Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Reason I Am Glad My Star Subscription Is Cancelled

I will be honest.

I lost my respect for both Roseann Danese and Don McArthur after the recent "Online chats with The Star." I am sure that they do not care.

Their performance was horrible as far as I am concerned. However, they certainly did demonstrate the necessity for BLOGs in this City that provide an alternative perspective on the news and why they have been started.

After the way the Star reported on the CUPE strike and still is doing so especially by not reporting the Lewenza Ward meeting, it bothers me that Roseann can say:
  • "Roseann Danese: Political affiliations? No one is saying that reporters and editors are robots and don't have political leanings. In fact, most of us are political junkies. But reporters are paid to check their politcal viewpoints at the door. A news story would not make it into the paper if it leaned one way or another."

No? Take one simple but important news story "Council's closed-door strike strategy revealed." We see

  • factual errors re the introduction of a Motion re PRBs and a so-called reversal
  • a false conclusion especially clear after the recent Ward 4 session: Lewenza "who consistently sided with CUPE positions during the 101-day strike"
  • inflammatory language: "pleaded for time," " he railed Monday night," "had I decided to cave and ignore the wishes of the residents of don’t go into a strike saying this is your core issue and then cave after a week"

Chris Schnurr has already written about his experience with the Chat with his question not being posted even though it was asked several times. It was only posted when a supposed "union President" asked it and then that person was allowed to be slammed as you shall see below.

I just wanted to touch on a few small matters to demonstrate how the Star is trying to destroy Lewenza because he is too dangerous to the Establishment with their agenda.

The Star admitted that they chose consciously NOT to cover his meeting. There is no issue about that now. That in itself is a political statement:

  • 12:38 [Comment From Gary TaylorGary Taylor: ]
    Why wasn't the Lewenza/Maara Ward 4 meeting covered by the Star. Surely there was enough information to warrant coverage...

    12:42Roseann Danese:
    The night of the forum, there were two major stories our night reporter had to cover: an accident that involved a 50,000 pound roll of steel that fell on top of an SUV, nearly killing the driver and the annual memorial vigil for victims of crime. Both were compelling stories...

    12:53Roseann Danese:
    Gary, like I said earlier, we cover events based on their news value. Considering how much coverage we had already given to this topic and the fact there were two breaking news stories, we didn't go to Lewenza's meeting.

Gee, the Star needs a better scheduler considering they knew about the meeting in advance! The "annual" vigil is hardly "breaking news." The SUV incident took place at 3:45 PM while the Ward 4 meeting started about 3 hours later. Hardly "compelling" excuses from Roseann.

Perhaps the Star's City Hall reporter could have been assigned to cover the meeting since it is part of his beat. Does the Star still have interns who could have been sent out? Oh sorry, telling us that the hardliners cost us a fortune and why has no news value whatsoever.

Where has that been covered in detail with numbers and the reasons in the Star? Or the flipflop on the June 17th in camera meeting with the explanation? Or the City's negotiating Committee's hands being tied as the file was being micromanaged by Council that can mean bad faith bargaining?

Since the Star was not going to cover his meeting, then why the hypocrisy of inviting Lewenza to express his point of view on an online chat when few would know what he said or what he was talking about! What was the point since the story was not going to be covered and clearly had little "news value" to the Star anyway?

  • "12:53Moderator Donald McArthur:
    And to Gary — I asked Ken Lewenza to come on for a live chat. I asked him on the day of his ward meeting to come in the morning after his ward meeting. No strings attached. We gave him a platform. He declined."

Did the Star have an ulterior motive, a hidden agenda?

Donald, do not tell us he had a platform. Rather the Star had a platform which was going to allow him to be smeared! You see, dear reader, the Star has a Moderator who ensures what goes on and what does NOT go on the chat. Chris Schnurr told us his experience of trying to get his question asked and it never saw the light of day.

McArthur showed us the power he has with the chat:

  • "12:13 Moderator Donald McArthur:
    Here's a question from someone with an inappropriate nickname: "Why is it that when reading almost any article in The Star that one could easily draw a particular political affiliation from each and every story?"

