Lame ducks

Vaughn Palmer wrote an all-time keeper of a column last Monday.  Better than anything I’ve ever read, it demonstrates why BC would be far better off if the entire Press Gallery ceased to exist this very second.

Okay, maybe that’s some hyperbole.  But somehow Palmer manages to capture the absolute laziness, ineptitude, complicity and unearned pomposity that characterizes much of what passes for journalism at the Leg in one, almost unbearable, column.

All you budding journalists, itching to get at the truth and expose corruption while defending the weak and questioning the privileged, pin this one over your desk.  It’s the column you don’t want to read 40 years on after a bit of a bender, full of regrets and wondering what you might be if you had just stayed true.

The column purports to be about “ethnicgate” and functions as an all-encompassing apologia for the media’s coverage of the story.

Fittingly, Palmer’s first mention of “ethnicgate” is 15 paragraphs in and to prove his bona fides in pursuing the story he has to go back to a column headline from March 15th column that linked the Premier to the story.  Ha! Did my job!

Generously, buried in the back half of his column, Palmer does admit that questions remain, including questions raised by the NDP in the Legislature last week.

Why, Palmer suggests he may even raise some of those questions himself… maybe… perhaps… oh, probably not.  But like the tree falling in the woods, if Palmer raises them they will become real.

“The file is not closed on the ethnic outreach scandal,” Palmer declares towards the end of the piece.  But he leaves little doubt about the direction the story is heading in his mind. “The scandal,” he recounts, “dominated the headlines for a time but did not prove to be the breaker of political careers in an election that was decided on other matters.”

So, maybe take that back about the tree.  Palmer’s clearly not ready to make the yea or nay call, which is his role in the Gallery.

But who cares about his role in the gallery?  The real question is what’s Palmer’s (and the gallery’s) job as BC’s most powerful political columnist?

I think the answer is simple:  Get the questions on the table and answered by the government.

And what questions they are.  The Opposition came up with an email the Dyble investigation sat on, that appears to recommend offering a bribe as a way of keeping damaging information from harming the Premier.

Subsequently, the person who was the subject of the offer has confirmed that some kind of offer was made.

In other words there is an allegation of a criminal offence.  It appears to be well founded.  The head of the civil service sat on the allegation.  The allegation doesn’t appear to have been investigated.  The offence covers-up some other allegations that appear to go directly to the Premier.

“The file is not closed”?  No shit.

Isn’t it the job of the press gallery to get to the bottom of things and start asking and answering the questions?  If this isn’t what they are supposed to be doing, what is their job? Aiding and abetting corruption?  Because that seems to be what they are doing here.

Turnout in the last election was just over 50%.  Young people in particular didn’t bother voting.  The connection between government and what happens to them is disappearing.  A vote has less and less efficacy and meaning as government and the press increasingly turns to the service of the powerful.

Everything is corrupt and there’s nothing that can be done about that.  That’s the takeaway and it seems to be the dominant mood in Canada.  There’s good reason for that and the media plays a big part, probably bigger than politicians.  (It’s also my belief that the BCNDP contributed mightily to that with a pathetic campaign that refused to raise these issues).

Unfortunately on the basis of Monday’s column I have a very strong feeling that that state of affairs is just fine with Palmer and most of BC’s limp press gallery.

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

22 Responses to Lame ducks

  1. cheryl says:

    Here’s what I sent to the RCMP after the Jonathan Fowlie story. They didn’t even bother to acknowledge receipt….

    I’d like to know why the RCMP are not involved in this case? It looks, sounds and smells like bribery. They even have proof. Is that not illegal in BC anymore?

    Thank you.

  2. cheryl says:

    The Victoria police told me it wasn’t something they felt they should investigate.

  3. kootcoot says:

    “The Victoria police told me it wasn’t something they felt they should investigate.”

    Of course not, look at what happened to their former chief (Battershill) involved with the Ledge Raids that apparently thought that perhaps the investigation of corruption shouldn’t end with the fall guy stooges Basi and Virk! The fact of him having a girlfriend was a problem, while we were paying for the girlfriend of the Premier.

  4. Nonconfidencevote says:

    Your comment ” ….But somehow Palmer manages to capture the absolute laziness, ineptitude, complicity and unearned pomposity that characterizes much of what passes for journalism at the Leg……”

    Pretty much sums up my feelings of the MSM in this province and country.
    We have a few brave souls out there reporting on scandals in the govt or big business but they are too few.
    Vaughn is the confirmation of the rot that has settled in the complacent sloth that poses as the media these days.
    A pathetic shadow of his former self merely “going through the motions” until he can gladly run away to a undeserved pension.
    One can only hope the company pension that he has contributed to for all these years is a similar reflection to his pathetic attempts at “reporting the news”

  5. Grant G says:

    I wrote this article several years ago, it was about the {Palmer} technique..Vaughn has misleading titles, the title may well criticize the BC liberals but one would be hard pressed to find any criticism within.

