In yesterday’s National Post Newspaper (June 4, 2004), Gillian Cosgrove wrote an unflattering column about Jack Layton (page A8), the leader of the socialist NDP Party of Canada.
The fact that she somewhat demeaned Layton didn’t bother me a bit, since I too think he is a phony and a would-be disaster for Canada if he ever wins an important spot in government.
But; she wasn’t accurate. And that bothers me to no end.
If much, or part of what she wrote was untrue, how am I supposed to believe any of what she wrote?
The National Post is my favorite Canadian newspaper for a host of reasons. Two of them being its integrity and accuracy. So, when Gillian Cosgrove writes a piece riddled with inaccuracies, it bothers me to no end.
I believe that journalism is the most important profession known to man, simply because through it, consequences are created by how journalism shapes opinion.
Therefore; journalists do not have the right to get it somewhat right, mostly right, or right sometimes. Journalists must be right all the time.
In her article about Jack Layton, Cosgrove said he lived in Hudson, a place she described as a suburb of Montreal that is second in wealth to Westmount.
Neither of that is true.
Hudson, in proximity to Montreal, is akin to New Market to Toronto, and Langley to Vancouver. Neither of which are close or suburbs.
She said that Hudson is second in wealth to Westmount. Also not true. Westmount is where Montreal’s wealthiest Blue Bloods live in large homes, many of which hang over the side of Mount Royal.
Hudson is nothing like that at all.
There are other Montreal communities (suburbs) that are far wealthier than Hudson. Off the top of my head I can name: Hampstead, Cote St Luc, Town Of Mount Royal, Outremont, Beaconsfield and Senneville which is perhaps the wealthiest of them all.
Hudson is a small mostly English speaking community about 45 minutes from downtown Montreal (without traffic) that used to be where the country gentry used to live. Today, it is more of a bedroom community for Montreal, but nothing like Cosgrove let on.
Gillian Cosgrove painted this picture of where Jack Layton lived, in order to show him as a privileged member of the upper class, while he takes great effort to portray himself as just one of the people.
Although Hudson is a gorgeous town, it is not rich. There are no shortage of people in Hudson who are just living above the poverty-line. And the population is very old. I know, I lived in Hudson and next to Hudson for more than 20 years.
Gillian Cosgrove made many other assertions about Jack Layton that might be true. But how would I know that, if what she wrote about his life in Hudson was anything but true?
If I am to believe what she, or any other journalist writes, I have to believe the whole story; or none of it at all.
This Web Site (Galganov Dot Com) is a great source of personal pride for me. I do it because I love writing and sharing my opinions. And because I truly believe that it is our obligation to disseminate honest information.
So, when I read an inaccurate column in a respected publication. Or see an unfair or biased news report on a respected television broadcast. Or hear a misleading news item on a respected radio station. I feel betrayed.
Democracy and individual rights are at the mercy of the media. Their obligation is to tell the truth, and to protect us from lies and liars. Nothing more and nothing less.
When respected journalists bend the truth, they are attacking the greatest safeguard of freedom that we have. Gillian Cosgrove should be ashamed of herself.