Speaking of doublespeak
This post was written by MJ on 20th Mar, 2003
CanWest Global has angrily rejected Antonia Zerbisias’ claim in yesterday’s Star that they are planning on firing local arts critics and replacing them with centralized copy from Winnipeg:
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Gordon Fisher, CanWest President, News and information in a press release. “In fact, CNS has created five new positions that will expand national reporting on film, television and pop music/pop culture. As a result, all our newspapers will have greater flexibility to assign experienced arts reporters to the local cultural scene. We will also provide regular, at least weekly, coverage of Canadian movies, something not currently available in the Canadian media.”
CanWest also takes time to insult Ms Zerbisias — who certainly has a better reputation for integrity and accuracy than, oh, the media columnist in CanWest’s flagship daily — in language that seems to flirt uncomfortably close to actionable: Ms Zerbisias “has a persistent record of selective use of facts to fit her hobby-horse of the day… true to form with her latest diatribe, which falsely described a new CanWest News Service (CNS) initiative.”
(Oh, and speaking of diatribes, I reacted to CanWest’s alleged dunderheadedness yesterday.)
Update: Unfortunately for us — and a bunch of critics across the country — Mr Fisher’s sound and fury only signals deceit. A source in Ottawa says that the Citizen has just fired TV critic Tony Atherton, film critic Jay Stone and arts critic Lynn Saxberg. (CBC Ottawa is reporting same.) If the rest of Ms Zerbisias’ article is right, they’ll be reassigned to the newsroom and able to apply for one of five positions created in Winterpeg.
Baseless speculation: Did CanWest Global plan this move to coincide with the start of shooting in Iraq, thus guaranteeing it would not make the front page (or, at least, the front page of the two important dailies they don’t own)?
Oh, and finally: Luke over at attaboy.ca paints a completely far-fetched and unbelievable scenario about the changes: “Imagine if you will, a major movie distributor promises to buy more ads in CanWest papers, and every paper runs the same review, and hmm, wouldn’t it be great if we could make sure that the review doesn’t say anything nasty about the client’s new film? I mean that’s a win-win, right?” Of course, I’m sure CanWest Global would never act based on the desire for profits and gave always put the strict seperation of church and state first.
Phew. That’s enough sarcasm for one day.