Retired Major-General Lewis MacKenzie reasonably, in my opinion, criticized media coverage of the murder case involving Colonel Russell Williams. But at the same time, he smeared all journalists in much the same way he accuses journalists of smearing the Canadian Forces.


Retired Major-General Lewis MacKenzie slammed media coverage of Russell Williams, the Canadian Forces colonel accused of murdering two women, in a Globe and Mail column.

“Rarely
has Canadian news coverage of a high-profile criminal case offered so
much misleading speculation and so many erroneous conclusions as in the
charges against Colonel Russell Williams,” wrote MacKenzie. As
evidence, he briefly analysed the following stories: “‘RED FLAGS’ WERE
MISSED;” “COLONEL WAS ‘ON TRACK’ TO LEAD THE AIR FORCE;” “‘MORALE’ IS
LOW;””PART OF THE ‘ELITE’;” and “A GENERAL’S ‘RESPONSIBILITY.'”

I
think MacKenzie is absolutely right to complain. Some of the coverage
I’ve seen suggests the Williams criminal case stains all members of the
forces — who, in my opinion, are already asked to carry far too much
of our emotional baggage and who are already used shamelessly and
crudely as political pawns.

But MacKenzie pulled his punches: he
didn’t name names — or media organizations. Pity. By failing to call
out those he criticizes, and by neglecting to cite even one example of
professional and credible coverage of the case, he tarnished the
reputations of all journalists in exactly the same the way he
criticizes journalists for tarnishing the reputations of those in the
Canadian Forces.

Disclosure: My family includes Canadian Forces members.

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