Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Klandergate?

It's Boxing Day, and it's time for some boxing. In a sheer wordsmithery sense, that is.

Around noon on Christmas Day, journo-blogger Paul Wells made a post proporting to reveal a blog maintained by the Sheila-Copps-busting, Tony-Ianno-running senior executive in the Liberal party, Mike Klander. Said blog included such gems as a picture comparing Trinity-Spadina NDP candidate (and Jack Layton's wife) Olivia Chow to a dog, musing over what makes people "look gay," and insults hurled at Layton and at Stephen Harper. Why the past tense? Well, it seems the blog has been taken down, and can only be viewed in the google cache, minus the damning pictures. The post also talks about a Toronto Star reporter who faced Klander's wrath after the story was exposed.

After all the gaffes made by Martin Liberals thus far in this campaign, I believed them to be capable of just about any level of stupidity. So I sat back, grabbed some beer and some popcorn, and waited for the media onslaught via a google news search on "klander". And waited, and waited. As of the stroke of midnight on December 26th, the only hit has to do with a Duluth, Minnesota Target assistant store manager. That gives me pause.

In the comments on Calgary Grit's post on the topic, buckets of Buckets of Grewal fame shares my growing skepticism. He points out that the URLs are different on the blog itself and on the google cache, and also says:

Yes, google cache can show you that there used to be a blog at klander.blogspot.com.

But we don't know who set up that blog and when the postings were made.

In theory, it's a great trick, no? Set up a blog in someone elses name. Make them look like an ass-hole. Then do a screen capture. Then delete the blog.

I haven't seen the Toronto Star story you mention yet: there is nothing at their site.
Other commenters go on to dismiss buckets' concern, even going so far as to suggest it might be a result of da drugs. Boxing ensues.

Honestly, I have no idea what to think at this point. Do I believe senior Liberals like Klander are capable of this sort of behaviour? Oh, yes. Do I believe some individual from one of the other parties is capable of setting up a fake blog to make it look like Klander did something on this level of awful? Sadly, that's also a yes. There are clearly more questions than answers here: If there's truth behind the Wells exposé, then why didn't even one mainstream media source pick it up over the course of Christmas Day? I realize that Christmas Day is the ultimate slow news day, but not even a tiny little mention? And yet if it isn't true, then why haven't we seen Mr. Klander broadcasting a denial all over kingdom come and threatening to sue the person who made him look like a complete jerk in front of God and the world?

Either way, though, heads are going to roll. And I suspect there will be more news on this when we wake up in the morning. Happy Boxing Day. Box away.

[Update: After finding the original Toronto Star article through Lexis-Nexis, buckets takes back his skepticism over in his other blog, Bouquets of Gray. Although there's no link to this on the Star's website, I have confirmed this through looking it up on Lexis-Nexis myself. This suggests that this is almost certainly real, but that no other media outlets picked up on it. Curiouser and curiouser.]

[Upperdate: Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor has sifted through Klander's ex-blog and summarized some of the worst of his posts. Taylor also has access to the so-called apology Klander posted before his entire blog was taken down. It read: It would appear that more people viewed my blog than the small circle of friends it was intented (sic) for. I apologize if anyone was offended by my comments...they were meant to be in jest. Anyway, I have removed my previous posts... Methinks Klander should be reminded that "I apologize if anyone was offended by my comments" is not actually an apology.]

[Upper-dupper-date: Angry in the Great White North has some more where Stephen left off.]

[Upper-dupper-date-date: Greg from Sinister Thoughts makes a connection between Klander and a 'Mike' who recently got a prominent mention in Warren Kinsella's blog, though he later discovers that it may have in fact been Mike Eizenga.]

[And another: Dr Dawg calls not only for Klander's resignation, but for his prosecution under section 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada.]

[Update the final: According to a few scattered, unlinkable comments in various conservative blogs, Sun columnist Charles Adler seems to have reported via his radio show Adler On Line that Mike Klander has resigned. This was confirmed by CBC Radio in their hourly news report moments ago (4:04PM Mountain Time on December 26th).]

14 comments:

Patrick said...

I think it's remarkable that one mainstream media columnist, Paul Wells, DID post it, on Christmas Day. And with Bourque now covering it (albeit with a link to Wells), this thing is going to be covered by the mainstream media.

One correction - the cache is a copy of the actual page at the time Google logged it into its database, so it includes the photos.

