Progressive blogger join White House press pool; Republicans raise eyebrows

Progressive (i.e. liberal) online-only outlets Talking Points Memo, Salon and Ebony are joining the White House Press Pool. The Huffington Post will soon join as well. It wasn't the Obama administration that approved their application to join this group; it was other reporters, through the White House Correspondents Association.

Canada has something like this known as the Parliamentary Press Gallery. The Press Gallery is made up of about 300 or so journalists who work regularly on Parliament Hill. We have a constitution, our own staff, and each year we hold elections for president, an executive, and a board of directors. I've been an elected director for two years. One of the issues I and other Gallery executive are grappling with is trying to decide who's a journalist and who's not in this age of blogs and online-only media. We've been looking around the world at other organizations, like the White House Correspondents Association, to see how they're dealing with this issue.

One of the big sticking points seems to be the political slant of some Web sites applying for accreditation. This issue cropped up when Talking Points Memo applied and received a pool spot:

“If liberals are upset that Fox News is being treated as a legitimate news organization instead of a GOP talking-points channel, then it's mystifying that the [White House Correspondents' Association] is broadening ‘news’ media to encompass blogs and websites that raged against the Bush White House,” said Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group.

“Would anyone seriously suggest that TPM, the Huffington Post and Salon are more objective than Fox News?” Graham asked.

Personally, I think it's dangerous if journalists groups start deciding who's a journalist based on perceived editorial angles. Journalists' groups should stand for free speech and for as big a tent as possible. Canada's press gallery is still working towards some new definitions and here's some of the things I've been suggesting we consider:
1. Are you a professional? The Gallery or the Corros' Association is for people who earn their paycheque reporting from Parliament Hill or the White House.2. Are you a member of a political party or a group working for political goals? Then you're not for us.3. Do you need full-time access to the Hill or the White House? We hand out day passes to those who want to report on the budget and other one-off events, but voting rights only goes to those who are around the Hill everyday.

Tories continue to dominate political financing

Canadians are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to political preferences.

Data published late Friday by Elections Canada show the Conservative Party of Canada continues to dominate its political rivals when it comes to fundraising, just as the party dominates its rivals in opinion polls.

For the three-month period ending September 30 — a period when it appeared the country was headed for yet another general election — nearly 40,000 Canadians wrote a cheque for the Tories. The total value of their contributions was about $3.8 million.

On the fundraising front, the Conservatives alone did better than all of their political opponents combined — who found $3.3 million from about 37,000 contributors in the third quarter.

A recent Canwest News Service/Global National poll conducted by Ipsos Reid found that 40 per cent of Canadians would vote Conservative and just 25 per cent would vote for the Liberals, a level of popular support that is below where they polled in last fall's election.

The Liberal party, meanwhile, was cheered by the fact that it alone among the federal parties was able grow the amount of donations received in the third quarter this year, compared to the third quarter of 2008 .. [Read the rest]

Mike Weir, Buzz, Mansbridge and yer full list of Order of Canada recipients, ceremony next week

Governor General Michaelle Jean announced the list this morning of those who will receive next Thursday Canada's highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada. The order was created in 1967 and, since then more than 5,000 noteworthy Canadians have received it. This time around, Jean is lifting three exceptional types from the Officer class up to the top spot — the Companion. The ceremony honouring the 3 new companions, 11 new officers, and 21 new members will be held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa next Thursday morning.

Here's the list (I trust you know how to Google someone's name to get their bio and background.) Congratulations to all:


· M. Azhar Ali Khan, C.M., O.Ont. / Ottawa, Ont.

· Gordon E. Arnell, C.M. / Calgary, Alta.

· Michael A. Baker, C.M., O.Ont. /Toronto, Ont.

· Robert E. Brown, C.M., O.Q. / Westmount, Que.

· Dinu Bumbaru, C.M. / Montréal, Que.

· Douglas Cole, C.M. / Port Sydney, Ont.

· Robert G. Glossop, C.M. / Ottawa, Ont.

· Arlene Haché, C.M. / Yellowknife, N.W.T.

· Dezsö J. Horváth, C.M. / Toronto, Ont.

· Rudolph J. Kriegler, C.M. / Ottawa, Ont.

· John F. Lewis, C.M. /St. John’s, N.L.

· H. Wade MacLauchlan, C.M. / West Covehead, P.E.I.

· Michael R. Marrus, C.M. / Toronto, Ont.

· Ian W. McDougall, C.M. / Victoria, B.C.

· James H. Morrison, C.M. / Halifax, N.S.

· Victor M. Power, C.M. / Timmins, Ont.

· The Honourable Herbert O. Sparrow, C.M. / North Battleford, Sask.

· Ian Vorres, C.M. / Athens, Greece and Toronto, Ont.

· Henry H. Wakabayashi, C.M., O.B.C. / Vancouver, B.C.

· William J. Wall, C.M. / London, Ont.

· Michael R. Weir, C.M., O.Ont. / Draper, UT, U.S.A. and Bright’s Grove, Ont.


· Gail Asper, O.C., O.M. / Winnipeg, Man.

