Editor's Notes

Editor's Notes

 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 24 (283)
Friday, July 15, 2011
 

When Hi Tech replaces critical thinking

it sucks investigative journalism into crime

To practice in the best traditions of investigative journalism requires intelligence, imagination, and long hours of hard work. Only the toughest in the field subscribe to it because they know that in the end they are all too often unlikely to find a place (radio, television, or print) to publish their hard won success if it runs against the interests as perceived by those who own the industry.

Thanks be to the open doors of the internet, at least to those on the internet whose only vested interest is in the truth.

Those at the low end of the journalism talent stick, with the connivance of their publishers and their editors, turn their second-rate talent on the weak and the helpless.

And I include among the latter description such as Prince Charles whose cell phone was hacked (we used to call it tapped) and he was outed as the Prince Who Would be a Tampon. I include the prince among the weak and the helpless because he's not very bright; just polished to the best degree possible by those who are employed to make the best of bad bargains.

But to include as targets for hacking and bribing the survivors of the immoral and criminally justified wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is reprehensible even for the bottom feeders at The News of the World.

It represents the same kind of morality espoused by Hilary Clinton and her girlfriends in Washington who say, "We've got the weapons. Why not use them?"

So it’s lie, cheat, steal, bully, torture, 'humanitarian' bomb, just because you can. This gaggle of girl friends and the men who nurture them should be made to spend a couple of days on the front lines of those they make suffer.

The word torture and the stupidity (not to forget cruelty) involved in its performance calls to mind the time when I was ordered to appear before Fuehrer de la Rivière of the renewed Nazi Party of Canada. They had rented a farm northwest of Montreal and were training motorcyclists to break up peace and union picket lines with chains. He wanted to give me an exclusive.

I was the Montreal Bureau Chief of The Toronto Telegram, usually a one-man bureau, but it was Expo '67 and there were at least a dozen Tely stalwarts ready to hand. I took a Tely ­­photographer with me. I told him, I want to nail this sunnuvabitch, so you take your shots and listen carefully as a witness. But no matter what I say, don't say anything.

We met in a basement apartment in north Montreal. He was about six feet, a muscular-slender 30, dressed in black. He called and from out of the kitchen came a burly hulk about five-eight who went back into the kitchen after being introduced.

As my photographer took his shots, I began the interview. The Fuehrer was pleased to report that the location of his goon-training farm was a stone's throw from Lachute northwest of Montreal. His recruits were busy practicing how to ride down peace and union picket lines swinging chains.

After about ten minutes I asked him how he was being financed. He shook his head with an indulgent smile as if to a naughty child and said that that was classified information.

I looked back with like smile while thinking with an inward sigh, "Christ, I'm going to have spend two hours with this idiot before I can get him to talk."

Two hours later he was telling me everything about his financial support. The names and addresses of Montreal merchants, the names and ridings of Social Credit members of parliament from Alberta and more … I don't think he left anything out.

No torture, no hacking, no bribery, and I got it all.

The next day it was the banner line story on the front page of the Tely. About three days later the RCMP contacted me to learn the address of the Fuehrer. About five days later I got a call from the Tely in Toronto saying that the Social Credit Party of Ontario was suing for one million dollars. But I was told not to worry because the Ontario Socreds were a separate legal entity; they hadn't been mentioned in the story, so they had no case.

About two weeks later a clearly distraught Fuehrer was on the telephone pleading for a meeting. I ignored him. I concluded that the RCMP had done their duty by God and Country.

I never heard from or about the Fuehrer de Larivière again.

The point of the above is to underline that those journalists who resort to bribery and hacking are betraying our profession. The finest traditions of our profession have grown out of hard work and the exercise of the imagination and intelligence that came with the package when we were born.

And when it comes to psychological torture, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service study and practice it routinely. I could provide a long list of both the instruments and methods they use. But look where it's gotten them. Head of the pack for disgraceful failures.

The CSIS has all the hi tech instruments they need. What they lack is intelligence and imagination. And they won't find that through hacking and bribery and their instruments of psychological torture.

So here's to the best traditions of investigative journalism. A way of life that for us is simply bred in the bone.

Meanwhile, take it easy, but take it.

Looking forward

Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

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