Hamilton Spectator reaches new low in Canadian journalism

garbage_truck_dump.jpegThose of you who read my post about how a supporter of the Caledonia criminals tried – quite unsuccessfully I must say – to link me to a phoney white supremacist website will recall that the title of the post was: “Caledonia criminals sink to a new low – if that’s possible.” Well, the Hamilton Inquirer, er, Hamilton Spectator has decided to join the race to see who can cover themselves in the most slime at the bottom of the garbage dump.

Gary McHale and an undercover law enforcement officer who runs NY Crimewatch have been feeding the Hamilton Spectator information and documents to their reporters that have helped the paper publish the ‘Tobacco Kings’ stories about the cigarette industry on the Six Nations Reserve. Although the Spectator allows native-run media outlets to publish their stories, they demanded that McHale stop reprinting the very stories he helped create!

Gary and NY Crimewatch decided to tell the Spectator that they would no longer speak to their reporters or provide information to them. Here’s where we pick up the trail of slime…

1. On October 17th, 2006 the Hamilton Spectator ran an opinion piece called, “Resident’s wise to avoid march” in which the first sentence was as follows:

“Most Caledonia residents showed good sense in ignoring Sunday’s “March for Freedom,” organized by a Richmond Hill couple to highlight the “two-tier” justice system alleged to exist in Caledonia.”


If you haven’t already done so, read my last post called: “March for Freedom – what really happened in Caledonia on Oct 15/06.” I outline all of the stuff that the mainstream media didn’t want you to see, including the fact that a whole bunch of people, including two very brave women, came out to peacefully protest and shine light on the awful degradation in our justice system at the hands of the OPP. For the Spectator to imply that the people who came out to support the March for Freedom didn’t have ‘good sense’ is a blatant distortion of the truth, and they damn well know it.

2. Opposite the article mentioned above, the Spectator included an editorial cartoon that is a disgusting personal attack on Gary McHale and all the citizens who came out to stand against the evil that is attacking our democracy. The cartoon personally ridicules McHale’s weight as it shows him standing at a hot dog cart, saying “Got any pogos? I’m hungry.” Behind him are a bunch of rednecks in lumber jackets. One holds a pitchfork, another a confederate flag(!). The caption reads, “OPP STRATEGY FOR HANDLING THE NEXT CALEDONIA ‘MARCH FOR FREEDOM’: CREATE A DIVERSION.”

I spoke to Gary McHale today, and he asked me to pass on his thanks to the Spectator for lowering itself to personal attacks on his weight because it just gave him more credibility and ammunition. As he said, “That’s the best they’ve got? Our justice system is under attack, and the Hamilton Spectator is reduced to personal attacks on me and the people of Caledonia?” 

Indeed; what happened to journalistic integrity? Does the Hamilton Spectator write about the inspiring speeches and brave words of two of the most courageous women I have ever met, AnneMarie VanSickle and Mary-Lou LaPratt? No, they decided to pretend that McHale was leading a bunch of rednecks in a lynching party instead of telling the truth: that several thousand average, law abiding citizens came out to peacefully protest against criminals and the inaction of police and their politicians.

If the Hamilton Spectator actually had a reporter there that day they know the truth. Shame on them for not telling it! Our media are supposed to be the watchdogs of democracy; instead the Spectator allowed a silly and unnecessary quarrel to drag them down into the gutter. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.

I’m pleased to report that this story was picked up by NY Crimewatch

P.S. If anyone in Hamilton/Caledonia wants to organize a boycott of the Hamilton Spectator, I would LOVE to write about it and link to it.

For the truth about October 15/06, please see March for Freedom – what really happened…

For background on the Caledonia crisis, see MARCH FOR FREEDOM: the movie

7 responses to “Hamilton Spectator reaches new low in Canadian journalism

  1. Hmmm…. Interesting to read about the “several thousand average, law abiding citizens” who came out to this weekends rally. I was in attendance, as an observer, and I counted no more then 500 (and that is being generous). Just a hint, don’t dramaticize your point, it just makes it seem desperate.

  2. Hi Nathan: I appreciate your observation as to the # of people, but does it really matter how many were there? What about the fact that the media ignored the real story? What about the Spec stooping to the gutter level with a personal attack against a man with more integrity than almost anyone I have ever met in my life?

    Tell me, did you see a bunch of rednecks with pitchforks out to lynch somebody?

    As for my use of dramatization to make my point, please accept my guilty plea on that count; I was so unbelievably frustrated that our vaunted ‘press’ was so willing to ridicule the efforts of some very courageous individuals who stood up for the benefit of their communities. Whether you agree with them or not, there was a greater story to tell than the media grasped.

    Thanks for the comments. I appreciate them! Mark

  3. Media manipulation and false reporting as opposed to objective analysis of almost any controversial news item, such as the Caledonia story, is the usual direction for any newspaper. They are not in the business to inform, but to disseminate propaganda and dis-information if it suits their purposes.

    I seldom read newspapers because of that very fact…..so, to glean some semblance of truth, I scan the alternative news sites on the internet that provides me the “with the rest of the story”.

    Anyhow, bravo to all those marching people that ignored the relentless scare-mongering tactics that appeared to be coming from all directions at once.

    VoC REPLY: Thanks for the observations. I must be a little naive or something because I’ve always believed the lie that these paid journalists were out there seeking out for the truth on my behalf. It wasn’t until I got involved with the fight against Two-Tier justice that I had my eyes ripped open to the truth. I just can’t believe how so many journalists are so determined to miss the real story. Some “inside” info: Gary’s been talking to one media outlet who may be producing a documentary about this whole issue!  Thanks again for the comment. Mark

  4. WL Mackenzie Redux

    The Spec’s change of direction on Caledonia from silence to objective seekers of information to defaming opinon mongers seems to follow the same time line as CHCH when they were bullied into silence by the duplicitous McGuinty regime.

