One of the crime scenes

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's Bill T. Week!

I guess it isn't official anywhere, though I guess I could declare it so, here in the blogosphere. You must have heard we can say anything we want about anybody. This isn't any criticism of Bill Tieleman, whose efforts and writing on the BC Rail Scandal is much appreciated and respected in this corner of cyberspace. Bill probably has the best exposure in the conventional media of anyone who actually takes this issue seriously and I only wish more people were familiar with his reporting, much of which is based on attending hearings in Studio 54 with Robin Matthews and a bunch of lawyers. I'm not saying Robin and Bill go to court on dates, it's just that often once you were to remove the lawyers for everybody in sight (the government, ex-ministers, the people(?), the railroad, the defense (eek!) and the judge, to name a few)), often there would be nobody left but Robin, Bill and the bailiff.

I have taken Bill to issue on occasion, but his willingness and ability to understand my concerns and address them with reason instead of rote cant, has only increased my respect for him. I must admit his rationality and reason have on occasion even changed my opinion on certain points.

The reason I suggest that this must be Bill Tieleman week is that of late various representatives of the more mainstream media have been noticing Bill and his BC Rail coverage also. I have to admit that lots of these have been in media that I frankly don't monitor like the Globe and Mail and the North Shore News. Thanks to Bill himself and BC Mary though, I usually have a chance to check them out.

In general the two particular notices I intend to discuss seem like good reviews of Bill and do give him credit (where credit is definitely due). However in both Tom Hawthorn's recent piece from the Globe and Mail and the more recent Bill Bell from the North Shore News, a few inescapable words of praise tossed Bill's way are embedded in a "vile" stew of slagging of blogs, discussion board contributors and generally anyone not employed by the Asper's or the mandarins of Toronto, who may think they have the right to express their views.

Tom's piece, For this blogger, this case has just about everything..., opens with the clickety clack of Bill's keyboard heard over the phone. (To Gary Mason, I feel much more comfortable listening to Bill type than waking up in bed with Mr. and Mrs. Basi). Mr. Hawthorn gives Bill good marks on his efforts, AND I must give Tom credit for being the ONLY journalist that I'm aware of actually mentioning the burglary on Bill's office. Generally journalists are noteworthy in how they will rise to the defense of one of their own, even if the "one" of their own is a slimy kneepad equipped stenographer like Judith "Scooter's PR Gal" Miller. The silence from the rest of the Asper Nation of Journo-Bots is deafening on this incident.

Tom's piece was discussed to a degree on the No, Not Nathaniel.... a couple posts ago. Tom himself even contributed a comment. He claimed that:

In the column I offer a brief critique of two prominent bloggers in this case. These are no more than an expression of my opinion after reading their postings. Yet, the response is that I’m “despicable” and a “jerk” employing “marginally slanderous” remarks.

Well, I had to re-read my posting to make sure I hadn't woken up in some alternate universe as I never called Tom any names. Actually if G. West refers to something as "marginally slanderous," I would give it a second look. He is generally a pretty calm, dispassionate, and logical commentator. Actually what disturbed me about Tom's piece was the gratuitous drive by smears of a group of people that includes myself, though I'm not fortunate enough to be mentioned by name (OK, even my CONSISTENT blogger ID, think Mark Twain). It hardly needs to be said that the fact that he considers Vaughn Palmer (otherwise known as Gordon Campbell's personal PR department) the height of sober commentary, undermines everything else he may say.

Also of interest was Tom's charge that he had been accused of "information suppression," to wit:

First of all, let’s deal with some poor reading comprehension. A 1,100-word column touting a particular blogger’s excellent work in covering an underreported case is not “information suppression.”

All I can really say is that he must be referring to HIS OWN poor reading comprehension, because what I said was:

the Canned Waste exercise in mis-information or information suppression.

First Canned Waste = Canwest. BC Mary has told me once or twice that some of my humorous handles confuse people. I guess if people aren't smart enough to figure out that Canned Waste means Canwest or the Soup Nazi is Gordon Campbell, they aren't the audience I'm trying to reach. Now unless you are a secret agent of Canned Waste and the Asper Nation of Info-Thugs, this had nothing to do with you.

Most amusing was the effort made to minimize the identity as a "sports writer," even going so far as to accuse me of suggesting a "sportswriting conspiracy." I wasn't familiar (my literary loss, I'm sure) with Mr. Hawthorn and had the misfortune to run into things like the following when I decided to check him out.

