Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I asked for Basi Virk BC Rail news coverage. He said the Sun was working on it. I posted this good news. Now he's angry.
The managing editor of the biggest daily newspaper west of Toronto has said that he never writes anything he wouldn't want seen anywhere. Then this clever man goes all angry with BC Mary for publishing what he said.
On 22 August, Kirk Lapointe told me that the Vancouver Sun was at work on a piece that "will move in the next two or three days". He asked us to bear with him. I'm sure he meant "us" here at The Legislature Raids because I signed my e.mail: BC Mary, The Legislature Raids, http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/ just so he'd know.
BC Mary (that would be me) thought that Kirk's newsy reply was extremely welcome news which reflected well on CanWest so I posted it exactly as given. I wanted readers to see what looked like 100% reliable information coming straight from the Managing Editor of B.C.'s newspaper of record. I saw it as reassurance.
Well ... "2 or 3 days" passed without a Vancouver Sun "piece" on Basi, Virk, or B.C. Rail. Others began asking BC Mary: "Have you seen that article? Has anybody seen the story?" Nobody had seen it. I hated to think we were back in CanWest's twilight zone again, where tall weeds in city parks, belly fat, and Pepsi vs Coke at UBC get coverage when a pre-trial hearing on Canada's 3rd largest railway allegedly given to private ownership by corrupt means is ignored.
I watched and waited 2 days ... then 3 ... 5 ... 8 ... 10 ... 12 days expecting to see the Managing Editor's promise fulfilled. But there was nothing about Basi Virk or BC Rail to be seen in Vancouver Sun. How could this be? Hadn't the man said -- directly and specifically -- that they were working on a "piece" which would have been ready a week or more ago?
On the 12th day I dropped a very brief note to the Sun again. Knowing these guys work under pressure and are always swamped with words, I got right to ... uh, er, well, you know ... LaPointe:
From: BC Mary
Date: Sun Sep 2, 2007
To: "LaPointe, Kirk \(VAN_Exchange\)"
Subject: Report the trial process
I've been looking forward to that Basi Virk Basi piece -- did I miss it?
Then, bang! Although it was Sunday afternoon, Kirk's response came back faster than a speeding bullet. I wish I could share it with you. But although he does claim to write only things which could be seen in public print, he's very angry with me for posting his previous complete comments so let's not go there again. I'll risk this much: "There is nothing further to discuss," he concluded.
I've thought about this. It seems astonishing to me that Mr Big CanWest could be in such a huff about Ms BC Mary's exact report on what he himself had said about his own publication. Where's the harm in that? Isn't this all about NEWS? So I tried again, as follows (I gave myself permission):
Sent: Mon 9/3/2007 9:21 AM
To: LaPointe, Kirk (VAN_Exchange)
Subject: Report the Basi Virk trial process
I am wondering if you actually saw what I posted. I placed you in a favourable light and described myself as "a bit ratty" and then posted both messages because yours I took to be a direct message to my readers: that your newspaper was preparing a Basi Virk piece in "2 or 3 days" for which you asked "bear with us". Such an article, I knew, would be welcome and extremely important to my readers. What I presented was a direct promo for Vancouver Sun -- a newspaper which had disappointed us time after time, year after year, on the Basi Virk-BC Rail issue.
My posting was headlined as follows:
Breaking News: There will be news of Basi Virk Basi trial in Vancouver Sun soon!
[The Legislature Raids posting in its entirety was pasted here. - Mary]
If you find any part of my online news effort objectionable, I am truly sorry. Please consider this a belated, well-intended request for permission to quote your comments.
The Legislature Raids
Well, another speeding bullet has convinced me that Kirk doesn't care two hoots and that we won't be dining together at Vila del Lupa anytime soon. His considerable skills are reduced to stretching an outdated point of etiquette to cover Vancouver Sun's continuing failure to mention Basi Virk or B.C. Rail. He tells me what an impolite, worthless person I must be (not true, Kirk). He tells me he's never going to help me again in future. (Does that imply that he knowingly helped me in the past, such as with advance notice of a Sun story -- as I thought?)
The managing editor's silly huff tells me something he doesn't want to say too plainly: that CanWest is king in these parts. That CanWest can print balderdash anytime it wants to. (Check out today's Sun for the forest fire that's 5% contained! Balderdash! It's 95% out of control.) Implicitly, he's telling us that CanWest can decide not to print substantial information geared to the public interest, if it pleases them to keep it hidden. I gather that's OK. I can see that it probably gratifies some advertisers, or some power groups. But Kirk: it doesn't serve the public.
So here's the thing: can somebody help me figure out why the managing editor of B.C.'s newspaper of record is saying that now -- all of a sudden -- there is honour and etiquette involved in the West Coast newspaper business? Especially etiquette. And that BC Mary absolutely must not be allowed to trip over an out-dated point of etiquette lest it bring civilization as we know it, down on our heads.
Come on ... !
