The controversy surround Jan Wong's Sept. 16th piece in the Globe and mail continues to swirl. Today it culminated in what amounts to an apology from G&M editor in chief Edward Greenspon.
CTV has the run down here. Some of the more pertinent excerpts follow here:
In his Letter to the Editor column published in the Globe on Saturday, Edward Greenspon wrote, "We regret that we allowed these words to get into a reported article,'' in which Wong raised the possibility that the shootings were linked to Quebecers' alleged prejudice against immigrants and a sense of alienation in non-francophone communities.
"While we feel the reaction to the article has been disproportionate -- including personal attacks on Jan and her family -- in hindsight, the paragraphs were clearly opinion and not reporting and should have been removed from that story,'' Greenspon wrote.
"To the extent they may have been used, they should have been put into a separate piece clearly marked opinion. That particular passage of the story did not constitute a statement of fact, but rather a thesis -- and thus did not belong in the article.''
Quite a remarkable statement by the editor in chief of a national daily.....Essentially that editorial speculation has no place in a hard news piece. As near as I can tell the paragraphs causing all the controversy are as follows:
"What many outsiders don't realize is how alienating the decades-long linguistic struggle has been in the once-cosmopolitan city,'' she wrote.
"It hasn't just taken a toll on long-time anglophones, it's affected immigrants, too. To be sure, the shootings in all three cases were carried out by mentally disturbed individuals. But what is also true is that in all three cases, the perpetrator was not pure laine, the argot for a `pure' francophone.''
"Elsewhere, to talk of racial `purity' is repugnant. Not in Quebec.''
Jan finds herself in hot water for speculating on the motivation of homicidal maniacs, going so far as to speculate the "root cause" of such behavior is linguistic and cultural alienation. Fair enough. I would have to agree with Edward Greenspon that this hardly constitutes hard reporting.
The CTV article concludes with the following statements:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote a letter to the Globe on Wednesday, calling Wong's argument prejudiced, absurd, irresponsible and without foundation.
The House of Commons also condemned the piece and, in a motion supported by all political parties, demanded an apology from the newspaper.
In a letter published in last Saturday's edition of the Globe, Quebec Premier Jean Charest called Wong's suggestion a "disgrace.''
So to summarize; The Prime Minister, The House of Commons (supported by all parties) and the Premier of Quebec all objected to Ms. Wong's psychic speculation.
Just for fun lets go have a look at how the CBC reported the same story.
Comments in a recent article by a Globe and Mail writer who suggested Quebec's francophone culture may have contributed to the Dawson College shootings should have been removed, the newspaper's editor-in-chief said Saturday.
In his Letter from the Editor column in the Globe's Saturday edition, Edward Greenspon wrote: "We regret that we allowed these words to get into a reported article."
Wong's comments drew a swift and furious response from Quebecers of all stripes, Greenspon noted.
So far so good. Sticking to the facts is a good thing. But watch what happens next.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Jean Charest wrote letters to the paper condemning Wong's remarks, but Wong said the two rebuked her article just to get votes in the province.
"I feel that it's opportunistic," Wong told CBC News. "In Stephen Harper's case, judging from his letter, I don't think he actually read the article. I think that they want votes in Quebec and they see this as a cheap and easy way to get it. Dump on a journalist."
Wong said Harper just wants to "patch things up with Charest" over their differences on scrapping the gun registry.
"I felt it was really crass, however, he also has the right to his opinion," she said.
"I just feel that the office of the prime minister should not be used in this way to dump on a reporter. I think he should do other things with his office."
Ohhh... Jan..Jan...Jan....your omniscience is showing again. Having pissed off most of the citizens of Quebec, the Prime Minister, The House of Commons, The Premier and your Editor in Chief this is what you offer as a mea culpa........more unfounded speculation and hints at victimization????
But that's not all Jan had to say.......noooo......Watch this:
She said she's surprised by the reaction to her feature. Wong, who is of Asian descent and a third-generation Quebecer, said many of the attacks against her have been racist.
"And in a way, I think it might prove what I was trying to get at. I mean, I'm a Quebecer," Wong said.
"Of course when this happens, I'm not. I'm actually one of those people in the middle that I was talking about. So, all a sudden I'm Asian."
So if I read this correctly you were right all along Jan? This is proven by the shabby treatment you have received since interjecting speculative observations into an emotionally charged situation? Jan your logic is astounding in the depth of its arrogance. But hell Jan isn't done yet!!
In one final career crushing act of unimaginable contradiction Jan offers this gem.
Wong refused to discuss the content of her piece.
"I didn't want to talk about what I wrote because what I wrote is out there."
"If people don't want to agree, that's fine. I welcome a debate.
I don't want to talk about it but I welcome debate!! Absolutely brilliant!!! I look forward to your next piece in the Stump Lake Sentinal.
But here's the kicker. As near as I can tell the CBC writer responsible for reporting on the story of a fellow journalist in trouble for speculating rather than reporting, chose to devote half of the text of the article on the further speculations of this same journalist.
Do you think this idiot may have missed the point also?
Christ these pompous assholes get everything they deserve.