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BLACK OUT DRINKING, CONSPIRACY THEORIES & SCHIZOPHRENIC NEWSPAPERS – Such is Life in River City

City Councillor Ross Eadie (City of Winnipeg)
City Councillor Ross Eadie (City of Winnipeg)

It’s hard to ignore the schizophrenic reporting Winnipeg Free Press subscribers have been subjected to this week.

It all started with Winnipeg City Councillor Ross Eadie doing his best Rob Ford impression, getting blitzed on alcohol, allegedly abusing Police and Paramedics and landing himself in the Main Street Project.

The Winnipeg Free Press broke the story on Monday in an article written by reporter Ashley Prest titled, “Police call mayor’s office after city councillor’s night in drunk tank.”

Eadie is quoted in the article questioning why Police informed the Mayor of his after hours exploits, “Why would you, the police, call the mayor? I’m 55 years old. I obviously had too much to drink. Why would you call the mayor, though? I don’t understand that. He’s not my father. I’m not accountable to him, so for me, it was kind of like, wow, what’s that all about.”

Enter Gordon Sinclair Jr…

GSJ never disappoints in his pursuit of any story that features suggestions of Police abuse of power or misconduct.

In fact, he called out the WPS for contacting Mayor Bowman with a private and relatively trivial matter suggesting officers routinely handle verbally abusive drunks without calling their bosses.

Enter the conspiracy theory…

“But there are some other aspects of this story that are disturbing, at least they are to me. Eadie is a member of the city’s police board, which oversees such pivotal police matters as budget and staffing numbers,” he writes.

He then asks, “Did that have anything to do with the police service’s decision to out Eadie as an abusive drunk, and inevitably publicly embarrass him in the media?”

Wait a minute…

In paragraph number three Sinclair wrote, “The Free Press, in fact, broke that story Monday and posed “why” police would report what happened to Mayor Brian Bowman in this front-page headline. “Why did they call the boss?”

So it really wasn’t the WPS that broke the story, or “outed” Mr. Eadie as an abusive drunk, or publicly embarrassed him.

We all know who did that.

In the final insult Sinclair writes, “Politicians may have power over the Winnipeg Police Service, their budgets and membership numbers. But police have power, too. As if every politician in the city and province doesn’t have that uneasy feeling already.”

That uneasy feeling…

That uneasy feeling “every” politician in the City and the Province has because they simply can’t trust the Police who constantly prove they can’t be relied upon to use restraint with the considerable power they hold and wield over all of us.

It’s all about the perpetual abuse of Police power and authority.

Wait a minute…

Today I read an Aldo Santin piece in the Winnipeg Free Press titled, “Police trying to help drunken Coun. Eddie, not embarrass him: mayor.”

It turns out Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis wasn’t out to embarrass Mr. Eadie after all.

Clunis contacted the Mayor to identify a family member or some other responsible person who could pick Eadie up from the drunk tank so he could be taken to a safe place.

The call was motivated by a genuine concern for Eadie’s safety, health and well-being.

The Mayor was grateful for the call and is quoted in the article as saying, “I appreciate the fact the Chief made the call and that we have a Chief of Police who is doing his best to look after the health and safety of an individual.”

Here’s the schizophrenic part…

Santin writes, “While some speculated that police had breached Eadie’s privacy rights in contacting Bowman and were trying to embarrass him, Eadie said he no longer shares that opinion.”

(Its true, Eadie “walked-back” the rhetoric and acknowledged the Police were just trying to help him.)

Wait a minute…

“While some speculated”…

As far as I can tell, the “some” who engaged in the speculation were Santin’s colleague GSJ and his employer, The Winnipeg Free Press…

This wasn’t responsible journalism.

This was reporting at its absolute worst.

Unsubstantiated, venomous, irresponsible speculation and generalizations disguised as journalism published by a newspaper that seems hell-bent on destroying their own credibility.

Mr. Eadie saw the light and issued a public apology indicating, “I’m apologizing to all of the Winnipeg Public Service people who may have encountered me early Saturday morning.”

It occurs to me Eadie shouldn’t be the only one offering a public apology on this one.

3 Comments

  1. Kachina…

    Thank you for commenting and bringing the article to my attention, I hadn’t read it.

    In today’s politically correct world I should have anticipated some blow back for using the word schizophrenic in describing the approach taken by the WFP regarding this story.

    I think most people will “get” where I was coming from and that I had no intention of further stigmatizing the word.

    The word schizophrenia – in general use – is defined as “a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements”

    That is precisely how I interpreted the reporting and its the precise sentiment I was trying to communicate with my headline.

    I felt compelled to confront Mr Sinclairs article, his conspiracy theory and his attempt to degrade the trust, respect and understanding people have of the Police.

    Having said that, I do appreciate your feedback.

    Thank you.

  2. I feel compelled to point out your unfortunate use of the word “schizophrenic”- particularly in a story that references GSJ, who is likely to have a strong and negative reaction that will not serve to mitigate his distrust of police.

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/mental_illness_wounds_tens_of_thousands_of_families-40769397.html

    We build relationships one person at a time, and we destroy people one relationship at a time.

  3. It would be interesting to know who alerted the Winnipeg Free Press to this in the first instance. Providing this type of information to the media is like giving crack to an addict. They can’t help themselves.

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