"Veteran Canadian freelance reporter specializes in sports, features, business, profiles and non-fiction book reviews."

The above is from Google, so I can only assume it was either submitted by him to Google or was part of the metadata in the <head> of his blog when the google spiders passed by. Of course a few years back when the Canadian Association of Journalists held their National Writer's Symposium in sunny Victoria, one of the featured speakers was Tom.


November 3-4, 2001
Victoria, BC.


Saturday, Nov. 3 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Tom Hawthorn,



Tom Hawthorn's sports features appear in the National Post and on CBC Radio. He has a singular talent for writing sports stories that capture the attention of not onlysports fans but also the rest of us.

If it looks like a sports writer, writes about sports etc........I know that Mr. Hawthorn has moved up from the field of dreams to write about deeper subjects than jocks. Judging from his own blog, obituaries seem to be his specialty these days, so I guess Bill can consider himself lucky that he became a subject for other reasons.

The Other Bill Rings

The other recent piece, partly about Bill T., is Bill Bell's Special To North Shore News titled Anonymous postings discredit sites. Since Mr. Bell is going to produce a critique of blogs, he needs to establish his authority in the area right at the beginning with:

I rarely comment on the rantings of some people on blogs or Internet message boards.

In fact, the editor of this newspaper warned me about participating in a local popular political blog saying that he was concerned about what was being written on it anonymously.

Another North Shore friend once commented about a blog he participated on as "that's where the anonymous people with an axe to grind and venom to spew get away with libel and lies." Blogs are the playground for people who love conspiracy theories, hearsay, innuendo and just plain nasty personal insults.

It is probably good corporate writing style to marginalize and degrade the whole online community, just so everybody knows that it is irrelevant, almost not worthy of Mr. Bell's attention. Of course later on it becomes apparent why these otherwise irrelevant gigabytes of lies actually are important and scary.

The terrifying face of anonymous bloggers and posters on message boards has an even darker side where the very worst of society preys. Pedophiles trying to pick up young girls and boys or racist hatred against an American presidential hopeful are just a few of the many horrible aspects of poorly administered message boards.

I may be too afraid to read an anonymous comment ever again - can they wrap up IEDs in anonymous postings or something? The casual linking of bloggers and child molestation was totally gratuitous and verging on the libelous. I guess Mr. Bell figures that lots of really young girls (or boys) hang out at political blogs, just waiting to be preyed upon. Mr. Bell, that reference was totally disgusting, I repeat - DISGUSTING!

By the way, Mr. Bell, in case you hadn't noticed people tell lies about each other in person, not just on the internet. Come to think of it a lot of lies pass for news in newspapers from the North Shore News to the New York Times, as well. Don't even get me started on TeeVee "news."

After making it clear that the blogosphere is basically a cesspool, he then declares that Bill Tieleman is a gem, surrounded by the previously established crew of lying, uneducated child molesters with poor grammar and spelling. Well if I was Bill I would prefer to be a big frog in a small pond, rather than a treasure lost in a cesspool.

If Mr. Bell hadn't compromised his own relevancy enough already, eventually he gets around to the biggest laffer in his whole piece.

Although the major media in this circumstance has been giving the case significant coverage,

I'll tell you what, you clip out all that significant coverage and send it to me parcel post. I'll send you five dollars for postage, you can keep the change.


Anonymous Gary E said...

You know Kootcoot, I don't know if you've noticed but there seems to be a lot of Blog Bashing lately. Especially since this thing has gone national. Do you think they may be running just a little scared? As Corky pointed out in the legislature recently, the Liberals have been jumping all over the 1990's NDP every time they even feel a threat to their policies (or rather dictatorial Legislation). Then you get someone like Baldrey bashing the bloggers and spewing out a column on the Basi-Virk trial when he obviously doesn't know the facts. (or he is just "followink horders",like most of us think he is)Then Palmer can't even get through a column without attempting to show that everything ust be the NDP's fault. Now Bell comes along and bashes the bloggers while he smugly kisses up to Bill T. I honestly get the feeling that all these other media have discovered that they missed the friggin boat. Now they want to put all their slant (crap)in their papers for everyone to read. So they are attepting to steer readers away from blogs by putting them in the same context as skinnners and pedophiles and rapists. Pretty desparate moves if you ask me. Given the past practises of the print and TV media there could be a whole new angle on the trial. That's if the people actually start to beleive what is printed in those rags.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 9:47:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tried and true old saying "Follow da money"
Baldreys future is very doutful same as V Palmer.
V Palmer's Voice of BC had Gordo on his 1 hour spew very recently and not one question about BC Railgate also not open to public comments/call-in?
Carol James was on a couple of nights earlier and was open to public comments, hummm?
I'd love to see Gordo and Company join C Black in prison!
I also belive that there is enough evidence to bring charges of Treason against him!

