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When in doubt, blame the media

November 29, 2010

Well the Prince George Citizen seems to have stepped in it.

As I write this, the top story on the Prince George Free Press the headline: “RCMP, city, firefighters blast Prince George Citizen.” Firefighters and police officers were accused of participating in a brawl in a story in the Citizen. The original offending story on the Citizen website – it’s apparently been removed after provoking articulate comments like “you’re an idiot” – but it has pissed off all the people who matter in town. The Citizen told Free Press reporter Arthur Williams that it stands by the story.

Despite the story and headline — which I guess is the only one you can write — Free Press editor Bill Phillips seems to take his competitor’s side. On his blog he writes, “It doesn’t seem like the local officials actually took the time to talk to the Citizen about the story, but rather called a press conference to complain about it.”

At first blush, for us, it’s fun to see the other guys get blasted. However, we are being dragged into something between the city and the paper. I suppose it’s a public response to a public story.

What’s interesting is that neither the city, the police, or the firefighters seem to be willing to launch a libel suit against the Citizen, which is the only recourse for most people who feel maligned. Perhaps they just want the public response.

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In other northern news….

Lots of comments on this 100 Mile House story by Ken Alexander about a one-armed woman fired by Dairy Queen for, according to the B.C. Human Rights Commission, more or less having one arm.

Ryan Lux of the Alaska Highway News writes that Fort St. John council will let pastors pray in City Hall for city officials to craft wise legislation. The program will be run for a three-month trial period. Success will be determined by the number of staff and politicians showing up for prayer not, apparently, by the brilliance, or lack thereof, of resulting legislation.

The aforementioned Bill Phillips also writes about a study that reports men are dying quicker than woman up north.

Alan Hale of the Northern View in Prince Rupert writes about a limited First Nations blockade and runs into your typical Ministry of (Insert gov’t department here) wall. The issue is interesting. The government response isn’t, but it is disturbingly typical. Why do they always have to reply to such comments in e-mails in which they often don’t address the original questions? Actually don’t bother answering. The reason is just too obvious.

Seen something else I should know about? E-mail bclocalreporter(at)gmail.com

Reminder: help complete a census of B.C. community newspapers by filling in the blanks of the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. 

Photo by Ian Muttoo via Flickr
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