A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. ~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Jame Madison

And never have I felt more rebellious, more incited to revolution than tonight, when I sat down to read who, and what, really controls what you, and I, and our friends and neighbours read and watch in the evening news….

And you think you live in a democracy?

I suggest you read the following. And think again.

 Because when journalists employed by publications that benefit from very lucrative government advertising revenue are among those who are designated to pick and choose who may obtain media accreditation on behalf of the Supreme Court…. something has gone terribly wrong.

 From The Legislature Raids :

BC Supreme Court Media Accreditation Committee … say again?

What is a working journalist? Wouldn’t it be someone with a set of high skills who attends all the hearings, studies the process, and reveals the story in its fullest form? I think so. And I think Robin Mathews is that highly skilled working journalist who is telling us the BC Rail story in its fullest meaning.

Recently Robin wrote to Court Scheduling to ask for accreditation.  Why? So he could do his job better. He said that if the court is jammed (as it was for the first jury-picking) he needed to get a place where he could hear what’s going on … which isn’t always easy in the back row with 150 people in the public gallery. A reply came to him from H.L.McBride, Supreme Court Law Officer, with material describing the Accreditation Process and it referred him to the committee of journalists which does the initial accrediting.  Of the four named as representative of the committee, Robin chose Keith Fraser to write to.

Robin Mathews has been in the BC Rail courtroom with other paid journalists for over three (3) years. Sometimes Robin Mathews is the only working journalist in the public gallery reporting on the BC Rail Trial.  I would imagine that he has logged more hours in the public gallery than any other journalist at the BC Rail hearings. So in my view, the public should know the dark side of what goes on.

Heaven knows we berate the journalists often enough for not doing their jobs better. I, for one, never quite imagined them doing these kinds of things as part of their duty to the public.

First, here’s Robin’s inquiry:

Dear Keith:  First:  I wrote to Mary Ellen Pearce to ask if I could get accredited as a court reporter. My reply came from H.L.McBride who I can never decide if it’s a woman or a man.  Anyhow, the reply was I have to go to someone really powerful to ask – and you were listed among the really powerful!!!!

                     Yes, I would like the right to record.  But also I’d like the right if the court is jammed (as it was for the first jury-picking) to get a place where I can hear what’s going on … which isn’t always easy in the back row with 150 people there. I notice that you and CP could slip in to a corner where you were in good relation to the goings-on …

                    I’d like to know about “accreditation” if you can spare a few minutes over the next days (before the 17th.)

                    good wishes, Robin

Next: Neal Hall of Vancouver Sun offers the formal reply, as follows:

From: “Hall, Neal (Vancouver Sun)”
Date: May 11, 2010
To: , “Fraser, Keith (The Province)” , ssmart@ctv.ca, JSeyd@nsnews.com,
Subject: Court accreditation application

Robin Mathews:

The B.C. Supreme Court media accreditation committee considered your application but has decided you are not a working journalist, so do not qualify for accreditation.
We are aware of the valuable role you play as a “blogger” and analyst of the court proceedings, so would encourage you to apply by letter to the trial judge, requesting permission to use a recording device in court.
As for seating, so far, there doesn’t appear to be any special arrangements for media seating in the courtroom. So we’re all in the same boat – we’ll be trying to find the best available seat each day.
Any questions, please feel free to contact me (I can always be reached by e-mail).

Neal Hall
The Vancouver Sun
(604) 605-2067
Email: nhall@vancouversun.com

Now. If you don’t get what is wrong here, I feel for you. I really do. But for the rest of you, click on the The Legislature Raids  and read the rest of the story…

8 thoughts on “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. ~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Jame Madison

  1. For me this may be the final straw. That these quislings who aren’t worthy of sharpening Robin’s pencil to be the gatekeepers of who can cover a trial in BC Supreme (or is that Supremely Inferior and Injust?) Court is appalling.

    Three shills for the Campbell Goverment from the P3 wing of the Public Affairs Bureau (the Province, Sun and North Shore News ALL being of Canada.com or the Assperson Empire of Propaganda) and one other representing a network (CTV) that employs Gordon Campbells personal ottoman as an anchor on their flagship news.

    The only explanation for such a situation is a blatant attempt to make certain that the truth is whatever the forces of evil, the BC liaRs, find convenient is the official story. This way they CAN probably even edit the official transcripts if anything embarrassing to the Criminal in Chief should be uttered from the witness stand. If only the home team is allowed to record (and edit their tapes) who can challenge their VERSION?
    The documents have already been either sorted out, disappeared or redacted into pages of black.

    Hell., they already have the “special” prosecutor they want, the “decider” of documents they want, the judge they want – why even pretend to have a trial? How STOOPID do they think we are?

    It is time to either take back this province or move somewhere else.

    Perhaps once Gordo has retired from pillaging BC, he can become a consultant and advise folks like North Korean Elvis and the mullahs of Iran on the finer points of information management /suprresion- or propaganda.


  2. The recent ruling in the Supreme Court of Canada appears to take away some of the MSM “rights”, to others like us, we are given new “rights”. eg.

    Canada Supreme Court


    Type in to Find “accreditation”


    “In contrast to the legal profession there is no formal accreditation process to “licence” the practice of journalism, and no professional organization (such as a law society) to regulate its members and attempt to maintain professional standards. Nor, given the scope of activity contemplated as journalism in Grant v. Torstar, could such an organization be readily envisaged.”



