DesRosiers Hits Back
Clearly, Dennis DesRosiers is "mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore!"
Rather than giving you a long introduction, what I will simply say is here is his letter to the Windsor Star written as a result of the Henderson column the other day! It will be fascinating to see how the Star responds.
Mr. Jim Venney
The Windsor Star
Dear Mr. Venney:
Re: Last Paragraph of Mr. Henderson's Column dated January 10, 2007:
Further to the above referenced matter, kindly find attached the subject column which appeared in your newspaper yesterday. As publisher, the ultimate responsibility for the newspaper's content resides with you. I have contacted the Ontario Press Council and they advised that their rules state that I write to you first to obtain a satisfactory resolution before making a formal complaint to the Council.
Therefore, I wish to officially inform you that I am making a formal complaint to The Windsor Star with respect to the last paragraph of Mr. Henderson's column where he egregiously abuses his column to take an incredibly cheap shot at me:
"If so, it can't come fast enough for readers who've reminded me, in the wake of a New Year's "glass half full" column, that as many as 2,000 high-paying Windsor automotive jobs will disappear in a "summer of lost jobs" that will, in their view, have auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers "wringing his hands in glee at the continued suffering of his hometown." -
Gord Henderson, January 9, 2007
Mr. Henderson is stating very clearly and unequivocally that I will take personal pleasure from the thousands of families who will be seriously impacted by having their jobs lost. That statement is grotesque, demeaning and insulting. There is no evidence anywhere of me taking "glee" from my hometown losing thousands of jobs and seeing families endure hardship. For anyone to say such a thing about anyone is beyond belief. I will not even bother to respond to the columnist and his editors since I can't lower myself to their level. This is not only an insult to myself but to the hundreds of other volunteers in the City of Windsor who work behind the scenes to help improve their City.
In addition to asking for a formal apology from you on behalf of a Canwest newspaper, I also want a dedicated column from Mr. Henderson in which he also apologizes and corrects this gross misrepresentation which appeared in your newspaper.
It is worth noting that since leaving Windsor in 1973 I have spend hundred of days and thousands of hours volunteering for organizations in Windsor to the benefit of these organizations. For instance, I've been on the Board of Governors at the University for over six years and I have donated over 100 days of my time to the school during my term as one small example.
I have also worked on many serious automotive issues related to the City of Windsor all of which were dedicated to helping the City of Windsor. I could write a book on all the things I have been involved in where I've tried to help the automotive sector and the City of Windsor. I will spare you from going through this list right now, although I will be pleased to discuss it with you.
In addition to my time, my company and I have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to various charitable causes in Windsor and I have personally represented organizations in Windsor and indeed, I have personally raised or am in the process of helping them raise many millions in additional charitable donations. All of my efforts have been to help my hometown.
In a perverse form of irony, the columnist who wrote that grotesque statement demeaning me, has also used some of my information and points of view in many of his columns. He does not always agree with my efforts or accept the positions I've taken on various issues in the City of Windsor but I've always viewed this as healthy debate and have thus accepted his right to criticize or debate me.
But critical to this complaint is the fact that on a number of occasions, in his column, this columnist has complimented me on my work in the City of Windsor. This is clear evidence that he and his editors understand at least some of what I've accomplished to improve the City of Windsor. In addition, I have also met privately with himself and his editors to discuss some of these initiatives. They have never questioned, to my face, my dedication to my home town or my accomplishments.
Also, critical to this complaint is the fact that the columnist and his editors knew just how positively involved I've been with the City of Windsor and he and his editors knew of many of my accomplishments. They may not have known the fine details of my efforts since I prefer to work quietly in the background on most but they fully knew the broad strokes of these initiatives and how beneficial they have been to the City of Windsor. The fact that at times I've chosen to use a two by four instead of a gloved hand to try to get things done is not relevant to this case. They knowingly published a grotesque misrepresentation of my view of Windsor and my accomplishments and I deserve an apology.
Given the columnist and his editors knowledge of my positive involvement with the City of Windsor I find it unconscionable if not unethical that the columnist would use this reference to me and that his editors would allow it to remain in the column. I fully understand that the reference in the column is a quote from anonymous 'readers' rather than himself. I view this as simply an editorial trick to deflect the issue and to protect themselves. Since both he and his editors have full knowledge of the absolute lie that appears in the column, it is their responsibility not to use the quote. Hiding behind anonymous 'readers' doesn't exonerate their culpability. Indeed, on a number of occasions I've been questioned by the editor on the accuracy of letters to the editor that I've written to the Windsor Star and I have been asked to change the letters because I could not substantiate their accuracy. This is evidence that they review the contents of these articles and do not allow 'errors in fact' to be published. I believe it is part of the code of edicts of a journalist to not knowingly publishing false information. Since they knew the quote used in the column was an "error in fact", they should not have published this "quote". Doing so damaged my reputation with the readers of your newspaper, my industry, my family and my friends in Windsor. Indeed, it is somewhat despicable that they would hide behind anonymous "readers".
This incident also goes to the root of the perceived 'conflict of interest' situation between your editors and City Hall and clearly demonstrates that the Chinese wall that you have established at The Windsor Star to deal with this 'conflict of interest' is not working. Most of my criticism of what's happening in Windsor has centred on the Mayor's office and one cannot come to any other conclusion but believe that that this "cheap shot" is coming directly or indirectly from the Mayor's office. This will also be part of my Ontario Press Council complaint should it go that far.
For these reasons I respectfully request an immediate, visible apology from The Windsor Star and a dedicated column from Mr. Henderson in which he apologizes. Mr. Henderson's column must set the record straight on this issue and he should not be allowed to weasel out of it by doing a "yes, but" apology. Only a full apology is acceptable. I also ask that any and all 'letters to the editor' which uses this false information to further criticize me not be published.
If this is not done within the next week I will have no choice but to proceed to the next step and to file an official complaint with The Ontario Press Council. In the meantime I have taken all reporters from the Canwest media chain off my distribution list and formally asked them not to use my information or information produced by my company in any of their stories. Until this is resolved either by you or The Ontario Press Council, I do not want any association with an organization that allows its editors to knowingly let one of its columnists lie to its readers like this and to personally attack me. You also need to know that when they do this with a public figure like myself that actions will be taken.
I look forward to your urgent attention.