through your blog; the very fact you are writing this post says that you have heard them. That knowledge can only make you a better journalist.

    My opinions only.

    Good luck with your job search – I am sure that your prior work will help, not hinder your search.

  3. billgNo Gravatar says:

    Nah…people are always looking to call a journalist left or right.
    Read the Lib Blogs and you’ll hear comments calling the Globe and Mail a “conservative rag”. I’ve been devouring newspapers for 40 years now, and, my only suggestion is to be accurate, and, if one side hates you for it and complains to your editor then you’ll stay employed.

  4. old white guyNo Gravatar says:

    is journalism school necessary? if you want people to read what you write you will have to be honest, accurate and tell the truth. there is only one truth. there is no such thing as your truth or my truth. spin is lying. shades of grey are also lies. if you can’t find what is true then you should not write about it. the it applies to any subject.

  5. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with that sentiment. People seem to get too hung-up on perceived bias in news reports. It also doesn’t help that a lot of people confuse op-eds with news. Opinion pieces are by definition bised, and that’s ok. Don’t let the detractors get to you, Adrian: you know the difference between news and editorials, and so does pretty much any newspaper (or other news source, for that matter) that may end up hiring you. And that’s all that really matters.

    I may disagree with some of your opinions, but I highly doubt that it has anything to do with you going back to school.

    Good luck in getting your first journalism job, I’m sure any newspaper would be glad they hired you.

  6. NeilDNo Gravatar says:

    “Sure, some of them probably lean to the left, but then again so do most people in Canada.”

    I think that most people in Canada are middle of the road.
    If being a leftist means having a socialist bent then perhaps I lean to the left because I do believe many social programs are worthwhile and absolutely necessary but I actually consider myself to be right leaning because I also believe that those social programs can go too far and that there is far too much government interference in our day-to-day lives. Just like, I think, most Canadians.

  7. Foxtrot BravoNo Gravatar says:

    When you visit the doctor with a suspected (say) ankle injury, the first thing that they will do is put your hurt ankle beside your hurt ankle, and any difference becomes plain to see and highlights the injury.

    The same could be done, in my opinion, with news journalism: If you have the opportunity flick channels between the PBS publicly funded news, and the CBC tax payer extorted funded news, and the difference will knock you over. The first treats news like science: the news readers and journalists neither snicker, smirk, interrupt those they are interviewing, or in any way interject their personal opinions on the news topic. Now watch the same type of report on the CBC, it’s the exact opposite, it’s Mickey Mouse, second-rate, kindergarten news, filled with low quality reporting, low quality production, and low quality presentation. CBC is the taxpayer funded E-News (celebrity watch) of Canada.

    Adrian, I enjoy your blog, and your opinions. I hope that when you start earning your living solely through your writing, and wit, you keep in mind that you will then be in a different realm then here on your blog, and your motives will be suspect, and that’s just part of the territory.

    Please treat the news, and everything else you write like a science, keep to the facts, realize that we don’t necessarily care what you think, you are gathering facts for us, your readers, and your personal interpretation of the facts may be of zero interest to us, we’re not all dummies, we can make up our own minds given the facts. Also, watch a lot of PBS to see the gold-standard for news, and try to do the same; then watch the CBC, and try to do the exact opposite: that is my simple recipe for your success.

  8. Foxtrot BravoNo Gravatar says:

    oops above: “hurt ankle beside your unhurt ankle”

  9. DarceyNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been reading you for a long time and the only difference I’ve taken note of is that you are applying some aspects of what you are learning. Nothing wrong with that and it is interesting to watch you grow.

  10. PaulNo Gravatar says:

    If it wasn’t for the headline I wouldn’t have bothered reading this column. Why? Because your politics have turned left, whether you realise it or not. Why I no longer read the K-W Record,TorStar or Globe and Mail; liberal rags all.
    Evolving into a Jeffrey Simpson, Jane Taber, Lawrence Martin and Jim Travers would be reason enough to keep me out of the industry.

