Vancouver media won't be swayed by Vision's so-called hit list

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

41 comments


Wednesday evening's GlobalTV broadcast on "Vancouver's Embattled Mayor"

Is there or isn’t there a Vision Vancouver media hit list? That’s the question everyone has been asking at Vancouver City Hall this week as various media types are trying to track down whether a list of non-Vision friendly media exists or not. Blogger Alex G. Tsakumis first revealed the “media hit list” which is a compilation of about 15 media types who are apparently unfriendly to the current Vision administration. In other words, they don't just take the Mayor's news releases and report them verbatim. Can you believe this group actually has the temerity to question the material they've been given by the Mayor's office?

Although I can’t personally verify the validity of the "Top 15" hit list, I can tell you I laughed so hard when I first read about it that I almost keeled over. As was reported by 24 Hours newspaper on Wednesday morning, yours truly made it to the number three position (I'm told that I didn't rank higher on the list because I've written negative stories about the NPA, a political party I used to belong to). I eked out a bronze medal performance by coming just slightly ahead of crack GlobalTV reporter Marisa Thomas. My colleague and 24 Hours columnist Mike Klassen was ranked number one with radio talk show host Christy Clark in the #6 spot and the Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee pegged at #9.

Am I proud of the fact that I apparently made it on the Top 15 list of vocal critics of the current Vision Vancouver administration? You bet I am. Over the last two years our columnists have written critical comments and analysis about hundreds of councillors, mayors and cities regarding a myriad of silly or short-sided policy decisions. Dozens of our stories were eventually picked up and reported on by our colleagues in the mainstream media.

Since 2008, it’s been our unique and focused coverage of civic governments which has resulted in a respectible 3.68 million page views so far this year. CityCaucus.com has clearly hit home with tens of thousands of people interested in city politics and urban issues. What else could explain why we have almost 2000 Twitter followers and over 1300 on Facebook. Did I mention our little blog has just over 1000 people who receive our daily email newsletter then forward it on to thousands of their family and friends?

While Vision may not like our take on the machinations at City Hall, clearly we have attracted a loyal and significant group of readers who want us keep moving forward with the blog. That's why our team can assure you that whether a hit list exists or not, it will have no effect on the frequency and tone of the coverage on CityCaucus.com. No matter what type of smear and intimidation tactics are thrown our way, we intend on forging ahead with a product that has clearly caught the public's imagination.

So while I’m a tad disappointed I personally didn’t rank number one on the alleged hit list, our CityCaucus.com team was rather pleased that we “owned the podium”. After all, securing both a gold and bronze medal performance in the blood sport known as reporting on Vancouver City Hall is nothing to sneeze at. I'm most proud of the fact we did it all without the assistance of performance enhancing drugs! Okay, truth be told, we did on occasion have a late night cuppa java to keep the creative juices flowing. Does that count?

All kidding aside, this has been yet another brutal week (and summer) for Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision team. We'll have an in-depth feature post on that subject in the coming days. His political staff hoped their high profile news conference with Vancouver police chief Jim Chu regarding new crime rate stats would garner positive headlines. Not a chance, as it was the leaked memo regarding plummeting morale and politicization at City Hall which topped the news instead.

Meanwhile, Robertson and his staff also hoped his $120,000 junket to China (anyone know what the overall carbon footprint of this trip is??) would help position him as a job creator and visionary leader. The press release was written up and sent to the media. Unfortunately, it came on the heels of his $260,000 office renovations controversy.

As a result, Robertson was on the defensive having to justify this junket at a time when kids summer programs have been cut and firefighters are ringing the alarm bells about their budget being slashed. Things will only get worse this winter when a lack of homeless shelter funding will get the public asking if the Mayor had his priorities all wrong. You can hear it now..."wouldn't all that money have been better spent keeping a shelter open for the better part of a year!"

With Klassen taking the number one spot, I’m left licking my wounds and wondering what more I need to do in order to overtake him in the 2011 list. I'm not sure I’ll ever get that elusive gold medal, but I sure plan to have a heck of a lot of fun trying!

