Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Red River Censorship over a Free Press cover-up

Tonight was TGCTS Live, at the Norwood Community Centre. Both "Young Josh" and the twitter-blogger Hacks and Wonks tweeted from the event and I suppose that collectively it kind of amounts to a sort of live blog. Marty and TGCTS of course was silenced on November 8th.

Where does this all stem from?

Well it turns out that the Winnipeg Free Press has a history of going to the Red River College president to get Marty fired. Just that Jeff Zabudsky wasn't as malleable as Stephanie Forsyth obviously is.

Why did someone go to the president this time? Well, that person was Margo Goodhand, editor of the WFP. The reason, was that Marty had "defamed" a reporter. Publisher Bob Cox, alleges that Marty had not checked his facts and was spreading lies.

Who hasn't checked their facts? Bob Cox.

The story in question was during the civic election, written by Melissa Martin and Bartley Kives, about Ross Eadie and the NDP, at a Point Douglas Residents Association-held candidate debate.

Ross Eadie, during that very meeting, stated that he could not run if he were not financed by the NDP. Melissa Martin, failed to write this for the story. Because she failed to write it, I suppose, her bosses, Margo Goodhand and Bob Cox, believe it did not happen. Because it did not happen, I suppose, Margo Goodhand, can go to the president of Red River College and allege that Marty Gold is defaming her reporter.

If you wish to read a first hand account of this incident, you can go here.

If that is not enough to convince you, more than 5 formal complaints were made to the City Elections Official Marc Lemoine. Though, these were not investigated, because according to Mr Lemoine, he is not able to investigate such things.

Bartley Kives, although he was not present at this candidate debate, was also made aware of this allegation via email. That is, both writers of this story, were fully aware that Ross Eadie, had let it slip that he couldn't run without NDP support. Melissa Martin didn't report. Bart knew, but didn't do anything about it. And the Winnipeg Free Press never ran a correction, nor a follow up story, nor did they ever run a story about how the City Clerks office apparently cannot investigate illegal campaign activity, which would suggest there is no body to uphold civic election laws.

So when Margo Goodhand got wind that Marty Gold was criticising Melissa Martin for not reporting this incident? It seemed like high time to go talk to the new RRC President, Stephanie Forsyth.

After the election, Melissa Martin spoke to RRC CreComm journalism students. I wonder how many of those students are aware of her fine work in gatekeeperism? Or of how the Winnipeg "Free Press" was involved with getting Marty Gold off the air, or of how their new president is clearly a fan of free speech and human rights.

Freedom of Speech is article 19 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Not only does Marty Gold have a right to express his opinion that the Winnipeg Free Press' civic election coverage was crap (a right both Margo Goodhand and Bob Cox should familiarize themselves with), but that this basic human right and founding principle of Western democracies including Canada, is not to be interfered with.

Stephanie Forsyth? Meet Article 19. By the way Steph, Canada voted in favour of passing this Universal Declaration. And by the way, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights is coming to town.

The City of Winnipeg, home to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, and home to a community college president who violates said Human Rights.

It is fascinating to me, how "journalists" in this town can go to a candidate debate during an election and fail to report a candidate who admits to engaging in illegal campaign activity. Then, the paper's brass can lie and accuse someone of defamation to a post secondary institution president. Meanwhile, the paper can pretend that the incident did not occur. Then, the college president can do no investigation into whether or not these allegations are true, and terminate a radio broadcast, without legal reason to do so. With no formal complaint, and with nothing in writing.

The Winnipeg Free Press has succeeded in controlling information. Their previous attempts to silence TGCTS were foiled by Jeff Zabudsky, who was aware of the relationship between Kick FM and RRC, and refused to get involved. Kick FM station manager Rick is responsible for all programming and has been for the past several years.

With the exception of one program: The Great Canadian Talk Show. Marty Gold's show remains the only one pulled off the air since November 8th under the guise of "student interest."

The RRC Kills Free Speech Facebook Group.

If this contradicts anything anybody may have received from Graham Thomson, his email is: gthomson@rrc.mb.ca

Or please, by all means, email the editor and publisher of the Winnipeg "Free Press." Or by all means, email RRC President Forsyth's (sgforsyth@rrc.mb.ca) and educate her on Article 19.

20 comments:

One Man Committee said...