    Good luck getting a job.

  11. JoeNo Gravatar says:

    Well Adrian let me start out by saying that anything I have said before was not aimed at you in particular but rather, to paraphrase Paul Simon, when I look back at all the crap I learned in journalism school its a wonder I can think at all. My point is based on my own personal experience going to seminary. I went to school expecting to hear that what I believed from personal study and prayer etc to be amplified and expanded. Instead I was informed that ‘modern scholarship’ has dis-proven all those ancient beliefs. That placed me on the horns of dilemma. Either I preach the empty nonsense that the seminary told me to preach or I go with my gut and experience. It took me about a month and a half to realize that preaching what seminary taught would empty a church faster than a rabid skunk would empty a dance floor. I then did a 180 and began to preach what I had on my heart. I have never looked back. However my experience has forever jaded my opinion of “schools”. Be they seminary, law school, medical school, journalism school. I have since noticed that those professions that most brag of their ethics and standards are those professions which are least likely to have any. What I see in your writing is a progression toward the ‘party’ line. Which to me is better called advocacy journalism. True journalism I believe was best shown on the old BBC International service. It was boringly presented in a clipped British monotone but they always presented both sides of the story without interjecting their personal opinion. As Joe Friday of Dragnet was famous for saying, “Just the facts Ma’am”.

  12. West Coast TeddiNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Darcey … there is a new maturity. You can plan a move or two in advance but you still need to take the next “reach” first.

    “Take some change, there is always a beer machine at the top of every mountain”. Climb on!

  13. wilsonNo Gravatar says:

    Anyone who says you have gone all leftie, Adrian, hasn’t followed your writings for the last 5 years.
    You came from the center left, and write more from the right now than you did in 2008.
    And heh, you live in BC, our left coast!

    Any Conservative posters who think that being a BT blogger means you must become another bobblehead with pro-Con posts only,
    are just plain wrong.
    Group think is for Borg’s.

    I very much enjoy reading your stuff Adrian,
    especially the posts I don’t agree with.
    Only irritant I find in you writings is Gayle.

    It is the attacking poster that has lost my respect,
    not you Adrian.

    carry on

  14. Ray K.No Gravatar says:

    The respect the profession deserves? I’m curious, is the wagon-circling taught in journalism school?

  15. neoNo Gravatar says:

    if only you had a degree, in say… scottish poetry, huh?


  16. Wd FyfeNo Gravatar says:

    Don’t let the bastards grind ya down. Journalism is tough. At this point it needs to be re-invented and maybe people like you can do it. I hope so. And you have changed your politics just your perspective.

  17. Wd FyfeNo Gravatar says:

    That should read “haven’t” changed your politics just your perspective.

  18. FayNo Gravatar says:

    Hang in there , you have a gift. Canada needs you!

  19. It’s interesting to read about the evolution of your thinking on these topics. More like this!

  20. jeffgNo Gravatar says:

    i agree with this poster

  21. RonNo Gravatar says:

    I’m sure your intentions are good. It is simply that, through experience, I view Canadian media as a less then reputable business, full of self-promoters and partisan hacks with poor quality journalistic skills. Many people have gone through the Canadian university experience and many more watch how one single ideology dominates the student unions and senior ranks of the Universities – ex-Liberal Minister now UofO’s President was instrumental in the mishandling and disgraceful conduct of his staff and students over the threats of violence and intimidation which shut down a speech by a prominent American conservative voice. We now see anti-abortion groups being harrassed and even arrested (Carleton University) for displaying images of the nature of abortion. It is truly hard to believe such institutions are capable of allowing individuals in the journalism programmes to escape with moulding them just a bit. The major employers of Canadian media types (I refuse to call them journalists because that term should be reserved for ethical and honest reporting) simply do not hire many people opposed to the left wing ideology. If you want to move from the blogosphere to a healthy income stream within the Canadian media, you will have to play their game. I’m sure you will try your best to maintain your ethics and values but they will be a hinderance. This isn’t meant to be personally hurtful; it is an honest opinion on why I, for one, will have difficulty respecting anyone who does well in the Canadian media pit. In my world, respect is something one earns – it isn’t something one deserves. Are you demanding you entitlements already?

