Paul Wells has turned from a journalist supporting Stephane Dion and disliking Michael Ignatieff to a zealot determined to bring down the Igster at all costs. His blog for the past 3-4 weeks has featured two things: 1) self promotion of his new book and 2) cutting down Ignatieff from all sides.

He got this way with Paul Martin – obsessed with bringing down the man.

I wonder why.

The best journalists, in my humble opinion, are the ones who can ask tough questions, expose inconsistencies and paint an accurate portrait of the people and issues they are covering but a unidimensional no holds barred attack like Wells is inflicting on Ignatieff smacks of Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh.

A journalist that I have great respect for told me once that Wells detested Paul Martin because he wasn’t taken to lunch (literally and metaphorically).

For me, when a politician is so reviled by someone like Wells, it makes me tend to like them more (except in the case of poor old Martin who was doomed with our without Wells).

Also that Trudeau son that is working to hard to bring down Iggy. I neve really liked the sons of famous politicians getting into politics themselves. It hasn’t seemed to work out the best for the Yanks.

Trudeau should follow Ben Mulroney and get into entertainment. That’s where the real glamour and money is.

Back to Wells. I don’t think he has the ideological makeup to be Fox News’ Canadian Bill O’Reilly. But he’s trying. He really is.

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0 Responses to

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know who paul wells is but I support any move to bring down Ignatieff. That a guy who hasn’t even lived in the country for three decades can get even close to being Prime Minister is nauseating. Ever since reading his book I’ve been doubly convinced that this guy is simply Harper’s twin brother. If he’s actually elected leader, it will just be proof that the country is a one party state.

  2. scott says:

    I have a great deal of respect for Paul Wells and his writings. Always have and mostly likely always will. He is very knowledgable about how politics really works in Ottawa. I respect that.

    For the record, with regards to the Dithers gang, it wasn’t as much an obsession for Wells as it was him reporting the obvious ineptness of the board. I think the same can be said for ignatieff who is a flip flopping erudite.

  3. David Campbell says:

    You could be right about Ignatieff but that’s not my point. My ongoing struggle is to find a reasonable position for the media in these kinds of debates. I am not convinced that such direct and explicit attempts to bring down a politician should be the role of a journalist. Ultimately, a journalist can write whatever the heck they want but at some point an editor should decide whether or not the journalist has moved from good, investigative and informed reporting into a deliberate attempt to push a specific agenda. If Paul Wells wants to bring down Ignatieff so bad, why doesn’t he sign up and become a delegate (too late now)?

    This is just part of my ongoing struggle with the role of the media on issues of vital local and national interest. I am not overly comfortable with the Fox News/Lou Dobbs-style obsessions invading Canada. If you turned on Lou Dobbs in 2003 you would have witnessed at least half his program smalling ‘illegal immigration’. If you watched it in 2004 ditto. 2005 ditto. I was in bed sick yesterday so I flipped on Lou and, you guessed it, the perils of ‘illegal immigration’. They are pushing an ideological agenda and crafting stories to fit that agenda. Am I crazy or shouldn’t journalists report news and not makeup news to suit some personal view of the world? The fact is that Mexicans have been illegally coming into the US for decades – something like 70% of all Hispanics that are now legal in the US came via illegal channels (either them or their parents). So, now Lou Dobbs doesn’t like the rise of the Hispanic population polluting his white faces so he will hammer on ‘illegals’?

    Sorry for the diatribe but I fear that guys like Wells tend to stray in that direction sometimes.

  4. Spinks says:

    No surprise, I think O’Reilly is a breath of fresh air. I have new admiration for Wells if that’s his goal to actually see news outside the groupthink.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Again, I don’t know who Paul Wells is, but again, you should really watch ‘outfoxed’ or ‘orwell spins in his grave’ or read some media studies if you think journalists have the power over what is seen or read. There are owners, and owners always have interests and journalists serve those interests. I”m not sure how somebody can live in New Brunswick, the most blatant example of that, and not get it.

    What you are seeing is the ‘stupidification’ of journalists. These guys are essentially trained to be corporate mouthpieces. Even the CBC hardly probes beyond asking basic questions. Watch any news report or news piece and you will quickly notice that reporters NEVER challenge authority figures (they will lose access).

    That’s of course why the internet has exploded with media sources. The central problem still exists though, that those making decisions are unreachable. As I’ve mentioned, a blogger maintains that Graham has told reporters to not ask him about the referendum on PR. Imagine asking reporters what not to ask questions on!

    Most provinces now have pretty established alternative websites, if not presses. PEI and New Brunswick are the only two I can think of that don’t (which is why I’m always prodding you guys).

    The Tyee in BC now gets more hits than the large dailies print copies. If you want to know where a particular journalists ‘agenda’ lies, just ask who signs their cheques.

    For the US, Fox is extreme because of course so much is at stake. Americans actually have some power in the country, so the propaganda there is rampant. When people have power, they need to be controlled. In Canada, its not that important because essentially all we can do is choose between the lesser of two evils. The parties do the rest and we have no say. So all the Irvings have to do is ‘make up’ retarded things for people to wax jingoistic about, like why Moncton is better than St. John, or why Tim Hortons coffee is better than Robins Donuts and shit like that. It’s far easier to control people when they feel a sense of animosity to people in different geographic areas.

