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Clark Verdict Reaffirms Need for Media Inquiry
by Marco Procaccini
complacency of the corporate media
It's over. Former Premier Glen Clark has been acquitted of the both the Breach of Trust and accepting a benefit charges that he used his office to help his neighbour, Dimitriov Pilarinos, apply for a casino license at the North Burnaby Inn.
It seemed from the start the RCMP's case was weak at best. They had charged Clark with getting over $12,000 in work done on his house and accepting a bribe, yet produced little evidence to back this up.
In addition, the apparent collusion and connections at the time between key individuals in the RCMP, BCTV and then opposition leader Gordon Campbell and other influential BC Liberals raised much suspicion as to the police's motives. It's not too much of a stunner that Clark was found not guilty.
But from a journalistic perspective, the verdict is especially important because it calls into question the credibility of the media and its political coverage. The truth is both Clark and the NDP government were convicted long ago, not by the courts through fact and evidence, but by the corporate media monopoly, namely the Global Canwest empire and its Liberal and BC Business allies, through gross exaggeration, sensationalism and outright lies.
The corporate media is rife with inaccurate and false reporting in its coverage of the NDP government. But this is the second time the courts have cleared the NDP of wrongful media convictions.
The other was when repeated legal audits by the Auditor General, Elections BC reports and finally the BC Supreme Court ruling that showed the media manufactured "fudget budget" scandal (that's the one where the NDP supposedly cooked the books in order to get re-elected) to be non-existent.
Unfortunately for public opinion, the corporate media has far more power than the courts. The old cliché "repeat a lie enough and people will believe it" definitely applies.
At the time of the RCMP/BCTV raid on Clark's home, the Columbia Journal called for an independent inquiry into the conduct of the police, the media and the suspected collusion with the Liberal Party.
To be sure, Glen Clark will not go down in history as a great premier-even among New Democrats. His administration was in decline well before this case began.
Justice Elizabeth Bennett is correct in saying Clark exercised "poor judgement in hiring Pilarinos to renovate his home." During his term as Premier, Clark showed an uncanny ability to put his trust in those who had an interest in seeing the NDP government fail-quite often over the advice of New Democrats.
Believing the wild promises of the business elite for three smelters when metal prices were at rock bottom; believing the Catamaran CEOs over his two boards on the Fast Cats situation; believing the word of the major forest companies on the Jobs and Timber Accord were clear examples.
This type of behaviour borders on naivety. After his acquittal, Clark told reporters despite being betrayed by Pilarinos, "You can't go through life believing everyone is crooked. I believe in people."
No ethical person, especially a socialistic minded one, could disagree with this. But there is clearly a difference between believing in people and believing everything certain people tell you, especially when it's clear they don't share your interests.
But poor judgement and even naivety are not the same as the reckless incompetence or wholesale corruption for which the NDP was wrongfully labelled.
It's painfully obvious that any NDP indiscretions pale in comparison to the outright dishonesty, fiscal incompetence and disrespectful conduct of the current Liberal regime. There's a clear difference between a political administration being off on its budget forecasts and one that clearly misrepresents its agenda to the public.
British Columbians have been royally had by the Liberal Party and its cohorts. This fraud on the public was committed with complacency of the corporate media. It was no secret what the Liberal Party's policies are on health care, BC Hydro, human rights, collective agreements, etc.
Campbell's entire election campaign was based on contradicting these policies. The media knew this and allowed him to get away with it.
The Columbia Journal again calls for an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry into the conduct and possible collusion between the RCMP, BCTV and the BC Liberal Party.
In addition, an election has taken place since then with the same media monopoly misrepresenting both the NDP and the Liberals, and people voting based on this inaccurate information. This means the election results are also questionable.
What is also needed is for the Lieutenant Governor to conduct an inquiry into the conduct of both the media and political parties during the 2001 election.
The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552 Fax: 604-267-3342