  22. GayleNo Gravatar says:

    The saddest thing about this comment is that you really seem to believe it.

    You are the one who is biased AG. You have no objective perspective at all. You simply assume that anyone who does not see things the way you do is biased.

    I know this is falling on deaf ears, but sometimes I just like to waste my time I guess.

  23. GayleNo Gravatar says:

    “You can’t just present a story based on what you think is right. You can’t just grab the facts you think are relevant or talk to the one person you think should be listened to. You can’t dismiss a story because you don’t like what a person is saying, even if it’s something you disagree with.”

    I have already said I think the quality of your writing has gone up. This is probably why.

    Good luck with the job search.

  24. johnNo Gravatar says:

    “but sometimes I just like to waste my time…”


    B.T.W. what makes you think your time is so valuable to begin with?

    Are you someone important? Or do you just THINK you are?

  25. johnNo Gravatar says:

    “If you think my opinions are being self-censored or influenced by my getting an education in journalism, you’re free to believe that. But don’t tell me about it….”

    Why not?

    You own a blog and invite comments.

    You enterred an occupation whose members constantly preen & boast about being defenders of free speech.

    You belong to an occupational subculture whose members are insufferably self righteous. Also, these members believe themselves to be the ones who hold everyone else in society accountable for everything. (Never casting a critical look at their own of course).

    Yet you are unwilling to accept some critcism when it’s leveled at you and the community which you have willingly joined.

    Again, why shouldn’t we tell you about it?

  26. There’s a difference between criticism and abject bullshit, would probably be the best answer I can come up with at present.

  27. See, this is the problem. It doesn’t explain it. I haven’t changed my focus from looking for the truth to looking for the gotcha. What I’ve done is something in the reverse. Rather than looking for the conservative angle to every story, I’ve tried looking at it a little more objectively.

    My opinions about Bev Oda weren’t based on “gotcha” journalism. I genuinely believed she made both the right choice and wrong decision to hide that choice to the public, and then hide behind the bureaucracy. The idea that the bureaucracy is ideologically motivated, and not the political party running it, is illogical.

    CIDA is likely administered by rules and guidelines that tell bureaucrats how to treat applications and requests for money. There are criteria that they either meet or don’t meet. It would be silly to make them decide on arbitrary factors whether an organization deserves funding or not. That job is up to the ministry.

  28. Thanks to both of you.

  29. Alberta GirlNo Gravatar says:

    Really Gayle?????

    Your comment proves that you didn’t understand my comment.

    Go away.

  30. I think the problem I have is that in criticizing bad journalism, everybody gets targeted unfairly. There are bad journalists as there are bad lawyers, doctors, and beekeepers. Let’s not tar and feather everybody with the same brush.

  31. JeanNo Gravatar says:

    Adrian, there is a difference between disagreement and being ” rude ” and I think you have a point that some crossed that line because they disagreed with your conclusions or your perceptions of a specific news story. ( The Bev Oda one to be specific ).

    In any case I do think that whatever your opinion on any specific issue you do your best to be honest and fair ….. that doesn’t mean you can’t be wrong or unconsciously influenced at times by what some may think is ” journalism school “: But I think this can be discussed, or should be discussed respectfully as a ” theory “.

    But maybe you seem of the Left at times because I think you are really very much Centre and to someone on the Right you may be perceived as Left and by someone on the Left as on the Right: Being centre almost guaranties that you will ” get it from both or either side ” at times.

    Well, on this Blog you are or should be less a journalist than an editorialist and speak of your opinion and gut feelings, but when wearing your ” journalist hat ” you should apply different standards and it’s not always easy to know when the line from just the facts to opinion is crossed.

