Complaint letter and Susan Delacourt’s response

My letter to the Toronto Star:

In Susan Delacourt’s article “Aid groups advised to ‘shut the f— up’
on abortion” she writes:

“If you push it, there will be more backlash,” said Ruth, who fears
that outrage will push her boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to
take further measures against abortion and family planning – abroad,
or maybe even in Canada. “This is now a political football. This is
not about women’s health in this country.”

How does Susan Delacourt know what Nancy Ruth “fears”?
What did she actually say? Who says that Harper is
going to take measures again abortion “maybe even in Canada”? Not

“I hope I’m not proven wrong but I have every confidence that it (the
communiqué) will include family planning,” Ruth said. “Canada is still
a country with free and accessible abortion. Leave it there. Don’t
make it into an election issue.”

Ruth is a member of Conservative caucus (appointed by Paul Martin conveniently left out by Delacourt),
but is a pro-choice feminist who is essentially a Liberal on the issue.
Using her to indicate what the Conservatives think is like using Keith Martin to
indicate what the Conservatives think. It’s shoddy journalism. And
ultimately, Harper has no interest in making it into an election
issue. So why the fear-mongering on the part of Delacourt and the
Toronto Star? Why not stick to the facts of journalism 101: who, what,
where, when, why, how. Leave the speculation to the non-professional blogs.

I await your response.

Dean Skoreyko

I did receive a quick a response and was asked if I would like it printed in their letters-to-the editor section and I replied although it was written as a complaint please feel free.

Then later in the evening I got a nasty little note from Susan Delacourt who obviously doesn’t like criticism:

Dear Mr. Skoreyko:
Happy to tell you that we have actually posted a tape of Senator Ruth, which makes clear that she “fears” a backlash. Please give it a listen. You can find it within the body of the original story.
Senator Ruth sits in Conservative caucus and takes part in the discussions surrounding the abortion issue — she also explained this to the group. She did not claim to speak for Stephen Harper; in fact made quite clear that she was, from her vantage point, trying to anticipate his reactions and worried they will become more harsh than they already are. Note in the tape how many times she says how she hopes she’s right that this is as bad as it gets. This was said in an open forum, where the media was welcomed. You might want to check with some of the other 60-80 people present; they would verify the context. None so far, including Senator Ruth, has quarrelled with the Star’s record of events. That’s because it was, in our words, “journalism 101”.  I was there. I taped the remarks. I printed them. Not rocket science. Or a Liberal plot.
One does not need to be an authorized Conservative spokesperson to  suggest what Stephen Harper may do next.   At no point does the article make the claim that Ruth was speaking for the government; so the shoddiness may be in the once-over reading of the article and the failure to listen to the transcript. From what I understand in your letter, Ruth’s appointment by Paul Martin disqualifies her to speak as a Conservative. Apart from being what my old logic profs would have called an ad hominem, irrelevant remark,  Stephen Harper allows her in caucus. He might disagree that she’s not a Conservative. I know you may prefer that we only print the official Conservative talking points, but there are plenty of outlets for that in Canada, and you are most welcome to print them on your blog.
Thanks for writing,
Susan Delacourt

Besides the obvious contempt in her condescending/snippy letter, two things stand out:

– Delacourt confirms that Ruth did not claim to speak for Harper (which was the basis for my complaint) but won’t admit attributing Ruth’s fear of a backlash coming from the PM a big journalistic no-no.

– She does the same thing again by saying that I “may prefer that we only print official Conservative talking points”. How does she know what I prefer? Actually, my preference is a balanced and fair media Susan.

Update: The Star’s editorial today echos my complaint “it is wrong to suggest, as the opposition Liberals have, that she was delivering the message on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper”. (see here)

Maybe now I why Delacourt was so touchy?


24 Responses to “Complaint letter and Susan Delacourt’s response”

  1. syncrodox Says:

    Kazing! Almost as funny as the time Jason Cherniak described Susan as, “one of the better journalists” or some such nonsense.


  2. canadiansense Says:

    Journalism 101? Next we are going to hear a governing self-policing body exists on the ethical behavior of journalists.

    Bias can be demonstrated by placement and omission or citing of sources that may have a conflict of interest. Did Susan provide any reasonable theories why the Senator made those statements? Did she provide her readers with context on the background of this senator, lobbyists who might have a conflict of interest?

    Does Susan explore or examine the “agenda” of the lobbyists “playing football” with this issue in a balanced fashion or does she run with “chill and backlash”.

  3. Durward Says:

    I think Ruth was referring to the activist groups when she said “I hope this as bad as it gets”, rightly fearing the activists would make complete asses of themselves and jeopardize any public opinion support they still somehow retain.

  4. Kursk Says:

    I wonder what Susan uses to get rid of the taste of polish from her mouth after all the Liberal boots she’s licked..

  5. Kursk Says:

    I also think its laughable that Liberal apologist journo’s like Delacourt, Travers, Galloway etc. still feel they have to keep up a front of journalistic impartiality.