In the meantime, anyone can look up for themselves all of the cached archives written on this guy's website. All they have to do is to go to the two search engines that cache (Google and Yahoo), and search for this guy's name. Whenever they find a URL that comes from his blogspot site (which he's taken down, but which lives on in the caches), they can simply click the cache link, and view a collection of blogs that are beyond questionable - they are offensive.

I've also posted them around various sites, including Calgary Grit's, in the comments section.

I don't want people who hold these kinds of attitudes in positions of political leadership. I doubt your readers do either.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Patrick,

You may well be right. I ran this post by a journalist friend of mine, and she said it wasn't at all uncommon for even major newspapers to be staffed mostly by interns on Christmas Day.

I suppose we'll see tomorrow, eh?

Stephen said...

Anyone advancing the claim that the Klander blog is a put-up will also have to explain away Chris Wakelin's blog.

Klander's blog links to Wakelin's, and Wakelin blogrolls Klander's blog as a site he reads 'every day.'

Moreover, a few of Wakelin's posts indicate his personal familiarity with Klander: he calls his fellow blogger a 'good friend' in one post.

Are we supposed to believe that Wakelin's blog is part of some kind of conspiracy as well?

Finally, you wrote this:

If there's truth behind the Wells exposé, then why didn't even one mainstream media source pick it up over the course of Christmas Day? I realize that Christmas Day is the ultimate slow news day, but not even a tiny little mention?Leaving Christmas aside, I must say that your implied premise (i.e. that the 'truth' of an allegation will be reflected in the amount of attention it receives from the mainstream media) is in need of serious revision.

What makes it into the mainstream media has little to do with how 'true' the story in question is, if the historical record is anything to judge by.

In any event, keep up the good blog work.

Patrick said...

This is going to be a slow motion train wreck, and the media coverage will reflect that. The only way the media cover it all at once is if the guy resigns, which confirms the story. Otherwise, they have to dig. And that takes a couple of days for print, and a day or two (depending on how many staffers they have over the holidays) for broadcast.

buckets said...

Hi IP. I take back my initial scepticism. There is a story in The Toronto Star, December 23, 2005 Friday ( Pg. A06) (via Lexis Nexis, which I'm guessing you have access to): Federal New Democrats are mad about a blog posting by an Ontario Liberal organizer comparing NDP candidate Olivia Chow to a dog.

The web page, operated by Mike Klander, showed a picture of Chow, wife of NDP Leader Jack Layton, and below it a picture of a "Chow Chow" dog with the caption "Separated at Birth." In fact, the dog resembles a Pekingese, which had some New Democrats crying racism. The blog was removed soon after the Star contacted senior Liberals seeking comment.

"I further understand he (Klander) has apologized. Those were, in my view, the appropriate actions," said Steve MacKinnon, executive director of the Liberal Party.

Chow said she was "saddened" by the swipe: "I'll debate policy anytime but to descend to this level is quite disappointing.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

buckets,

Okay, this is just getting weird. Why doesn't this article appear in a google news search? And why on earth did no one else pick this story up? Are we really to believe that journalists think the "beer and popcorn" gaffe, which we heard about for a full week, was a bigger deal than this?

buckets said...

As I said in answer to your comment at , I'm guessing that the Star does not put all their content in the webpage, which means that it doesn't get to google cache.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

buckets,

Okay, that makes sense. It doesn't explain why no one else thought it was interesting enough to report, though, nor does it explain why the Star didn't think it was worth more than an inch of text in an "election notebook."

Anonymous said...

Well NDPers...

This is a vicious attack on you, on Olivia, on Jack, on orientals, on gays, others.

What will you do about it?

If I were Layton or NDP I'd be contacting every news media person in the country.

Are you going to stand for this from the Liberals?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

anonymous,

I'm a political blogger. I'm doing the sort of thing I "do about it." The rest is up to Jack and Olivia. I do hope they have some strong words for Klander, and that they at the very least demand a real apology.

Anonymous said...

Olivia DESERVES a real apology, as do all Chinese Canadians.

Greg said...

IP, I have updated the Kinsella bit. It seems there may be a more important Mike involved there. All these Mikes seem to be cut from the same smarmy cloth though.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Greg,

Got it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Here's a list of mainstream media publications on the affair, through Google News:

http://news.google.com/news?client=opera&rls=en&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&tab=wn&ncl=http://www.ottawasun.com/News/Election/2005/12/27/1369336-sun.html&hl=en