    Well, I may be wrong in some or all of the above but my intent is to be supportive and ” biased ” as a friend, even if I disagree at times with you. :)

  32. I didn’t mean to come across as demanding respect without earning it. I was referring to the comments that had been made suggesting my opinions are being expressed for less than altruistic reasons: i.e. I want a job at the CBC or I’m trying to cozy to the media establishment.

  33. Hi Jean,

    I appreciate that I might look leftwing to some of the people on the right, though to be honest what sometimes amuses me about that is that I find it difficult to support some of the rather leftwing positions taken by the Conservative government that is supported by some of the people who are very much father to the right than I am.


  34. johnNo Gravatar says:

    And you journalists are the ones who get to decide exactly
    what consitutes critcism – right?

  35. I’m a pretty tolerant person. I’ve been accused of a lot of things. But I guess I draw the line at being accused of currying favour with media organizations and the CBC. Not only because it’s so abjectly erroneous, but because it casts aspersions on my moral character.

    So although I don’t have editorial control over what’s said outside of this blog, I’m not about to let people openly impugn me for no other reason than they can’t be bothered to respond with an argument, and decide instead to lazily cast assumptions on my character.

  36. johnNo Gravatar says:

    Ok so when are we going to see a news story about a bad

    Every day we see stories like this…

    “Former Can. Forces member charged in hit and run”.

    “Police officer suspended in DUI investigation”

    “Doctor charged in (whatever) investigation.”

    Journalists have no problem saying people’s occupation

    But somehow we never hear , “Journalist charged with DUI”.
    (or anything else for that matter.)

    Because …. wait for it…. It’s NOT NEWSWORTHY!

    (big “surprise”)

    The brutal fact is journalists are a bunch of
    holier-than-thous who stand around and piss all over
    everybody else but the never treat their own industry
    with the same busy-body scrutiny that the gleefully
    exercise on everyone else.

  37. The problem is, John, that you never read about the journalists who take a pass on such stories out of principle. Your assumption is that they don’t. I can tell you I’ve already seen instances where that’s an incorrect assumption.

    Having said that, it’s absolutely true that journalism has very little introspection. It’s also the only profession without any, or very much, oversight into its own effect on society.

  38. GayleNo Gravatar says:

    Oh I get it. Your prrof of bias is always “well it’s OBVIOUS”, which actually is not proof at all.

    Like I said, I knew it would fall on deaf ears. You are way too biased to understand what objective even looks like.

  39. WayneNo Gravatar says:

    Could not agree more.

  40. Alberta GirlNo Gravatar says:

    Well it takes one to know one Gayle.

  41. johnNo Gravatar says:

    “you never read about the journalists who take a pass on such stories out of principle. Your assumption is that they don’t”

    I have no idea what you mean by this statement.

    If you are saying that there are journalists who try to refuse to
    include a subject’s occupation in a story, I’m sorry I
    don’t believe you. The stories are there. Many of them.

    Obviously these wonderfully ethical journalists are so few in number or
    so weak willed that they make no difference whatsoever.

    Also your answer doesn’t explain why journalists
    don’t present their own in a bad press light.

    Here, let’s examine my favourite example of this.

    During the 2000 election a CBC producer forgot a microphone
    on and made some extremely sickening sexist comments about
    Stockwell Day’s daughter.

    His name was never made public by !!ANY!! paper or TV network
    despite the fact that it must have been well known throughout
    the industry.

    For Pete’s sake all a journalist would have had to do was get a copy
    of the show’s tape & read the end credits.

    But no journalist in Canada said this guy’s name.

    But you try to tell me that journalists don’t cover each other’s asses.


    (Plus the fact that it was STOCKWELL DAY’S daughter.
    Which means you all had one hell of a laugh over it.)

  42. peterjNo Gravatar says:

    Follow your dreams Adrian. The fact that you have a decent following with diverse opinions is a tribute to your style. The only person you have to please is yourself.
    Personally I think you would make a damned fine reporter.

