The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Name:
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hate the federal Conservative Party? The Winnipeg Free Press is hiring.


The Winnipeg Free Press appears to be gearing up for the next federal election by hiring the most strident hater of the Conservative Party they could find to join their editorial department.

We're not talking about FP Editor Paul Samyn, who was the biggest shill for the Liberal Party in Ottawa when he was the newspaper's Parliamentary reporter.  See http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2006/10/fp-admits-bad-reporting-still-says.html for details.

This past weekend Samyn announced that "we have a new editor responsible for the perspectives you will be reading both in print and on-line. Shannon Sampert, an expert in Canadian politics and the media, joins our newsroom from the University of Winnipeg...Shannon becomes the first woman to oversee our editorial pages. I think Dafoe would be proud."

Shannon Sampert was no stranger to The Black Rod (more about that in a minute). We more-or-less ignored her in her teaching job at the U of W, but when we learned she was in a position to influence public opinion through manipulation of the city's largest daily newspaper, we decided to look closer at the slant she's likely to bring to the editorial pages "in print and on-line."

In 2000, Sampert was the vice-president of communications for the Alberta Liberal Party.  But that was a long time ago and indicative of nothing more than a decade later. Or was it?

In her Twitter profile Sampert describes herself as "left-of-centre."

Read on to see through her Tweets what's considered left-of-centre in academic and MSM circles:

Shannon Sampert @PaulySigh  ·  2 Feb 2012
In Canada, under #Harper, the earth is flat and the sky is yellow and truth is what Sun News tells us.
***********
Shannon Sampert @PaulySigh  ·  20 Jan 2012
hell freezes over. I agree with CPC. @WinnipegNews: MacKay puts the kibosh on order of 20,000 stress balls
http://bit.ly/Ay9Buk
**********
Shannon Sampert  @PaulySigh
I regret that the rest of that reads: his newser but for a minute my hopes were up.
RT@natnewswatch: Wow, Harper is finished
 
***************
 Shannon Sampert @PaulySigh  ·  13 Apr 2012
Air Canada should have sick days when #cpc MPs are trying to fly home. #missedopportunity #ac

 
********************
11:21 AM - 2 Apr 2012
Shannon Sampert @PaulySigh  ·  2 Apr 2012
Vic Toews goes to the hospital by ambulance because of the flu. I am fighting my sarcastic urges right now.

****************************
Sampert re-tweets a lot of other people's messages, and one of her favorite commenters is Stephen Lautens, of' Toronto, who describes himself on his Twitter account as "recovering lawyer, passionate & progressive moderate... occasional columnist..."

See, from her re-tweets, what passes as a "passionate moderate" in Sampert's circle.

Retweeted by Shannon Sampert
 Stephen Lautens @stephenlautens  ·  Jul 19
#putharperonthestand (
put harper on the stand...ed.) and watch him burst into flames as he swears to tell the truth. #cdnpoli
***********************
 Stephen Lautens @stephenlautens  ·  Jul 27
Harper renames Therese Casgrain Volunteer Awards the "Prime Minister's Awards." In related news, Boy Scouts renamed "Harper Youth" #cdnpoli

Harper Youth/ Hitler Youth.  Get it? 

Always a knee-slapper at Sampert's house.

For real insight into how classy this guy is, see what he wrote following the sudden death of former Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty:

(TO BE CLEAR, THIS APPEARED ON LAUTENS' TWITTER SITE AND WAS NOT RETWEETED BY SHANNON SAMPERT.)

i'd be willing to pay for a lot more state funerals for Conservatives. A lot more... #cdnpoli
— Stephen Lautens (@stephenlautens) April 11, 2014
 

Another of Sampert's favorites is Dan Gardner.  She loves the guy. We know because she told everyone so.
 
Shannon Sampert @PaulySigh  ·  15 Mar 2012
I've decided I love @dgardner -- the man speaks the cynical truth!

*****************
Here's what to expect on Middle East coverage when Shannon Sampert gets control of what goes into the Free Press editorial pages:

/dgardnerDan Gardner @dgardner · Jul 17
Fanaticism, illustrated. Later on the very day that four children are killed, the CPC tweets this:
https://twitter.com/CPC_HQ/status/489568552282624000
Conservative Party @CPC_HQ
Through fire and water, Canada will stand with Israel. Add your name if…
 
What about local news?  Sampert tipped her hand here too.

‏@PaulySigh
8Thank god property taxes have gone up. It's ridiculous how little I pay. I'd rather see better transit, snow removal and paving thanks. 
*********************
 
Shannon Sampert @PaulySigh  ·  26 Apr 2012
If Wpg police want more officers and another helicopter, watch for the release of scare tactic "stats". #bewary #beingplayed
 
Sampert didn't rise to the bait when someone tried on Twitter goading her with accusations of being a lesbian.  But she did show her real attitude towards men with this re-tweet.
 
