29 October 2008

Jet Ski or Scuba Dive?

There is a radical difference in media coverage of the premier's tesitmony at the cameron Inquiry.

For the most part, the local media were caught up in the presentation, even to the point of Randy Simms gushing - there is no other word for it - over what Simms said was an apology done without benefit of highly paid consultants to craft words. 

Simms seems to base his view entirely on the fact Williams did not read from a sheet of paper.  For a veteran newsman, Simms displays an ability to come to a conclusion based on incredibly slim facts.  Neil Armstrong didn't read from a sheet of paper either, but his first words on the moon were as rehearsed as could be.

The locals may have brushed beyond the nose-pullers in the testimony like the Premier's claim that he doesn't pay attention to what is said on radio talk shows.  The Telegram added a piece in the Wednesday edition on the Premier's comments on the media but didn't poke a hole in the silliness of some of the claims. 

Instead, they snickered over the poke at the Globe and Mail and ignored the Premier's other Palinesque claim that he often used The Independent for his "own research".  Recall that he has said a number of times that he does not have time to read books.  He just reads lots of - unspecified - other things.

Check the transcript indicentally and see the number of times a guy supposedly too uber-busy to even make notes on things so important he might want to follow up about later on can conduct his "own research" into issues.

The local coverage stuck pretty much to the gainsburgers:

Premier Danny Williams apologized Tuesday for any grief and anguish that Newfoundland and Labrador breast cancer patients have suffered because of flawed laboratory tests. 
"We take this personally," Williams told the Cameron inquiry Tuesday. "We certainly take responsibility, full responsibility, for any actions ... that might have contributed to this problem."
Voice of the Cabinet Minister:
The Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society says he believes most people will accept Premier Danny Williams' apology, made at the Cameron Inquiry yesterday. Williams apologized on behalf of government to all who were impacted by the faulty breast cancer hormone receptor testing results. The Cancer Society's Peter Dawe says the words of remorse from the Premier seemed sincere.
The Telegram:  
“ I think it’s right I do so,” began Williams, launching into a seven-minute statement.

“I want to apologize to the patients and to their loved ones and their families for what has happened here. I apologize as the current premier and I apologize on behalf of previous governments and premiers … that if we’ve hurt these people, in some way they’ve suffered, that I can certainly assure them it was not deliberate.”

Williams said there was no intention to harm anybody “under any circumstances.”
A little distance from the subject matter  - however - gives an entirely different perspective, one that is sure to cause some controversy. 

The Globe editorial points to some issues that should serve as the basis for deeper inquiry or cause greater concern than they evidently have within the first 24 hours of post-testimony coverage. There are other aspects of the testimony which should cause news editors to send reporters digging for more details.

The bigger story lies in those details.

It's amazing what you can see when you look.

Or to borrow another metaphor, it's amazing what you find when you scuba dive, as opposed to jet ski.

Let's see if anyone bothers to don the tanks.