It only seems fitting that the first victim of my astute and whimsical musings is the National Post, given that it represents much of what is wrong with the world.

Have you mongered your fear lately?
The Post elected to lead today with a lovely little piece by Clifford Krauss headlined “NORAD IN JEOPARDY: EXPERTS”
Note the dramatic use of all capitals to emphasize the point.
It’s worth noting at this point that Krauss is a New York Times reporter and this story first ran there yesterday with the headline “Divergent Paths: Canada Breaks With U.S. Over Missile Shield.”
The fundamental problem with the Post’s coverage is that “experts” aren’t worried about NORAD. One expert is. The not-so-impartial Christopher Sands from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
If you read further down (by which I mean two paragraphs), the U of C’s David Bercuson is quoted noting that Canada sitting out missile defence is a “big departure,” but says nothing about NORAD going to shit. Later on in the story (after the turn, of course), Robert Pastor from the Center for North American Studies at Washington’s American University is quoted saying that Canada looks to be trying to deepen the relationship with the U.S. Pierre Martin from Universite de Montreal adds that “what NORAD is doing now is going to keep going for awhile.”
So let’s recap. “Experts” saying that Canada sitting out of missile defence will sink NORAD = 1. “Experts” saying that NORAD will keep on keepin’ on = 3.
But since when do we let cold facts get in the way of a sensational headline.

The Numbers Don’t Lie
What’s that National Post, you want more? Look no further than the only other non-Beyonce-at-the-Oscars headline above the fold. “Canadians open to missile plan: poll”
Read that headline again. You assume that the Post found a poll showing Canada supported missile defence, right?
“The new COMPAS poll suggests that while a slim majority opposes Canadian participation in the American missile defence program, public opinion remains highly unstable.”
Let’s extrapolate. A slim majority opposes Canadian participation in missile defence, therefore, Canadians open to missile plan? The numbers don’t clarify this any. While the 54 per cent opposition to missile defence can rightly be called a slim majority, they go on to point out that only 36 per cent support it.
The explanation for the headline? COMPAS president Conrad Winn says “I don’t think he country has firm opinions on the issue.” No firm opinions = open to missile plan, I get it.
But wait, further down the CanWest chain, Joanne Laucius reported that less than five years ago, the program had the support of a slim majority. This story appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Edmonton Journal and the Vancouver Sun.
Winn appears again, explaining that Canadians have no firm opinion on the matter because no party has championed the cause.
Or perhaps, and I’m just shooting off here, perhaps Canadians DO have a firm opinion. Perhaps more and more Canadians reject the idea of missile defence.
But what do I know, I just read polls, I don’t compose them.

Quit picking on the Post, jerk
O.K., you’re right. I’ll take some shots elsewhere too. This one is for the Ottawa-types, so the rest of you can get a sandwich. The Ottawa Citizen bills itself as the respectable alternative to the Ottawa Sun. They are well above the Sunshine Girl, soft-core porn triviality of their competitor, right?
It was bad enough last week when the two papers tripped over each other to get the best coverage of the Girls Gone Wild taping in town, but today the Citizen ran a story on the lead page of the City section entitled “Trying to understand when young women go wild.”
It’s a fucking analysis of why girls flash their breasts at cameras. Oh, and a photo showing said ladies “going wild” runs too, forcing the story to turn.
I can only imagine how THAT story meeting went:
“Hey, we still have a tonne of photos from that Girls Gone Wild thing. . .”
“Hmm, how can we run them?”
*scattered murmurs of thought*
“Wait, let’s get Tony to do an analysis of why girls flash their tits!”
I hate the Sun, but at least they don’t try to hide what they do.


  1. COMPAS makes its money developing and interpreting polls in a way that is favourable to its clients. I wouldn’t trust a word that comes out of that organization.

    But I think you’re missing the real point in all this, Joe. Why DO girls flash their breasts at the camera?

  2. You could do a similar critique on the post every day… it’s that bad.

    It’s all Mulroney’s fault.

    Personal request: if you ever are able, to a critique of “science and health” reporting, which has listed every known substance in the universe as both causing AND counteracting cancer.

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