  43. Alberta GirlNo Gravatar says:

    So Gayle…is it “objective” to report that EC have “charged” the Conservativees wwithout also saying that the Courts have already decided that EC lost this charge?

    Is it objective for Rosie Barton to wonder where Bev Oda is, suggesting she is hiding, when she knows full well that Oda was having surgery on her eyes again.

    Is it objective for Bob Fife et all to be laughing at the sneaky photo taken of Oda smoking without mentioning that she recently underwent eye surgery

    I don’t have one single problem with reporting “bad news” for the Tories – what I have a problem with is reporting on part of a story and leaving out important facts. What other reason could that be other than to manipulate the story to skew it one way or the other.

    At least I can recognize when something is not objective – I question your ability to do so.

  44. I’m saying that journalists turn down stories all the time based on principle. You just don’t hear about it.

    Do they cover for each other? I don’t know. I can’t speak to the profession from an insider view. So your comment about “you all” having a laugh about it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. In 2000 I was working IT in Toronto.

    Could journalism be more introspective and accountable? Absolutely. Are all journalists as unprincipled and unethical as you seem to think? No, that’s ridiculous.

  45. johnNo Gravatar says:

    I’m going to drop off this thread by saying
    Adrian, I’m not attacking YOU.

    You seem like a decent sort.

    And as one construction worker to another I
    wish you luck.

    (Go with the small town newspaper.
    city journalists are complete assholes.)

    So I’m not attacking you but I am attacking
    journalists as a whole.

    Journos & lawyers – both scumbags.

  46. johnNo Gravatar says:

    Aww shit! You beat me to a reply now I have to clarify my posting damnit!

    “You all” was the canukistan journo community as a whole. YOU might not have been there but a lot of the low lifes you were working with were around.

    You say you don’t know if journos cover for each other. For Pete’s sake! Do you ever read any news stories that EVER present journos in an unfavourable light? – NO! – NEVER!

    So that can only for one of two reasons:
    1 Journos are so superhumanly ethical and righteous that they never break the law, lie, or cheat.


    That we never get to hear about it when they do get in trouble because the very people who are suppose to report this stuff are refusing to.

    Which do you think it is?

    Good night.

  47. wardNo Gravatar says:

    I’ll second what Jean said Adrian. Your reaction to those who disagreed with you on the Oda post was arrogant and condecending.

    It was you who did not respond to criticisms or your position with facts. Alot of people on that thread respectfully disagreed with you and laid out their arguements why.

    You fired back with a Coyne quote and insults – a never did really lay out a strong arguement.

    I found it remarkable that your audience – who obvioulsy come to your blog because they respect you – tried to point out why it was logically flawed to call Oda a liar and they were insulted for their troubles.

    So to complain that some have impunged your integrity or hurt your feelings is more than just a bit rich.

    You threw the first punch with regards to questionable comments and as such you receive the same in return.

    The impression I am left with is you can dish it out – and were more than willing to – but cannot take it.

    You have come across as thin skinned, and intollerant and unable to take criticism. I have seen a change in your writing like many others, and also a change in character.

    So why would it not be reasonable to wonder if you were angling for a job in big media based on that?

    I don’t say any of this to be insulting, just what I have observed

    As for the below quote,

    “You can’t just present a story based on what you think is right. You can’t just grab the facts you think are relevant or talk to the one person you think should be listened to. You can’t dismiss a story because you don’t like what a person is saying, even if it’s something you disagree with”

    this is precisely what the media in Canada does day in and day out -CBC, Globe, Star, CTV – and why right of center people have no respect for them.

    Years ago when I attended Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton in the AD and PR program, there was a yearly writing competition between us and the journalism program. Ad and PR won it every year.

    Thats because we were in an intense course that demanded 5000 typed words a week – much of it in CP style.

    Like anything else if you do alot of something you will be fairly proficient at it. We learned to write by writing.

    The toughest part about writing journalism peices is learning the CP style guide.

