First, go read this piece by the Globe and Mail's Christie Blatchford from last week.
Then read this excellent dissection of Blatchford's arguments by Fillibluster.
I find that on a logical and factual basis, there is little need to add to what Fillibluster said in commenting on Blatchford's petulant, nonsensical bloviations, but since I have earned my living in the newspaper business for most of the last 20 years, I feel compelled to comment.
Now, stand back and give me room to swing. You may want to get a drink, this is going to take a while.
To borrow a phrase, virtually every word Blatchford has written is wrong, including "and" and "the."
But back to her so-called arguments:
Fourth, since with the wisdom of hindsight it is now apparent that everyone knew that the anarchists/Black Bloc types would try to wreak havoc on the city, why are the organizers of the legitimate protests not being questioned about their accountability? They too presumably knew – as did police and security forces – that their peaceful demonstrations likely would be disrupted; what steps did they take to stop such a hijacking?
So in hindsight why didn't the organizers demonstrate their foresight and stop the black bloc from joining their protest? How would they have done that? If "everyone knew" why didn't the downtown merchants board up their windows for the weekend? Why didn't every single resident south of the 401 leave town for the weekend?
The protest organizers were not being paid a billion dollars to provide security, the police were. It is not the responsibility of the protest organizers to vet everyone who joins a demonstration. It is the job of the police to stop crimes in progress.
I think better questions might be "Since the police bragged about having infiltrated the Black Bloc and having monitored their communications, why didn't they stop them from running amok?" and "Does Christie Blatchford not realize that organizing a political protest is akin to herding cats and that the organizers have no authority to make anyone do anything -- is she really that stupid or is she just being incredibly dishonest?"
Finally, how amusing it is to see Toronto, press and public alike, whip themselves into a frenzy of outrage over alleged police inaction and then alleged police overreaction, when all of this, in terms even more stark, happened in Caledonia, Ont., from 2006 onwards, and no one gave a fig.
Plenty of people, especially in Caledonia and on the Six Nations Reserve have been giving more than a fig for quite awhile, since well before 2006. I used to work there and trust me, the dispute goes back a lot further than that. You and the rest of Toronto just haven't noticed because it didn't happen in Hogtown.
Honestly, the Globe should be embarrassed by this ill-considered, poorly-written screed of a column.
Blatchford just doesn't get it at all. The point of the complaint is that the police were unlawfully attacking, abusing and arresting people for being observers at a demonstration that they forcibly (and quite possibly illegally) broke up. Their status as journalists strongly supports their contention that they were observers, not bystanders. Blatchford's attempt to smear them as some sort of lying amateur wannabes just because they don't work in her office is dishonest and dishonorable. Real journalists everywhere should be disowning this police mouthpiece as a colleague.
crossposted from the Woodshed