Our local fish wrap is starting to smell a little fishy

by Andrew Fogarasi

To the Arnprior Chronicle-Guide:

Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MP Cheryl Gallant is a national embarrassment and, well, a bit dumb. Now, seeing as you are reading this in the letters to the editor section, it should be rather obvious that this statement is a matter of opinion and not necessarily fact. But imagine if you saw this lede in another section of the paper, or even “Cheryl Gallant’s statements confirm that she is a bit dumb”, followed by several paragraphs of what looks to be factual reporting. Perhaps it could appear under a photo captioned “local MP a national embarrassment.” I’m sure you’d agree that this would be a dishonest and even potentially dangerous misuse of the newspaper format.

And yet, that is precisely the sort of thing that greeted my weary eyes in the November 10th Arnprior Chronicle-Guide on page 15: A full half page fluff piece (without a byline, I might add) that is essentially a verbatim reprint of a Gallant press release… in its entirety… with no analysis or commentary and only the faintest whiff of context to give a hint that this is not actually what one would normally regard as a newspaper article. Bonus deception points for the captioned photo that lays it on thick with the phrase “project that was properly funded by the previous Conservative government”, implying that the current government does not, in fact, properly fund infrastructure. It’s nice to see her PR people moonlighting as photo editors at the paper, even if a bit sad that they need a second income. Maybe she should pay them better. God knows it can’t be an easy job.

Shame on the Arnprior Chronicle-Guide. This kind of  ruse should be beneath you and you should know better. I won’t say “shame on Cheryl Gallant”, since she has time and again proven herself incapable of it.

Andrew Fogarasi