· Robin W. Boadway, O.C. / Kingston, Ont.

· AA Bronson, O.C. / New York, NY, U.S.A. and Toronto, Ont.

· Victor S. Buffalo, O.C., A.O.E. / Hobbema, Alta.

· William J. Commanda, O.C. / Maniwaki, Que.

· Basil (Buzz) Hargrove, O.C. / Mississauga, Ont.

· The Honourable Donald J. Johnston, P.C., O.C. / Glen Sutton, Que.

· Peter Mansbridge, O.C. / Stratford, Ont.

· The Honourable Frank McKenna, P.C., O.C., O.N.B. / Cap-Pelé, N.B. and Toronto, Ont.

· Clayton H. Riddell, O.C. / Calgary, Alta.

· Françoise Sullivan, O.C., C.Q. / Montréal, Que.


· Harley N. Hotchkiss, C.C., A.O.E. / Calgary, Alta.

· Stephen A. Jarislowsky, C.C., G.O.Q. / Westmount, Que.

· Raymond Moriyama, C.C., O.Ont. / Toronto, Ont.


Top Headlines for Fri Oct 30 plus Parliamentary Datebook

H1N1, the Olympic Torch, and 58-year-old politician who fights off carjackers: Listen to my three-minute audio summary of leading front page headlines plus highlights from Friday's Parliamentary daybook by clicking on the link below. You can also get these audio summaries via podcast from iTunes or via an RSS feed by subscribing to my AudioBoo stream. Both the iTunes link and the RSS link are at my profile at Look under my picture on the left hand side of the page.


Khadr, H1N1 top front pages + Parliamentary daybook for Thursday

An exclusive on the Omar Khadr story and lots of H1N1 news: Listen to my three audio summary of leading front page headlines plus highlights from Thursday's Parliamentary daybook by clicking on the link below. You can also get these audio summaries via podcast from iTunes or via an RSS feed by subscribing to my AudioBoo stream. Both the iTunes link and the RSS link are at my profile at Look under my picture on the left hand side of the page.


Jack Layton decries "sexist" heckling from Conservatives in the Commons

NDP Leader Jack Layton delivered this statement in the House of Commons this afternoon:

Monsieur le Président, les citoyens nomment un député à cette Chambre pour représenter leurs valeurs de coopération et de respect mutuel. Nous assistons régulièrement à des écarts de comportement du députés qui déshonorent la confiance que les gens ont placé en nous.

During question period we have been witnessing undeniably sexist heckling from members of the government side. This abuse is growing hotter, it is growing more frequent and there is more bullying. I can hear some of it now, except in this case it is not targeting women as it all too often does in this chamber. It targets women representing opposition parties, all the opposition parties in the House.

L'intimidation sexiste n'est aucunement justifiable au Canada et ne peut en aucun cas être tolérée dans notre Parlement.

As a parliamentarian, as a man, a father, a grandfather, I call on the government's leadership to really get a grip on its members and set a higher standard.

Integrity of lobbying watchdog threatened by PMO: Opposition

Opposition politicians accused officials in the Prime Minister's Office of threatening the integrity of the independent Commissioner of Lobbying, in the wake of revelations that the watchdog was investigating a lobbyist firm with close connections to senior Ottawa Conservatives.

The Globe and Mai, citing an unnamed government official, reported that the lobbying commissioner was investigating Navigator Ltd. — whose chairman is a former colleague of Guy Giorno, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff — but did not say why. The chairman, Jamie Watt, did not return calls requesting comment.

By law, investigations by the lobbying commissioner are to remain secret.

Liberal MP Paul Szabo said leaking the fact that the firm is under investigation could taint that investigation.

“The prime minister has undermined the confidentiality required by the Lobbying Act, and compromised a potential investigation,” Szabo said in the House of Commons on Tuesday .. [Read the rest of the story]

Top newspaper headlines and your Parliamentary daybook for Wednesday

A Canadian terrorism suspect and lots of H1N1 concerns — Get my three-and-a-half-minute audio summary of leading front page headlines plus highlights from Wednesday's Parliamentary daybook by clicking on the link below. You can get these summaries via podcast from iTunes incidentally by subscribing to my AudioBoo stream. You can also get an RSS feed for my audio updates. Both the iTunes link and the RSS link are at my profile at Look under my picture on the left hand side of the page. Listen!

Happy birthday National Post – from a day-oner back on page C13

I was a day-oner at National Post, which celebrated its 11th anniversary today. Actually I wasn't so much a day-oner as a day-minus-121'er. My first day in the only newsroom the Post has ever known, in Don Mills in Toronto's northeast end, was in mid-summer four months or so before the Post launched. I had been working at the Hamilton Spectator, then owned by the Conrad Black-controlled Southam Newspaper company. Those of us who joined the Post in its early days suspected that Black was going through the motions to scare Ken Thomson into selling him The Globe and Mail. Indeed, my employment contract had an 'out' that, if the Post folded within two years of my hire, Southam would find me a spot back at one of its other papers. Happily, the paper did not fold and was a tremendous editorial success in its first few years. It has since had its ups and downs but I'm confident that, as the newspaper industry comes out of one of the worst years ever, it has a great future ahead of it.

