London Free Press “Truth”


In a recent blog post (“Why hold a story”; London Free Press Editor’s Blog; 2007/06/14), London Free Press editor Paul Berton wrote: “We hold stories all the time until we can get enough details to satisfy ourselves they deserve to be published, and often they never meet that criteria.”

Understandably, I took exception to that: “Tell me about it. Just don’t try to pretend that your overriding concern is for the truth. If that were the case, you’d have made more effort to look into my inability to campaign in last Fall’s municipal election. And you wouldn’t have waited until the last month to begin. And even then, you didn’t print a single word. Your ‘criteria’ could use some reexamination.”

Enter reporter Jonathan Sher into the discussion: “For the record, Greg, you phoned and made a claim – that by raising funds as a candidate you could lose disability benefits paid to you from the Ontario government. I then phoned the Ontario ministry responsible for those benefits, who not only said you were wrong, but sent me an email explaining why you were wrong, an email I then forwarded to you. You then thanked me for getting an answer and wrote that you were considering taking legal action against the Ministry for so readily providing naswers to me that you claimed they wouldn’t provide to you. I’m not sure why, at that point, you didn’t try to raise money and mount a serious campaign. I’m not certain why you continue, many months later, to make claims that you were a victim, when the evidence is to the contary. But I am sure of this: I took your concerns seriously, I sought and obtained answers, those answers refuted your claims and you continue to act as if none of that happened.”

Well folks, that’s called trying to cover your ass. So I fired back this rebuttal (which the LFP has so far not published on it’s blog) in order to address Mr. Sher’s inaccuracies: “You appear to be incrediby obtuse, but I’ll attempt to explain it again… Based upon my substantial experience, I knew that in order to be a viable contender, I would have to spend in the neighbourhood of $25K, which meant that I would have to fundraise the entire year long. Particularly since I wasn’t getting backing from the development industry or from a political party. Which is why I filed my nomination papers in January. I had no expectation that I would encounter government interference in my campaign. When ODSP continued to ignore my requests for information, and having tried unsucessfully to get assistance from local MPPs, I tried to interest local media in the story. As early as April, all throughout the summer and into the Fall, I was either ignored or rebuffed by the Free Press. At one point Paul Berton did agree to meet with me, but then he flip-flopped. My requests to meet with another senior editor or with the Editorial Board were ignored. Finally at the tail end of the campaign, out of the blue, you contacted me to say that you had made an inquiry. You followed that up with the information that you claimed to have gotten from the Ministry, but you would not identify who had given it to you. I politely thanked you for the information, but I could not confirm it. And so I could not act upon it. But even if I had felt capable of beginning to fundraise in the last month of the campaign, there was absolutely no chance at that point of being able to raise enough money to be able to even begin to mount a competitive campaign. For you to pretend otherwise is simply laughable. For the record, Jonathan.”

The moral of this story? Don’t believe everything that the newspaper tells you, and don’t believe that everything of significant public interest is being published in it either.

appended 2007/06/27:

My rebuttal has now shown up on the LFP Editor’s Blog, with “2007-06-22 22:12” attached to it, but without any indication that that’s when the post was submitted. Don’t be misled into thinking that it was published before it was.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: