Saturday, September 04, 2010

Truth or truthiness?

If Kory Teneycke's op ed against Margaret Atwood is an example of the level of journalistic rigour and commitment to truth and accuracy that we can expect in his new network, we're in trouble.
Here's the way Kory put it, compared to reality:
Avaaz, an American special interest group funded by U.S. billionaire George Soros . . . Avaaz (“voice” in Persian) . . . ignorant U.S. fringe group
Reality: Contrary to the "Persian" implication, Avaaz is not an Iranian front organization. Nor is "American". Nor is it a "fringe group". Here's what Avaaz is actually all about: is a new global online advocacy community that brings people-powered politics to global decision-making.
Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—was launched in January 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens everywhere to help close the gap between the world we have and the world most people want.
In 3 years, Avaaz has grown to 5.5 million members from every country on earth, becoming the largest global web movement in history.
The Economist writes of Avaaz' power to "give world leaders a deafening wake-up call"; the Indian Express heralds "the biggest web campaigner across the world, rooting for crucial global issues.” and Suddeutsche Zeitung calls Avaaz "a transnational community that is more democratic, and could be more e ffective than the United Nations.” Run by a virtual team on 3 continents, Avaaz operates in 14 languages.
. . . Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Avaaz "has driven forward the idealism of the world." Al Gore says "Avaaz is inspiring… it has already made a significant difference.” Zainab Bangura, the foreign minister of Sierra Leone, describes Avaaz as "an ally, and a rallying place, for disadvantaged people everywhere to help create real change.” . . . was co-founded by Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and, an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States.
It can also be noted that the Conservatives were pissed off with Avaaz in 2008, when they launched a campaign in October to stop a Harper majority government.
Atwood is not the only A-list “celebrity” that has signed. Dwight Shroot (from The Office), Boba Fett (of Star Wars), Snuffaluffagus (Sesame Street) and Homer Simpson are also signatories. Clearly the CRTC should take note of such distinguished individuals lending their name to this smear job.

Reality: Kady O'Malley Sept 3, 2010:
I can't speak for the CRTC, but that line made me take note, for one very simple reason: the petition itself isn't actually online, which means it's not possible to view the names of any of the signatories.
. . . Avaaz executive director Ricken Patel...told me that, although they still hadn't identified the source, they have "tracked all of the suspect names to a single IP address," and that it appears that "a good number of the journalists who were fraudulently added were from the same source that added the Snuffluphagus" -- which would, of course, be the very same correspondent who tipped off Tenecyke to the fake names in time for him to include them in his column today.
"What's really concerning for us is that this fraud occurred last night, right as he must have been writing his op-ed, so he appears to have almost instantaneous knowledge of the fraud being committed -- before we did or anyone else. How is that possible? And, given that this is potentially criminal investigation, will he disclose that relationship to his source? ..."
This is not the first time Atwood has put her political agenda ahead of principles and patriotism. In the 2008 election campaign she was asked if she would vote for the separatist Bloc Quebecois if she lived in Quebec, she said: “Yes. Absolutely. What is the alternative?”
Reality: Globe and Mail Oct. 3, 2008:
Ms. Atwood, who described her support for Mr. Duceppe as “ironic” given his pledge to build a sovereign Quebec, said he has a better grasp of the economy than the Conservative Leader. Although she lives in Toronto and has voted for every political party from the Conservatives to the Greens in previous elections, Ms. Atwood is encouraging Canadians to vote for the candidate in their riding who can stop a Conservative from winning. “I'm here because Mr. Duceppe understands the contribution that culture makes to our economy. He understands $84-billion, and he understands 1.1 million jobs,” she said.
Sun TV News is not, nor has it ever, asked for “mandatory carriage” by cable or satellite companies.We are simply asking for the channel to be “offered” by the distributors. . . . It does not mean it is a part of the basic cable or satellite package, nor does it dictate what (if any) package it would be a part of.
Reality: Marketing magazine Sept. 3
In an application made public this week, the Quebec media conglomerate is asking the federal regulator to grant it a Category 2 specialty license for its proposed Sun TV News service. In a twist, however, it is asking the federal regulator to grant it “mandatory access” to Canadian BDUs for a maximum of three years.
Quebecor’s previous application for a Category 1 service–in which it would have been granted mandatory carriage by BDUs–was denied in July.
If Sun TV gets its license, will we be spending the next decade writing corrective blog posts like this one?
UPDATE: POGGE is on it. And 900ftJesus. And Alison is all over it and flags Avaaz's response. Don't miss Linda McQuaig at Rabble (h/t Cliff)

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