09.05.2015 08:01 AM

KCCCC Day 34: when a newspaper gets a big story wrong in a big way, what should it do?


  • Look, I’m up at the cabin with Son 3. It’s a long weekend. It’s amazing here. I’m making him a big bacon and egg and toast breakfast and then we are going to do chores and have fun. So I don’t much care about what is happening in the outside world. 
  • In the outside world, an election is underway. The three main contestants are in a tight race. Anything that happens, however small-time, counts big-time. The politicians – and, in this case, the media – therefore have an obligation to be very, very careful about what they say and do. 
  • The Ottawa Citizen wasn’t careful. Full disclosure: I was their cops and courts reporter. I was a columnist for them. They were good to me, back in the day. But, back in the day, the Citizen wouldn’t have published a lie, on page one, in the middle of a hotly-contested election campaign. 
  • But lie the Citizen did. Or, at the very least, the newspaper was recklessly indifferent to the truth – recklessly indifferent to the obligation it owes its readers – when it plopped a steaming pile of bullshit on its front page. 
  • The facts are now well-known to everyone but the Citizen. One: it said the drowned Syrian boy’s family had applied for refugee status in Canada. Two: it hadn’t. Another family did. Three: it said the boy’s family had been turned down by Canada’s  government – and that, by implication, Canada’s government now had blood in its hands. But that wasn’t true, either, was it? No refugee application had been turned down, because none had been received. 
  • If you don’t believe it, read this. Right here. The Citizen story was “false,” quote unquote. False. 
  • Look, it’s the weekend. I’ve got other things to do. And, yes, I think Chris Alexander has been a terrible minister. I think Mark Holland is going to beat him. I don’t think the Ottawa Citizen owes Alexander, or any government, anything. But that newspaper – which hasn’t published a correction about how it got the biggest story in the world wrong, and about which not one of its columnists and editorialists have admitted they got dramatically wrong – owe an obligation to us, the reader. To tell the truth. To not be reckless. And to admit it when they make a gargantuan mistake. 
  • Will the Citizen admit its huge error? Seriously? Don’t make me fucking laugh. Now, excuse me while I make a little boy some breakfast. 


  1. KBab says:

    The big story is that under the Cons it is much more difficult to gain refugee status, for most refugees it is insurmountable. This is Conservative policy, under then Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in 2012 they made changes to the system that ensured a mere trickle of refugees. That has culminated in the current climate. Harper plays to his base, and is in agreement with that base; both are anti-immigrant. Harper may want to appear as immigrant friendly or refugee friendly at the moment but it just aint so.

    The Conservative insistence on military action and bombing has placed our tiny flotilla of destroyers in a combat mission instead of in a humanitarian one. If the Cons didn’t hate the notion of humanitarian missions so much those destroyers could be used to assist instead of resist. What has happened is a result of their policy, therefore the results are at their feet, sad and tragic as they are.

    • Matt says:

      Uh, humanitarian aid gets delivered by these things called planes these days.

      Canada has had not one but TWO of our massive C17 Globemaster cargo plane delivering both military equipment and humanitarian aid to Iraq and humanitarian to Syria since September 2014.

      Your statement Harper is anti imigrant is an outright lie. The harper government admits more refugees per year than Martins Liberals did. Try, you know, doing a little research on immigration numbers before embarassing yourself further.

      And while were at it, over the last 35 years, Conservative governments have admitted more refugees than Liberal governments 511,206 to 442,933.

      • KBab says:

        When refugees take the water in open boats you would send a plane?

        Trying to paint Harper as open to refugee claimants isn’t going to stick no matter how many times you throw it Matt, but keep trying if you find it makes you feel better.

      • Scott says:

        Give your head a shake. Conservatives are anti immigrant unless it serves some political interest.

      • terence quinn says:

        Is it possible that there were no major crisis like the one now when Martin was PM? Just asking!

  2. Scott says:

    I hope that was back bacon. Much yummier and more healthy.

  3. Joe says:

    I’ve been travelling a bit so I am a bit out of touch with what the ‘media’ has to say about two dead kids except to say that all the Harper hater media have gone insane trying to tie their hatred of Harper with the deaths. About the only thing this nonsense has convinced me of is that there is a lot of Harper haters in the editorial offices of big media. Truly sad to say but nevertheless absolutely true.

    • davie says:

      That is something I have missed for sure: Harper hater media. I will have to look harder.

      • Joe says:

        There are none so blind as those who will not see. I witnessed the CBC reversing the words of Harper to make him say something he clearly did not. I watched the whole interview on CPAC in the morning then watched the CBC report on it in the evening. There were snips of the interview that had been put out of order to reverse the meaning. After a week the CBC issued a correction – at the end of the Friday night broadcast after the last set of commercials.

        • davie says:

          I guess I am not tracking tv stations closely enough.

        • Al in Cranbrook says:

          Why does that not surprise me in the slightest.

          I absolutely loath the CBC. The sooner that POS is finally sold off or shut down, and put out of Canadians’ misery forever, the better.

          I can think of at least 1000 other ways to spend $1,000,000,000 every year that would be a damn sight more productive than flushing it down that toilet.

        • terence quinn says:

          I call BS on that

          • Joe says:

            Sorry I can’t remember the exact time but it was shortly after Harper was first elected PM. He was speaking of immigration and acceptance of immigrants. The female CBC reporter and the editorial staff cut and pasted the order of the interview. I believe it was on a Tuesday and the retraction was given on the following Friday. I was gobsmacked to say the least. Having seen the interview where Harper went into great lengths to explain his position and to have CBC give it that kind of treatment?!?!?!?!

          • Ray says:

            I certainly remember. The reporter’s name was Christina L. She was turfed eventually. That said, HDS is still alive and teeming at the CBC – all one has to do is look at the comments – no rational moderator alive would allow an Iota of such vile hatred to be printed on a taxpayer-funded “news” network. It’s disgusting.

  4. Matt says:

    Very well sai Warren.

    On a much lighter note:

    Dear Federal party leaders and other federal politicians – PLEASE stay the hell away from Toronto Blue Jays games.

    Harper in attendance – Jays lost.

    Mulcair in attendance – Jays lost

    Trudeau in attendance – Jays lost


  5. Matt says:

    Just as shameful as the medias role in this is the actions of people like candidates Chrystia Freeland, Olivia Chow and Jen Hollett going to a rally in Toronto put together by ultra left groups like Council of Canadians and No One Is Illegal and ensuring they got several pictures of themselves marching to plaster all over twitter and send out to the media.

    Those boys weren’t dead 48 hours and Freeland, Chow and Hollett are already dancing on their graves.

    • davie says:

      Council of Canadians is ultra left? I’ll have to keep a closer eye on that subversive cabal.

      • Matt says:


        Have you ever watch one of their news conferences? Listened to anyone from the COC give an interview? Ever read one of their reports?

        • Joe says:

          One of the delusions of mankind is we all believe our personal view is politically in the center. An lefty can not see the bias of the leftist media. A righty can not see the bias of the rightist media. Davie being a leftist thinks the CoC is neutral despite the fact the the mere mention of Nikita Khrushchev causes moist panties in the board room of the CoC.

    • Derek Pearce says:

      The very fact that you’d use that phrase means YOU are in fact the one dancing on graves. The Citizen is pulling a bullshit move here, but that doesn’t mean Freeland et al actually are concerned about refugees. Always looking to play the victim are CPC partisans.

      Furthermore, this idea that “the media” is against the Conservatives ignores the fact that The National Post, in fact most Postmedia properties Citizen shitstorm withstanding, are pro-Conservative, as are the Sun Newspapers and Global Television. I’m sick of this whiney ass whining by conservatives about this. You don’t see the Liberals whinging and whelping at every damn opportunity that the Sun or Post won’t give them a fair shake, they just man up and get on with it.

  6. Maps Onburt says:

    Same with National Newswatch. They are going out of their way to keep this alive.

  7. tofkw says:

    I’m not sure the truth matters anymore. The Harper government has been going on half-truths and outright lies like this for 10 years to misrepresent their opposition for the same effect. That lie highlights a basic truth here, that the Harper government has re-jigged our immigration system to screw over a lot of actual, legitimate refugees, and to play favorites with certain groups. They’re getting a taste of their own medicine now, regardless of the whole truth.

    • Lance says:

      Shorter – the Harper government lies, but when other people lie, that matters not, because, well, the Harper government lied. But they did it first.

      When you cut through your political ju-jitsu bullshit, that is EXACTLY what you just said.

  8. Mike says:

    The final three paragraphs of the [jane@canadalandshow.com] piece say it all. Have no sympathy for the CPC, a party that has a long track record of deliberate — not accidental — disinformation. Alexander, Harper, et al, deserve all the derision Canadians can heap on them.

  9. davie says:

    Here is one possibility for what has contributed to the civil war in Syria, and the addition of so many refugees from that region:


  10. Joe says:

    Having done a bit of research on this one I wonder if anyone could tell if this family was a family of refugees or a family of illegal immigrants. I know many leftists don’t believe in nations but for most people there are those who are fleeing a war because their life is in danger and those who are using the war as an excuse to find a better place to live. One story I read said the real motive for this family was the father wanted the free dental work Europe gives to people who land on their shore uninvited. Another story tells of the father taking the bodies of his sons back to their home town for burial. If true this kind of blurs the line between refugee and non-refugee.

  11. Gordarnit says:

    I was upset when I saw the photo of the dead refugee baby. He had extended family here in Canada and it should have been a natural thing for that baby to find safety and refuge in Canada. Apparently someone messed up part of the story but the rest of the story is bad enough that we shouldn’t lose sight of the baby on the beach.