- post by Daniel

41 Comments

Reporter Bob Mackin of 24 Hours has now corroborated the story broken by AGT:
_________________________
The former Vision Vancouver insider who leaked a list of 15 reporters unpopular with the city’s governing party said it was created to personally target critical journalists.

“The gist of it is those people on the list are causing them discomfort, grief and they need to do something about it,” said the man, who asked for his name not to be published.
____________________________

Looks like the SHITE will soon hit the fan.

"No matter what type of smear and intimidation tactics are thrown our way, we intend on forging ahead with a product that has clearly caught the public's imagination."

The mayor could say exactly the same thing. ;)

Again, I just wonder at all the posters who just can't wait to vote vision out. What on earth leads you to believe the next group of politicians will be any different?

Either way, I look forward to citycaucus providing such in depth 'reporting' on all the devious conspiratorial plots and plans forged by the npa or whoever wins the next election.

And then we'll be reactionary and get angry and vote them out, and around and around we go.

Boohoo. Are we to imply from your comment the writers here at city caucus have somehow "smeared" and "intimidated" Gregor Robertson? Do tell.

I'm sure their lawyers would love for you to back up this claim. Please provide specific examples so we know you aren't doing a bit of drive by smear yoursefl.

The Thought of The Day

"Thinking about it, I personally, wouldn't call that 'The Hit List', I would simply call it...'Friends of Glissando List'"

Mike, Daniel, well done guys. Keep on writing, despite all, someone up there loves you.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

@boohoo

I would hope that no future government would be so stupid and naive as to target the media - or private citizens for that matter.

To this day I'm still wondering whether it was a Vision Councillor or someone on the political staff who slipped info to Frances Bula, about a back and forth with a private citizen making queries about campaign contributions which she then proceeded to blab about in the comments section of her blog (The further question of course, as a reporter why is Frances doing this government's bidding?)

Then there's that article where little Johnny Ross on his blog asks West End Neighbours spokesperson to confirm the addresses of where he, his mom and his brother live.

This crew is nasty. Amongst Magee, Kevin Quinlan and Ross, a lot of harm is being done to the Vision brand. If they've got a media hit list, surely someone within Vision's upper ranks should make a list of their own and put these hacks in the top three.

NW reporters on hit list
VANCOUVER/CKNW AM 980
Janet Brown | Email news tips to Janet
9/2/2010

"An absolute joke", and "......preposterous."
Some of the words Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson is using to describe a supposed list of 15 reporters unpopular with the city's governing party.


Robertson says to his knowledge, there's been no substantive evidence that any such list exists or was created by anyone he works with.

"......an absolute joke it's preposterous. There's nothing to it and frankly it's a total waste of time and undermines journalism and the good work that people on that list do everyday to try and report what's really happening."

The list was apparently leaked by a former Vision Vancouver insider to a political internet blogger who claims it was created by a group of people the mayor works with.


The list includes three CKNW staffers: Christy Clark, Jill Bennett and Janet Brown.

Robertson's rebuttal reminds me of Clinton -

"I did not have sex with that woman!"

Oh god, please don't compare Red-Light to Clinton. Clinton got a second term. I can't imagine the damage this man could inflict on the city if he was elected again.

November 2011 can't come soon enough!

@Max

At least Mike, Alex, Daniel and co. can take comfort in the fact Gregor says they do "good work". I knew he was a true democrat at heart.

I really tried to like you guys but damn you make it so so difficult.

When I heard about this “list” I figured maybe I should dig into it a bit, so I read through the Citycaucus blog and slogged through your crazy uncle’s site (AGT) but all I really could find was innuendo, speculation, hyperbole, and frankly just plain nastiness towards anybody who doesn’t tow the NPA (Tea) party line… you and Alex seem to have latched on to the Rush Limbaugh style of fearmongering - twisting anything to make the other team look “bad”, raising fears and doubt in small minded people who gravitate to negative sound bytes and whose different views and approaches they don’t take the time to truly understand.