    What a joke.How dare people question their ethics!

    How dare they!

  6. Anne in sw ON Says:

    “If you push it, there will be more backlash,” said Ruth, who fears that outrage will push her boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to take further measures against abortion and family planning – abroad, or maybe even in Canada.

    Delacourt’s so-called journalistic effort in this instance appears to be nothing less than an extreme case of faulty extrapolation. She commits the same faux pas when she states, “One does not need to be an authorized Conservative spokesperson to suggest what Stephen Harper may do next.” She could have stated in the original article that these are merely her opinions with no attribution or explanation needed. So much for her interpretation of Journalism 101.

  7. Ontario Girl Says:

    Oh yes…Susan Delacourt….what a joke this woman is. She is another CBC….as a matter of fact she is their” STAR” left propaganda GUEST from waaay back. She also appears on the other left propaganda show of CBC’s Kathelene Petty’s show of Conservative bashing. Don’t leave any comments on Delacourts columns that isn’t all LIBERAL, all the time, unless you want a nasty comment back from her. I got one. She told me I needed to get a life….and that her life was a busy one with family and friends….bla bla bla. I was “SHOCKED” by her remarks. That was the only comment she didn’t have deleted from me. I don’t even bother reading her crap anymore….it’s all HATE against the prime minister. I think she is looking for a Liberal senate seat….What a sorry excuse for a human being this person is. I wouldn’t try to talk to her about anything…she is brain washed and brain dead. She doesn’t listen to any comment that isn’t in line with her Liberal mind. FACTS arn’t in her vocabulary.

    • Marie Says:

      If you don’t like Susan and CBC, stay the hell of their sites and their TV station and quit your babyish complainingg Pot calling kettle pot mentality from the pre school brain washed Reformatories supporters.

      You ppl are nothing but a bad joke and completly with out any kind of common sense to speak of. Does it feel good having ppl laugh at you all the time? How old are you by the way? 6?

      • Alberta Girl Says:

        Speaking of being laughed at… Susie, is that you?

      • Canadiansense Says:

        Does this mean you will call for the end of public funding of the CBC?

        Preston Manning and Reform party are not on the ballot for a decade sweetie, what school did you graduate from?

        Just curious if you have a dry cleaner on speed dial?

  8. Guardsman Says:

    One does not read the latest from Delacourt, Travers or Galloway with the idea that anything resembling “balance” will be found in their latest missive.

    • Jen Says:

      These people really are the ‘wizard of oz’ when it come to ‘oz’ journalism, come on, Ruth was appointed by Paul Martin to the senate until age 75. prime minister harper can’t do anything about her, so Ruth can do and say as she pleases.

  9. real conservative Says:

    Senators are supposed to be politically neutral are they not? At least a senator is supposed to try and remove themselves from political agendas when exploring issues. But, we didn’t dig deep enough on this issue because Suzie just told us HOW LIBERAL SENATORS OPERATE. Push back.

  10. Star’s Delacourt whines for equality over excellence « BC Blue: One BC Conservative's view on it all… Says:

    […] out my complaint letter sent to the Star about Delacourt and Delacourt’s snippy response here Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment […]

  11. Delacourt Tweets thought on CSIS Dick Fadden’s testimony « BC Blue: One BC Conservative's view on it all… Says:

    […] out Delacourt’s snippy response to my complaint to the Toronto Star regarding her article here Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment […]

  12. William in Ajax Says:

    Perhaps another letter to the editor is in order…
    “For it tells us how Harper’s Ottawa has evolved into a political culture of fear and loathing, where frank talk is discouraged and, indeed, punished.”

    The Stars editorial just made an assumption based on Ms. Ruths (SPECULATION).
    She admits and the Star concurs, she does NOT speak for the Government, yet her beliefs are stated as (matter of fact).

    You’ve been had…!
    The Liberals at the Star just rubbed your nose in it.

  13. William in Ajax Says:

    I would add, no-mention of the vilification that loan officer recieved from the angry Pm Chretien.
    Liberals never punish for speaking out against the politburo.

  14. Globe’s Delacourt whining about “mistruths” and “cynical politics” a bit rich « BC Blue: One BC Conservative's view on it all… Says:

    […] For some  comparisons, check out these links on Delacourt’s journalistic standards here, here,  here, here, here, and my complaint letter to the Star and Delacourt’s snippy response back to me here. […]

  15. Who exactly is this “Don Burroughs” in Star’s Delacourt story? « BC Blue: One BC Conservative's view on it all… Says:

    […] This story stinks from high-heaven and is even made worse as Delacourt is always riding around on her high-horse admonishing others (see here) for poor journalists practices even though I’ve caught her doing it in the past (see here). […]

  16. Delacourt gets uppity from criticism « BC Blue: One BC Conservative's view on it all… Says:

    […] Also: Check out Delacourt’s smarmy response to my letter of complaint here […]

  17. real conservative Says:

    Dean we are lucky to have someone like you keeping an eye on the Liberal media.

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