I was hired, incidentally, to work as a technology reporter in the Post's business section. This was a business section that was supposed to compete with The Globe and Mail's Report on Business and the Financial Post. Black would buy the Financial Post weeks after I got hired so when I showed up for day one, , there was a band of less than a dozen of us that were to take on ROB and FP. The idea was to go heavy on coverage of technology and marketing, two areas that we believed the ROB and the FP at the time had not covered with much depth and insight. That group was led by a wonderful young editor named Howard Intrator. Tragically and sadly, Howard, hardly 40, died of anaphylactic shock after a severe allergic reaction to peanuts in our second year. Howard's number two at the time was a young Scots emigre named John Ivison, who now sits a few feet away from me in Canwest's Ottawa newsroom and writes a column on national politics for the Post a few times a week. You might have seen it. He is one of more than a few day-oners still writing in the paper. One of the other originals is Jacqueline Thorpe, who was also among that small hardy band in the summer of 1998. Jacqueline became the Post's accomplished lead economics writer and is still at the heart of the FP as an associate editor.

Who else was in the early business section? I'm sure to miss someone and for that, I'm sorry! I remember Michael Den Tandt there. Michael and I would later work at the Globe and Mail together. He is now happily ensconced at the Owen Sound Sun Times as its editor — and keeps his hand in national politics with a syndicated column for Sun Media. My friend Paul Brent was also an day-oner — a terrific reporter and author of a book on the “beer wars” between Labatt's and Molson's. During one of the Post's staff restructurings, Paul ended up leaving the paper. Brenda Bouw was there as well as a reporter. She had tremendous sources and broke one story after another. Brenda jumped to TV too, eventually become the top editorial producer at BNN, back in the day when it was known as ROBTV.

I left the Post in the summer of 2001, before Black sold the paper and the chain to the Asper family. I left reluctantly — was pulled, rather than pushed — to try an experiment in what was then called convergence, doing two jobs — a reporter for CTV News with Lloyd Robertson while also pulling my weight as a Contributing Writer for The Globe and Mail.

The front page of that first edition had none of our little group's bylines on it — though, in the days leading up to that first edition, we were all trying to come up with a big splashy scoop to get on that first front page, a front page which hangs in a frame on the wall in my home office.

The big story in that first edition was from Sheldon Alberts, who had come from the Calgary Herald and is now Canwest's man in Washington. Sheldon's story was headlined “Klein backs unite-the-right movement”. Coming down the left-hand side of the page was the front page contribution from our business section: Sandra Rubin wrote “YBM linked to Russian underworld”. The rest of page 1? A column from Allen Abel “At 77, Glenn shows the white stuff”. Abel's column was the tip for what I thought was an odd choice for the main front page photo that day, a close-up of U.S. astronaut John Glenn, giving us the thumbs-up as he prepared to blast back into space. Steven Edwards, who still reports for the Post from the United Nations in New York, was on the front with “ANC accused of torture, rights violations”; Mike Trickey had a file from Ottawa “Yeltsin tells Chretien to stay away” and the kicker down at the bottom was from Julie Smyth and John Geiger “Scott of the Antarctic continues final journey: Body Travelling in Ice.”

I think a lot of us on the staff sensed it was a special edition and we all wanted a byline and a story in that first paper. Here's my lame-o contribution — 200 words which found a home on page C13. I have no idea why I thought this was news but here it is.. Happy Birthday NP!

IBM developing high-end OS

National Post
Tue Oct 27 1998
Page: C13
Section: Financial Post
Byline: David Akin
Source: Financial Post

International Business Machines Ltd. said yesterday it will lead an alliance to develop a new operating system for high-end computers used by businesses.

The decision by the Armonk-N.Y.-based company to develop a new Unix operating system – dubbed Project Monterey – is aimed at beating back competition in the high-end server market.

IBM's chief rivals are Compaq Computer Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., but Microsoft Corp. will also be trying to add share in that market with the release next year of Windows NT 5.0.

“It's significant news. I see this as more of a differentiator for IBM to counter Compaq and Sun, who are their two primary competitors in this enterprise server hardware market,'' said Hadley Reynolds, director of research at Boston-based consultancy The Delphi Group. “Even NT 5.0 doesn't look to be really enough of an enterprise system to deploy a lot of the software that currently runs on Unix.''

IBM has teamed up with Unix developers Santa Cruz Operations Inc. of Santa Cruz, Calif. ,and Sequent Computer Systems Inc. of Beaverton, Ore., to develop a Unix operating system that can run on next-generation 64-bit processors. An initial release of Monterey should be available in 18 months.

The Colours of (Stephen Harper's) Canada: That would be Pantone #333399

Liberal researches are distributing the following images, which I pass along without comment, other than to say the top image compares covers of the printed copy of the Governor General's Throne Speech to the cover of the Conservative Party platform document from the last election. The bottom compares colour schemes from Conservative Party web sites to current government Web sites.