Note that while Canadian law describes two separate offences of treason and high treason, both of these in fact fall in the historical category of high treason.

Section 46 of the Canadian Criminal Code has two degrees of treason, called "high treason" and "treason." However both of these belong to the historical category of high treason, as opposed to petty treason which does not exist in Canadian law. Section 46 reads as follows:

"High treason
(1) Every one commits high treason who, in Canada,
(a) kills or attempts to kill Her Majesty, or does her any bodily harm tending to death or destruction, maims or wounds her, or imprisons or restrains her;
(b) levies war against Canada or does any act preparatory thereto; or
(c) assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.
(2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada,
(a) uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a Province;

(b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada;
(c) conspires with any person to commit high treason or to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a);
(d) forms an intention to do anything that is high treason or that is mentioned in paragraph (a) and manifests that intention by an overt act; or
(e) conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act."
It is also illegal for a Canadian citizen to do any of the above outside Canada.

The penalty for high treason is life imprisonment. The penalty for treason is imprisonment up to a maximum of life, or up to 14 years for conduct under subsection (2)(b) or (e) in peacetime.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 1:45:00 PM PST  
Anonymous CresceNet said...

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Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 12:04:00 AM PST  
Blogger kootcoot said...

crescenet above is an example of a weird type of spam that is starting to piss me off, but so far has been rare. Usually these are obvious attempts to sell recreational property in Costa Rica or where ever. This one actually appeared to be from a fellow blogger, but when I went to his site, it turned out to be the homepage of a Mexican (I assume) ISP, which I am highly unlikely to choose as my provider. People like this may eventually force me to implement the old character image verification techniques or even worse, comment moderation.

As a message to others of crescenet's ilk I am including below a copy of my email to them and will leave their comment un-deleted, for now anyway.


To Crescenet:

Why in the FUCK do you find it necessary to spam up my blog with advertising for a Spic ISP? It's not like anyone around here is going to sign up with an ISP when they can't even read the homepage.

You are wasting your time and more importantly, YOU ARE WASTING MY TIME.


Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 6:53:00 AM PST  
Blogger G West said...

You know I really think the male variety of the reporter bird is the most insecure bird in the menagerie koot.

The reaction of male newsguys to criticism of their efforts is, I've found, far more extreme than the response one gets from most female practitioners.

My remarks about Tom Hawthorne's little piece on Basi/Virk and Blogging was in response to his unfair slag of BC Mary's voluminous materials as little more than a rant about CanWest newspapers.

I called that marginally slanderous because it was so obviously based upon little more than a quick look at the top two or three items on her site. The implication that her work and dedication were little more than an attempt to blame 'CanWest' was obvious and it was demonstrably wrong.

If Mr Hawthorn had taken more than two minutes to look he wouldn't have made the remark.

And that's the whole point: Hawthorn, Spector, Mason and the usual gaggle of paid commentators think there's nothing wrong with making throw away, false and downright unfair remarks about someone like Mary - but they respond like stuck pigs when someone else - like you or me - points out their shortcomings.

What is it with that. I have dozens of examples of exactly that phenomenon from 'newsmen' like Mason, Ibbitson, Marcus Gee, Palmer, Spector and the like...

I can think of only one woman - since fired from the National Post for plagiarism - who responded in a similar way to a polited letter or email criticizing her work.

Strange, isn't it?

Another excellent bit of work, well done.

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 6:55:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for declaring "Bill T Week" kootcoot! A most welcome development indeed, which would only be exceeded by the BC government declaring February 18 - or the Monday closest to it each year - a provincial holiday.

That, of course, is my birthday!

More seriously, I appreciate the kind comments of yourself and posters and also of Tom Hawthorn and Bill Bell in their articles.

While you, Gary, BC Mary and others are - shall we politely say - frustrated with media coverage or lack thereof of Basi-Virk, I think it is a positive sign that different publications are noticing this important case.

