Mason Doesn’t Get it (OR Doesn’t Want to), Palmer Remains Silent: The BC Mainstream Media–Their Own Worst Enemy
Let me tell you a great story, with which to open my remarks.
In the last years of Rafe Mair’s tenure at CKNW, Paul Martin was quickly leader and then prime minister of the land. He had refused to appear as a guest on Rafe’s show, obviously for fear of being reduced to thin paste.
Well, one day, as Rafe was about to go to air, a producer at NW informed him that Paul Martin was, indeed, to appear in studio. Rafe, couldn’t contain his glee, believing, naturally, that after enduring an hour or so of Rafe, Martin would feel as if someone had lowered him, head first, into a blender.
But Rafe’s joy was short lived. “They bloody well informed me that Martin refused to come on to my show, and instead was going to appear with Bill (Good) in the afternoon–a clear snub which pissed me off to no end considering how hard and courteously my crew’d tried to get him to come to the station, period. So, I jolly well got on air in my last segment and said that I guess he was going on with Bill in the afternoon because he didn’t want to face tough questions from me! Well, that was the truth, and it probably ended what little relationship I had with Bill–although we were generally respectful of one another. But Martin’s cowardice was goddamned obvious. It was the beginning of the end of the respect for media. And then the suits took over and it’s now to the point where we have to be our own fucking press. It’s very troubling, don’t you think Alec?”
Yes, I most certainly do .
I am forever amazed by the uneven, imbalanced and incompetent mainstream press in this province–well, some of them–and sadly, some of the most prominent.
The notion that because they have been blessed with Webster Awards and other false, tarnished honours, we should somehow be falling at their feet in appreciation of stellar reporting, is beyond laughable.
What stellar reporting? When?! IF it were so, it should be the standard, and NOT the exception.
In the ten years since the BC Liberals have been in government, the systematic failure of the mainstream press in covering the most corrupt government in BC history, is breathtaking.
I ask again: What stellar reporting? Where?
Bill VanderZalm received $20,000 in cash on a SIXTEEN MILLION dollar deal, and this was considered shocking enough to prompt a wasted trial (he kept the cash in safe keeping for the purchaser, where it remained well past all the media’s howls of indignation).
Though, to this day, there are still those idiots that disregard the evidence and believe it was a bribe. Think about it: A man is collecting SIXTEEN MILLION, but he’s taking a bribe of $20,000??? No one is that much of a no-mind. Give your heads a shake!
Two investigations and three books later, the sale was all much ado about nothing in the general scheme of things.
Keith Baldrey and Gary Mason wrote a book about it, called ‘Fantasyland’ (perhaps because of the amount of fantasy contained in the book itself).
This week, though, after solidly covering the BC beat primarily for the Toronto Mop and Pail for a good portion of that time, since the Zalm’s ignominous departure, Gary Mason, really put his foot in it.
In fact both feet–and deeply. It pains me to write this because Gary is a friend and has been very supportive of this blog and this blogger, but he demonstrates the distance between many long-time, elites in the mainstream press–and reality.
Mason, who is a very good journalist and is a must read, went off on twitter this week when Gord MacDonald of CKNW masterfully lambasted the Premier for her pathetic and rather disgraceful tirade-in-a-tank-top last Saturday, when she whined and bitched about the coverage provided (as of late) by Vaughn Palmer, and the sustained excellence of CKNW in treating her viral gaffes and endless bimbo eruptions with the requisite bright light.
Gary even suggested that Gord had done this to generate a reaction.
Pot, meet kettle.
Everything we goddamn well do in this business is intended to generate a reaction. Everything. Do not let anyone lie to you.
You think I became the most read blogger in Western Canada, with over 260,000 monthly readers, by offering up fluff? Even my enemies read me. That came from a lot of hard work–and the undercurrent, was knowing that my words would get a reaction. Our job as scribes isn’t to sway polls or push you to think what we think. Our job is to make your lives better by creating robust discussion on any given issue and in any of the public fora.
We’re your last line of defence IF the Opposition fails you. We are first responders–or should be, when PERTINENT stories are being downplayed by the politicians who’ve created them–and synchronously spawn great scandal by doing so.
We can’t put our arm around you as you wave your measly welfare cheque at our cameras and curse a corrupt government.
We can’t show you how heartbroken we are when your father dies in the hallway of the hospital you relied on to keep him alive.
We can’t hug you on the courthouse steps when you tell us how much you miss your son, who died under the wheels of that drunk-driving monster.
We can’t leave for the truck quick enough and weep your tears as your 20 year old daughter, who you bravely gave us on loan to Afghanistan, is lowered into her grave.
We can’t tell one another the truth about our failures–HOW WE FAILED YOU, because most are paid so poorly that even the rumor of disenchantment with the status quo could land you in a Starbucks apron. It’s the results of the Dennis Skulsky Doctrine–that really killed a good portion of the press in this country. Whippings will stop when morale improves.
I’ve worked for many news venues, even the straight column writers, as opposed to colour players like Mason (I guess that logically makes me a neon peacock, adorned with Christmas lights) write stories to generate interest. An opinion isn’t necessary. The cause is important.
But is it? Really?
Notice the reaction by the defenders of the Dim One’s remarks? All elite media players. Or is that ELITIST media players? She had the RIGHT to launch her attacks, they claim. Really?
It’s okay for her to complain when it’s so obvious the complainers are bang on???
When Bill VanderZalm tore a strip off former BCTV great (yes, he was great) Clem Chapple in what is known as ‘The VanderRant’, Mason and his, then young, counterparts ripped Willy Wooden Shoes a new one for his audaciousness and disrespect (I was there).
