Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Pre-Campaign Book That I Want To Read

It seems obligatory that every aspiring candidate for president or prime minister write a pre-campaign book, then do the talk show circuit promoting their book. Inevitably, these books are titled something like "What I Believe" but the content is "I Am So Great!".

I can't imagine a scenario where I'd be so bored that I'd actually pick up and read Justin Trudeau's "Common Ground" or Hillary Clinton's "Hard Choices". Being forced to read the upcoming tomes from Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Since these books are almost always ghost written anyway, I thought I'd help out those who have not yet committed their oh so important thoughts to paper. Here's the table of contents of the political book I'd actually read:

Chapter 1 - The List of People I'm Currently Sucking Up To

Chapter 2 - The Jobs, Grants & Regulatory Changes I've Promised To the People Listed in Chapter 1

Chapter 3 - The People I Pal Around With That I Actually Can't Stand

Chapter 4 - A Prioritized List of the People I Will Throw Under The Bus The Moment They're No Longer Useful To Me (most of Chapter 3's list, plus others)

Chapter 5 - The List of Campaign Promises I Have No Intention of Keeping

Chapter 6 - The Electorate Are Too Stupid To See Through My Bullshit

Chapter 7 - The People Who Know Too Much About Me, and How I Will Silence Them

Chapter 8 - What I Really Think Of My Predecessors & Opponents

Chapter 9 - The Beliefs & Opinions I Hold But Will Never Say Out Loud

Chapter 10 - How I Pretend To Sympathize With Every Interest Group

Chapter 11 - How I'll Live A Rich & Comfortable Life After I Leave Office

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

An Open Letter to CBC News

Throughout my career, I have been involved in issues that have made national, and sometimes international headlines. As a result, I've been exposed first hand to most of Canada's news organizations. I've dealt with reporters & columnists from all of the major newspapers & networks, and I can say that no news organization can match the caliber of people I've dealt with at the CBC. They have been intelligent and committed, and have shown the utmost in professionalism. They have followed issues in depth. The same reporter or reporters have been assigned to stories long term, and have taken the time to learn about their subjects. In short, compared to most of its peers, CBC news has been excellent.

But ...

Recent revelations of conflicts of interest are damaging to your credibility. More damaging still are the defensive responses of CBC management. Narrowly construing conflict of interest policies to claim that "technically" there was no breach does not inspire confidence. 

You are being held to a very high standard. This is appropriate. You have established a standard of excellence that you should be proud of, and you should defend it, not by dismissing or attacking critics, but by acknowledging that any reasonably perceived conflict of interest is, in fact, a conflict of interest. Reputations for journalistic integrity are built over generations, but can be quickly destroyed. They are fragile, and must be protected with the utmost care.

Accept the criticism. Resolve to do better. Canadians rightly expect it.