    Putting together the story as a readable article is not so terribly difficult, and the easy part in my opinion is analyzing the facts.

    Journalism just isn’t that tough a gig. Being a good writer is more difficult. Journalists are a dime a dozen.

  48. It wasn’t possible to have a debate on the Bev Oda incident with you because you refused to agree on basic facts, such as her contradictory testimony in parliament or her deliberate misrepresentation of the decision to defund Kairos as being CIDA’s, followed up by semantical arguments about CIDA being Oda and Oda being CIDA. So naturally I wasn’t interested in carrying on a fruitless conversation.

    You clearly have a problem with the media, but your error is in imagining it as some kind of uniform entity or identity.

  49. GayleNo Gravatar says:

    Well you certainly do not have your facts correct.

    There has yet to be a court case on the “In and Out” charges. There was a lawsuit, which is currently under appeal by both EC and the CPC. See here:


    Furthermore, the decision to charge the CPC was not made by EC, it was made by the independent Public Prosecutors Office (an office created by Stephen Harper to ensure all prosecutions of public officials were based on an objective reading of the evidence).

    So no, there is no bias when you have your facts.

    As for the rest, I would have to take your word on that, and given the lack of research you did not the first subject, I am not about to do that. But I will say this, it is not bias to discuss unflattering photos – the media did it all the time when the CPC used that photo of Dion shrugging. It is not bias to wonder why a Minister of the Crown refuses to answer to the allegations made against her. It is only bias in your eyes, because despite your protestations, you believe than anything that portrays the CPC in anything less than a glowing light is bias.

  50. BrrrNo Gravatar says:

    See Adrian, you’re still hung up on this “deliberate misrepresentation”.

    This is the “gotcha” journalism I’m talking about. An objective person would look at the facts and see that there was nothing of the sort.

  51. SaskboyNo Gravatar says:

    “my credibility and integrity depends on the fairness, accuracy and truth of every single word of that article.”

    It may not seem fair, but I judge also on what you write on Twitter, and I find it very one sided and anti-truth. There’s no other way to describe your tweet last night comparing two articles on climate change as “contradictory”, as inaccurate and untruthful and unfair. It’s an intentional misrepresentation of the definition of climate change, for some unstated purpose.

    I used to respect your presentation of ideas years ago, but rarely think you take a valid position anymore that is based on something other than intentional misunderstanding of science, or anger at various minority groups including cyclists and environmentalists.

  52. Peter BNo Gravatar says:

    God damn. You _really_ can write when you put your mind to it.

  53. Peter BNo Gravatar says:

    Good lord, sonny, we’re SUPPOSED to cast aspersions on journalists. In a democracy, we”ve given them a great deal of power. Damned right we should view them with suspicion and closely monitor them the way we (used to at least…) do with politicians.

  54. Peter BNo Gravatar says:

    “may not seem fair, but I judge also on what you write on Twitter, and I find it very one sided and anti-truth. There’s no other way to describe your tweet last night comparing two articles on climate change as “contradictory”, as inaccurate and untruthful and unfair. It’s an intentional misrepresentation of the definition of climate change, for some unstated purpose.”

    Yeah, but Adrian does that every now and again. He seems like a pasionate lad, and I think sometimes he lets his self rightous indignation get the better of him” Read, for exanple his piece here http://unambig.com/its-a-human-right-to-drive-without-a-valid-licence-in-canada/

    Eeven the title is misleading, and the piece itself is highly biased. But for every stinker of a piece of journalism like that he comes up with another that’s as good as that one was bad.
    All in all he’s shaping up. Forgive him his youth and shut the fuck up.

  55. Peter BNo Gravatar says:

    Errr…Adrian, you _really_ need to enable comment editing. That wasn’t meant to be posted. At least that version of it wasn’t.

  56. Peter BNo Gravatar says:

    Hehehe…noe _that’s_ called “gotcha blogging”. AG?

