Yellow journalism courtesy of the Vancouver Sun

In today’s Sun, on the front page, above the fold is a political story.  There is never a political story on the front page, above the fold anymore, since all the big stories are about their good friends in government, the BC Liberal Party.  And they haven’t been good.

For decades now the Sun has always been solidly behind whatever right wing party is in play at the time and in 1993, under the direction of Dennis Skulsky, the Sun became part of the BC Liberal militia, kind of their advance shock troops.

They are true believers, the kind of ardent followers who would print a double page spread the day after the ‘Hawaii incident’ in homage to their favourite Premier, evah.  Even drunk, they loved him.

Then he left. And they became, like many BCers, not sure about his replacement.  About Christy, Not sure? About the worst Premier in living memory?  About a Premier who gives Vander Zalm a good name.  Yes, not sure.

But they are sure about one thing.  They still hate the NDP.  So even as they report a minimum of Clark’s biggest misfires, consigning them to page 3 or even deeper in the obscurity of the Sun’s back pages, they give full play to any opportunity to report an apparent NDP transgression.

Hence today’s above the fold story: a full on made up piece of transcribed trash fresh from of the lips of the BC Liberal campaign chair MLA Bill Bennett.

Bennett claims, and the Sun writes, that the NDP broke the rules to create a caucus fund to pay for a partisan outreach program earning a condemnation from the Auditor General in his report on Legislative spending.  To back it up they quote from a draft of the report.

It’s a full on smear, and Bennett know’s it.  More importantly, the Vancouver Sun knows it.

The Sun knows that the Auditor withdrew his draft and they know why.  The AG learned that the fund was set up on the advice of the Legislative comptroller, the guy hired to oversee Legislative accounts, and a guy who reports to Liberal Speaker Bill Barisoff.

The Sun also knows that the NDP went on its own accord to the Comptroller because they wanted to ensure that the fund followed all the rules.  The Sun knows that the Comptroller, not the NDP, administered the fund.

And they know that the Comptroller signed off on the activities the fund was used for – translation services, writing in Chinese, commentaries, South Asian outreach, advertising, caucus advertising.  All things the NDP Caucus is entitled to do.  The Sun knows that no money was spent on any party activities.

How does the Sun know that the fund was completely on the up and up and the Comptroller signed off on it and administered it?  Because, Vaughn Palmer wrote on it in their paper two months ago.

“The auditor general routinely circulates preliminary drafts of his reports to affected agencies” Palmer wrote about this report, adding, “and he routinely makes revisions in response to the feedback.”

In this case once the AG found out the Comptroller, not the NDP was responsible for the design and administration of the fund he removed any accusations and altered the body of the report to reflect the truth of the matter.

The final report came out today, as per Palmer’s description.  The Liberal smear that appeared this morning above the fold is a lie.

Yellow journalism is the name for this.  According to Wikipedia  It’s a type of journalism “that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headline to sell more newspapers”.

Or in this case, to sell a corrupt government.

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14 Responses to Yellow journalism courtesy of the Vancouver Sun

  1. Fellow Traveller says:

    Ian Bailey of the Globe and Mail chimed in as well. I was reminded of the 90s. They just make shit up when they want to, and leave out the facts when it suits. Ian knew perfectly well what the situation was. Cheap “sell impressions” web tabloid bullshit.

  2. Shamus says:

    Maybe that Globe and Mail headline was just an editing mistake? The original read “auditor general raises questions about ndp spending, has them satisfactorily answered”. As a copy editor, I’d probably say that was too long.

  3. John Twigg says:

    Nice summary Ian – it IS a non-story trumped up into a scandal and a cheap attempt at a smear and a supposed balance against reports of real abuses by BCLP govt.
    It is NOT a minor matter because such smears have always been cooked up and bannered in pre-election periods to harm NDP campaigns.
    Same as cheap-attack websites and hack tweeters using disinfo – it all will get a lot worse as May 14 nears.
    But now with social media available there is more opportunity for fight-back; back in the 70s there were many fewer media outlets and almost all of the major ones were aggressive anti NDP.
    You might think CBCTV was a balance to that but BCTV-Global audience numbers dwarfed them; similar in radio, worse in print newspapers.
    But truth and fairness won’t stop “them” from trying to steal another election win.

