Friday, July 29, 2011

Memo To Jeff Davies: You Don't Dance With The One...


...That Brung 'Ya If They Try To Get You Drunk And Take Advantage Of You (Or Worse) Out In The Parking Lot.

Of course, I am referring to Mr. Davies appalling comments to the Cluffmaster Flash earlier today on the local CBC Radio morning show about how all the HST contracts doled out to BC Liberal party hacks is just more of the same old, same old 'everybody does it, so it doesn't really matter' business.


These contracts were not designed to pimp shameless sycophantic promotions for Tourism BC or even penny stock-addled 'Mining Adds Life' type campaigns.

Thus, they were not meaningless pork generators for the media messaging friendlies.

Instead, they were designed to facilitate the roll out of things like the government's information campaign to inform the public on the both the Pros and the Cons of the HST. In other words, these things were supposed to be, as we were explicitly told by Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, completely non-partisan (ie. hack-free).

Which means these things do matter to the public, given how nothing I have seen since I was born in St. Joseph's Hospital way back in the '50's has galvanized the public of this province against its government like Colin Hansen's HST skullduggery did.

Which is all bad enough, and worthy of real media follow-up in the wake of Sean Holman's investigative journalism that broke the story, if only to find out what these fine BC Liberal party-connected folks actually did as they sank their teeth into the top-secret pork.


Please remember that part about this all being totally and completely top-secret.

Because it was until Mr. Holman unearthed it by FOI.

And the secrecy aspect of this thing is another point that Mr. Davies, and his partner in Cluffmaster Flashery, Stephen Smart (who may or may not have snuck a peak at his life partner's briefing notes over breakfast this morning), failed to mention when they dismissed all of this, out of hand.

But that's not even the worst of it.

Because, in addition, at least one of these contracts went to a BC Liberal Party Insider to work on, as the Insider himself said when he was caught red-handed by Mr. Holman, the 'logistics' (but never the 'policy') for Jim Dinning's HST panel that we have been told over and over and over again was completely independent of any government of BC Liberal party intereference.

Do you have it now?

Do you now understand how patronizing Mr. Davies use of Brian Mulroney's (yes, Brian Mulroney's!) ridiculous 'Ya Dance With The One That Brung 'Ya' statement that justified the use of patronage as necessary and good really was?

Especially when you realize that Davies was using this particular Mulroneyism to justify his own waving away of the matter as being essentially meaningless and not worthy of further consideration by the public and/or the awesome and precious investigative powers of people like him.

But here's the real thing that exposes Mr. Davies' comment as being truly and utterly preposterous, and not worthy of serious consideration by serious members of the public.....

Which is that one proMedia reporter, Robert Matas of The Globe, decided he wasn't too precious to do his job and actually did something that Mr. Davies, apparently, did not, which was to do some follow-up investigative digging. As a result, Mr. Matas quite easily discovered that the BC Liberal Party Insider's statement to Sean Holman was deflector spin at best and, in my opinion, more likely to have been total obfuscatory bullshit designed to bury the story forever.


Because Matas discovered, by speaking to one of Jim Dinning's panel members directly, that the secretly-contracted BC Liberal Party Insider did in fact participate in the panel's discussions where policy was likely one of the subjects under consideration.

Oh, and did I mention that this particular secretly-contracted BC Liberal Party insider who was only supposed to be doing 'logistics' for Mr. Dinning's panel (ie. scheduling meetings and arranging for the sandwiches to arrive on time) also worked for that old Finance Minister we mentioned above, Mr. Colin Hansen, in a politically-appointed capacity at the very time when the HST was first foisted on we, the unsuspecting members of the public, serious and otherwise, out of nowhere?



I'm almost done, and I apologize to regular readers who are getting tired of and/or fed up with this, but I really do believe that this story, and more importantly, the way it is not being followed-up seriously by proMedia mavens like Davies and Smart, truly does matter on a whole lot of levels, some of which are the following:

1) Why, if as Mr. Davies and Mr. Smart also mentioned, this is really the slow season for proMedia stories that matter, don't they get off their asses and do a little real work for our money?

2) Come to think of it, when was the last time exactly, that either Mr. Davies or Mr. Smart actually broke, or even followed up significantly on, a story that truly matters?

3) The CBC really is going down the tubes.

4) The immediate story of why this was all kept secret is a compelling one given that the non-partisan HST 'information' campaign and the 'independent' HST panel were both used early and often by both the government and the business interests to soften up the public (ie. they really don't matter now in the last minute multi-million dollar blitzkrieg bop, but they sure as hell mattered then, from a 'secret' strategic point of view).

