Monday, March 27, 2006

Innocence Lost

I thought that once I got to the bottom of this YWCA Daycare Report fiasco, I would either feel angry or triumphant.

Instead, I just feel sad.

We all grew up placing our trust in authority figures, and that included our parents, teachers, police, religious officials and even the media (but never politicians). When there is a breach of trust though, it is something that can shake you to your very core.

So let me give you a brief recap. I voluntarily undertook the assignment on behalf of some of my fellow bloggers, such as Sara and Prairie Voice, to try and track down the data that led to CTV's statement that "most Canadians would prefer a national day-care program over a federal cash payout", as it related to the YWCA's recent media circus over their report, "Building a Community Architecture" in support of universal daycare.

I simply wanted to know what facts supported the data; a simple question, I thought. After all, this Parliament could fall on the daycare issue, and the politicians' beliefs about Canadians' opinions in this regard could be the tipping point. I never realized how persistent I would have to be to ferret out the truth.

You can read some of my previous posts to discover how much digging I had to do to climb up the chain of command at the YWCA National office. Nobody seemed to know much about this report. Even the co-author, Fahreen Beg had to direct my enquiry to Jenny Robinson, Director of National Initiatives, who apparently coordinated the project and report.

At this point I was getting a little suspicious. The co-author didn't know anything about it?

Several more emails were sent out to Jenny asking how CTV came to the conclusion from the report that 'most Canadians would prefer a National Day Care Program...'

In reply, I simply received form letters referring to the study.

At this point, saner people would have given up, but I tried a new approach: Go back to the source. So I looked up that original CTV report again, and noticed it was written by an Alicia Kay Markson, with files from the Canadian Press. I tried all kinds of ways to get her email address - google; CTV website; I even tried contacting their "Whistleblower" site to suggest lack of credibility in the media as a topic! Needless to say, they didn't bite.

O.K. Then I faced my least favourite alternative as an unpaid investigative journalist - long distance. I called the head office and asked if I could be put through to Ms. Markson's voice mail.

A man actually answered the phone. Yikes! I wasn't prepared for that! What do I say?

I gathered my wits and asked for Alicia, but I was told she wasn't around at the moment.

"Oh, could I please leave a message?"

-Well, you could, but she likely wouldn't call back, because she is VERY BUSY.

"Right. Well, could I leave it anyway please?"

-What's this about?

So I launched into my little diatribe without sounding too threatening; like just saying that I'm interested in a story she did about the YWCA report. Then I asked if perhaps he could help me?

-Sorry, I don't think so.

"Um, do you think I shouldn't be asking about all this?"

That threw him off! He mumbled something I couldn't quite make out.

Finally, I was able to at least get him to take my name, phone number and email address.

File 13. End of story.

But wait! About a half hour later the phone rang. Blocked call. The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

"This is Alicia Kay Markson calling. May I please speak to Joanne?"

Yes, you sure may, Ms. Markson!

I told her I was trying to understand where that statement in her story came from; that I had searched the whole study and still didn't see any evidence to support it.

She assured me that it was in the report. I replied that I had poured over every word, and the closest I could find was "Canadians agree that universal child care is a necessity", (which was suspect in itself), but I didn't find the word 'most'.

Well, I could tell she was getting a bit impatient with me now, and asked me what my 'interest' was in all this?

"Well, I'm a blogger, and I'm doing a little investigative journalism".

I could hear the amused tone in her voice - 'Really?'

"I'm a Conservative blogger, and there are a lot of us out there trying to get at the truth in main stream media. I want to give you the opportunity to tell your side of the story".

-Uh-huh...

Well, to her credit, the conversation didn't end there.

She candidly explained that she didn't really read the whole report.

What? Pardon me?

I took the opportunity to give her a brief summary; explaining that the participants from the four cross-Canada focus groups were hand-picked and therefore could hardly be considered unbiased.

She replied that she got the statement from the National Coordinator.

Ah, well that explains it! Good ol' Jenny Robinson.

I thanked her kindly for her time and assured her that I was very grateful.



Well, as I sit and digest all this, I'm thinking that reporters probably are rushed off their feet, and likely don't have a lot of time to dig into facts before they stand in front of a camera. So, I'm willing to give Ms. Markson and the Canadian Press the benefit of the doubt.

But if this is representative of how MSM reporting works, then it really is 'Buyer Beware" when it comes to being a media consumer. I give Ms. Markson full credit for her honesty and candor.

But my rose-coloured glasses are now in the trash.

47 comments:

torian said...

holy crap!

great snooping, joanne, and worth the wait! A perfect example of how the left leaners spoon feed the "news" to reporters.

But, I think you are cutting Alicia Kay and CTV too much slack. It is their responsibility to fact check what they put out for public consumption, no?

What are you gonna do with this new found info?

Derik Foulem said...

LOL!, I could have told you that:
But if this is representative of how MSM reporting works, then it really is 'Buyer Beware" when it comes to being a media consumer

That's one of the reasons I love blogs so much. Web 2.0 is going to change alot of ways we get to our information. good job on getting to the truth. I know I've never been that zealous

molarmauler said...

