Editorials - March 17, 2022
The world is watching
Watching the war in Ukraine play out over news broadcasts and with the unrelenting first-person accounts over social media is heartbreaking. With a pocket-sized news studio in the form of their cellphone, there is nowhere for a bully to hide.
President Vladimir Putin may claim that Russia did not bomb a maternity hospital or the corridors of evacuation, but the world can see that his words are all lies and the propaganda he is feeding his own people is not being bought outside of his own borders. He cannot control the message to the rest of the world and the evidence to the contrary continues to bombard us. But the rest of the world is left with two questions, how low can Putin go (if the maternity hospital wasn’t the lowest) and how long can the rest of the world allow him to go on? With the weekend strikes inching closer to NATO lines, it seems that Putin is asking the same questions.
Ukraine seems to be a pawn in a power struggle that only Putin sought, but now political leaders across the globe seem to be allowing it to go on to appease a mad man with nuclear weapons. Reports of horror continue to flow out of the besieged cities where evacuation is impossible and still the world has to sit and watch and wait. – DS
Write the right thing
Critics of Doug Ford have wondered how the province arrived at a place in which he could be elected Premier. The first chapters of that tale have little to do with Ford and more to do with Patrick Brown, former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and current Mayor of Brampton, and a story about him published by CTV in 2018.
The story accused Brown of sexual misconduct and, one day later, Brown resigned as the party leader. Ford then parachuted in, riding a desire for change to Queen’s Park, leaving Brown in his wake.
Brown has denied all wrongdoing and the allegations have not been tested in court. Furthermore, CTV would make a correction in regards to the age of one of Brown’s accusers, which led to Brown filing an $8 million defamation lawsuit. The case was settled last week with no money changing hands. “Key details provided to CTV for the story were factually incorrect and required correction,” reads a CTV statement. “CTV National News regrets including those details in the story and any harm this may have caused to Mr. Brown.”
The effects of the story, correction or not, are far-reaching beyond the toll on Brown and his career. It drastically changed the course of the provincial election ahead of four of the most pivotal years in world history, though none of us knew it at the time. Whether it’s Brown, Hillary Clinton’s e-mails or Jack Layton in a Toronto massage parlour, these kinds of timely stories have a tremendous ripple effect and it further underscores the important responsibility journalists have in getting it right.
Brown now says he’s “very happy” to put the situation behind him as he now vies to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Whether he does or doesn’t, his situation remains a stark reminder of the power of journalism, both when it comes to the truth and when those with the power of the pen get it wrong. – SL
In black and white
Suspecting something and knowing something are two different things, with the former based on research, documents and statistics while the latter could be based on anything from intuition to a belief held by many.
Up until last week, many Canadians, regardless of political stripe, suspected that the pandemic hadn’t been good for their country or its people. They suspected COVID-19 had driven apart families and friends, led to isolation and created fear in everyone. Last week, the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the Angus Reid Institute released a study showing that many of these suspicions have statistics to back them up.
Called “COVID at Two”, the study shows that the vast majority of the people surveyed feel the pandemic pulled our nation apart and “brought out the worst” in people. Of 2,550 respondents, 82 per cent said the pandemic pulled Canadians further apart, 79 per cent said the pandemic brought out the worst in people and 61 per cent said that Canadians’ level of compassion has grown weaker. Half of the respondents had a close friend or family member infected by COVID-19 while just over one-third had an infection in their household.
Other interesting statistics include the fact that 10 per cent of respondents feel the last two years were “the worst in their life”, one in 10 saying COVID-19 was a “severe” disruption in their life and nearly half saying it was a “significant” disruption. Nearly three-quarters of Canadians postponed travel while half delayed medical appointments and one-quarter delayed serious medical procedures or surgery.
So while many Canadians suspected things were bad, now they have the facts to know, which can be important. – JDS