Don’t get me wrong the Vision administration is not perfect, but they are in a very difficult economic environment if you hadn’t noticed, compounded by the missteps of the previous NPA administration… they are attempting to bring about some very positive change for the long term, not always viewed in the most positive light by short sighted “we want it now” people. If the depth of your rants are about “a list”, bike lanes, and business trips, well you are kinda of making your commentary irrelevant, or at the very best small minded.

It is always easier to criticize than become part of the solution to improve it, so tear it down, burn it down, run them out of town mentality gets the attention and press these days (mainstream or not). So Mike, you seem to be an accomplished business guy why not join a Vision committee to improve and bring about positive change in policy, from within, like you say you did under the NPA rule, but hey I understand it is kinda scary over on the other side isn’t it… the green movement, social change, and heaven forbid dealing with the economy by trying to stimulate business growth with others beyond the city limits, etc.

But I realize your blog isn’t really about politics but more about intolerance towards others, thinking within the box of negativity, so that you can some how “win” … or maybe its simply an easy way to get your 15 min of fame while driving traffic to your site for financial gain. Good luck, I guess.

Chris:

At this story has been now covered by most of the MS media - Robertson and Vision would be exceptionally stupid if they provided more fuel for the fire.

As in, threatening any of these reporters in an which way.

And I refer to AG's blog.

Eyes are watching and ear are open.

But I am sure one or two will still manage to shoot themselves in the foot(Ross comes to mind).

No offense 'disappointed' - but referencing - 'twisting anything to make the other team look “bad”'

Vision and this Mayor have been the masters of their own fate and with any luck come 2011, their demise.

Journalists don't speculate - they report facts.

So please do tell, which of the articles published or commented on by any of the 'Top 15' have been false.

This Mayor and Council took an oath for an open and transparent government... and we have received anything but. They continue to heap one lie on top of the other.

It has zero to do with 'green policies' or the 'economy'. It is about backdoor, dirty and dishonest politics.

And please, what is your definition of 'social change'. I am very curious about that particular choice of words.

Journalists or should I say, investigative journalists are the only people keeping this arrogant, self entitled, city hall group in-line. they are holding their feet to the fire - as they should.

And when you have Vision backers jumping ship - that speaks volumes.

Do tell - what flavor was the koolade?

Max,

You don't mean Mike and his trusty sidekick Alex do you, when you refer to investigative journalists?

At best they are hackneyed bloggers (smart yes) but simply bloggers with a nasty streak that appeals to certain kinds of people.

for Koolade, I prefer orange, and you? sour-grapes?

I will make sure to toast you come the next election.

No sour grapes - I prefer a Merlot.

Disappointed: ...“we want it now” people.

Could you elaborate on that? The only 'We want it now' people I can think of are those that lobby Vision... like the bike lobby.

Rumours continue to swirl that Robertson is about to get a new comms director. Is the announcement imminent? Surely the mayor needs to make this change soon to help our party and his own political fortunes. The bad stories continue with no apparent strategy on how to deal with them. Will anyone in the Mayor's office stop drinking the bath water long enough to realize we're getting killed out there. The media hit list is the final straw. Even Garr was attacking us today. Perhaps a certain vision blogger might want to dust off his resume and take over at the helm.

When the media starts using 'embattled' to describe a politician, that politician is in a very deep hole that is very hard to get out of. It's phase one of writing a politician off.

@Dennis/Jason

I would refer you to this quote written here on this very blog:

"Although I can’t personally verify the validity of the "Top 15" hit list, I can tell you I laughed so hard when I first read about it that I almost keeled over."

So rumour = breaking news?

I would hope that no blog trying to pretend to be news wouldn't be so stupid and naive to target the government or anyone else without a little piece of evidence above and beyond whispers and rumours...

Maybe this is true, maybe it's not. The fact is with this hyper-politicized blogosphere we live in it's getting harder and harder to separate fact from fiction. We hear this rumour or that rumour, take it as fact, and then move on to the next juicy story without ever really learning about or discovering the truth.

