Saturday, October 04, 2008
i blog, therefore i am (i think); getting with the new media
by Shelley Fralic
Vancouver Sun - October 4, 2008
This is a rather amusing piece of writing about blogging, not about Basi-Virk-BC Rail. That is, not until you get to my response. In a light-hearted way, these two stories by Fralic and Graham reveal why big media hasn't understood what the public needs, or what the public is trying to get by reading or writing blogs. So while the people of BC wait until October 20 for the next Basi-Virk twitch in BC Supreme Court, here is something completely different.
Shelley Fralic, columnist, Vancouver Sun: i blog, therefore i am (i think);
getting with the new media.
Patricia Graham, Editor-in-Chief, Vancouver Sun: A new Sun is rising
to which my response was:
Hi Shelley ...
Neat piece of work, girl. Jeez, your Editor-in-chief should take a tip. Her wall-of-words this a.m. told me plenty ... none of it publishable.
And dammit, I do not unravel bales of unsourced, unresearched "thoughts" to clutter the bandwidth. My blog (and two others) developed out of a Tyee conversation in which commentors were grieving the lack of news on the Basi Virk / BC Rail trial. It was May 2006 and the trial was expected to begin in June 2006. We were alarmed and depressed thinking that we'd never hear the findings if relying upon the mainstream media.
Three blogs bloomed overnight:
Free Speech (by an intelligent man who kept being banned off Tyee)
House of Infamy
The Legislature Raids (mine)
A family tragedy knocked the first blogger off his feet. House of Infamy continues with updates about once a month. My blog, with almost 800 postings and the damn trial still nowhere in sight, is eating up my life.
I've committed to building a record of information around the significance of the unprecedented police raid on a legislature. Someday, it may be a helpful archive to someone who writes the book.
I've never lost the sense of horror not simply about police hauling away public records but also about RCMP Sgt Ward's press conference the next day where he described Organized Crime in BC. Never lost the horror despite the fact that almost 5 years later, so many criminal or corrupt events have almost drowned that December 28, 2003 issue: it's still about BC losing Canada's 3rd largest railway under an agreement still secret. It's still about the possibility of corruption in legislative corridors.
I've done a decent job, Shelley, of keeping a steady focus on the facts of the event and turning readers toward whatever news stories are published on the event. I'm not especially interested in Basi, Virk, or Basi ... they've always seemed to be small fish in the ocean ... but I do strongly feel that the issue needs watching, and people need the opportunity to know what happened. "Can't say anything because it's before the courts" simply doesn't excuse either the premier or big media from speaking to the huge basic issues in this case. And so we blog.
Drop in sometime, eh? Best wishes,
The Legislature Raids
To which Ms Fralic replied almost instantly:
Hey, thanks. I'll will definitely drop in.
Vancouver Sun Columnist
and I'm telling you this because perhaps a new Vancouver Sun actually is rising, like Ms Graham says. She is asking for reader responses, with a reply-function included at the end of her story. Maybe Big Media needs to hear from us more often. Can't hurt, can it? - BC Mary.
Your ability to cut through the fluff always amazes me.
And what amazes me even more is the fact that Ms. Fralic hasn't dropped in already.
Kind of explains where the Sun really is re: blogging, don't you think?
Your virtual A+ amazes me, and thank you.
Then a funny thing happened on my way to posting your comment.
I looked again at what I had written ... began to re-read ... and was suddenly amazed, also pleased to realize that the format of my report is doggone close to the way RossK handles facts at Pacific Gazette!
You've done it again, RossK, teaching by example!
Double double thanks today.
Although never a particularly political person previously, I have followed the BC Rail/Basi Virk situation somewhat obsessively ever since reading at the Tyee some years ago about police wiretaps that, if accurate, portrayed our minister of finance talking like some kind of organized criminal, calmly accepting suggestions of ripping a woman a new asshole. I found the language being used by top officials adequately disturbing that I began following the story via the internet (mainstream media having ongoingly been utterly inadequate to meet my needs to understand). An excerpt from the story that initially sparked my interest follows:
"Late in the day, Michael Bolton, the veteran lawyer who is defending David Basi, quietly set off multiple sticks of political dynamite by reading into the record a wiretapped cell phone conversation between Basi and Collins on October 31, 2003.
The call takes place less than a month before the BC Rail sale to CN Rail is announced and as opponents to the planned deal are mobilizing against the B.C. Liberal government.
