Sunday, December 18, 2005

On cover-ups

The CP reports today that Harper's infamous 1997 speech was brought to the press' attention by a Martin employee and a Liberal member who tried to cover up their partisan affiliation:
News organizations receive tips or leaks from partisan sources all the time. It does not disqualify the newsworthiness of the leak. But everyone in politics has an agenda, and recognizing the agenda is part of the critical appraisal any news organization brings to its assessment of a story - even if a news tip's provenance is not always conveyed to the public.

Munter asked to remain anonymous as the source of the tip. Contacted by CP's election desk, he also vigorously denied acting with any partisan direction...

The Canadian Press (later) learned that Munter was in Vancouver with the Liberal team, working with Martin on debate preparations.

Munter, contacted again Thursday, was repeatedly asked whether the Liberal party had any connection to his suggesting CP look for the story.

Each time, Munter evaded the question...

Munter eventually offered that the speech was found by a friend "who is something of a whiz on the Internet."

He was asked if his friend had any connection with the Liberal war room. He said he didn't know, but finally conceded: "He is a Liberal."
As the article notes, it should come as a surprise to nobody that the people involved in publicizing the article had partisan motivations. But there's no reason why they needed to lie to the CP in order to bring the story forward.

So far, the Liberals' war room is apparently refusing to comment...which is somewhat understandable given its efforts to avoid any association with the initial story. But the longer Munter is the Liberal voice associated with this story, the worse Martin and company will look in their implicit endorsement of dishonest campaigning.

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