    Yesterday Vaughn Palmer wrote about the BC Budget update, revealed yesterday was..OUR DEBT FOR LAST YEAR WAS $178 MILLION HIGHER THAN FORECAST, Vaughn Palmer weighed in..

    If you read his article, one would come across believing the BC Liberals actually ran a near $2 billion dollar surplus, more classic Palmer technique.

    Vaughn is old, lazy and corrupted, he only cares about getting his money, no need to rock any boats, Palmer is a pale ghost, ….

    Vaughn only writes quotes out of context, he gave up writing and reporting 13 years ago

  6. Len says:

    I believe vaughn the yawn will be getting a nice do nothing retirement job from the govt’ real soon….(senator like)

  7. Norm Farrell says:

    “Aiding and abetting corruption?”

    Maybe not all press gallery members, just the people with “For Hire” signs above the desks who ignore the professional prescription that “journalists will not accept financial compensation from those who seek to influence news coverage thereby compromising journalistic integrity and independence.”

    The remainder are complicit for accepting and staying quiet about unethical behaviour of fellows. Membership in the Press Gallery, a small private club, has privileges and obligations. Too bad the that obligation to the public does not rank a little higher.

  8. Norm Farrell says:

    My article at Northern Insight talks more about this conflict issue.
    No free lunches… ever

    With all the layoffs from MSM, maybe a few former journalists will be willing to tell the whole story about how Press Gallery conflicts.

  9. N says:

    Pathetic, yet hardly surprising. I think Kinsella got it right when he wrote:

    It’s hard not to think back to Campbell’s DUI as the beginning of the end for scandals — at least here in BC. I’m sure scandals will make a come back, though, whenever the NDP form government.

  10. raven says:

    Ian your writing goes from strength to strength. Thank you for your gift to us.

    An accomplished writer can express the kernel of the matter in a few words…enough words for the reader to absorb and retain the ideas contained in the writing, while creating space to for the reader to follow the scattered crumbs at their own speed.

    Your work is like inhaling a satisfying fresh breath, it replenishes. You hold up a mirror to things as they are, not things as we are told they are.
    This post provides a strange comfort to me–I am not alone. We must turn our backs on those who would betray us with their slippery words.

    “Pomposity”–that is the perfect word. This is why the elite media will shrivel and vanish, the generation that licked up all the drivel without stopping for a breath, will be surpassed by a public savvy to the b.s.

    ps Ian something curious is happening on the CBC comment boards, the Christy Liberal “digital influencers” are not taking the summer off, and are in full defensive mode…are they worried? Should they be worried?

  11. Scotty on Denman says:

    The government, not for the first time, appears corrupt and the decay has spread to the police, who refuse to investigate and prosecute on the evidence, to MSM, which neglects reporting the evidence and to the judiciary which looks ready to collude by many small sins of omission. We saw the whole thing with the BC Rail scandal, really a corruption of a corruption trial, where a billion public dollar swindle was gotten away with because the court tolerated outrageous government stonewalling and an even more outrageous hush-money payout to keep the only two BC Liberals convicted so far from divulging what and who else was involved. Even the judge who presided over most of the case got her head turned by personal career advancement (by accepting a promotion to a higher bench), the timing of which looked conspicuously like an additional attempt to derail the trial. The police appear willfully blind to evidence of government corruption, perhaps in return for the same blindness towards their own cowardly habit of killing citizens in custody, fabrication of alibis and tampering with evidence. Self-satisfied MSM condescends independent investigative journalism exposing these abuses of public service and contributes by its silence to a sickening culture of licence, amplified now by Christy’s recent win. Yet this confederacy of kleptocracy co-opting government, law enforcement and media and winning low-info elections by smaller and smaller voter turn-outs, was still unable to stop the Citizen’s Initiative against the hated HST. And it wasn’t for lack of trying: when simple deceit failed Gordon Campbell’s surprise tax, an army of dirty tactics was deployed to derail the Anti-HST Petition: the independent, non-partisan Chief Electoral Officer and his longtime assistant were replaced with a BC Liberal appointee “Acting” in their steads to frustrate the petition process (he had to be forced by the courts to complete the mandate); despite that and a huge pro-HST propaganda campaign at public expense, the threshold was met that compelled the government to hold a referendum. Even this end-game was tainted by a mail-in ballot system fraught with veracity and voter fraud problems (and of course by the continuing occupation of the Chief Electoral Office by the partisan, “Acting” Chief). We can thus never know the real margin by which the HST was rejected but I bet it was by a really big one, otherwise the BC Liberals would have tried to avail themselves of the many opportunities to rig the result afforded by the bogus mail-in system (still, it might have been made to look like a closer contest in an attempt to delude the electorate into believing the results reflected the prevailing ratio of ideological partisanship instead of the fact that the HST issue cut across party lines). While it is truly remarkable the HST Referendum forced, for the first time in eight centuries of Commonwealth parliamentary history, the repeal of a legislated tax law (a precedent that politicians around the world may yet curse in the same breath with Campbell’s name), the important point is that the Initiative succeeded despite the formidable arsenal of tricks arrayed against it, including the fact that it took two years for the government to get the repeal done. That should encourage an electorate frustrated by the political and judicial processes. As for MSM, well, they’re pretty much writing themselves off, non-reporting, as ‘t’were, themselves right out of a job.

