11 February 2010

Planted calls and personal threats against talk show host revealed

In an interview with Geoff Meeker, VOCM Open Line show host Randy Simms gave the text-book definition of a planted caller. 

Simms was describing his experience in the first couple of days after news broke that the Premier was in the United States for heart surgery. He rejected the idea the calls and e-mails were organized but then gave what is in essence the textbook definition of an orchestrated, partisan political campaign of intimidation aimed at local news media:

“…In many instances, they weren’t listening to the program, they don’t know what the question was that I asked, they haven’t read my column. But they are responding (anyway)… and a lot of them will respond and cc it to other offices, let’s say that.  And it’s done for a different motivation than engaging in legitimate democratic debate. But you get some of that, right?”

Simms also described the e-mail portion of the campaign:

Towards the end of the February 2 program, Simms referred to a bunch of emails he had received that day; messages that were vicious, insulting and mean-spirited.

“I don’t know why you would take the time to write an email, the sole purpose of which is to insult, to see if you can inflict some kind of emotional hurt. I don’t know why you would do that. That says more about you, than it does about me. …”

And if that wasn’t enough, Simms has also been subjected to personal threats:

““All of us, everybody, in any form of public life will have threats made against them. If you could read what has been said to me, about me, and of me, simply because we mentioned Danny Williams name and health care in the same sentence. I’ve had my life threatened. I’ve been threatened with being shot. I’ve been threatened with having my house burned down. We even had a guy come on Facebook yesterday and he actually said that Randy Simms should do us all a favour and hang himself in his basement. Now I ask you – These people… should these people be walking around free?”

The short answer is “no”.

It’s a criminal offence to make threats, and if Simms has been getting that type of stuff, the best thing to do is turn the information over the police.  Let them investigate and take appropriate action.  Some of these louts can be tracked down and when they’ve been rooted out, let them deal with the consequences.

No need to wonder any more if last Saturday’s analysis here at Bond Papers read too much into the current climate in Newfoundland and Labrador.



David123 said...

Eastern Europeans will take to the streets and risk pain and loss for the hope for a sniff of real Democracy. The TV footage of these struggles is always is heart-wrenching, emotional stuff.

Here, the only thing that gets people mobilized and incensed is shouting down any opposition to our Dictator of the day. It was that way with Joey, and it's exactly that way today.

The vilification, the oppression of ideas, the pathetic ignorance. As a collective, we just don't believe in democracy. Democracy was something forced on us (yes, that's ironic and zen) and we continue to reject it. We just want to be led, and we'll figure the rest out as we go along.

Ed Hollett said...

Well there's a topic for much discussion.

Since 2003 we have had the bizarro situation in which members of the party that fought to replace a demogogue (Joe Smallwood) have now surpassed Smallwod in their worship of demogouery.

And if that wasn't enough many of the people who agitated against a commission government or whose parents did now seem to be leaning toward something which is far more secretive and sinister.

Rex said...

Former President of the USA, Bill Clinton, just underwent emergency heart surgery. All the details are already in the news down here, and apparently he's being told that he can go back to work on Monday. An interesting difference in how the medical situations of 2 different political leaders are handled. No-one down here in the US media is being blasted over their discussion of Clinton's heart surgery. It's just "normal" to have full disclosure for such public figures, and everyone is wishing him well.

Ed Hollett said...

Two things Rex:

First, there's a post done last night and time delayed for this morning that mentions Clinton and another couple of related issues.

Second, Geoff's post demonstrates some of more vicious aspects of this little campaign. Normally people don't pass around e-mail and get their friends and relative sto push this sort of line without some impetus.

In this case it isn't just an unnatural love of The Leader. If it was you'd see this sort of stuff a lot more often by the Special Affection crowd. Nope. The timing and all the rest make it pretty clear that someone partisan got in behind it and shoved it hard and kept shoving it.

Of course that was after someone partisan dropped a dime on Danny and blew away the whole plan to keep the whole thing secret in the first place. The viciousness of the reaction likely reflects his personal anger at being ratfucked like he was.

Heck anyone would be savage at knowing there was a reall traitor in your midst as opposed to people who just had an opinion. You can also tell it was an inside job because the usual suspects aren't screaming for blood for the "quisling" or "traitor". This is too serious a matter for that sort of silly rhetoric.

David123 said...

The inside cabal is obviously seething over this, and seem to have been outed as an important segment of the intolerance and outrage for the existence of questions...

But that kind of bullying can only be pulled, and can only work, in an environment that welcomes it. In most places, this kind of campaign would be sniffed out, dug up and exposed, and the public would be outraged.

Here, we are not surprised at all that such campaigns might exist. The common reaction is a sly grin, maybe a wink, and a 'you give it to 'em, Danny!'

Before oil, we tended to have a Saint-of-the-Year….I guess adding grease lengthens the shelf life.

Ed Hollett said...

There are plenty of enablers in every dysfunctional relationship, David.

As it goes, David, you will find for example that the locals won't actual break a heavy story like say the MUN interference largely because they can't get the copper-fastened absolute proof necessary to meet the super-high standards for these things they maintain.

Once others break it, they'll repeat it but they won't break it.

In other places conventional news media comment on the sorts of things I (and others) comment on sometimes with a tone far more savage than mine ever has been.

Now on other issues - unlike the MUn ineterference - their standards of journalistic accuracy and evidence can be flung conveniently out the window.

Take for example: November 2008 and have province versus January 2009 and Jihad Part Whatever fopr not getting Equalization.

No one seems willing to ask the obvious questions or even bother to point out the obvious.

Once upon a time every news organization in town would be piunding away at the freedom from information regime. So far that is one only the Telly sometimes goes after.

This is not a new phenomenon. It just seems to be much more widepsread now than it used to be. The current environment - like the current state of politics - seem to go back to the 1950s and 1960s.

Like I said, there are enablers in every dysfunctional relationship.