The way I see it, Kirk LaPointe is saying that the facts are irrelevant about B.C. Rail; that the facts are irrelevant about the part Basi Virk Basi and others played in its allegedly tainted sale. But wait. That can't be true. He's no fool. He can't help knowing that the B.C. Rail case is the most important trial ever seen in British Columbia.
We'll know more about Kirk and CanWest -- when, and if -- that "piece" ever appears in print in Vancouver Sun. Me, I'm wondering if somebody killed that story before it got a chance to appear in print. Somebody who read about it right here on The Legislature Raids.
Meantime, the familiar mantra: "OK folks, nuthin' to see here ... just move along quietly please ... nuthin' to see here ... CN trains keep falling off the tracks, former power-persons may receive threats, but there's no need to be alarmed folks ... just keep movin' along ... trust us, we're taking care of everything."
The clock ticks and the case builds for a Charter Challenge because Basi, Virk and Basi have been forced to wait too long for justice. If the B.C. Rail case is dismissed and nobody cares, that in my opinion will be the fault of a media which failed determinedly to do its job of informing society.
5 Sept. It's 14 days after Kirk's promise but today's Vancouver Sun has nothing about Basi Virk or B.C. Rail. Wanna bet Vancouver Sun will clam right up now? Should make things interesting in Courtroom 54 on Sept. 17, eh. - BC Mary.
I think you are right - someone rapped him on the knuckles & poof -the story disappeared. Wouldn't be the first time.
I'm not sure how long Mr. LaPointe is going to be leading this excuse for a news publication or for that matter how long CanWest retains it in their stall. They cannot be making a profit with all that sanitizing, especially with the internet breaking stories now. People want hard, investigative reporting not pablum. It must be very hard on their morales.
Watch for the good journalists to start leaping from the decks & we will all know the game is up.
Mr. Lapointe simply sounds silly, so please don't lose any sleep over his outburst.
"Watch for the good journalists to start leaping from the decks & we will all know the game is up."
Could you name any of these potential deck leapers, maybe I'm kinda dumb, but I can't really think of any, right off hand. I can mainly think of whores who use keyboards instead of sexual techniques, in other words second rate whores who don't come up with the real goods. Sounds just like Canned West in relation to "real" news.............
As far as Mr. Pointy Head's basic and pathetic response to Mary goes: I would say it is a pretty good illustration of what happens when ignorance and arrogance perfectly converge in the hollow space where some one once could have had a soul. The whole sorry excuse for rationality from him is virtually irrelevant to me as I had given up on the Vancouver Stunned as a source of anything but sports scores and theatre listings long ago. Oh yeah and lot's of fluffy B.S., not that I have any use for that.
Indeed one of the few features they carry that can be depended on for quality is the Sunday Crossword from that other increasingly compromised newspaper (in name) the New York Times (or the Grey Lady that used to publish the lying lady, Judith Miller). Well they published other liars as well, like that Blair guy, but rarely lies that led to so much pain and destruction for so many people as old "kneepads" Judy's - how are the Aspens, are they quaking?
To my lovely Anons, many thanks! It's an intriguing situation, isn't it?
For me, it's all about NEWS.
And that's what surprised me about Kirk Lapointe. First, he sympathized with my demand for news of Basi Virk; very admirable, I thought. But then, his sharp turnabout because his affirmative news went beyond my desk. At first, it appeared that he objected to the wider distribution of NEWS. But there's more to it ... which I'll try to explain later.
Compare the LaPlante incident with another almost identical incident. Following the recent CN train wreck in Prince George, I contacted Peter Ewart of 250NEWS in P.G. asking him what he could tell me about that CN "re-designation" mystery.
Peter replied with so much important detail, I didn't hesitate for 10 seconds to cut, paste, and post his remarks onto my web-site knowing how important the information was, knowing you'd want to read it, and confident that a real newsman would welcome the wider distribution of his findings. Peter's letter was providing real, hard-to-get data from a region we rarely hear about. And the msm reports were changing hour by hour.
I certainly knew I was taking a chance to use so much of his work but I felt confident that a real newsman would approve.
Nevertheless, I immediately wrote to Peter again with sincere thanks, asking him to check out my web-site and offering to remove the post if he disapproved.
Far from disapproving, Peter (a veteran newsman) responded exactly as I'd imagined. And more. He not only warmly approved but gave permission to use any of his previous columns (which I did), then complimented BC Mary's work. They've had a tough time in the north since losing BC Rail, etc., and he said "Let's keep in touch."
Now, I ask you: who got hurt in this incident? Anybody? If Peter had said "How dare you? etc" who would have benefited? Anybody?
Kirk LaPointe's reaction to a much smaller, much less significant posting of HIS words, begins to show up as ludicrous. Kirk occupies a virtual throne in the tough media world. What could Kirk fear from the minor web-site of BC Mary?
Well, I'll try to explain by means of an imaginary comparison.