So... do you think we'll ever see a retraction/correction on this?

molarmauler said...

Oh and BTW, awesome work!

Riley Hennessey said...

Joanne,

What you uncovered is probably not too far off from a lot of other media rush jobs. Small on fact, big on bling.

Good for you to write this I am very interested in you detective work! Somebody at Global better snatch you up for a job!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

It sure is a wake-up call. I think blogs are going to keep these guys on their toes.

Thanks, guys, for the encouragement and support.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Just to clarify something - I went over my notes again, and had to correct the highlighted comment by Alicia Kay Markson. She hadn't said that she didn't read the report at all; only that she hadn't read the whole thing.

I just corrected that. Earlier this evening, I was having problems. My computer crashed and I had to reconstruct some stuff.

Which all goes to show that even bloggers can make mistakes. ;)

Sara said...

I talked to Jen today too and guess what she took my name and asked if I would talk on t.v. Yah right they all say that to shut you up,, seriously

I told her I would and anyone else could too!

Don't believe them when they say that.. ok CBC did say that and did it but that was only one!

that was worth the wait Joanne!

Candace said...

Good job! You should send it to Ezra Levant at Western Standard, he'd either publish it there or possibly bring it up on his Sun post. Alternatively, send links to the whole thing to Charles Adler, he'd probably be all over it. Send links to ... who is worrying about this? Diane Finley under Human Resources? Hell, send a copy to the Asper guy that wrote the "Go Ahead, Liberals, make my day" editorial last week. He might enjoy the read.

And the media is wondering why Harper is trying to restrict their access. Gee. go figure.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yes, David Asper is an interesting gentleman. Chairman of the National Post, and a strong editorial supporter of the Conservatives. Used to like the Liberals, but then he crossed the floor. I love reading his columns now!

Mac said...

Good work, Joanne!!

Candace said...

I just posted about this, & sent a link (to your post) to Brian Neale. Hopefully he'll pick it up.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sara, that's interesting that you got through to Jen. What was her attitude? Did she really say that about wanting you to be on T.V.? I wonder what her angle was. Details, please!!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Candace. I appreciate you sending Brian Neale the link.

You know, I'm not doing this for recognition. I'm just sick and tired of MSM thinking they can snowball the Canadian public with their propaganda. This isn't the first time I've followed up on a story that I felt was way below the truth radar, but this has definitely been the most effort I've ever put into it.

I've also challenged a Toronto television station, a radio station and a newspaper with varying outcomes.

Yesterday, I guess I hit the wall of MSM entitlement, and I decided to attack the fortress.

As I stated in my post, I give Alicia Kay Markson full credit for giving me her side of the story. She probably trusts her sources to a certain degree that they will deliver the truth.

Torian made a very astute observation when she noted, "A perfect example of how the left leaners spoon feed the 'news' to reporters."

It is exactly what happened when I challenged a City T.V. story about a supposed survey and found out that the information came from the special-interest group without being verified first.

If people start questioning the garbage in MSM, maybe we'll finally get some quality product.

Chuckercanuck said...

you are amazing. that's fantastic work.

torian said...

be prepared...the lovely carolyn bennett has spoken...

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1143499811671&call_pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795

Joe B. said...

Bravo Joanne! Fabulous work! I hope that you continue to work the story and publicize it until it is picked up by a news service. This is a BIG story!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, C.C. ;>) Coming from you, that is a tribute indeed!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Torian, thanks for the link. (BTW, it comes out better in I.E. than Mozilla).

That article by Carolyn Bennett is so bogus!!! She says, "In the January election, nearly 63 per cent of Canadians voted for a party that supports a national system of early learning and child care."

O.K. Carolyn, what single party was that, and why didn't THEY form the Government????

I'm feeling another rant coming on!

BBS said...

That's being tenacious. Great work!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Joe, thanks for the enthusiastic support, which you have given me all along.

Yes, I wonder if this story "has legs" as they say in the media jargon. ;)

There is a definite collusion between the left-wing parties and their radical special interest groups. How much the media is in on it is anyone's guess. Of course, we shouldn't generalize because some newspapers out there, such as the National Post certainly attempt to maintain objectivity. The Sun is very biased towards the Right, but I'm not going to fault them on that.

Tim G. said...

Good work.

Another reason not to get news from the MSM.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Tim and BB, thanks for your comments.

Keep an eye on Plattytalk (link is on the 'Blogging Tories' Blog Roll). I think Dave is working on something related to this!

Mary said...

Rush Limbaugh calls the MSM the "drive-by" media, meaning that they shoot mis-infomation, half-truth and lies into us,the ordinary crowds of people going about our lives. The mass confusion caused by their "shootings" into the masses creates chaos. It's just what they want, so that they can spend hours pushing their liberal agenda to their way of thinking. So when all the damage is done we ordinary ones have a further reason not to trust the MSM for anything other than the weather and that is suspect sometimes.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sara said...

You know, I'm not doing this for recognition. I'm just sick and tired of MSM thinking they can snowball the Canadian public with their propaganda.