    As for ‘signing up’ thats the worst thing to do, because then you are still only one voice. By making public accusations you can affect others votes, which is far more effective.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Keep in mind there is a difference between ‘journalism’ and ‘author’. The Charles Leblanc thing went a long way to bringing that out. YOU are not a journalist, you are a blogger. Paul Wells, if he is doing something in his blog, is a BLOGGER, NOT a journalist. I doubt he is paid for his blog.

    If he has an article or articles in MacLeans, then those articles should be examined separately because they reflect the views of the editor as well and a publication.

    However, as you and Charles show, bloggers are ANYTHING if not ‘biased’. Again, there are those like Brian Crowley who don’t see your point. They want the underemployed out of here, but does AIMS look at your blog and talk about your ‘journalism’? Of course not.

    So dont get mixed up reading blogs and thinking they are journalism, far from it. They have no editors, and no owners. It’s hardly surprising that he’d be touting his book at his blog, if you published one, wouldn’t you? I found his book cover quite humourous, since Harper seems to be the twin brother of Paul Martin, perhaps thats his point- ‘new conservatism’ and ‘new liberalism’ mean the same thing.

  7. scott says:

    YOU are not a journalist, you are a blogger. Paul Wells, if he is doing something in his blog, is a BLOGGER, NOT a journalist. I doubt he is paid for his blog.

    If he has an article or articles in MacLeans, then those articles should be examined separately because they reflect the views of the editor as well and a publication.

    So as long as we follow your reasoning anon, then Mike Klander should never have had too step down from his position as executive vice-president of the Liberal’s Ontario wing after making posts on his blog comparing Chow to a Chow Chow dog and calling Jack Layton an “asshole”. Because, according to you, they are separate.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I doubt my reasoning had much to do with whether Paul Klander stepped down or not. As I don’t know what the story is its hard to comment, however, from what is said above, I can gather, the guy is not a journalist. If he called Jack Layton an asshole in his blog and he is a journalist, who cares? If he is a member of the liberal party executive that is something different, just as if David or Charles held positions within a political party then it would be different.

    I don’t see why somebody would ‘have’ to step down from calling somebody names, most of the parliamentary sessions consist of nothing but politicians calling people names. If you go to Garth Turners weblog he regular insults those who post comments.

    The liberals would no doubt want him to step down just to show they don’t condone idiocy, but thats party politics and has nothing to do with blogging and journalism.

  9. scott says:

    If you go to Garth Turners weblog he regular insults those who post comments.

    And what happened as a result of those insults regarding internal matters? duh. He was booted from caucus.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I doubt he was booted for the insults, caucus didn’t like him reporting on everything. None of that has anything to do with the topic though.

  11. scott says:

    Yes it does, anon. You are arguing that Paul Wells, as a journalist, could say pretty much anything on his blog and get away with it [as long as he stays clean in his Macleans articles]. So to be more specific, your point is that the two [Macleans and Inkless] are separate entities in amongst themselves wherein they do not have any type of connection to eachother.

    I am arguing the opposite as you just have to look at the amount heat Antonia Zerbisias took for hosting and quoting a known racist in Robert McClellan. She has decided to shut her comments section down to save her Toronto Star hyde.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I don’t remember saying that, obviously if its the same person then ‘there’s a connection’. What I said is that McLeans is responsible for what they publish, and Wells is responsible for what he publishes. When you write for a magazine you send in a spec, to which an editor then approves or disapproves, then an article, which an editor then changes any way they like and then publishes and you recieve pay. That’s what makes it ‘journalism’.

    Therefore they are responsible for it. For a blog a guy can be sitting naked, drunk or stoned and put out any rubbish and its out there. To state that is journalism is quite a stretch. Authors write letters to friends but we don’t call them books, and don’t hold their publishers accountable for them. Stretching that further, if somebody got hold of those letters and published them daily in a blog we still wouldn’t hold the authors publisher accountable.

    As for the latter example, many newspapers and organizations have writers set up blogs. We saw that with Irving and the CBC during the election. That was run by the organizations so again they had to be approved by management and they couldn’t just come out with anything.

    A reporter could of course start a blog on their own, the safest way would be to just be anonymous, because a newspaper like the Star may simply state that if ‘too much opinion’ gets out then they won’t want to be affiliated with you because you are tainted. A reporter could argue that its freedom of speech, but they’d be in court forever, would have no paycheque, and likely wouldn’t find another job. But they could do it anonymously, and perhaps many do.

    However, to assert that a magazine is responsible for everything that a contributor has written would be silly. If an author they bought a story from spent his life writing racist comments, no doubt they’d stear clear, but if they published an article that person wrote about flower arranging in Flower Arrangement Canada, that doesn’t mean they sanction racism.

    If that were true then Irvings company would be responsible for all the blogs Alec Bruce ever wrote just because he had some articles in the paper. That’s clearly absurd. If somebody wants to believe that, that’s their business though. If you want to hold Macleans responsible for all of Paul Wells blogs, go to it. The easy analogy to see how nonsensical that is is to imagine that Paul Wells had a hobby of stamp collecting. Say his blog only talked about stamp collecting. Would Mr. Campbell be writing this blog complaining “you know, Paul Well used to shrilly denounce Paul Martin, but now journalism has gotten so bad that all he talks about is stamp collecting! Boy journalism really ticks me off, all it is is stamp collecting!”