Sunday, 29 January 2012

Caroling Manufactroversy Part I: Presumption of Guilt

The Winnipeg Sun's way of doing crime
editorializing.

Image constructed by "The Analyst".



Earlier this month the Winnipeg Sun latched onto an issue it wanted to blow way outta proportion: carolers getting some city funding. With SEVEN articles, no less!


Save carols for crime victims


Remand carollers asking for public cash

No public money for remand carollers

Gerbasi open to public cash for jail carollers

Councillors give cash to Remand carollers

City hall's contempt for taxpayers

Web Chatter; Jan. 5

Truly, $200 to some carolers is such a pressing municipal issue. It's leaps and bounds beyond problems like homelessness, gentrification,  uneven prosperity in this city, or the hollowing out of the city's tax base by commuter towns. While the non-issue is so old and insignificant that even the Winnipeg Sun's relented, it's still a useful case study insofar as it reveals the MO of the Winnipeg Sun: making the news and then reporting it. The Sun's coverage is also a useful demonstration of loudmouth Tom Brodbeck's hypocrisy. But, right now, I want to focus on some of the erroneneous presumptions in the earliest article.   

The Dec. 27, 2011 editorial "Save carols for crime victims" presented an extremely negative - demonizing, really - view of the remand carollers.

Last Thursday night, a group of community activists gathered downtown to sing carols by candlelight outside the Winnipeg Remand Centre “in support of those spending the season on the inside.”

“We welcome prisoners’ friends and families, former prisoners, activists, advocates, and basically anyone who can’t forget the human cost of incarceration, even during the holiday season,” their web page states.

Some of the inmates at the Remand Centre are accused of violent, even horrific crimes, while others have already been convicted or even sentenced.

Thursday night’s stunt, dubbed Carolling with Conviction, was organized through Facebook. The event’s description makes no reference to the crimes committed, or allegedly committed, by inmates at the downtown facility, nor does it mention victims of crime.

It’s clear the organizers of this stunt think inmates themselves are victims of an unjust society. One caroller told media the event was “a show of support and solidarity for inmates.” She didn’t mention whether the group also supports the robberies, stabbings and sexual assaults they committed.

Frankly, this nonsense is enough to make you toss your Christmas cookies.

We should be supporting victims of crime, not serenading their assailants. If you want to think or pray about people who are less fortunate, take a moment to remember some of this year’s homicide victims. There’s no shortage of them, as Winnipeg has seen a record number of killings this year.

...

There are plenty of people more deserving of our holiday cheer than thugs behind bars.
It's utterly disgraceful how the Sun presumes that everyone in remand is guilty before trial. Most people in "remand" are accused by the prosecution but not convicted by the court. There's an element of class warfare in the Winnipeg's Sun's smearing of everyone in remand as undeserving of holiday cheer, given that those accused of crime from wealthier families or who are wealthy themselves (i.e. folks like Conrad Black) will probably get bailed out by family members or wealthy friends for Christmastime. A two-tier justice system based on class, though, doesn't seem to bother the Sun at all.   

It's also disgraceful how the Sun tries to wrap itself around victims of crime and paint cheering up those in remand as opposition to victims. A family member of mine had a very serious crime committed against them. I do not, however, take offense with this group nor, I suspect, would many victims of crime. The disgraceful hacks at the Winnipeg Sun should stop pretending that they're the elected representatives of all victims.             

The next article, "Remand carollers asking for public cash", displays the Sun's method of manufacturing issues and will be the subject of an upcoming post.

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