    The stereo-typed depiction of the marchers as ball cap and hunting shirt-wearing, pitch fork wielding, slack jawed rednecks following a man whose moral compass is depicted as being guided by personal gluttony, was not lost on me.

    I think I was probably more offended than the people depicted. Perhaps I expect too much from a media that seems to sell its favors like a street walker.

    It is a stretch to dismiss the type of character assassination and elitist bigotry depicted in the Mackay cartoon as just artistic licence or free opinion….I don’t know any one at the march but unlike the Spec I have the integrity not to make libelous pronouncements on their personal character and motives. I fail to see what a man’s weight or choice of apparel has to do with their ability to detect official corruption or their right to protest it.

    Of course the underlying snide implication in the Spec’s cartoon was that anyone who follows Gary is a low brow parochial bigot or simple minded bumpkin….. that Gary is so weak of character he cannot control his eating let alone a civil rights movement and that makes him incapable of understanding the higher civil ethics (of which his illuminated Spectator detractors are the sole guardians) which you need to feel comfortable with the 9 months of lawlessness…. or to feel comfortable with the government direction of succumbing to criminal intimidation and blackmail….or the enlightend intellect to support unconstitutional closed door “dealing” with the law breakers……Yes indeed anyone who does not see the logic in the constitutionally compromised civilly disasterous stalling of the government must naturally be a intellectually challenged bigoted redneck endomorph… and as such, assasination of their character and motives is justified by the paid assassins of our compromised mass media.

    That cartoon spoke volumes about the philistine debased mindset that produced it. A truer example of personality transferrence would be hard to find.

    All the same I bet Gary wasn’t anywhere near as indignant as I was when I saw it.

    VoC REPLY: You had the exact same reaction I did. I was boiling mad on behalf of Gary McHale and Caledonians. Thankfully, I managed to calm down enough to write the post (you should have seen the first draft!). As noted in the post, I called McHale to get some information, and he was more offended for the people of Caledonia and others who took part in the march than he was for himself.

    You should also see the sidebar at NY Crimewatch’s site (http://nycrimewatch.blogspot.com). He’s got the cartoon plus a confederate flag up, and the headlines read: ‘HAMILTON SPECTATOR CALLS CALEDONIANS RACIST’ and ‘THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR ALLEGES CALEDONIANS TO BE REDNECKS…”

    You are spot on the money when you say McHale wasn’t nearly as upset as you (or me). That’s because he’s a master strategist. He loves it when his opponents make themselves look bad. I spoke to him today, and he’s planning on having the cartoon framed. I guess it’s like appearing on the Simpsons – you aren’t anybody until somebody draws a cartoon about you. McHale was actually pretty tickled that the artist didn’t have to put his name on the fat guy at the hotdog stand.  

    Hey, maybe the Hamilton Spectator could do a cartoon about me! They refer to me on the DCE “theft” (I refuse to use the word, “reclamation.”) discussion group site as “the heavyset guy” with McHale. 

    Thanks for the post. Mark

  5. I think you have been reading and depending on the Hamilton Spectator way too long.

    You likely can’t see the trees for the forest.

    I first started reading the Spec in the fifties, when I didn’t know any better. Years later, at around 16 years of age, I discovered the Globe & Mail in those bright orange boxes on the street.

    Now after decades of other newspapers in six other countries, and finally being confronted with the Spec again after nearly 40 years of journalistic relief…I was forced to have to read it every day for eight months of last year, while temporarily living in Hamilton.

    That was worse than 40 years in the Kingston Pen! Wise up. Don’t expect so much from this rag. The Spec never has been much of a paper (although it is excellent for the bottom of a bird cage) and it is no different…5o years later. It has let Hamilton and surrounding area down all along. Why expect something new like the concept of “journalism”? It ain’t a-gonna happen, not in this century.

    Most of the real journalists are now blogging. The others write only for money. The remainder are functionally illiterate or off in a dream it seems.

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  7. I just wanted to ask if your “two very brave women” were the two very drunk women that were arrested for public intoxication, at 4:45 in the afternoon I might add. Also, do these two women have families, who was feeding and clothing their children while they were drinking for hours to reach the point of intoxication? The “drunken indian” steroetype has survived so long, but I have yet to walk into a Native person’s house and see a liquor cabinet full of half empty bottles of brandy and scotch. Also, I don’t recall any of the people on the DCE site being drunk. How could your side have allowed two women to walk onto, what your side viewed as, a volitile situation. Since April 20th there have been RUMOURS of bunkers and molotov cocktails and the men allowed their wives, sisters and daughters to walk onto that very area and try to incite violence. Which they did not get. One woman may have been tackled but that was for her own protection as well as the protection of the others on the DCE site. Had she not been drunk and climbing on a sign she never would have smacked her face off the ground, therefore her injuries were only the fault of herself. And how afraid are the residents of Thistlemoore and Braemer that they can drink all hours of the morning and then drunkenly try to incite a riotous situation? In my opinion people that are “afraid for their childrens safety” take care of their children on Sunday mornings, they don’t get themselves sloppy drunk and slur obsenities at the police as they are arrested for it. maybe the police should have investigated their homes to check if their children were properly taken care of. Isn’t that called neglect?

    VoC REPLY: 1. So, you’re saying that it’s OK for the occupiers to blockade roads, assault old people, police and a camera crew; burn a bridge and a power station, etc.? 2. I wanted to take a shower after reading your letter.