  57. SlickNo Gravatar says:

    Adrian, if you thought Journalism was hard, try dividing up your spare time (in the evenings during weekdays), between drinking and relaxing, and reading/commenting on blogs; you end up combining the two — often with mixed results. :)

    I’ve only skimmed the comments so far, but will try to completely catch up later, equilibrium permitting….

    But seriously, I first heard about your blog probably a couple of years ago, when some commenter on some other blog wrote that there is a new blogger around, with a similar style and eloquence as Olaf, The Prairie Wrangler. High praise indeed. And well-deserved, I might add. :)

    Since I only read your blog occasionally (will probably read more – time permitting), I will assume that your subtle humour is probably more apparent than I had at first imagined. :)

    But don’t worry about it — humour is like sex ; trying too hard can be counter-productive (or counter re-productive, depending on ones goals). Just be yourself, and don’t be afraid to show your wild side. :)

    And don’t be afraid to use more semi-colons (semicolons)….
    There are probably only about thirty of us, whether be we journalists, bloggers, or humble commenters like myself, on the face of the planet, who actually know how to, and are comfortable using, a semicolon. Search out the book “A Dash of Style”. But don’t change a thing, unless it becomes a part of you. You will know it, because it will become effortless. Two of my favourite political writers are Rex Murphy, and Conrad Black. Now that is style….

    Good luck with your new career ! And Cheers !

  58. Olaf’s mix of wit, humour and writing skill made him an invaluable addition to the conservative blogosphere. Then he started making too much sense and lost a big portion of his readership. :D

  59. PaulNo Gravatar says:

    Adrian, if you are going to be a “journalist”, you’ll have to develope thick skin. If you criticize a progressive, you’ll be branded wingnut. If you (heaven forbid), criticize the Harper Tories, you’ll be branded a Liberal (as I am all the time).

    If, you are going to do your job, you will criticize both left and right, or praise both left and right, or simply report the facts (which will satisfy nobody) … all depending on what kind of journalism you are involved in (op-ed, or news)

    I find it peculiar, therefore, that you found it necessary to write this post in the first place. Toughen up lad, and you may end up making a good career of it.

    Cheers! And keep up the good and honest work.

  60. SlickNo Gravatar says:

    Olaf’s mix of wit, humour and writing skill made him an invaluable addition to the conservative blogosphere. Then he started making too much sense and lost a big portion of his readership. :D


    While Olaf’s brilliance is indisputable, I wouldn’t be so sure to suggest that he lost readers due to his “making too much sense”.

    In fact, I don’t think he would have ever lost readers, had he continued with his blog. Last I read, Olaf was off to study Law.

    Olaf wasn’t afraid to take a swipe at any Party, from day one, including the Conservatives, whenever he believed that it was justified.

    Regardless, the best of luck to both of you. And Adrian, you’ve got big shoes to fill, Cowboy, should you choose to pursue that path. And you’re well on your way. People may not agree with all of your opinions, but as long as people respect you, they will continue to read you.

    Speaking of which, I would like to add Mr. Peter Worthington, to the list of my favourite political writers; he may not be as concerned with rhetorical flourish as Mr. Murphy or Lord Black, but he cuts to the point, and doesn’t hold back. Mr. Worthington is my favourite, if I had to choose. Also, speaking of no-holds-barred … there is MP Mr. Maxime Bernier.

    Good Luck, Adrian, and perhaps one day you may join such esteemed company….


  61. Re: Oversight

    I thought that was obvious. Isn’t it called readership aka sales?

  62. SlickNo Gravatar says:

    A minor point, regarding your blog:

    When I posted a comment (#61), and then re-loaded a few minutes later, I noticed that there were now 62 comments. It was not at the bottom of your comment stream, but was a reply to a comment somewhere half-way down the stream. Anyway, one has to review every comment from the top of the stream, and check every time-stamp, in effect to search, for the latest reply, which may be somewhere in the middle of the stream. It is not a big deal, but perhaps there is a way to show where the last comment occurred, without having to search through the entire stream. Just a thought. Cheers!

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