Musings —08.23.2017 06:53 AM—
On August 8, I linked to a QP Briefing story that claimed that police had launched a criminal investigation into the Ontario PC’s candidate selection in Hamilton, here.
Two days later, CBC reported that – contrary to what QP Briefing had reported, there was no criminal investigation, here. I apologized for passing along what looked like erroneous information.
I subsequently heard from very senior Ontario Liberals, and QP Briefing, who insisted CBC had it wrong and QP Briefing had it right. Here’s what the reporter said to me:
In the interest of accurate, accountable journalism — and for your readers’ sake and mine — I’d appreciate if you offered a correction that the criminal investigation is ongoing and QP Briefing reported the story correctly.
I told them that I was a lawyer and a former cop reporter and I would be happy to help out, if they promised to pay for my resulting legal bills. I said so.
Now, this week, QP Briefing quietly appended this at the end of a story on their web site:
“This story has been updated to remove the phrase “criminal probe.” Hamilton Police spokesman Claus Wagner told QP Briefing on Aug. 22 there’s an open investigation into a complaint concerning the nomination, which concerns whether or not a criminal offence has taken place. However, police have not yet determined yet if an offence has occurred, or not, so police do not consider the probe a “criminal” investigation, said Wagner.”
Among other things, I am not impressed. (And I’ve yet to hear from the reporter who insisted I publish a “correction.”)
So, two things.
You don’t win elections by promoting falsehoods, Ontario Libs.
And you don’t help your journalistic reputation by getting things this wrong, QP Briefing – and also by chastising writers (like, say, me) who are interested in being accurate. And not getting, you know, sued.
A bit of partisan spin is fine. But insisting others echo what is false, and getting irritated when they don’t?
That’s a good way to lose all credibility.