It's our fault as readers for our attention span of a 10 year old, and blogs and the news just deliver what we deserve.

Boohoo,
go back and read this blog/or any print publication and you will see that the list has been verified... you really don't get it do you?

George, I read this blog post, the other on this site, I read the link to 24, I forced myself to read Tsakumis' blog. The only evidence I can see is an 'un-named source'.

Is that what you're saying is verified information? If it's actually out there, please, show me the link.

Boohoo,
go back and read 24 hours. Remember that it is a printed publication therefore has much stricter guidelines for publication liabilities. That means he must be pretty darn sure before he prints anything. Good try...again I really don't think you get it. You are either a Vision member flogging for all it is worth, or it is over your head, if the later is the case, you need to stay away from blogs like this because you just don't get it...therefore you are wasting our time.
Or is that what you are paid to do?

As far as I know, the laws in Canada are applied the same regardless of the media used, esp. for 'real' news organizations. After all, what good would it be if you could run the same story online and in print, but the two were held to different legal standards? Unworkable and illogical.

If I'm wrong about this I'm sure someone will be quick to set me straight. If so, some links to those cases which established precedents would be most welcome and interesting to read.

Also, the articles published so far are pretty carefully worded. Everybody is seemingly hedging their bets until further evidence one way or another surfaces.

The online comments are certainly a fascinating example of how we all eagerly subscribe to the theories which bolster our preconceptions, despite evidence or a lack thereof.

did anyone care if Wikileaks is MSM?

Stop smoking the wretched weed Keam, it's starting to make you sound even denser than usual.

Pay attention:

1) In ANY media, unnamed sources are used. It is commen practice ot protect a source like that. It's how the Ark Tsisserev story came to pass. My original source was NEVER revealed. But Tsisserev sat for an interview.

2) There are no preconceived notionswith me. I spent three years pummeling Sam, much to the chagrin of the fine folks who run this blog. I was a good guy then for Gregor and crew. I still have the complimentary emails. But I did it because that's my job as a critic to call it the way I see it.

3) In your comment below you you shoudl have just stopped at--"as far as I know" and then left the rest blank, in order to accurately reflect EXACTLY what you really know.

You're a cheap excuse for a troll. Always angling to switch the channel so the original point vanishes.

Point being: By tomorrow. you'll have as much evidence as you're going to get.

Then again, unless the poor guy who did everyone a favour comes out and is flogged to death by you and the other Vision disciples, then it will never be enough.

@ Chris
There are many of us with little goodies, waiting for just the right moment, to share with reporters and blogs.
But you already know that, or you wouldn't be so vigilant on these particular sites;)

Hi George:

Just pointing out that the law applies equally for all forms of media and for the various authors and commenters who use them as far as I know. Is that incorrect?

Alex:

I didn't even mention you. All I did was address a comment by another poster, and note how both people on both sides of the issue are rushing to judgment.

Although, it's hard to be anything but flattered when a blogger with so many readers such as yourself can't let a single comment by yours truly pass by without decanting the Alice B. Tsunami genie from the economy-sized bottle of vitriol where she resides. :-)

cheers,
CK

Chris ,
No I do not agree with you, in any way shape or form...try as you might, I will never be swayed to your side of the argument. The view is so much clearer from my side.

When esteemed reporters with integrity such as Harvey Oberfeld visit AGT's site, leaving glowing commentaries, regarding the quality of the articles written.

Then I read your overly wordy posts, and the critical reply posts that people send you... come on Chris, you have absolutely no credibility.
...but you already know that, so many before me have told you.

Give it up, you won't win this argument. Simply because your guy Gregor and crew have absolutely no integrity left.


"The online comments are certainly a fascinating example of how we all eagerly subscribe to the theories which bolster our preconceptions, despite evidence or a lack thereof."

(Leaving aside this whole "hit list" silliness) I've noticed that myself Chris, though I suspect it's not from the same posters as you are likely referring to.