5) If the public had not been softened up early and often to bring at least some of them around to the concept that Kevin Falcon et al. are now dealing squarely with, rather than lying to, them.....Would they have been willing to believe, even for a fraction of a second, that the proposed future HST rate cut is not just more of the same old codswallop that enraged them in the first place?

6) Are reporters like Davies and Smart, and commentators like Cluff, as part of, as Ian Reid calls it, their 'Club' memberships, contributing to this softening up of the public by constantly dismissing stories by feigning world weariness, by not caring, and/or by not digging so that they can instead just swallow press releases and/or secretly proferred inside information whole?

7) Are Mess'rs Holman and Matas not in the Club?

8) Why did Mr. Holman have to wait so long to receive his FOI statement, and then, once he finally got it, was he unable to follow-up more himself before letting it go because of the recently introduced 72hr 'Kill The Blockbuster' release rule?

9) Why is no one in the proMedia demanding that Mr. Kevin Falcon himself, rather than his chief Spokesthingy, explain, specifically, what is so important and 'privileged' about the HST strategy that led to these contracts being doled out in super secret fashion?




West End Bob said...

Having just listened to the podcast version of the Cluffmaster's show this morning about 10 minutes before reading your post, I'm as PO'd about is as you are - almost.

The "dance with the one that brung 'ya" statement being just one of many less than stellar comments made by these two "leg guys." Perhaps "ledge" may be more appropriate terminology, as listening to them makes you want to find one to jump from.

Stephen Smart - where does the CBC find these guys, anyway?!? - being extraordinarily clueless on this broadcast.

Great rant, BTW, RossK. My wish is that you forward the link to it to CBC's management staff. Maybe they'll actually listen to the program to see how it has become so irrelevant . . . .

Anonymous said...

I used to be a major supporter of CBC. No more. The CBC specializes in suppressing stories that might harm the image of the ruling party of BC. It's not just the HST, there are many examples, going back almost a decade. And when they don't suppress, they often mislead. Deliberately.

In 2003, CBC Vancouver News was found to have fabricated a news broadcast story, deliberately falsifying a report of what occurred during a live press conference of George W. Bush about the Iraq War. The CRTC ruled that CBC Vancouver apologize for the "error". The apology was made, but never admitted publicly.

That's just one small example of how complicit CBC has become in supporting ruling parties. We are not being well served by CBC, and our taxpayer dollars are being used to mislead it's own citizens.

What country are we living in again?

Thanks for exposing this sorry, shabby excuse for a national broadcaster. They are a twisted shadow of their former selves.

Norm Farrell said...

Good rant RossK. But also good analysis.

I believe that CBC has become a wasteland, not worth bothering with. Media organizations cannot be dependent on politicians for funding and and be fair and objective in their news coverage.

Rumours continue that Torstar may end up owning PostMedia newspapers. That might result in at least small improvement. The Sun and Province cannot get worse.

RossK said...


They found the good Mr. Smart at the local CTV affiliate, which just proves Norm's point re: what the CBC is really up to these days

RailGate Obsessives may wonder why they recall Mr. Smart's name despite the fact that he never (as is his M.O. as a card carrying 'Club' member) actually reported seriously on the issue..... Well, Mr. Smart was, as Neal Hall (and/or the alleged parallel universe version of same who dropped by here to rant occasionally in the old days), was quick to point out, and make 'Bloggers Are So Irresponsible!' hay when Mary made an innocent mistake, a member of the BC Supreme Court Media Accreditation Committee that shut Robin Mathews out of the official (ie. able to bring a tape recorder to court) proceedings...


RossK said...


Thanks very much for your comment.

I think it's important to point out, however, that I didn't actually expose anything because these fine folks are doing this stuff right out in the open.

The person who deserves any and all kudos here is Sean Holman.

I recommend all head over to his place and tell him you appreciate this work if you did. This is important because, as Norm also knows supporting the investigative work of independents like Mr Holman, especially when they do it without relying on insider codswallop.

The link to the original story, which he posted later the same day that his freelance piece appeared in the Globe, is here.


RossK said...

Thanks Norm--

I take your point about the possibility of a short term improvement if, indeed, the PostMedia papers go to TorStar. However, in the long run I despair the continued consolidation, which I think you and I both see as being a major problem with the proMedia. Inititially, I was kind of hoping that the chain would be busted up to give a greater range of opinion.

Regarding the CBC - Do you have a funding model in mind (you may have already written about this, and if you have I apologize for asking)?


RossK said...

Anon-Above (again)--

If you get a chance, please post a link to the 2003 case you mentioned.

Alternatively, please feel free to send me a note at:

pacificgazette at yahoo dot c(anad)a


Ian said...

Great posts of late. It's always a sign of a crisis when good analysis equals good rant.