02.02.2012 05:14 PM

On that fake ceremony

…by the always-authentic David Akin.

Me? I don’t like any of it. It stinks. It makes the Sun folks, many of whom I know and like, look bad.

Now, as I pointed out to another Sun chum, there is an essential falsity at the centre of everything that TV news does: asking you to pretend to type at your desk while they film you, asking you to pretend to be walking down a hallway to your office, asking you to re-create some event or statement, because the cameraperson arrived too late to capture it. Others have written about this, more compellingly than I ever could.

There was no excuse for this mistake. News should be about truth; it shouldn’t be about fakery.

And, so, the next time one of the Sun’s many newsroom critics is hovering above a quote, looking to pretty it up – or clipping a bit of tape in a way that they know will create an entirely different meaning than what was intended – that should remember that axiom, too.


  1. Ted B says:

    Did you notice how quick the ever accountable Harper Government (TM) was to blame the civil servants though?

    So much for the ministerial accountability they used to protect their staffers.

  2. TerryB says:

    Sun doesn’t look great here, but is this just a journalism question? Tories wanting to gin up a fake ceremony and using their media dupes to do it seems another worthy angle…

  3. Philip says:

    I’m more than a little concerned about the very close ties better a Minister of the Crown and a private broadcast company. A private broadcast company which gets it’s license from that same government and owes it’s place on the cable package to the CRTC, a government body.

    I was also struck by the casual assurance that the Sun TV staff had that their needs would be catered to without question by Mr. Kenny’s office. It was Sun TV’s need for a particular image, a money shot if you will, that drove this whole manufactured process. Even the presenters assumed that it was a genuine citizenship ceremony, rather than a reaffirmation ceremony and based their comments and questions on that assumption. An assumption which has made them look pretty foolish and which I’m sure they regret.

  4. fred says:

    Get ready for more of it. The King doesn’t want to hear that he’s not wearing any clothes. In the next four years you will
    get sick of pointing out the truth.

  5. fred says:

    When I was a jaded twenty-four years of age, I already new that the news was manufactured by ” an ideology that doesn’t reflect reality. ”
    That the rabid jackal, ” brass knuckle ” crowd wants to take it to a new level of forced feeding doesn’t surprise me.
    When you have no soul, you don’t see the beauty of life or care about frail seniors.

  6. smelter rat says:

    Fake lakes, fake ceremonies, fake democracy. That’s the Harper legacy.

  7. dave says:

    I see by the news that Iran is building nukes so as to wipe Israel off the map. I see, too, that our Canadian navy is there helping peace seeking nations to keep the peace.

  8. Brad Young says:

    news shows stopped being about the news years ago, now it’s just another form of (lame) entertainment

    nothing is more pathetic than Global news, is your TV going to explode? tune in at 6 to find out

  9. Ted H says:

    Did the judge know that he was swearing in false new citizens?

  10. Johnny Tuna says:

    Ted H: That is an excellent question I have not seen asked yet. I imagine s/he would be pretty PO’d about it.

    • pomojen says:

      Actually, he was asked about it and seemed to kind of shrug. He indicated that people reaffirm their citizenship all the time and it’s a good thing, regardless.

      • Philip says:

        The re-affirmation oath doesn’t bother me at all, it’s par for the course. Both the participants and the judge were pretty clear what was going on. It’s a problem that neither presenter couldn’t be arsed to actually find out what ceremony they were actually covering. Or they didn’t care.

        The casual manner that SunTV producers assumed they could get whatever they wanted from Minister Kenny’s office is really disturbing.

  11. derik says:

    WK what are you doing with these trogladytes? Get before they stomp on whatever progressive dust is still stuck to your keester. These are not nice folks–I know this from personal experience–and they have a history of doing hatchetwork for Conservative governments. They also hold fond memories of an older south africa, the wonders of hobnails as a fashion statement and are trained since infancy to spit on Dippers and Grits.

