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  • Volume Eight, Number Seven: October 2003

    Canwest Outlet Twists Another Story, Media Watch Dog Charges

    The Vancouver Sun is again under fire for allegedly mis-quoting another Statistics Canada report to make BC’s failing economy look not so bad.

    Public Eye Magazine, a national media watch dog publication says a teaser on the Sun's front page on August 6 announced "Construction in Canada takes off - and BC leads the pack." Turning to page D1 for the full story, the headline informed readers our province was "outpacing rest of the country in hike in building permits" according to a recent report from Statistics Canada.

    ”Most ordinary people would think that means BC is in first place,” reports Public Eye. “But a quick look at that report reveals a different story. Between May and June Statistics Canada figures show the value of building permits issued by BC municipalities increased 0.2 percent - ranking us fourth, not first among the provinces, and 4.1 percentage points below the national average.”

    Similarly the value of permits issued the first half of 2003 increased 10.3 per cent when compared with the same six months in 2002. That's 2.3 percentage points above the national average. “But five other provinces still managed to outperform us” it said.

    In fact the only number BC can really crow about is a 17.3 percent increase in residential permit values between the same time periods, says Public Eye. This increase, which gets top billing in the Sun, puts us 13 percentage points above the national average and in third place among the provinces.

    ”But it would be a stretch to say, based on a single lukewarm statistic, that BC is ‘leading the pack’ or ‘outpacing’ every other province when it comes to building permits. And the reporter who wrote the story underneath those headlines seems to agree.”

    Journalists often remove their bylines from stories written under protest. And that's exactly what happened to this piece, it says, proving that “at least one ordinary person works at the Sun.”

    The Sun, owned by the huge tightly control media empire of the Global Canwest corporation, a staunchly pro-Liberal Party empire, has been repeatedly denounced by journalists and media democracy activists for skewing and censoring, and in several cases manufacturing, news reports and information to artificially inflate support for both the BC and federal Liberal governments.

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