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Friday, January 10, 2014

How to self-generate news for your newspaper

The excellent blog, BC Blue brings to our attention the crass attempt by The Toronto Star and one of its reporters, Marco Oved, to shakedown Peter Kent, the Conservative MP for Thornhill, back in mid-December.

Peter Kent has published on his Website a copy of a letter from The Toronto Star newspaper, which is a blatant attempt to blackmail Mr. Kent into joining it’s (the Star’s) crusade to bring down Toronto’s beleaguered mayor, Rob Ford. The letter claims to have been sent to “70 of Toronto’s civic leaders for comment”, and uses unusually strong language to solicit responses.

Apparently, John Hendrich, the chair of the board of Torstar, had written a column “… decrying the silence [regarding Rob ford] of Toronto’s elite.” I guess the column was not resonating sufficiently to satisfy the folks at the Star, so I’m guessing they sent out the letter to generate comments that they could later publish to further blacken Rob Ford’s name and sell more newspapers.

That’s quite a business model, eh? The big boss picks a fight with a local politician and condemns the politician in a newspaper column, after which he gets one of his staff to write to newsworthy citizens, demanding they respond to the boss’s column or be shamed in a latter edition of the newspaper. All in an effort, I suppose, to bolster sagging ad revenues.

I thought I would no longer be shocked by anything the Star did, but I was premature in my assessment. The content, and especially the tone, of the Star’s letter, signed by Marco Chown Oved, is shocking.

Read the letter on Peter Kent’s Website and decide for yourselves.

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