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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

truth.gov.ab.ca.

Alberta's Public Affairs Bureau and the Office of the Premier have launched a new website "For the Record." The website is meant to correct "mistakes" made by media outlets when reporting about Alberta.

Will this be another exercise in spin that portrays the government as a victim against the the big, bad media, or will it be an honest attempt at correcting information? Discuss.

(h/t ALC Blog)

UPDATE: It looks like this site is off to a great start. As reported by Jeremy Klaszus in Calgary-based FFWD Weekly:

So far, both entries are about the oilsands. The second entry addresses a recent report about the oilsands’ deadly effect on migratory birds, referring to a story about the report in the “Toronto Globe and Mail.” The entry links to a government PDF that assures readers that oilsands operations have “strict environmental requirements, including bird protection, and are required to collect dead birds and report the numbers.”

However, there is no paper called the Toronto Globe and Mail; the publication is a Toronto-based national newspaper called The Globe and Mail.

Despite its insistence on accuracy, the government isn’t admitting its mistake. “It’s the Toronto Globe and Mail — don’t kid yourself,” says Tom Olsen, spokesperson for Premier Ed Stelmach. “We don’t see that as an error. We see The Globe and Mail as the Toronto Globe and Mail.”

Olsen, a former columnist for the Calgary Herald, says the site was created “to get the best factual information to Albertans as possible.”

27 comments:

eh said...

Judging by the two posts they have up there I would say that it is an exercise in the former. I think the Ethics Commissioner and the Ombundsman should start up their own truth.gov.ab.ca (and then actually puclish the truth about the happenings in the AB government). Wouldn't that be exciting? I think it would be more juicy than Perez Hilton.

Jerry Aulenbach said...

I think that anyone who has been misrepresented by media deserves to have the truth put out there. If it is a case of bad spin, which I doubt, I'm sure that it will be quickly identified and called out by many eager Liberals.

But "It's a tactic straight out of the Bush White House"? Come on Mr. Taylor, that's a bit much. http://zi.ma/a08063

-Jerry

rc said...

This sort of stuff isn't out of the Bush White House; Alberta's got its own history of provincial governments wanting to "correct" inaccurate news or opinion about itself. Accurate News and Information Act, anyone?

Albertosaurus said...

As usual with the Alberta government, it will be cushioned in all the fluffy "we're the victim" language, but will turn into an effort in spin.

Side note: for a well funded organization, the Public Affairs Bureau designed a totally hideous banner. Glad to see they're spending my tax dollars well.

Anonymous said...

Spin.

It is a missed opportunity to interact and engage w Albertans. No comment section, no interaction. All the media websites have feedback, discussion, and comments sections.

Look at what Obama is doing to see how it's done.

Anonymous said...

"If it is a case of bad spin, which I doubt, I'm sure that it will be quickly identified and called out by many eager Liberals."

Only to be promptly followed by a correction on the government website.

Mike Soron said...

Astonishingly embarrassing.

It's more an experiment in absurd self-delusion on the part of the Tory government than anything else.

The second "correction," for instance, misunderstands what the CBC article on the memo was about. The concern is the "secret" briefing note prepared for Ministers, not the findings of the published report.

There remains a substantial and unquestionable difference in the language used to market CCS by the government (especially in relation to its usefulness in the tar sands) and what is said in both the memo from CBC & the report linked to in the government's pitiful attempt at transparency.

Not only are the Tories dangerously inept in managing our resources and economy, they're embarrassingly inept at deflecting criticism, too.

roblaw said...

..and go ahead and finish your thought, Mike.. "and Albertans, as a whole, are completely ignorant morons for being content with life, by and large, and voting for the PC Party.."

..oh, and then get ready for another PC landslide victory..

Saskboy said...

I'll look for the same ridiculous thing on the Sask Gov site within 9 months.

Anonymous said...

Tone down the arrogance, roblaw. You're starting to sound like a Federal Liberal.

Anonymous said...

"Toronto Globe & Mail"

Love it.

Anonymous said...

Anyone with experience being "covered" by the media? Go see www.regrettheerror.com for some perspective. It's not a site the journal or herald or globe and mail is likely to tell you about.

Anonymous said...

Check this out:

http://www.ffwdweekly.com/article/news-views/news/albrta-goverme6nt-2-meidia-no-mo3re-mistakez-3021/

michael said...

So I suppose addressing Olsen as 'That Jerk Tom Olsen' wouldn't be inaccuate either...

Anonymous said...

Michael, the more accurate term would be 'that jerk-based Tom Olsen.'

Anonymous said...

Just a guess, but maybe when the G&M starts calling it "oil sands" instead of "tar sands," Albertans will stop calling them the "Toronto" Globe and Mail.

James L. said...

Will this be another exercise in spin that portrays the government as a victim against the the big, bad media, or will it be an honest attempt at correcting information?

Dave -- c'mon, man. Do you even have to ask this question?

HaWk said...

We don’t see that as an error. We see The Globe and Mail as the Toronto Globe and Mail.”

To which the Globe and Mail responds:

"We don’t see that as an error. We see oilsands as the tarsands."

Ryan said...

"..and go ahead and finish your thought, Mike.. "and Albertans, as a whole, are completely ignorant morons for being content with life, by and large, and voting for the PC Party.."

Content with life? Bigger cars, bigger houses, more roads, more money, more tax cuts, more hours worked, more divorce, more underweight children born, more high school dropouts, more VLTS, more gas burned, more real estate, more skyscrapers, more bulldozed heritage buildings, more toxic sludge and more more more...

Come on, Rob. Most Albertans aren't content with anything in life except more more more. I don't think Albertans are ignorant at all--they know very well that a gaggle of near-sighted gangsters runs this province. But you know, we like to have more more more and the Ralphbucks keep flowing, so that's okay. Let a few generations from now deal with it. That isn't to say the rest of Canada isn't that way to an extent--they seem to like their freebies as much as their western friends--but that isn't the point.

Your attempt at Alberta pride is nothing more than a pride in childish, egocentric materialism. You go ahead and prove it otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha thank you annonymous @ 7:52. That made my night.

I wonder what the new leader of the Liberal Party of Toronto would have to say about his newspaper being tied up in these shady western controversies.

Curmudgeon-at-Large said...

Actually, I've always called it The Grope and Flail.

Robert Vollman said...

I've gone with The Globe and Marx.

Bastard out of Stettler said...

Olsen is accurately known around the Premier's Office as:

"The Adult Retard Tom Olsen".

Justin said...

The Glib and Frail?

Anonymous said...

It may as well be called the "Yorkville Spectator". When they're not wine-tasting, guys like Jeff - actually it is Jeffrey - Simpson write an occasional column.

When they write one on Alberta, it is pure comedy, they are so clueless.

Bastard out of Stettler said...

And Neil Waugh and Rick Bell are surely voices of which Albertans can be proud.

Libarbarian said...

Re: tar sands v oil sands -
Globe & Mail today: "Stelmach plans oil sands strategy as spending slows"

Dis the Globe all you want, but apparently you're reading it.