  12. jack says:

    Have to agree with Derik. I can’t see any journalist staying on there without ruining their own reputation and integrity UNLESS; you are able to get them to release all kinds of stuff just like they are doing to the CBC:

    1. How many Ministers have called them to arrange “situations”. What were they. I don’t mean the pretend typing or note-taking, I mean orchestrated and produced and scripted events
    2. Who are the Ministers that call the network, how often has the PMO been involved, are there regular meetings wiith these folks, when and how many times…they should also put on a website a transparent log of such calls and what was said or arranged
    3. Give up the complete details of this case, who was involved, emails, phone logs, etc
    4. Demand a full show on Keeping government to account to research and dig up things this government is keeping secret

    Maybe then you should stay on…..Otherwise, despite all media having some credibility issues, i doubt anything goes this far. This seems to be an actual national cable network becoming the defacto propaganda machine for a government and parading it as journalism.

  13. Skinny Dipper says:

    I can’t wait for Queen Elizabeth to visit Canada again someday. Perhaps SUN TV can invite Queen Ezrabeth to visit the news studio.

    • Skinny Dipper says:

      Also, does Stephen Harper have a double like the late Kim Jong-Il supposedly had?

      Don’t tell me that there is another “Mayor” Ford at Toronto’s City Hall.

  14. T.W says:

    I always roll my eyes when I see a staged event on the news such as a university prof – looking rather uncertain – walking down a hall to sit at his computer, microscope etc but I except it and can live with it.
    But this is different.
    The level of collusion between the CPC and Sun TV is uncomfortably close, and the way they scatter like roaches when it hits the fan shows a lack of accountability that both parties are so good at lecturing others about.
    Who exactly is the “State Broadcaster” here?

  15. Skinny Dipper says:

    Last year, the CBC interviewed me about a taxation issue. After I spoke to a reporter outside a Canada Revenue Agency building, the camera operator and reporter asked if I could walk into the front entrance for a cut-away shot. That is OK so long as the shot didn’t interfere or change the nature of the story. However, news organizations must be aware that others might manipulate the media by establishing some staged action such as an MP speaking in Parliament with his/her fellow parliamentarians crowding the chairs behind while not showing an empty parliamentary chamber. I did hear of one case in a Middle Eastern country (can’t remember which one) where people were shown to be injured at two different sites. However, some of those sitting injured were strangely found hurt at both sites with the same kinds of wounds.

    Viewers must remember that news organizations and/or outside players can try to manipulate the news.

  16. Ted B says:

    The staging by Sun News is not so surprising or bothersome. There are bigger, more concerning problems with this “news” organization. It’s cheesy, but what do you expect from Sun. And only a step away from the kind of staging that happens all of the time for cut away shots.

    The staging by The Harper Government is not, anymore (sadly), surprising or bothersome. There are bigger, more concerning problems with this government. It’s cheap and dishonest and manipulative, but only a step away from what they have done on a daily basis for 6 years, from staged Tim Hortons visits, staged road hockey games on airport tarmacs, staged Question Periods in the House of Commons.

    What is bothersome, even troubling, is:
    a) how complicit the Sun News is with the government in staging this event
    b) just how ordinary the Conservatives fakery has become
    c) just how complicit the senior levels of the civil serice have been scared into doing this sort of thing (read through the emails)
    d) how quickly the Conservatives were to blame civil servants for carrying out their plans instead of showing some leadership and courage and ministerial accountability.

  17. pedro says:

    Why does this issue keep being reported as being about “new” Canadians for a “reaffirmation” ceremony? If it is a reaffirmation ceremony, it does not matter if the Canadians are “new” or “old”. They are Canadian, pure and simple.

    What bothers me is that Sun & Kenney’s office both knew that this was a reaffirmation ceremony, and still put a premium on finding “new” Canadians to participate in it. That is really what reeks of cheap politics, albeit the kind of politics we have come to expect from Mr Kenney. I can only assume that “new” Canadian is code for “very ethnic” Canadian.

  18. Jim Hanna says:

    First, I disagree with Derik & Jack – Keep your enemies close, keep your enemies closer* – stay at Sun as long as they’ll have you, Warren

    Second – I think the story here isn’t so much Sun News – its really unclear how aware they were that it was staged – its that the civil service has become so cowed that the jump through hoops to please Sun News…what the hell is going on there? Was there really that much pressure that the needed to go to such lengths to avoid displeasing…who exactly? (we can connect the dots, but I want to know the real answer – who put them in that position). And, if thats whats happening, how much longer is the overt politicization of the civil service?

    * A lesson Paul Martin should have taken to heart

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