  3. If I understand NVG correctly, it would appear that the BC Supreme Court’s accreditation cosdwallop is being/or can be challenged on the strength of the Supreme Court of Canada judgement. Or, is it that anything judged outside of the province isn’t relevant ????

    It certainly shopw clearly, how the “privaledged few” are trying (possible illegally) to control on what is reported from the courthouse – again, the judical system seems to be working illegally by granting this.

    It is truly sickening – the sonner SCampbell gets turfed out the better for be. Now the BC Federation of Labour are officially against the HST – Campbells days are now truly numbered.

    Thanks and all you bloggers, please keep up the pressure.



  4. So if a reporter from the New York Times or The Economist or Pravda were to show up, they’d have to ask permission of CanWest/CTV drones to be able to carry their recorders/notebooks? Seems to me there’s freedom of expression issues here, not that they (the SCBC judges) have any interesting in furthering that, and expressly have undertaken measures to prevent it as much as possible, even to the point of giving certain news monopolies ( who make the same campaign contributions they do) control over who is and who isn’t an “accredited reporter”. Writing the news apparently takes a license…..Neal Hall’s line about vying for the best seat is one of the greatest gags I’ve heard in a long time – how many days since the pre-trial hearings began has there even BEEN a Vancouver Sun reporter in the courtroom….this guy should get a job in stand-up, he’s too funny for the newspaper business….

    Is there some way we can run a laugh track on the Supreme Court website? Maybe we should install whoopee cushions under the bench, and equip Crown Prosecutors with Harpo Marx-type honk-horns?? wonka wonka…

    Government by the few, for the few, and of t eh few. Journalism by the few, for the few, and of the few.

    What do they teach in law school these days? And In journalism school?


  5. Once again I see references to the wisdom expressed south of the 49th. It is as if there is no wisdom north of the 49th from which to quote.
    . I act on supposition when I say. “One rightly should not concern themselves from whence wisdom comes but rather see only the truth of the statement. And who the hell is “Jame Madison”?
    That point made and set aside for future reference —
    Of course there are boondoggles and hoodwinkery within the methods of our governance. The question, to me at least, is “How did we let that happen?” It is “we” you have not upheld our part of the bargain (read contract) and allowed democracy top slip through our fingers as it the worth of it were no more than beach-sand.
    I have been ignorant of the rules of the game of law for most of my 70 years and of course always paid the price of that ignorance, ignorance meaning lack of knowledge, but lack of knowledge can be remedied rather easily when one has the will to do so. The knowledge requires is readily available on line. I refer to Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769) http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/blackstone/
    Blackstone’s is the Bible of Law and if more people would acquaint themselves with Blackstone’s Commentaries as they do with the Bible there would be far less hoodwinkery occurring in my rare to be humble opinion on this matter.
    There is within Blackstone’s a laid-out course of action which is to be undertaken by we citizens concerning the laws of our country. We are in flagrant violation of our duties in this regard. That however does not prevent us from offing “opinions” on what we do not know.
    BC Mary has very high and unrealistic (based on the realities of to-day) of the roles played by “Journalists” the law (much of it being only the colour of law) and our role in democracy. In BC Mary’s defence I will say she is partially correct in those opinions. The “howevers”, although major issues, will not be addressed in this post.
    Corruption of government and law occur due to our not fulfilling our part of the bargain and finger pointing at “them” is of no value unless we have undertaken our obligations.
    Taken to its extreme the concept of “clean hands” in this matter of how democracy might be conducted is a crucial point.


  6. ps
    Although there are conflicting accounts of this quote there is also a greater truth within it
    John Swinton, former Chief of Staff for the New York Times stated:
    “There is no such thing at this date of the world’s history in America as an independent press. You know it and I know it. “There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinion and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. “Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions, would be out in the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinion to appear in one issue of my paper, before 24 hours my occupation would be gone.
    “The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell this country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it. “What folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools of vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull our strings and we dance.
    “Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”
    – New York Press Club, 1953-


    1. For all those reading this thread, there have been many developments and much debate and commentary going on over at BC Mary’s place that is quite revealing, and disturbing at the same time.


  7. Laila,

    I’ve been busy … as you well know, there’s 10 times the work behind the scenes, as appears on anybody’s blog in finished form. And there have been big issues at play. First principles, really.

    Neal Hall, acting alone on this “volunteer” Committee at BC Supreme Court, not only rejected Robin Mathews’ application for accreditation but also insulted Robin.

    Behind the scenes, a bunch of us thought that if Robin received pay for his reporting, this would trump Neal Hall’s rejection.

    But Robin wouldn’t hear of it. He hates the idea of being paid for what he so generously has done for the past 3 years. He said that his lifetime of writing, reporting, lecturing, and authoring books, plays, poetry, were his credentials. True. True!

    And so we went back to Square One, working on different angles, hoping to bring reason where Neal Hall was being unreasonable.

    I read with great interest, Laila, that you plan to attend Day #1 of the Basi-Virk trial on Monday, and that you’ll have accreditation. I hope so! Accreditation has become more than a convenience for a working reporter — and is now an issue of a democratic free society. A first principle to uphold.


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