    Thursday November 19, 2009 12:13 Moderator Donald McArthur

    "12:14 [Comment From What The?What The?: ]
    Funny a question showed up for almost a minute in regards to the political overtones purveyed by stories that run in The Star. I'm glad that at least it was shown for a moment and then removed. No reply was as good as getting a reply. I guess the answer is based in the question now.

    Thursday November 19, 2009 12:14 What The?

    12:16 Moderator Donald McArthur:
    Hi What The...I posted that question and then took it down when I realized the poster had snuck an inappropriate nickname by me. Kind of a Bart Simpson phoning Moe's Tavern sort of thing. I reposted the question sans the name and Roseann is typing away as we speak."

In other words, he has complete power over the chat and can control the questions asked and what is said. The Star is angry because Lewenza outthought them and declined to be suckered in by them!

Now take a look at these comments:

  • "12:54[Comment From QuestionerQuestioner: ]
    Can I thank the Star for NOT going to that meeting? Thank-You this reader apprediated that!

    Thursday November 19, 2009 12:54 Questioner

    12:54[Comment From GringoGringo: ]
    Gary, give it a rest already!

    Thursday November 19, 2009 12:54 Gringo

    12:54[Comment From CrankCrank: ]
    If Lewenza wants something in the paper that bad, he should buy an ad."

Why was the "flaming" allowed ie "An online argument that becomes nasty or derisive, where insulting a party to the discussion takes precedence over the objective merits of one side or another."

What purpose did it serve other than to discredit "Gary Taylor" even though McArthur had already said

  • "HI CAWmember -- This is important for everyone to understand. The names on here aren't necessarily the real names of real people and we have no way of ensuring that they are. That means that Gary Taylor could be Joe Smith or Rocket Bob or Stephen Harper. That's why our soundoffs aren't supposed to be include last names.

and then to discredit Ken Lewenza.

What was the need to do this? Why weren't the comments deleted just as Don did with the inappropriate name?

Why didn't Roseanne jump in and say

  • "Comments like these would not make it into the online chat if it leaned one way or another."

Rather, in came Marty the Editor out of the blue to put the knife in by repeating what had been said before. I guess that we were supposed to be impressed or does the Star think its readers are too stupid so they have to repeat things over and over again:

  • 12:57 [Comment From Marty Beneteau, editorMarty Beneteau, editor: ]
    Hey Gary, do us a favour and ask Ken Jr. why he declined to take part in a live chat with us. Surely he could have used this forum to get his message out."

What was this Online Chat really about: Marty Beneteau and the Star trying to justify why it did not cover a key story for this City because of its own political agenda and to protect the Mayor and the other hardliners from the criticism and blame they deserve for failing us, with the Star as their willing accomplice.

A late arrival just like this one, remember:

  • "12:33 The Windsor Star: Subsequent to closing, Tim at 11:53 asked, "So does John Coleman have a connection to the mayor's office? Yes or no?" The answer to the question is yes.

Obviously, the paper has been taking the heat for its failure to the Community and rightly so.

It does not have the guts to allow the other side of the story to be told in its pages for fear that people will understand its role in our City and its destructive force and what the facts are! So it smears its opponents and ignores them.

Just watch the Star play like a broken record when anyone complains about their journalistic failure:

  • "Surely he could have used this forum to get his message out."


How many people participated in an online chat at noon or would have read it after compared with the number of people who would have read a Star story about the Ward 4 meeting published and online. Imagine the number of letters and posts that would have generated!

That is the point isn't it. The Star did not want letters or posts because that would mean that people would have read an alternative perspective!

I guess the Chat was supposed to convince me and many others to subscribe again. I actually got a call from one of the Star's telemarketers to do so .

Sorry, I have no interest in giving the Star my subscription money! Now you know another reason why.


Star reporters can be troopers for trivial stories but not for a major event I guess:

  • "Three drinks good for a warning
    Star writer puts roadside limits to test

    My marching orders were to go have three drinks, then submit to a breath test. Star photographer Tyler Brownbridge and reporter Frances Willick, always the troopers, were done work for the night but offered to come along anyway. For research. They're as dedicated to journalism as I am."