When Mike Harcourt dumped on a CBC reporter at an impromptu presser about his “strong political” connections to Dave Stupich (false story) during the ‘Bingogate’ affair, the Victoria Press Gallery, along with Mason and others in the media, were apoplectic. They were, in fact, incredulous. (Mason was at the Sun, but go back and read their coverage and find ONE reporter that offered a contrary opinion–meaning, supportive of Mike).
When Glen Clark allowed his lawyer, the late David Gibbons, QC (who was a friend of mine), to lash out at the media for more innuendo than any of us could take, the same media starlets complained bitterly.
Recently, when Alberta’s wild rose, Danielle Smith was ripping anyone that would dare (and rightly) criticize the anti-gay idiocy of a few of her Neanderthal candidates–that included some whining about the media, Gary Mason spilled a barrel full of ink taking her to task in a column he told me himself raised eyebrows.
But now, Clark is doing it–on her own, no less, and with a deep seeded vengeance, and that’s okay for Gary??? Really? Interesting…and not a peep from the front pages.
Oh, but did you know? Adrian Dix was the first staffer in the world to fake a memo to cover his bosses ass, and some years later he missed a SkyTrain ticket for all of three dollars. Shouldn’t this man be getting the death penalty or close to it?
After all, we’ve had such wonderful stories that get detailed coverage, like BC Rail…right?
To me, this is just all unadulterated, contemptible bullshit. And inconsistent. And asinine.
Clark didn’t say Vaughn’s feet smell funny, or that she hates his penchant for neutral suit colours and unexciting ties, or that she thinks he might even boil bunnies in his spare time. She went much farther; much deeper, and with greater nastiness. She attacked the most senior and respected journalist in the province by DEGRADINGLY mocking him. “You don’t read Vaughn Palmer, doooo yooouuu?” she asked the 400 people who could stomach her last Saturday. And this from whom? A woman who skated through her entire life, on a wink and a wiggle, and hasn’t a resume to speak of either in academia or business. She’s never really failed, because she’s never accomplished anything to fail from, other than having her ex-husband land her a junior assistant’s job in Ottawa because they are dyed-in-wool federal Libranos and then when Pat Kinsella got her the job at CKNW.
Christy’s whole life is one, stream-of-consciousness, theatre of the absurd, played out in the best of political psychiatry, by a sociopathic harridan.
Outside of that, she’s slung bacon and eggs and at the Blue Boy, no less. Before that, she was jettisoned from SFU for cheating in an election (where have we heard this before) and has admitted to more than an average consumption of dope over the years.
That’s your Premier. Aren’t you proud?
The belly-aching about Palmer and NW wasn’t your garden variety offence from a simple dimbell–it was a swift elbow to the head, behind the play, with clear intent to injure from someone undeserving to be in the arena, never mind just unqualified to be on the goddamned ice! Mason knows she’s completely ill-equipped for the job, he’s bloody well written about it, if not perhaps in those exact words.
Clark didn’t say CKNW hosts serve awful coffee in the green room or that they make about as much sense as the cult of Scientology. She mocked the very station that provided her the platform to become Premier, with the same degradation as she did Palmer. “You don’t listen to CKNW anymore, doooo yoooouuuuu?” She reveled in it! The gall of this woman is uncontainable! She won’t go on with fairness titans like Simi Sara or Jon McComb because she’s a bloody coward and easily confused on her feet.
But Mason claims this is what previous premiers and other politicians have done. Jesus Christ, Gary, that’s total horse manure! She’s not qualified to speak to these matters, and you damn well know it.
The Premier is essentially complaining about being covered fairly and aggressively, and respected journos like Mason, defend her, instead of our profession!
No wonder there is so much disdain for the mainstream press and people come here, go to Harv and Norm and Bill and Ian to get the real stories.
No one could possibly be more vicious than Christy–IT’S IN HER DNA!!! Mason’s covered the stories and been quite vocal about her successive failures. He completely misses this angle. Why? Who knows? And, frankly, who cares–it’s just so wrong to defend her right to be so vicious. That’s what this is at its lowest common denominator.
What she did, and this is very telling, (and perhaps provides a little foreshadowing–one lives in hope), is the same as what her Liberal hero, the feckless Paul Martin did in the waning days of his disastrous turn as prime minister of this blessed land.
Problem members of the media were literally quarantined from the PM at ALL public events across the country.
Know whose design this was? A fellow named Mark Marrisen, Clark’s then husband (and campaign guru during her FRAUDULENT leadership run–they cheated) and the guy who delivered Martin’s still-born tenure.
And the agents of such policy? Perhaps you’ll recognize some of the BC cast: Jamie Elmhirst, Kim Haakstad, Erik Bornmann, Dave Basi and Bob Virk.
Basi and Virk confirmed this for me well over a year ago.
But Mason’s still foaming about Gord MacDonald’s superb editorial. He didn’t look at the plethora of reasons Christy was wrong.
It annoyed him that many of us were justifiably appalled.
Well, tough titty. Gary’s absolutely on the wrong side of this and so is anyone else in the media, who thinks it’s appropriate for any politician–particularly a sitting premier, to be moaning about poor coverage that she generates almost entirely herself.
Then again, the Clark-like bitching only happens when the executioner begins to look for a fresh blade…
You’ll excuse me now, while I iron my hood.
Firstly, I’m gone until Tuesday. I’m so damned busy on the road, words cannot describe. So, I’m sorry, I need to handle some family pressures.
Secondly, to confirm that the 1300 person, Beans n Jeans, fraudulent figure bandied about by Pamela Martin, Mike McDonald and Christy Clark: They had almost 1400 RSVPs to the event…AND OVER 1000 cancellations. Then add about 100 walk-ons. You do the math.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate CKNW for standing their ground in this flap over the Premier’s outrageous comments. Truly, not an easy task to fend off her friends in the media–some of whom still call NW home. Kudos to that stations resilience and professionalism!