    • davie says:

      My wife’s church has a family here, and is working on bringing another member of that family here. It has been over a year now of working on it. Last eve I spoke to a pastor of another local church that is beginning to work on sponsoring a family. I saw some videos on news a few week sago and went to our government refugee sponsor site. What struck me was the many months, years, that the process could take, plus the fees to various sections of our government to sponsor someone. I imagine there would be fees abroad as well. I can see why it would be organizations that are in the business are what you need to navigate the sponsorship of a refugee.
      It looked a daunting process.

      Where is Clifford Sifton when we need him?

  12. Matt says:

    It’s fun……no, pathetic watching the left trying to justify and excuse the lies told by NDPer Fin Donnelly and the media on this.

  13. B. Brown says:

    With the KGB-style and career-destroying hit piece against Alexander, the NDP has lost all credibility. Justin has gone ultra-negative, grabbing the NDP lie and gutting a minister like a beached seal. The politics of fear shtick and the vow to never go negative – all lies. At least the vicious face of the Unity Coalition has been revealed. Nothing they say now can be believed or trusted.

    Justin went too far tarring all ‘Canada’ as a heartless nation who ‘failed’. Mulcair says we’re ‘doing nothing’ – despite half a billion in aid and soldiers risking life and limb.
    Why doesn’t Justin, multi-millionaire, sponsor a family from Syria? Sell the Mercedes and adopt some kids like Brad Pitt? Instead, as always, like a rich televangelist, like Jim Jones, another condescending harangue to sinful Canadians.

    Meanwhile, the geopolitical machinations of the big boys intensify: ‘Russia gearing up to be first world power to insert ground forces into Syria’. Obama, Justin’s model, can’t get anything right over there. Yet, Canada is the Devil in this war. The narrative has become indiscernible, hysterical, bizarre.

    The Unity Coalition is doubling down on the ‘none is too many’ line. Despite the fact over one million Muslims live in Canada. Despite the fact Canada, at a ratio of 21%, has more immigrants than U.S.A., France, U.K., Germany, Sweden, Spain. By contrast, Mexico has less than 1% immigrants. Brazil 0.5%. China 0.1%. How is it that a country of just 0.5% global population is supposed to solve the world’s problems? Justin seems to suffer from a kind of mania, a messianic delusion.

    Canada has experienced sub-replacement fertility among Canada-born through long decades of austerity, wage suppression and social engineering – many parents will not live to see even one grandchild. As per Stats Can, “European” Canadians are 76% of population; at current rates, they will be a minority in about 25 years. In a hundred years, they will be a single digit – if they exist at all. Many are near flat broke and childless. What more exactly do Tom and Justin want from us? Collective suicide?


    • KBab says:

      Trotting out the unity coalition shite already eh. Funny.

      • B. Black says:

        Comrade, you’re attacking the official NDP/Gerald Caplan line: “there’s a secret hidden agenda at work here, which this space can now reveal for the first time. Clearly the leadership of the NDP and Liberals are quietly preparing to work together after October 19 if neither of them gets a majority of seats. As their policies get interchanged and reversed, as one morphs into the other in full public view, it will become ever easier for the two to form a unity government…History is being made in this campaign, comrades…”


        The NDP and Liberal Parties are but two organs of many of the Socialist International! Power to the People! Depose Fascism! Open Borders!

  14. cassandra says:

    well the real story should be the one that is unfolding and how the syrian people are in dire trouble, its why there are so many folks fleeing and dying. I think the Harper contigent know they are in trouble with this situation, more then with Duffy. Dead children always trump graft. I am hoping this horrible tragedy is highlighted with the real facts, that are getting ignored in the sensationalism.

    • Curt says:

      Hey Cassie,
      Has anybody asked how many refugees want to come to CANADA? Are we just assuming they want to come to Canada ?

  15. Lance says:

    Why doesn’t the ardor that the NDP’s Fin Donnelly and the Ottawa Citizen expressed when blaming the government match, with equal ardor, a desire to clear the air when it was discovered that their line of attack was an utter bullshit fabrication? Why aren’t they working just as hard to clear the air when they thought that they were right as opposed to when they were found to be wrong?

    No MSM bias? Pffft.

  16. ian turnbull says:

    So the two topics consuming whatever oxygen exists around the election to date are the economy and security abroad. If you were to ask Harper’s team a month ago what would they want this election to be about I suspect these would be their two choices. I wonder if they are still thinking that?

    • KBab says:

      The irony is thick.

    • Matt says:

      You do understand the CPC are the only ones trying to CREATE a secure country for these refugees to return to by helping to eliminate the threat of ISIS right?

      Trudeau, Mulcair, May do not support military action against ISIS.

      You do nothing to remove ISIS, you CANNOT stop the refugee crisis.

      You let ISIS rampage across the region unchecked they take more territory. The more territory they take, the more people flee and become refugees.

      What part of that do you not get??

      • Patrick says:

        If Conservatives want to create want to create a safer country for Syrians then maybe they should back up their big talk with more than just 5 jets.

  17. Andrew says:

    Aunt in BC wired them the money to pay the human traffickers to take them by boat to Greece but either the aunt or the father saw it fit to get life jackets for the crossing?

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