The call allegedly captures the type of media manipulation and political dirty tricks that have already been headlined previously in this case but this time Gary Collins is directly involved.
The following is a transcript taken from notes from Bolton's statement in court and is slightly abbreviated:
Basi: Hi boss. Judith Reid was on Ben Meisner [at the time, a Prince George radio talk show host] -- she handled herself real well. There was only one call and it was ours.
Basi: Bill Vander Zalm will be on [radio] with Barb Sharp -- mayor of North Vancouver. [former B.C. premier Vander Zalm and Sharp both opposed BC Rail privatization]
Basi: I wanted to have the mayor of Squamish, who's a good friend of ours, rip Barb Sharp a new asshole. Is that okay?
Basi: I called Jerry Lampert of the [BC] Business Council and said: 'Jerry, we need your help.' The Prince George Citizen might take an op-ed [opinion editorial article] but they don't want only positive pieces.
Collins: Well, you could do that....I want you to keep this completely to yourself because there's only two of us who know about this."
Collins: I talked to the Premier. We want to put Colin Kinsley [mayor of Prince George] and the mayor of Squamish on the committee.
Basi: I'm going to call Ian Sutherland [mayor of Squamish] at home.
Basi: Then we're going to arrange calls and rip these guys up good.
Collins: Okay but don't tell Sutherland because it's the Premier who's going to call.
It should be noted again that the wiretapped conversation cited by Bolton is part of the defence allegations, which are unproven in court and to which the Crown has yet to respond."
The reason I'm emailing you is that I read at the Legislature Raids site (my main, excellent source of info) that you are seeking input, and I would like to add my voice to those who request much more in depth mainstream coverage of everything related to the sale of BC Rail and the ensuing Basi Virk trial. It is a long and very complex story, and my hat is always off to BC Mary, who has single handedly compiled all relevant information. As she mentions, her site will be invaluable to whoever writes the book, but that will not be soon enough for further damage to be prevented. The public has a right to know what has transpired before another election takes place.
Well done, 12:00 Anon!! High fives for a perfect point rounded out at the perfect moment. Thank you!
I had almost forgotten that item.
In fact, I was roaming around in The Legislature Raids archives recently, and finding all sorts of things I had halfway forgotten.
What fools we are, to allow a few people to delay the trial of Basi and Virk, when evidence given under oath could provide us with the information we need to put things back on track. And to prevent, as you say, further damage.
It's not as if the alleged crooks (not necessarily Basi, Virk, or Basi) are sitting quietly with folded hands, doing nothing.
That was great, your comment. A million thanks!
Thanks Mary, once again, and thanks to all the citizens of British Columbia who post here who haven't, like many of their elected leaders and their henchmen have, forgotten what being a citizen is all about.
Speaking of Blair Wilson I would advise you to check out this article:
You might even want to post this one separately. It's about the lawsuit Blair Wilson has filed against Mark Marissen and Judy Tyabji.
Hmmmmm. Does anyone remember this article written by Larry Pynn for the Vancouver Sun?
"Plans for a massive all-season resort featuring downhill skiing, an 18-hole golf course, and 3,300 dwellings near the Coquihalla Highway toll plaza are raising environmental concerns about the endangered Coldwater River system.
Alberta-based Westscapes Development Inc. has submitted draft terms of reference to the B.C. environmental assessment office for its Coquihalla Pass Resort in the North Cascade Mountains about 10 km northwest of the Highway 5 toll booths."
"A 400-hectare base area would be located at an elevation of 1,200 metres and would offer not just a golf course and housing, but conference facilities, a spa and aquatic centre, equestrian centre, and parking for 2,000 vehicles.
The 3,300 dwelling units would include hotel rooms, condominium apartments, townhouses, single-family homes, and staff accommodation.
Development would occur in phases, beginning in 2009 with the construction of an eight-passenger gondola system and four chairlifts, the village, and a mountain-top restaurant."
Another fine piece of detective work. Thank you!
These pie-in-the-sky developments (always a golf course, always an airstrip, always an equestrian centre, a chairlift, anything your heart desires) ... this might be the silver lining in the financial collapses occurring throughout the world.
Nobody could build these things under today's conditions.
But will the developers still keep begging for the release of A.L.R. lands which was fundamental to their plans in the first place?