2:41 PM - 28 Feb 2012
Retweeted by Shannon Sampert
TrillNPresent Danger @_Roxie_ · Jul 25
"@sassycrass: I'll say it again: most men don't learn misogyny as misogyny. You learn it as Being A Man."

And Shannon Sampert appears to be a regular reader of The Black Rod.

Shannon Sampert‏@PaulySigh
The Black Rod Blog is calling the MSM handling of the expirey date comment against Neville a drive by smear. Pot calling the kettle black!
11:32 AM - 2 Apr 2011

That's not surprising given as how we gave her her first major ink in this city six years ago in an article titled 'Mayor or Moose.'  It's still one of our best.

But given her new job at the Winnipeg Free Press, the details of the humourous story take on a more sinister shading.  It appears Sampert is a fan of censorship and of intimidating others who don't share her extremist views.

She'll fit right in at the FP.

******************************************
The Black Rod was also on the mind of FP columnist Dan Lett yesterday.

Lett jumped into a comments thread to deliver a fine rant against our story pointing out how badly out-of-touch the Winnipeg Free Press was with the public in Winnipeg:

Here's a sample:

Dan Lett
8:43 AM on 8/11/2014
We are supposed to take notice when some anonymous blogger agrees that the racist comments made by another individual are justified? Someone who wants to portray downtown as a place where people are regularly terrorized by the panhandlers?

Come on folks. I can assure you that I spend more time downtown that most of you. My spouse works right downtown. Having grown up in a larger city that I still visit regularly, I can tell you that big cities are all about the collision of affluence and abject poverty. It's one of the predictable, lamentable facts of bloody life. But terrorized? Seriously?

...Winnipeggers are such big babies about the panhandling threat.
 
Nobody wants to be asked for spare change by someone who may be under the influence of some substance. It's uncomfortable and awkward. But to characterize downtown as some sort of war zone - who is really employing the hyperbole here.

Bottom line - congrats to the one anonymous dude who uses his posts to plug the other anonymous dude's hateful commentary. Another blow for transparency, accountability and public debate.

Hee hee.   You might take this seriously if you didn't know that Dan Lett, the Winnipeg Free Press Golden Boy, just made up his own facts.
Nowhere did we say that anybody was "terrorized."  Read the story for yourself. Lett just made that up. 

He set up a straw man, punched him, kicked him, poked him in his imaginary eyes, knocked him down, jumped on him while pounding on his own chest and shouting "Look at me. I'm so tough."

Hee hee.  You know why somebody has to fight a straw man, don't you. It's because they can't win an argument, so they need a diversion.

By pretending to beat up an imaginary man of their own invention, they get to pretend they're winners, not loooosers.  Hee hee.

But did Danny think we wouldn't spot this: "I can assure you that I spend more time downtown that most of you."  You see, there's a reason why Dan spends so much time downtown, and it's not because he's hyping the Free Press News Cafe on McDermot.

Dan's wife, Becky Lett, is a librarian.  And, whooo, there's a library downtown. 
Who would have a better front-row seat to the drunks downtown than a librarian?  Maybe Becky Lett can tell us why the downtown library stations security guards at the top of the stairs leading from the overhead walkway?  Or why the police do walk-throughs the library so often. Or, give us more details of the threats on the life of a security guard who was removing riff raff (an event reported in the Winnipeg Sun and repeated in The Black Rod).

C'mon Dan, Let's hear the skinny about downtown directly from your wife Becky.

Lett, you recall, was one of those who went to great lengths to excuse the racist attitude of NDP cabinet minister Eric Robinson.
 

It was only in paragraph 19 of a 20-paragraph story that Lett allowed himself to use the word "racist."  He spoke about "inflammatory email remarks" and a "charged, racially motivated comment" before finally, reluctantly, concluding with "allegations he is a racist."

But he had no hesitation calling 'racism' on the private, non-government, observations of the wife of a mayoral candidate that Lett wants defeated.

Funny how that works, isn't it. 

The Free Press can smear with impunity those they want out of office, while excusing the most egregious behaviour from those they want in. 

That's professional journalists at work.

************
As a brief aside, while Dan Lett was defending Eric Robinson for his attack on white people who tried to improve the lives of Indian, Lett was keeping very, very silent about an event that had been held at the FP News Cafe.

You see, nine months earlier, the News Cafe hosted the star of the very fundraiser that prompted Robinson's racist comments.

Here's how the newspaper hyped her appearance:

The temperature is falling outside but it was heating up at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café Thursday afternoon.

Miss La Muse, a local burlesque dancer stopped by to discuss an important fundraiser for Osborne House.
Proceeds from the sale of Foxy Shoppe Calendar will be given to Osborne House, which provides a safe and supportive environment for women and children who are experiencing domestic abuse.

A calendar launch party is being held at The Foxy Shoppe at 87 King Street from 7-9 Friday evening.
Miss La Muse also put on a short performance at the cafe. Watch a replay here.

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