Hi Ian:

I'm referring to pretty much everyone, myself included.

George:

This has nothing to do with taking sides, my integrity, or popularity or word count. You claim there's a different set of rules for 'print publications'. Can you clarify?

@George.

I'm still waiting for that source. Stop deflecting. Either there is a 'hit list' or not. If no one can produce this list, why should I believe it exists?

This has nothing to do with supporting vision. It has to do with rumour mongering and whispers in the dark being passed off as news.

I'm not saying this list doesn't exist or couldn't exist, hell I wouldn't be all that surprised if these clowns actually did have one. But until I see something other than unverified vague sources then you tell me why I should take it as fact.

People keep talking about these "rumors" of a new Communications Director...

Did nobody see this??? Or did I miss something???

"New Director of Communications
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mairi Welman as Director of Communications for the City. The appointment follows a national search looking for the ideal candidate to lead communications at the City. During Ms. Welman’s 22 year career, she has gained extensive experience in progressively senior positions in the high-tech, film and television, transportation, environment, arts and public administration sectors. Mairi comes to the City from the Recycling Council of BC, where she has served as Communications Director since 2007. Mairi’s innovative approach at the Council helped to revamp the organization's image, raise public awareness of the Council, and re-position it as an expert in the area of zero waste. She also helped transform the primarily paper-based organization into one that embraces electronic communications and social media. Mairi’s public-sector experience includes six years as senior communications staffer with the Greater Vancouver Regional District where she coordinated public consultation and communication activities focused on transportation, water conservation and construction. As an award winning communicator, Ms. Welman’s track record shows an impressive path of innovation, relationship and team building, strategic communications planning and the strengthening of employee communications. Her ability to build relationships both internally and externally as well as her strong background in strategic communications planning will be invaluable to our success in the future. Mairi will begin her new role on September 27. Please join me in welcoming Mairi Welman to the City. City Manager -- Penny Ballem"

Hey Chris!

Fair enough. :)

Hi Red:

I did see this announcement somewhere approx 1 - 2 weeks ago.

I will have to think back to which medium - I know it was on-line.

Maybe the Globe.

boohoo:

You do realize that there have been incidents where journalists & their employers have gone to court over 'protecting' their sources.

Just because this persons ID is being protected - doesn't mean the 'Hit List' doesn't exist.

If there was something in play - Vision and their supporters wouldn't be fighting so hard to disprove it.

I've known Bob Mackin for roughly 15 years - at one point we worked for the same company - and he would not risk his reputation on 'rumor'. As well there is no way 24 would have run the story without the 'source' being substantiated.

boohoo,

I agree. Dumbocracy was a "viable idea" when literacy wasn't widespread, but now that it is, it is merely a way for large masses of violent quailiterate people to boss around their literary superiors. That's basically what drug prohibition proves---dumbocracy allows idiots (retards, more appropriatley, for they are retarded re: their understanding of liberty; the cortex doesn't form, more than likely) to use their capacity to enact force to manufacture law---martial law. I cannot garden freely because violent retards think stealing gardens is a viable way to employ their retarded brothers and sisters? NFW.

We can all read the Bible today.
Why aren't we our own Sovereigns? Wherever you go, there you are; why is the foot of ground on which you stand not your Kingdom? Do you need an overseas Nanny?

The Bible, from the Coronation Service of Her Gracious Majesty Elizabeth II Patron of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

"OUR GRACIOUS QUEEN, WE PRESENT YOU WITH
THIS BOOK, THE MOST VALUABLE THING THAT THIS
WORLD AFFORDS; HERE IS WISDOM; THIS IS THE ROYAL
LAW; THESE ARE THE LIVELY ORACLES OF GOD."

What other book is said to be alive?

"This Mayor and Council took an oath for an open and transparent government"

Did they? None of them have sworn Allegiance to Her Majesty. Indeed, the recent comments with regard to Fadden indicate that there is at least one councillor who does not understand that loyal men and women of this realm are allegiant to the Crown, not to "Canada." How can you be allegiant to a ruddy Railroad Company, anyway?

