Consider the source

So yesterday’s incident still has me reeling a little bit.

((Editor’s note, the article can now be read – in its transcribed form – here))

The larger part of me wants to just laugh the whole thing off… “who knew I was so powerful. One news story and an entire industry is vaporized! Watch out Northern, you’re next!” but then another part of me is just plain churning inside.

I’m hurt that I’ve been targeted. Insulted that I’ve been so misrepresented. Annoyed that I’ll never have a chance to confront the journalist. Conflicted that it doesn’t seem that I’ll have any real recourse.

I just can’t get over that I. Was. Right. And. It. Doesn’t. Matter. And. No. One. Will. Ever. Know.

It’s hard to go out on that kind of note, you know? I’m leaving this town in just a couple short weeks. It’s hard to leave with that burning ink so fresh.

And maybe I’m making too much of this. Based on comments I received on yesterday’s post… and consoling from my colleagues in Iqaluit… the journalist in question isn’t exactly high on the list for pending Pulitzer prizes. Not that I am either, but they keep saying that I’m giving him too much credit.

And I guess I understand. But there’s some CBC bias there. And not everyone is a media critic. Not everyone is going to read that article and see that it missed the point. Hell, I’m sure most people will read the headline, read the first column and be done with it. Such is the reality of an ADD readership.*

It’s just frustrating that I’ve been advised to take the “high road” and that “high road” means letting someone throw mud at me. And shaking it off, instead of sticking up for myself.

Is there no journalist’s code? Thou shalt not slag a fellow journalist without warning? Thou shalt not drag a fellow journalist’s reputation through the mud without reason?

Maybe it’s just best I’m leaving.

*not a comment on Rankin Inlet/the Kivalliq. I mean as a whole, we tend to flit around glancing at one shiny thing for about 30 seconds before moving on to the next. Music videos anyone?


8 Responses to “Consider the source”

  1. Kent Says:

    Thought I’d give you a day or two to calm down before jumping in with this one, because I do not wish to inflame opinion, just spread some truth.

    “Is there no journalist’s code? Thou shalt not slag a fellow journalist without warning? Thou shalt not drag a fellow journalist’s reputation through the mud without reason?”

    If there is a code — aside from “those working in communications who are not journalists are obligated to buy drinks for journalists” — it is pretty close to opposite of what you have here.

    I agree with the “without reason” part. Here is the part I don’t agree with. Again, this is not a comment on your original work, or the subsequent story. It is about The Code.

    “Is there no journalist’s code? Thou shalt not slag a fellow journalist without warning?”

    No, in fact, I think we are required to be just as tough if not tougher on our colleagues than we are on anyone else.

    Since it is you Ms. Esquire, I’ll use a PEI example.

    A few years ago, a PEI cabinet minister showed up for a CBC interview in Charlottetown, and was drunk. Too drunk to drive. They put him on air and let him drive off.

    Then someone at the CBC called the cops and sent them after the drunk driving cabinet minister. They still aired the interview, without pointing out that the minister smelled like an Irish wake at the Morell Legion.

    I was working for The Graphic papers at the time, and the always resourceful Mr McNeil got the story. We ran it full page, front page.

    We made such a big deal of it, CBC had to sic one of their own reporters on the station manager to try and save some face.

    The Good Publisher’s only thought was to get the story. There was no code. There was no forewarning. He slammed their asses like they were run by Pat Binns.

    CBC f’ed up (pretty big too) and we pointed it out, just like we would have done for the provincial government or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

    They returned the favour with gusto when a Graphic columnist was caught ripping off a column from the internet and claiming it was his. CBC was right to do so as well.

    If there is a code, it should be like, “I will treat my colleagues in the media with the same respect/disdain I treat everyone else with.”

    Greer didn’t owe you a warning.

    He did owe his readers the truth. Was his story the truth? That is the big question here.

  2. Jackie S. Quire Says:

    I want to marinate a bit on your point Kent, before I do a “real” response. And you were right to have let me mellow a bit before posting it. Funny how some bloggers know me better than my friends 😛

    I will say this though, re: “I will treat my colleagues in the media with the same respect/disdain I treat everyone else with.”

    Maybe that’s the “problem.” If I were to do write an article like this, I would have contacted the reporter. If I am writing an accusatory piece, I talk to the person I’m accusing. That’s the way I roll, and expect the same of others.

    Apparently he and I don’t subscribe to the same mores.

  3. Kent Says:

    Well, I didn’t want to get you all worked up for no reason, just some food for thought, and considering you were pretty pissed about the entire thing, I wanted to give you enough mental space to consider it somewhat objectively.

    Also, I’m working on a story about hotels in the Kivalliq, is there a good time to call 😉 [joke, total joke].

  4. Jackie S. Quire Says:


    Also: Thanks for the heart attack 😛

  5. Megan Says:

    I’m not really familiar with that paper, so I’ll ask you how the reporter would have handled it if any other organization was being accused of contributing to the decline of a local business. Would it be standard to contact the organization for comment, or to go ahead and publish anyway?

    I’m with Kent on his main point: Journalists have a duty to hold each other to account. My columns sometimes provoke the reaction they do because this is not standard in Canada. All too often, reporters look the other way, and we don’t tend to have ombudsmen or media critics to keep a watchful eye on things.

    This, of course, does not mean that what happened in this particular situation was appropriate.

  6. Mongoose Says:

    Cognitive Therapy!

    An interesting bit of CT I read in a novel decades ago is this: people never think about us as much as we think they do – they’re too busy thinking about themselves. Probably everybody but you, and the people who you’re talking to about this, has forgotten about it by now. Just like you’ve totally forgotten about some other story in the same issue of the same paper that really embarrassed somebody else.

    We’re all much too selfish to remember other people’s gaffes, real or dreamed up by a newspaper. Do some thought-stopping and think happy thoughts… Lame but true.

    Also, I can’t find it on my blog now, but remember when I had the “six words” thing where everyone had to describe their life in six words? I seem to recall you wrote “all I want is a reaction.” Be careful what you wish for, eh? 😉

  7. Jackie S. Quire Says:

    @ Mongoose.

    So funny you bring that Six Words up. I haven’t thought about that in forever.

    This is probably a post for another day, but I must live a double life. Half the time my six words would be “all i want is a reaction” and half the time is “oh god get me outta here” haha.

    You are right about the CBT thing though. And even more so than those who read and forget, are those who never read it at all…


  8. Fanfare and such « Serendipity Now Says:

    […] with being publicly blamed for the demise of the hotel industry last month… (see  here and here) I tell you, it was really  nice to feel like I’ve done something good […]

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