  4. Chuck says:

    During the last election, the MLA transition allowance, that was intoduced with no media concern in the legislature, became front page
    News full of pictures of all those greedy polititions. Peolpe stayed home from the polls in droves. “Why vote, their all the same” people said, allowing the smallest percentage of registered voters to elect. A BC government. Media voter suppression stratagies could do this again.

  5. Gary Young says:

    You actually expected truth from Black’s liberal schill newspapers? The only time you experience “freedom of the Press” is when you own one.

  6. Maya says:

    Great piece, Ian. Thank you for writing this and holding them to account! This is what they’ll do for the next four years unless they are exposed.

  7. islandpapa says:

    ahhh! the news paper that is pre-tinted before the puppy squats

  8. deeby says:

    At least the Globe had the stones to leave comments enabled. The first article by Dirk Meissner got a lot of negative comments, many of which pointed to AGT’s debunking of this three weeks ago. Same for the second piece by Ian Bailey.

    However when Meissner’s piece was picked up by Canadian Press, it ran in both the Sun and Times Colonist with comments turned off…giving no chance for readers to respond and point other readers to more accurate sources of information.

  9. Dana says:

    Got a screen shot? Or take a pic of your paper and attach it. Cause I wrote to some of the honchos at The Sun to complain and they sent me some shots that don’t jibe with what you’re saying.

  10. Scotty on Denman says:

    “Ready, fire, aim…” is how Falcon described Christy’s political tactics, a prescient observation more and more frequently proven true (he’ll be happy to know.) BC Liberal pot-and-kettle defences (now on both flanks, as well as lid and bottom) only invite unfavourable comparison. And these hasty insinuations, no matter how heralded, don’t withstand the most cursory evaluation. The “Aha! Gotcha!” moments keep getting snuffed by the booming petards BC Liberals keep hoisting themselves upon. You’d think they’d take a lesson: people now expect refutation of BC Liberal smears, like a transitory morning chuckle at an editorial cartoon.

  11. Dana says:

    Without some kind of corroboration of your claim above I’m going to have to relegate you to the same category as I’ve already relegated the mud slingers of the Socred party.

  12. Brett says:

    Really excellent post. BC Libs tried this tired dog in QP today and they likely couldn’t have done it without first being given the cover to do so by the Sun resurrecting the non-story, and all the other’s who were assigned the story simply because it appeared in the Sun.
    A full week before the Sun piece Vaughn Palmer and Keith Baldrey talked about the alleged NDP “kickback” scheme with Bill Good and both said quite clearly it looked like a non-story.
    It really does beg the question: Just how did it still make it to print a full week later?

  13. e.a.f. says:

    Over 50 yrs ago my Mother told me not to believe everything in the Vancouver Sun because it was a federal Liberal newspaper. I can see not much has changed.

  14. Jim Brown says:

    I like the name of your website “The Real Story”….in contrast I call most multi-corp news organizations “The Big Lie”. That is why I don’t bother with them anymore.

    I remember back in the 90’s when Glen Clark was raked over the coals over a $15,000 sundeck….the media was conjuring up all sorts of dastardly headlines to skew the public (“HEY!!! Did you see the latest on Glen Clark? He started the 1st World War…Ahhhh!!! I knew there was something bad about him”)

    Meanwhile the BC Liberals have doubled the provincial debt (this doesn’t include BC Ferries debt, which is hidden as a ‘private’ company). Where did all this money go? …in the pockets of the corporations in the form on little or no corporate taxes. Does the Sun talk about this? …maybe somewhere behind the Escort Services ads.

    It is ironic how the western world used to point & laugh at the people of the old USSR, how they were duped (and they were) into believing all was well. Meanwhile a much larger deception has transpired on the ‘North American’ society…we too have been duped big time, by the media that was supposed to ‘inform’ the public.

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