Imagine Elizabeth writing to Robin and saying "Hi Robin, Yes, I know. But we've been awfully busy with holidays etc. However, I'm working to find a way of allowing you to have copies of all court proceedings. Bear with me, my ruling should be ready in 2 or 3 days. Kind regards etc., Elizabeth."
No, it couldn't happen. But just suppose ... suppose Robin posted somewhere (anywhere) her response verbatim.
It wouldn't be the information at issue -- no, it would be the fact that she'd been outed speaking to the enemy. And for key people, being found out for speaking collegially (or at all) with the enemy has consequences.
As Managing Editor of Vancouver Sun he has been seen publicly promising to fulfill an obligation to inform the citizens of British Columbia about the BC Rail - Basi Virk Basi case. In his own words. Horrors.
It's this revelation which scares the living daylights out of me. And which should scare every Canadian.
I mean it isn't like, say:
"Paper Publishes Larry Craig's Voicemail to his Lawyer" or Mark Foley's e-mails and text messages to young pageboys.
The horror, a Canned West bigwig "threatening" to publish "NEWS" that, I'm just speculating here, might offend or damage the questionable interests of others in positions of even more power that the Emir of Canned BS of the West.
More Britney, more missing blonds and there's never enough coverage of crimes of passion....
Sing to the tune of "Silver Bells"
distract the idjuts,
and we can do what we want.
It's beginning to look like it's our world.
Fat Cats gorging,
Its the Neo-Con Way,
But we still let them have Christmas Day.
"It wouldn't be the information at issue -- no, it would be the fact that she'd been outed speaking to the enemy. And for key people, being found out for speaking collegially (or at all) with the enemy has consequences.
As Managing Editor of Vancouver Sun he has been seen publicly promising to fulfill an obligation to inform the citizens of British Columbia about the BC Rail - Basi Virk Basi case. In his own words. Horrors. "
1)A brave blog that champions the public's right to information seems to be perceived as "the enemy" in some quarters.
2)Reporting the news appears to have become a subversive, almost traitorous act. The question is: Traitorous to who?
Ohhhh, the subversity of it all.
As kootcoot writes:
"I think I kinda get you, Mary, regarding the scariness factor. I mean, all you did was publish a short quote of Mr. Pointy saying he was going to "actually" publish some actual news, nothing to be ashamed of for a bigwig supposedly in the "news" business. "
Ohhhh, the horror, indeed, "of actualing publishing "The Actual News".
Swirling around in my head, (along with the music and lyrics of kootcoot's most creatively apt version of Silver Bells) is a quote by Oscar Wilde, I don't know quite why:
"Private information is practically the source of every modern fortune."
Regardless, perhaps we should hold a seance and/or try using a Quiji board to try and bring it back to life.
And/or take bets on when it will finally be resurrected.
Mary. It seems to me that the only reason you got the original e-mail is because this guy didn't do his DD. I think he thought he was just answering one of the many regular questions that are posed to him. Now of course he finds out differently and has to back peddle to save his sorry ass. Others have stated and I concur, "the MSM is controlled by big business and the campbell gov't". This treachery to the people of this country is nothing short of the same propaganda machine that happened in Nazi Germany prior to and during the Second Worl War. And if we can't put a stop to it VERY soon we (the masses) are going to be in big trouble. Much bigger trouble than we are now. Keep flooding the ministers and the MSM. Drive them crazy. Ask all the questions you can think of.
Gary E ... Kirk didn't need to do his due diligence.
On the contrary, I signed my messages to him as follows:
The Legislature Raids
and Kirk is a newsman. He is also a blogger himself. So he would have immediately known that any information he gave, would be of wider interest than just one person asking a question.
And even if he did think he was replying to just one person, is it OK to ... um, er ... obfuscate with the truth? No, it isn't.
So I believe we may have seen the real Kirk LaPoint in message #1: a decent man who would answer a simple question about general news. As in "We're working on a piece ... ready in a day or two ... bear with us."
It's message #2 which comes across like a Leopard tank with hatches closed, turret guns swiveling ... and it's this sudden change which reveals so much.
It's obviously no longer about letting people know that Vancouver Sun is preparing a story about Basi Virk and B.C. Rail.
It's about whether the public had a right to know that. Or more specifically: whether BC Mary had a right to tell people that.
So I think you're absolutely correct in seeing that the public needs to build the connection to the media.
I've always thought people were mistaken when they say they won't look at CanWest media, won't write or phone them. In my opinion, it leaves CanWest entirely free to continue what they're doing. (Same with M.L.A.s)
I hope you do ask those questions, Gary E. And that others will too.
My motto has been: Be polite. Be persistent. But keep asking the questions.
There's also the Dead Dog Cafe motto but it needs an action term:
Be brave. Stay calm. Watch for the signs.
I've ridden the old BC Rail from Lilloet to North Van in the past, it was a neat trip and I was amazed at how much of a commuter train it was for the First Nation folks who lived along the line. Can they still use that as transportation or is it just rich YourUpPeons now?
either that or some baby boomer's richer then rich parents die and this anonymous radical purchases the paper.
nice work, mary.