It may seem like a facetious question but I really mean it sincerely. In many ways I'm actually inclined to like Christie Blatchford. She and her co-troll Rosie DiManno are a couple of tough women in a field still dominated by men. Hell, she covers crime, war and sports.
But she's just such a f***ing jerk. If I could find one article in which she didn't genuflect towards the cops, the Tories, the generals and sneer at youth, uppity immigrants (particularly Muslims), activists and anyone who might ask uncomfortable questions of their betters I would suspect that there was still an ounce of warm, beating flesh in the cold lump of coal that is her heart. But, given her breathless promo campaign on behalf of the Tories a couple of elections ago that was supposed to pass for journalism, I suspect that if she had any such flesh she cooked it up and fed it by hand to Mr. Harper on his battle bus when once they strayed too far from a Tim Horton's donut shop. She is a compromised and heartless sycophant to power, indeed.
Take her coverage of the hearings that began yesterday into the "G17" - the remaining 17 protesters being held by the cops in relation to rioting at the G20. She makes one good point - these trials shouldn't be held in secret and it is reflective of a more general problem in the Canadian court system. Then she spins this out as a "soft on crime" story in relation to these kids. Are the proceedings being hidden from view to protect the charged? I don't know but I doubt it somehow.
And since Christie, like a certain Martin Regg Cohn whom I wrote about yesterday, knows quite well what transpired over the past two weeks she is being more than a little coy when she whines about perceptions of the press.
It was the press, after all, who dutifully carried the farcical "weapons cache" that looked like the dressing room from the Medieval Times Dinner Theatre. It was so bloody obvious that these so-called weapons were pretty much anything that the police could dig up from the lockers in the basement of the police station - arrows fitted out with pool noodles? A chainsaw? Seriously? - and yet it was only when the guy who owned the scale mail armour and graphite swords came forward to inform the "scum of the press" that they were dumb as posts that they took any notice. So, perhaps Ms. Blatchford might like to note that the public does have reasonable grounds to suspect the abilities of the press if not their motives.
But besides this little oversight in her coverage, she is so busy sneering at these youth - whose strategy has been demonstrated to be an all-around bad idea (not least because they were so easily infiltrated by the cops - as all Black Blocs have been since at least as far back as Genoa in 2000) but whose hearts are probably in the right place. It was dumb to think that smashing windows would change the world or that the $1 billion police tab wouldn't be used in part to nail and vilify activists who thought so. However, a few broken Starbucks windows really aren't the story here.
Why doesn't Ms. Blatchford mention the extraordinary suspension of civil liberties - that turned out to be a hoax perpetrated on the city by the Chief of Police with the help of a little political sleight of hand on the part of Dalton McGuinty? She fulminates poetically on how the detainees have been treated wonderfully since being transfered to proper prison authorities - as though this is the same as the temporary detention facility. Yet makes no mention of numerous eyewitness accounts from people who haven't been charged (you know, the other 987 or so) who faced abuse physical, mental and legal.
She makes - as the headline of her article emphasizes - the race, class and dental care of the detainees as though this makes their political point invalid, the equivalent of "liar liar, pants on fire." And yet she doesn't note the policies of immiseration and austerity that were agreed at the Summit, which will ensure that people throughout the world will see their ability to feed, clothe and house themselves seriously diminished - including "middle class", white people here in North America.
No, she doesn't notice any of this because Christie Blatchford has used her talents and the fire in her belly not to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable", not even to question the more obvious elements of a police state strategy that unfolded in Toronto. She uses that energy to shore up her own position - with honest belief, no doubt - as a vicious terrier for whichever powers-that-be need her "assistance" at any given moment. In this case, she has played her part in occluding the issues at stake and contributed to a discourse that suggests protesters were frivolous and privileged punks - thus helping to also disappear the other 25,000 working people who roused themselves on a rainy summer weekend to send a message to Ms. Blatchford's masters that we shouldn't have to pay for an economic disaster that we didn't create.