Friday, July 21, 2006

McKay to Globe & Mail: Reveal Your Sources

In a very public temper tantrum, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay has chastised the Globe & Mail for a story it ran and has called for the newspaper to reveal its sources.

I assume this is the offending article, which is quite critical of the government's Lebanon evacuation efforts.

PMO wanted crisis kept under wraps, sources say

...The perception of inaction was exacerbated by the lack of information flowing last week about Canadian efforts to organize a response.

In fact, Foreign Affairs staff realized last week that there was an emergency situation involving tens of thousands of Canadians brewing in Lebanon.

But federal sources say there was an edict handed down by Sandra Buckler, the Prime Minister's communications director, dictating that the situation was to be kept under wraps.

McKay responded (in part):

The Globe and Mail's front-page story suggesting that the Prime Minister's Office - or his Director of Communications - in any way hampered the efforts of the evacuation of Canadians in Lebanon is absolutely and patently false.

What is particularly unfortunate about your story is that such a statement could make it to the front page of your paper, supported by only unnamed "federal sources" and no effort whatsoever to contact the Prime Minister's Office to verify the accuracy of the claim. If you have a source that made such a false statement, I want to assure you via this letter that it is completely and absolutely untrue. I would also hope that, the next time the Globe and Mail suggests that the Prime Minister's Office was complicit in putting Canadians in harm's way, you would demonstrate the journalistic integrity to name your source and allow this office to comment on the record for the story.
Given the severity of the current situation and operations in the Middle East, I would strongly encourage you as the Editor in Chief of the Globe and Mail to not allow uninformed and false sniping from the shadows of anonymity. I strongly believe that such serious allegations require sources that are prepared to go on the record - and stand by their statements in the light of day. It is profoundly disturbing and disappointing that an institution such as the Globe and Mail would allow such a story to be printed without either naming its source or allowing the Prime Minister's Office to comment.
In the interests of correcting your false and misleading story today, I am making this letter public via other members of Canada's media.

Shorter McKay: someone in my party is a traitor and must now face a public shaming and how dare you print anything critical of me and Steve!

The Globe and Mail: Canada's version of the treasonous New York Times.

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