Wanted: Sun Fact checker

Good thing the Vancouver Sun puts it’s stories – no matter which easily accessible wire service provides them – behind a pay wall.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt I think of it as a way to protect people from bad reporting and inaccurate, biased stories.

Take the Sun’s coverage of the waste of $11 million of taxpayers’ money known as the TOIFA awards.

Perhaps unable to find someone with economic knowledge to defend this bizarre, last minute attempt to buy votes in the South Asian community, reporter Christopher Reynolds turned to two students to explain how great this awards show is:

“Sangram Chaban and Abhonardan Mannarkor – both 29 year-old MBA students at the University of Canada West who arrived in Vancouver from Mumbai more than a year ago – waited on tiptoes for the arrival of megastars like Shahrukh Khan, performing the right’s opening act.

“I can’t wait to see this man.  He’s like a god in India.  I feel like I’ve known him all my life,” said Chaban, who has attended the TOIFAs once before in Pune, India.

“This is the biggest event there is in India.” Mannarkor chimed in, arguing the awards ceremony – Bollywood’s answer to the Academy Awards – is bigger than the Oscars, given India’s 1.3 billion people.

Great, aren’t they?  Bollywood’s answer to the Oscars.  Aimed at a country of 1.3 billion people.  Entrenched in the culture.  Once held in Pune, a city of 5 million, just west of Mumbai.

Is there no fact checker employed at the Sun?  There isn’t a single thing that’s true about those three paragraphs.

The TOIFAs have never been held in Pune, because they’ve never been held before.  Not in Pune.  Not in Delhi.  Not in Mumbai.  Nowhere.  Not at all.

The TOIFAS aren’t Bollywood’s answer to the Oscars, either.

national-film-awards-250x300That honour belongs to the National Film Awards that were first presented in 1954.  Generally the National Film Awards are presented in conjunction with a film fest where the winning films are shown. Pune has hosted that festival.  And fairly recently.

Maybe Chaban was there.  But he never went to the TOIFAs in Pune, BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T EXIST BEFORE CHRISTY CLARK BOUGHT THEM!

Now that’s what the reporter should have been reporting on.  Just why did Clark buy this show from this company?

The advertiser (BC) paying for the story is the business model of the company putting on the TOIFAs.

According to a piece by media reporter Ken Auletta in the New Yorker last fall the Jain brothers, who own and run the Times of India, have turned journalism on its head in India, running stories that serve the needs of their advertisers and charging them for it.

Times of India subsidiary MediaNet was set up to market celebrities and the film industry.  Celebrities, their agents and producers pay MediaNet to develop and publish stories about them.

TOIFA is an extension of this strategy.  The market, contrary to the Sun story, is not the 1.3 billion Indian nationals as the Sun’s reporter appears to suggest.   The Times of India – as an English language paper – is only India’s 13th largest paper.  It’s TV arm is also a comparatively small player.

What the Times of India Film Awards are is a new, untested attempt by the Times of India to make more money generating stories that serve the advertisers’ needs.  In this case the advertiser is Christy Clark and her needs are political.

If our government were interested in reaching the huge Indian film industry it would have done what Ontario did and gone with the Awards show with the proven ability to reach that market.

The Premier wants to reach a couple hundred thousand South Asians, mostly in the lower Mainland, most of whom speak English and Punjabi.  That, the Times of India can achieve.

According to Auletta, the Jains often take equity as payment for their advertorials.  Don’t be surprised if a small chunk of BC turns up in their portfolio.


PS – A shout out to friends Stuart and Tim who, through Marie, reminded me of the New Yorker story on the Jain brothers, which I happened to have on my vacation IPAD

This entry was posted in BC Liberals, BC Politics, Christy Clark and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Wanted: Sun Fact checker

  1. RossK says:

    Another fun fact…

    The ‘university’ that those two MBA students (who were quoted in the Sun advertorial) are attending has a bit of credibility problem with other schools.

    So much so that the latter will not automatically grant students transfer credits for having taken the former’s courses.

    And then there was…



  2. RossK says:

    Whoops, sorry, here’s the link.


  3. sam theara says:

    Here is a link that you should use in your story


  4. Ian says:

    Absolutely right, RossK. The son and partial heir pointed out their appalling record to me in a text from afar.

  5. linda jones says:

    the sad truth is that our government is and always has been about empowering themselves, not the people. If the Liberals are for the corporate sector with the basis that they are the ones who will bring about prosperity and economic growth then let them pay higher taxes. This is the only way we can bring balance to a society that has the largest margin of rich vs poor. ISSUES that are at the top of my list are the cost of housing. How is it that we have the highest real estate , my take is that our ASIAN partners have from post EXPO dictated over Vancouver in more ways than one for decades now, this is not news. The lack of Vision and leadership on behalf of all governments have created a dark and penetrating divisiveness beyond any city in the WORLD.The richest immigrants land her form all over the world, they higher amongst themselves they create their own churches and businesses that serve only themselves and their country men, and leave us all wondering whats going on. Add it up do the math since the 70’s its all gone down from there . The worst things is they bring their low standards to , leaky condos, poorly managed housing units, Mold and filth . But then perhaps this is a federal issue. bringing this level if immigration to any one society or city can only hurt. The lack of connection amongst the citizens here is glaringly obvious. the rich and the poor , with all Asian and Iranian in our universities it is no wonder that the kids are violent.We do not speak the same language we walk to the beat of a different drum. Being born and raised here and watching the slow decline of our culture over decades, its all a little too late. Why aren’t the politicians trying to get my vote? why is their no program for the average white man to get ahead. With 11 million we could have created jobs and programs to help all of us. TAKE the SUCCESS program for employment it is the largest funded of all.This is for Chinese immigrants not anyone else, trust me when I tell you I have done my research. The moneys for programs include NATIVE people, and immigrants. If you are unemployed and white with lack of skills or training , there is the soup Kitchen, there is $610.00 per month from Social Services for you housing for your food for your everything, Guess what it was the NDP that changed that in the early 90’s WHY??? because the immigrants were abusing the system!!! those immigrants were at the time form INDIA..

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