Just on a point of order, how are you and Marty completely certain that Ross Eadie did in fact violate campaign financing legislation - at least, how are you certain without any more facts than an off-hand comment about receiving "NDP support"?

As I understand it (and I am no expert here so please correct me if I'm wrong), it is illegal for a provincial party to finance a municipal candidate. However, it is also my understanding that it is perfectly OK for donors to a provincial party to contribute to a municipal candidate.

If I have it right, then I don't understand why the automatic conclusion based on Eadie's off-hand remark is that "NDP support" translates to campaign financing violations when there is a much likelier (and more innocuous) explanation. Unless there are some facts to support this view, the whole thing seems like one massive case of jumping to conclusions.

TJ said...

One Man Committee:

As far as I've seen, the Uniter was the only media outlet who asked Eadie directly about these allegations and gave him a chance to clarify what he meant:

http://uniter.ca/view/4978/

One Man Committee said...

Thank you, TJ.

Here's how the Uniter quoted Eadie:

"“All I said was that people who join political parties are (most likely) people that are willing to make political contributions,” he said."

In the absence of anything else, this reaction to Eadie's comments is like wanting murder charges pressed because someone says that "we killed the other guys" at their indoor soccer game last night.

Lux et Veritas said...

Yes Graham, Article 19 suggests a person is free to criticize a reporter for not reporting something at a public meeting. But Article 19 does not say that one has the inalienable freedom to do so on a campus radio station.

People like you and Marty are still free to express yourselves on your blogs, on your podcasts and at events where suckers get conned out of $20. But don't cloak this in a human rights argument - it makes you look ridiculous.

Jimbo said...

Exactly Lux. Following Graham's logic, would there ever be a valid reason to cancel any talk radio show? Does Article 19 now somehow give people the eternal right to their own time slot?

Of course not. The argument is nonsense. And referring to this as a "human rights violation" is offensive. No one has been jailed or fined or killed or threatened. A middle-aged guy lost his college radio show.

Did people complain about the show? Of course they did. The same way that people complain every single day about Richard Cloutier, Charles Adler, Larry Updike or even Ace Burpee for that matter. Did that have some impact on the decision to cancel? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it's the station's right to do what they want with programming.

I find it amusing that Marty was always ranting about not allowing yourself to get spun by "the powers that be," yet his followers are so willing to be spun by him.

Marty said...

We are certain he said something that was complained about.

"In the absence of anything else" -- There was at least one written complaint filed with Marc Lemoine, and we have a copy. I was told of another. At least 3 people phoned to complain. All the witness accounts have it the same way.

There is no such thing as an "offfhand" remark in front of voters at a formal Candidates Forum. How Eadie "describes" what he said after the fact is not necessarily more credible then the numerous, matching eyewitness accounts who say he admitted to receiving funding from a political party, which would be illegal under the Act.

Keep in mind there is proof of what he said -- a tape of the event -- and Lemoine should have immediately sought that evidence. It is his job to investigate complaints.

Marty said...

@ Jimbo

I suppose you are technically correct, they can cancel the show after 4 years on 35 minutes notice with no regard for the advertisers who were also paying to advertise on the station, and breach my contract.

It's the giving false reasons for the cancellation that gets them in real trouble.

unclebob said...

Jimbo

why are you in disguise?

Jimbo said...

@Marty:

Then who has the tape? It would be useful to hear it from the horse's mouth rather than relying on an account of Eadie's comments by a Motkaluk campaign worker.

That said, I suspect One Man Committee is probably correct. And having complaints filed during an election campaign is hardly uncommon (she stole my signs, he distributed an anonymous flyer, she's getting illegal financial support, he set up a bogus citizens group, etc.).

bwalzer said...

This is all getting too complicated for a simple person like myself to understand. I will try to deconstruct. Let me know if I mess up...

Basically the current president of RRC is being accused of shutting down a talk show (TGCTS) on the student radio station (KICK-FM) at the request of a entity that was a subject of criticism (WFP). If this is the case then there are problems:

1. This does an end run around any policy that might exist to deal with complaints against the radio station. I think such complaints would normally be handled through the CRTC.

2. The entity being criticized is often not a good judge of what is and is not appropriate. It is normal to dismiss such complaints out of hand.

3. This would be interference with the editorial policy of a radio station by "management" for what very easily could be political purposes (Not "real" politics. Stuff involving the hiring of RRC graduates from certain programs for instance).

