Hey Norman…Wafergate wasn’t just a “media error”

Norman Spector writes in the Globe and Mail today as part of his column on how we as Canadians are lucky to have Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff as the PM in waiting, that the wafer scandal was merely a “media error”. (see column here)

He conveniently forgets to include that it was a complete made up story put out by a big wig Liberal owned newspaper. He only links it to a blog where you have to look a ways down the page to find the break-down on what happened. I’ve copied the blog below:

“This was a bad year for the Telegraph-Journal, a newspaper in New Brunswick, Canada. First, it came under fire when it dismissed a summer intern after he committed a few factual errors in a controversial story. It also had to apologize for an incident of plagiarism in an unrelated story. But the biggest problem was a front page story that included a fabricated accusation against the Canadian prime minister, as well as a fabricated quote from a prominent priest. In Canada, the ensuing national scandal came to be known as “Wafergate,” and it eventually cost the paper’s editor her job. The publisher was also suspended. Here’s how I described the incident in a previous column:

In early July, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveled to New Brunswick to attend the funeral of former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc. At the funeral, the prime minister was given communion. Video footage shows him accepting a wafer from the priest, but cuts away before anyone can see him eat it. Nobody thought much of this until the Telegraph-Journal, a New Brunswick paper, published a front page article claiming that the prime minister put the wafer, which represents the body of Christ, in his pocket. Then everyone piled on the story. Eventually, the prime minister and his spokesman issued strong denials.

Almost three weeks after it set off a national controversy, the paper issued a front page apology and admitted that, “There was no credible support for these statements of fact at the time this article was published, nor is the Telegraph-Journal aware of any credible support for these statements now.” So, uh, how did they end up in the paper?

Then, on September 16, the paper issued another major apology, this time to Monsignor Brian Henneberry for fabricating a quote from him in the offending report. From the apology:

… The Telegraph-Journal said prominently, on the front page, that Monsignor Brian Henneberry, a senior Saint John priest, had “demanded” that Prime Minister Stephen Harper explain what he had done with the communion wafer that he had been given. The newspaper has determined that Monsignor Henneberry said no such thing and believes that the false assertion was wholly the product of improper editorial manipulation …

Though the paper has issued two prominent apologies, one major issue remains: the public doesn’t know who or what caused the paper to fabricate this controversy. Who made the decision to insert the offending accusation and quotes? Why did they do it? Do they still work for the paper? The paper apologized for its errors, but it hasn’t been transparent about what caused them. Sadly, this lack of disclosure is all too common among news organizations.”

see blog page here


Ignatieff thinks Canadians don’t know who he “really is”

The quotes from Liberal Leader must make the Liberal Party faithful cringe (I mean the part that actual gets politics). He was at it again in a year-end piece with The Globe and Mails Jane Taber: (see full story here)

“What I’ve learned from Canadians in 2009 is they didn’t want an election.” This from a guy who pushed bizarrely for an election in September with the infamously lame quote ” Mr. Harper, your time is up”

-“Canadians were in the middle of the toughest recession in 25 years. They want an alternative to the Harper government. What they didn’t want is someone talking about an election. And somehow we got stuck with the idea that we wanted an election at any price.”

“And I think Canadians said, ‘Come on. Get out of here. Come back when you’ve got an alternative for us.’ And I’m listening. I’m learning. I’m getting better at this.”

“What they want is an alternative to the Harper government.” How does that work without an election?

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