Everyone needs to start ignoring the person referring to themselves as boohoo.

This persona has been floating around city caucus now for months, and is still playing the "I'm

new here I don't know who anyone is so therefore I'm not biased" card.

Anyone that frequents the site as often as boohoo does would by now have a clear picture of

who the players are on both sides of the fence and what the agendas are.

Instead, boohoo continues their attempt at being the "character" casted to play dumb and

"question" city caucus and all things NPA.

The first approach they used was suggesting Vision wasn't or isn't so bad, but with the latest

Vision blunders, they've changed their approach to "what's the difference". A nice attempt at a clever cover up, but still trying to play the "dumb" card.

Looking at the name "boohoo", it's eerily familiar to a former moniker used by the Vision

bunch in 2008/2009 that called themselves "Vision governs, the NPA blogs".

Sound familiar?

Of course boohoo will deny any correlation but the similarities are undeniable.

So what we have here is someone who continues to think they're smarter than everyone else, which is pretty much the problem with Vision to begin with.

Your gig is up boohoo, time to change your moniker once again.

Bang on, Glen.
I wanted to make a similar comment but I didn't have the time. So kudos to you.
I will add one more to your comment. Reverse psychology - definition (a persuasion technique involving the advocacy of a belief or behavior that is opposite to the one desired, with the expectation that this approach will encourage the subject of the persuasion to do what actually is desired: the opposite of what is suggested)
Wise guys this Vision gang, aren't they?

@glen and others.

First off, I note no one has actually produced this mythical 'hit list'. But of course, that's not an issue anymore because if you say there's a list enough times then there might as well be one.

Second, you can believe whatever you want with regards to me being some clandestine vision operative. I find that very odd. Sadly for you I've been 'boohoo' since I found this blog what 6 months ago? I do wish I could say you 'got me' and I'm really just some agent for the nefarious and oh so scary local government.

I have not, nor do I plan on changing my nickname. Yes, I generally support many of the big picture ideas vision endorses. I have also, on a few occasions, called the mayor a tool, the party a joke, and the entire system of vancouver politics a mess. I think the bike lanes are a good idea, and just them following through on what they said they'd do during the election. But their method of delivery is atrocious. The chicken thing is a joke. The 'feel good' bees on city hall, etc... are a waste of money. If that's what a vision operative sounds like then sure, you got me. busted.

Boohoo,
Actually the e-mail with the list was posted hours ago on AGT's blog...

Let’s see, a conspiracy by the lefty VV to cover up a secret list of unfavorable media types, developed behind closed doors! hmmm really, you don’t say. Why wouldn’t they use an open commission format to strategize about the media? oh right they might find out, d’oh! But the chilling question is why would any organization (and they all do) develop such a scandalous list, it must be for sinister reasons! Shhhh, maybe they’re trying to figure out how to get closer with the media outlets that they have crappy relations with, and reduce the negative press, you know the Art of War stuff, keep your friends close but your enemies closer, brillant …

But wait a minute, maybe they're planning to give these journalists and bloggers a free lunch or two, or get their picture taken with the mayor, or maybe even score a couple of free tickets to the Fair, how fucking horrible is that, yikes! and all on the tax payers dime… oh no, we better lynch em up, before they …. hmmm? before they develop better relations with the media and spit polish their image, or god knows what. At least before they’re able to discredit some of the more vicious bloggers in the rightwing blogsphere, yeah that’s the ticket, get mean and nasty just like them, an eye for an eye... those lefty socialist types can get pretty damn mean, remember Stalin, you know what I mean. Then again it might be too late, maybe they have already infiltrated the blogsphere, pretending to be part of the tribe and starting to twist views to the left, using that new fangled reverse psychology technique I read about in previous comments on this post, hmmm what to do, what to do…

And for those who are fascinated by conspiracies theories, check out my favorites; the moon landing, world domination, JFK, and 911 … to hell with a list of a few self serving bloggers and local talking heads, let’s get into the real juicy conspiracies.

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