Saturday, April 25, 2009

Not The News

Read this article.

What is wrong with it? Which story is the story? I get the feeling that the real story, the one about the guy's livelihood and life being destroyed is ignored. Why? Because journalism isn't about reporting stories any more it's about scoring political points.

You can almost hear it...
{Insert breathless indignation}Goodness gracious a Member of Parliament used the word "bastards"! He also compared a government agency to a terrorist group!! How dare he be angered by a bureaucratic injustice! How dare he stand up unequivocally in favor of a constituent!{End breathless indignation}

Someone out there in newspaper land calls that journalism? WTF are these people smoking? What a useless piece of garbage and fluff. Glen McGregor has just enshrined himself in the hack hall of fame.

Way back when when journalism was something less than the mouthpiece of its owner's political ideology, the writer would have interviewed the individual involved. He would have approached the MP on the point of the injustice, not with a loaded question about his views on the agency. The reader would have been given a story worth reading, with a beginning a middle and at least the the promise of an end.

What does this "article" provide? Very little.

The reporter got hold of an email which a reasonable person would assume was confidential correspondence between an MP and a constituent and instead of asking about the nature of the incident the only question the hack can think of is to ask if the MP still thinks that Revenue Canada are bastards?

How did the reporter come across the email?

I so wish I could have been that MP. I would have loved to answer that question in the affirmative. I would so love to use that opportunity to expose a bureaucracy gone mad that treats a law abiding citizen like a criminal because IT lost his paperwork.

But that isn't the world we live in. Because the question wasn't intended to expose the righteous anger of a concerned politician it was designed to ruin, or at least to damage. And the politician who would answer as I suggested would have suddenly found himself in the spotlight of the media's newest three ring circus of nonsense and been dogged into an apology within a week.

Of course opposition politicians would have only been too happy to oblige. There would be accusations during Question Period "Does the honourable member really think the employees of Revenue Canada deserve the title "Bastatrds"...

But the questions should have been about the actual injustice, not the MP's reaction to it. But alas, you can see from the bite marks in the subject that this news dog was not interested in such a travesty, he was only interested in the kind of drive by smear that his profession now takes as its highest form.

It's far more important that an MP used harsh tones, than why he used harsh tones. It's far more newsworthy that an MP was upset by the actions of a government department than the reason he was so angered. And it was FAR, FAR more important that the hack reporter score a political point than expose the sloppiness, inefficiency and callous disregard of a government department for the individual citizen.

Pfft, the guy only lost his house, his business and "other assets"... What kind of story is that?

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