I feel the same way.. I never intended on being on the National or in the papers I lived a nice little life before this. You know if they had not of created the funding for daycare I would never of realized how discriminated stay at home parents are...

I told Jen my view on stay at home parents, I was polite and understanding to CTV but I pleaded our case.. I don't believe her though,,,

Sara said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mary - Right on! Especially that comment about the weather. ;)

Sara- O.K. Let me get this straight: You actually were on T.V.?

"Expert" Tom said...

I linked y'all up over at I (AM) Also Canadian. Great digging Joanne. Makes me think I should have got off my ass and actually done the same thing after I wrote about this last week.

Maybe we should start a new 'Choice for Childcare' blogroll'? hehe

Sara said...

yes, next week on the National! They came last wed and taped me as a stay at home mom. As soon as I find out the date I will blog it...

kelly said...

Wow Joanne! You should be in journalism! Maybe then we could believe what we read! Good detective work!

Joe Edmonton said...

Great work Joanne

I've had to point this out to several people who just assumed 'since it was on tv, it must be true'.

The more people who hear about these kind of misrepresentations, the better.

Joe Edmonton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hey, Sara. Thanks!! And wow! On the National? Please do give us the date & times!!

Expert Tom, I checked out your page. Excellent. I'll be paying another visit very soon!

Thanks, everyone! It may look like I've had some unpleasant comments, but it's just that I've screwed up and somehow enabled duplicate comment moderation, and then tried to fix it, and yadda yadda yadda...

If you don't see your comment here, please feel free to resubmit it. Thanks!!!

Brian said...

Nicely done Joanne. You have a real reporters instinct.

Brian Lemon said...

Jo
I've done a little figgerin'
http://canadianbluelemons.blogspot.com/2006/03/costs-are-in-on-ywca-daycare-program.html#links

Dark Blue Tory said...

That was simply amazing.

It really speaks volumes and, to tell you the truth, creeps me out.

Candace said...

What CTV & the rest of the media don't seem to realize is the damage things like this do to their credibility. I will never again watch a clip or read a report done by Alicia with anything but skepticism.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Brian Lemon, I can see you're a numbers man! Very impressive spreadsheet on your blog! The reference to Quebec's plan reminds me about Lucien Bouchard coming out not that long ago and saying that Quebec has to wake up and realize that things like universal health care and the day care plan are going to be the financial ruin of the province. Does anyone else remember that?

D.B.T., yeah, it starts you wondering how much other propaganda has been spoon-fed to the Canadian public that had very little substance.

BTW, Plattytalk and Sara (Choice for Children) have also been doing lots of work on this issue.

Alberta Girl said...

Wow - excellent work Joanne!!! If the MSM comes to the realization that bloggers are doing more work than they are, finding more facts than they are and basically challenging their integrity, maybe they will have to actually get out there and research a story before reporting on it.

Joanne - you should be e-mailing the details of your fact finding mission to as many MSM as you can just to prove how they are being shown up!

Kudos for your work -

Sara - I will be watching for you on the National!!

PGP said...

Kudos to you Joanne.

The CTV folks are showing that what they print must be compatible with THEIR agenda of cheerleading the LIberal Cause.
Never doubt that these people are trying to use their position to disseminate views that SUPPORT their POV. They will continue to treat facts that do not support their position as disposable nuisances.

Integrity is non-existent and the more people like you bare the truth of this the better we will all be for it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Alberta Girl - Interesting thought to alert MSM, but what would they do with the information? It isn't their style to report the truth, so I'm sure the info would be deep-sixed.

torian said...

i emailed lorrie goldstein and directed him to your blog joanne- i hope that was ok..
he emailed me back to say thanks...not sure if he will do anything about it, but it's worth a shot

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Torian. That's great. I just hope if he does plan to do anything, he gets in touch with me first.

I always liked the Sun.

I think Platty is working on another angle too.

Paul MacPhail said...

Joanne, I think this puts you right up there with Bluebloggingsoapbox, Stephen Taylor, & Kate at SDA.
Good stuff.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Paul! Wow.. That's pretty impressive company. Quite an honour. I appreciate that.

TangoJuliette said...

"...That article by Carolyn Bennett is so bogus!!! She says, "In the January election, nearly 63 per cent of Canadians voted for a party that supports a national system of early learning and child care."

O.K. Carolyn, what single party was that, and why didn't THEY form the Government????..."



Figures lie and liars figure, but THIS pap? From a Doctor? She sounds Hysterical!!

I think the GLIBS like to say that 63% voted against the Conservatives, which is to say that 63% did NOT vote Conservative but voted for the other three parties, more or less. Nice of Doc Jameson to put the Dummy's Spin on Math and claim the non-cons votes as plus-lib votes.

Well . . . On the Other Hand: More than 70% of Canadians did NOT vote Liberal.

Therefore, using Carolyn's methodology: Conservatives must have more than 70% of Canadians supporting their party.


guffaw guffaw guffaw HACK!


J -TB :

allez-don'! Donnes y encore des beaux coupe comme ca!!

W A Y T O S T I CK I T T O 'E M, A C E !!!