  12. luigi says:

    A couple of points if I may. Firstly there used to be a belief among politicians that one must own up to attempted sleight of hand. And one definitely had to take the imposed penalty if caught cheating the system. In other words there used to be morals, scruples.
    Then the pros were brought in. Politicians said I am going to get this done no matter what. The “pros” said, We’ll take care of of the mechanics, you stand out there and lie your ass off, if need be, with a big smile on your face.
    Now to the media. At one time by doing a lot of hard work, much of it on unpaid overtime, and by having solid, reliable contacts it was possible to dig up the dirt on a story and follow it through to the point of having the proof to force an admission by the wrongdoer. Then these same “pros”, very handsomely paid on the public dole, were brought in to do the wrongdoing, cover it deeply and cause so much confusion and obscurity that the media took the “I’ll never get to the bottom of this, too much work and too much crap to cut through, plus they’ll never admit to it anyway” mentality, and gave up. It became much easier to fill your space, your airwaves, with handout pap from government and industry, and collect a paycheque while trying to justify a lack of professionalism in the workplace and in the darkness of your own bedroom. The majority took that route. Not all of them, there are still a FEW true reporters/journalists, but the majority. Pumping out pap and crap that isn’t worth visiting.
    It’s well-known and common prectice in today’s politics. Witness the result of the election just held.

  13. Nonconfidencevote says:

    “Yawn” Palmer……..
    Truly deserving of a ‘Bill Good Award” for journalistic sloth

  14. tf says:

    Thank you! Today’s “journalists” are writing with a corporate axe hanging over their heads; it’s impossible for them to investigate or write an objective story so I rely on writers like you to tell “the real story”.
    One point to make – I don’t think it’s only the young people who are disconnected from government. I’m now over 50 and the raid of the legislature offices and subsequent corruption of the justice system have alienated me from any trust in our governing bodies. The years 2001 to 2012 were a shame for all of us in BC and unfortunately the same tools remain in charge!

  15. Kranky says:

    So true Ian. The morning CBC radio is travelling the same path. Bike lanes, bears knocking over garbage cans, business boot-licking till hell freezes over,…. Did I mention bears?….. Oh,yeah, lost hikers…B.C. Business all-stars…. Bears! Then Cluff asks for your opinion at 604-669- go f&$k yourselves!!! Simi sounds like the screws are being put to her. Is there any MSM in this province one can trust? Talk amongst yourselves.

  16. raven says:

    Kranky and Ian, today CBC has a story about the closing of this leg. session. Comments closed. Guess the government naysayers are too much work to moderate. I get shut down for seemingly innocuous comments…

  17. raven says:

    This morning on CBC’s Daybreak South, Fowlie, I think, said that Dix has re-invented himself after the election. I find it hard for a seasoned journalist to make such a superficial comment.

    Re-invention? I think revitalized is the word. Dix is in the familiar digs of the legislature, where he has a routine, he is not asked questions, and he is bolstered by colleagues.

    He is hardly a lone warrior on a battlefield…

  18. Ken Barry says:

    Instead of Lame Ducks your headline might have described this moron better as
    Limp Dick!
    Your absolutely right in your analysis of the deplorable state of the media in BC and Canada.
    Time to get the pitch forks out and tar and feather some politicians and their allies, being of course, the media sops.

  19. G. Barry Stewart says:

    I’m guessing that the moderator is on vacation (or is soon to lose his/her job), as this scathing comment still stands after 5 days.

    Speaking of Vaughn’s column:
    “Instead of saying Ethnogate is “no big deal, move along here”, how about doing some investigation and getting to the root cause: deep rooted corruption in the BC Liberal party.

    Maybe Christy Clark had it right…nobody reads Vaughn Palmer anymore! Amazing how you still line up behind her anus with the rest of the press gallery for a nice long lick after her and and her many press secretaries lambasted you leading up to the election.”

    Tell us how you REALLY feel, Martin Kendell!

  20. RS says:

    “…but hardly a career killer”
    Funny that. Rip Van Palmer nodded off into a halcyon dream state many years ago, but his career is still, arguably, in tact.
    Ethnicgate is not a career killer only because Rip and his buddies in the press gallery and the MSM in general are tired, lazy, ineffective, complicit…

    Take note Palmer et al: Here is a man whose body is wracked with cancer, a cancer that is past beating as he puts it, and yet he still has the spirit and determination to ask the tough questions and write circles around you.

  21. Nonconfidencevote says:

    To G.B Stewart,
    Hmmm, i read the “Yawn” Palmer article.

    Perhaps the moderator agrees with the butt licking comment…..

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