The things that were said about the entity may of been untrue and/or defamatory. That is a separate issue I think. The problem here is that the powers that be at RRC have not stated anything other than a vague reason for the cancellation. What I would like to see is some sort of actual evidence that someone in authority at the WFP complained directly to the president of RRC shortly before the cancellation of the show.

The defamation thing is a bit of a red flag here. It is often used as an excuse for censorship. If it could just be proved that the "D" word came up in discussion then that would be interesting at least. That is because libel/slander is easy to prosecute in Canada. If there was actual defamation then normally the complaint would first go to a lawyer.

Danielle Conolly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marty said...

@ Jimbo -- the written complaint to Lemoine was NOT from a Motkaluk campaign worker or someone connected to Motkaluk.

@ bwalzer - re-read the National Post story. An RRC official stated the WFP editor had contacted the RRC president. That official has since claimed the story was somehow inaccurate, but last night I displayed an email confirming that that official told others the same thing about the WFP complaining to RRC.

According to a 2008 email we also displayed, former RRC President Zabusdsky to another WFP employee, complaints about Kick-FM programming had to go to the station manager, to ensure due process and freedom of the press.

Sam said...

If Marty's right to free speech was taken away then he should file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. If Marty was fired without just cause then he should file a complaint with the labour board. How does just complaining about this on the internet change what has happened?

The Great Canadian Talk Show said...

It was important to demonstrate to the community that A) there was a proven agreement broken without cause, based on an ongoing campaign by vested interests against our work and improper influence by the funder, and B) individuals in a position of trust and authority lied to the community about what transpired. We armed the community with information to take to today's AGM and beyond. That they did and very effectively I might add.

Filing complaints doesn't change what happened either. This is not about "change what happened" - it is about accountability and ensuring it never happens to anyone else again.

The community was not represented in this process even though it is required under terms of the licence and commitments. A non-profit that does not have a dialogue with the public is on shaky ground indeed. These are themes we have repeatedly hammered on the last while - consultation anyone? - and we are being true to our mandate. There's LOTS more to come yet.

Orange Rod said...

Marty lied and slandered and that has NO PLACE at a campus radio station or any other station for that matter. RRC did the right thing and took him off the air. Go get a telemarketing job Marty.

Sam said...

"Filing complaints doesn't change what happened"

Neither does complaining on the internet.

All I know is if I had a signed written contract that was not honoured I would hire a lawyer and sue those responsible.

Graham said...

@ Sam

I run a blog. I've been complaining about shit on the internet for four years.

Contrary to a fairly popular view which is "well why don't you do something about it," first of all, forming an opinion is the first step to taking an action. Second, publishing that opinion, in my opinion, is doing much more than most people.

It is unfortunate you view my post as "complaining." If you had comprehension skills you would have been able to deduce that I showed up to the Marty Gold Live event. I'd count that as an action. I've also looked at all the material I possibly could have looked at to be able to write this article, which is the only one of it's kind, anywhere. I'd also count adding a new point of view on a debate as action. Third, I've emailed many people about this and let my voice be heard. I'd count that as an action.

At the end of the day I don't have to justify or defend myself to someone who can only perceive that I am a whiny complainer.

Sam said...

@ Graham

First of all I did not say in any post that "you" were a whinner and a complainer, secondly if you had a legal binding contract with someone and they broke that contract what would you do? Just complain about it on some blog? I know I sure as hell wouldn't, I would take legal action for redress.

The Great Canadian Talk Show said...

@Jimbo

"And having complaints filed during an election campaign is hardly uncommon (she stole my signs, he distributed an anonymous flyer, she's getting illegal financial support, he set up a bogus citizens group, etc.)."

What IS uncommon, is that only one of those examples was NOT reported on by the Free Press.

That's the crux of the issue. They certainly didn't need any "proof' to file stories about those other allegations, because the allegations themselves were the story.

Except, it appears, for the one story that would have exposed the NDP as being allegedly involved in another elction finance scandal.

The Great Canadian Talk Show said...

Hey Cremesicle you cyber-stalker:

Feel free to email me specific examples of my "lies" and "slander" with times and dates of those broadcasts.

Since that has never -- EVER -- been raised by Kick FM as a reason, and no complaints were ever filed with the CRTC, you must have some very important facts to share. I can't wait.