21 February 2010

Frank opinions and the almost inevitable local response

Geoff Meeker recounts what has become an inadvertent sub-theme of his blog;  the reaction in the local community to frank opinions expressed publicly.

In this case its a young man who began to offer critiques of the local visual arts scene that didn’t amount to wallpaper paste.

His reward has been vicious personal attacks by anonymous smear-artists.

Some of the comments Craig Francis Power has received over the past four years or so will seem very familiar to regular readers of this and other similar spaces.



Winston Smith said...

There is another persistent sub-theme to Geoff's blog: professional journalists trying to start flame-wars.

Here is Peter Jackson, quick out of the gate with his flame-thrower: "Part 7? Anything else on the go these days?" That's the sum total of his opening contribution. Readers can decide for themselves what Jackson was trying to accomplish.

When you asked "Does something about it [reaction to the Premier's health story] make you uncomfortable," David Cochrane responded by condemning your "snide shot" against Jackson.

Jackson could not help himself, however, and later in the thread he lobbed this grenade into the discussion: "OMG. Shall we call this Part 8?"

Geoff Meeker isn't the only blogger to be on the receiving end of Jackson's one-liner flame campaign. Here is Jackson on Labradore: "For the love of God, Wally! Give it a rest! (no campaign here)."

Jackson himself can explain why he's so angry and why he feels that sarcasm is the appropriate response to the ongoing debate over how the government's PR office and the local media handled this story.

There are, however, two discrete stories here: the Premier's actual health and his decision to seek treatment outside Canada; and the responses by government officials, media commentators, journalists, and the public. One of Geoff's most useful contributions has been to point out the difference between the two. While the former is beyond the pale of public commentary, the latter is not.

Whatever the media debate is, it is most decidedly a story -- one of the few NL stories this year covered in national and international media -- and it would be helpful to hear why Jackson feels that saying Give it a rest! is a positive contribution to this debate. On the eve of tomorrow's interview by NTV, this is the story that everyone is talking about, whether he likes it or not.

Peter said...

Um, who's flaming whom, exactly?
Mine was just a non-offensive remark to suggest that maybe it's time to move on.
I know you hate my guts, Winsy, but was all that vitriol really called for?

Blech said...

Well, at least the myth of the "friendly Newfoundlanders" has finally been debunked.

Ed Hollett said...

That one pretty much went out the window with Peg Wente.

By the time it got to the poor lawyer in Corner Brook it was dug up, sliced to pieces, burned up and its ashes scattered to the wind.

Peter said...

Actually, some local comment poster admitted the other day she never heard the term "the happy province."

Ed Hollett said...

Well a firend of mine had a university student born and raised here who didn't know there'd been denominational education in Newfoundland and Labrador.

But I am amazed that with all these efforts to recreate the late 1960s, someone hasn't plastered that across the license plates on our cars again.

Winston Smith said...

What a bizarre comment, Peter. I'm not sure how you could know that I hate your guts, because I have never met you nor your guts.

Geoff was attacked last fall because his blog covered more than narrowly defined media stories; now he's being slagged because he's covering the biggest media story of the year in NL. Looks like another instalment in the journalism reality series, "It's Funny 'Cause It's True."

Far from being time to move on, this drama has not even entered its dénouement. You're certainly free to continue convering hard-hitting stories such as whether Republic of Doyle is sexist (no shit, Sherlock, how many gender studies courses did it take to figure that one out?), but I hope that Geoff continues to ignore the attempts to stifle his blog.