I also will say, as I've said before on several occasions, that it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness in relations to increasing coverage.

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 12:26:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Gary E said...

And since we are on the subject of increasing coverage Bill. Have you noticed that the increase started around the time it was leaked that the Liberals, shall we say, were manipulating the MSM? Seems to me the MSM got some egg on their collective faces. Although the increase is coming ever so slowly, I also notice that certain columnists have changed the slant of their columns by removing that which in the past had invariably slagged the NDP on issues or promoted the government position of "what went on in the 90's under the NDP" How lame. Oh and lets not forget the Fast Ferries fiasco with a few million dollars over budget. But the only ones still using that rant are the Liberals who seem to have the blinders on when the convention center is brought up. Almost 1/2 Billion dollars over budget. Christ.
So Bill, you are probably correct in using candles. Personally I've run out.

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 1:45:00 PM PST  
Blogger Gazetteer said...

Me, I think the change began after Mr. Spector wrote that hectoring piece at year's end in the Globe and Mail......

Given that, it would be interesting to know if Mr. Hawthorn's piece was his own idea or if an editor contacted him and suggested he go find out what's going on with Mr. T and his ties to the Bloggodome.


Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 7:50:00 PM PST  
Blogger Tom Hawthorn said...

Gazetteer asks the origin of the column on Bill Tieleman. I write a weekly human-interest column for the B.C. section of the Globe and Mail. I assign myself. More recent columns can be read at

G West makes assumptions about which he cannot know, and thus he is wrong.

As for the column, I wrote that "BC Mary's conspiratorial musings about the motives of CanWest journalists are pointlessly distracting." I also described her as "a tireless champion of the case." The full column, which is about Bill Tieleman's excellent and informative blog, can be read at:

And I'm afraid Kootcoot is still lacking in the humour department if he didn't get at least a chuckle from my crack about a sportswriting conspiracy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 9:21:00 PM PDT  
Blogger BC Mary said...

Please let me add a "YES!!" to the analysis made by G West about the fragile ego of the male journalist.

Since we rarely if ever lambaste the ever-reasonable newsman Bill T., we don't know much about how he takes criticism.

But Gary Mason, wow. He's still fussing about my critique of his Christmas story in The Globe and Mail titled "There's nothing to these charges" which started us off in bed ... yeah, in bed with Mr & Mrs Dave Basi that holiday Sunday morning, 28 Dec. 2003 ... and it went downhill from there ... unabashed, embarrassing propaganda. What did he expect? Sheesh.

And there's Pointy LaPointe. But there are also other guys -- even Vaughn Palmer, Keith Baldrey -- who might be cryptic but are never mean and rude.

What seems so strange with some of these guys is that they make their livings conveying thoughts and images via the printed word, yet they seem to make no effort to let their personal printed words to a reader convey any sense of gentle understanding. Their personal messages are, in fact, tougher than their published material.

As for the women, I've locked horns with Chantal Hebert and lost badly because she absolutely refused to think about the issues surrounding BCRail. She said it isn't a national issue; also that I was biased about something. I gave up on her. At least a CTV lady explained logically: "It's too soon for us. Wait until the trial begins." I disagree, but what the heck. I can say that otherwise, I've found the women journalists easy to talk to, while admitting that some, like Christie Blatchford, simply never respond at all. But I assume they read what people take time to tell them.

So, all told, I paid a lot of attention this morning when the author of two excellent books about the dangerous media conspiracy in BC wrote a few of the kindliest words ever, about the work we are doing on "Railgate". I posted Marc Edge's comment on the front page of The Legislature Raids, as I think we can all share in that accolade.

And hey, Tom Hawthorn: Marc Edge's books are talking about a real conspiracy! Oooo!

Seriously, I do have to thank Tom Hawthorn for finally getting my attention on conspiracies. BH (Before Hawthorn) I concentrated on any Basi-Virk / BC Rail facts I could find. Now, AH (After Hawthorn), I take a 2nd look and would have to say that "Conspiracy Theories" are an under-rated file in British Columbia.

And y'know what I think? I think any accusation of "Conspiracy Theory" is being used like a fly swatter to ward off annoyingly inquisitive gnats like us, whenever we come too close to the faces of the actual gang-up.

My advice is: zero in, whenever you hear "Conspiracy Theory" being used offensively. It means you're getting closer to some surprising facts.


Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 11:11:00 AM PDT  

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