Maybe it’s those short, short stories that Sun reporters are required to file (it’s because their readership has short attention-spans – ed.) but you could fill two more Sun stories with what was left out of Brian Lilley’s coverage of today’s meeting of the public safety and national security committee in Ottawa.
The meeting was ostensibly called by the Conservatives in response to a manufactured outrage resulting from a Lilley story we blogged about previously, about the highly questionable YouTube video that supposedly shows a veiled Muslim woman not being required to show her face as she boarded an Air Canada flight in Montreal.
Of course, you had to read other media coverage to learn pertinent facts Lilley omitted from his coverage. For example, from CanWest:
The authenticity of the clip has been called into question by numerous online commenters on YouTube. They say that because numerous jump cuts occur, it is not clear whether parts of the video were cut out.
One commenter wrote that the video “looks like it went through a Slap Chop machine.”
Hmm, that’s interesting, relevant to the story, and missing from Lilley’s story. Anything else he left out?
“In Canada, airline passenger screening is the responsibility of CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) and passengers have already undergone multiple security checks before arriving at the gate,” she said.
In the slew of online comments about the video Monday afternoon on YouTube, viewers appeared divided. While many criticize the lax security measures putting travellers in danger, many others mention that the sole role of the agent at the gate is to make sure the name on the boarding pass matches the name on the piece of identification. They add that the initial security checks are much more rigorous.
Hmm, also interesting, and an indicator that this whole thing may be a pile of crap. But back to Lilley’s coverage of today’s meeting. Go and give it a read (don’t worry, it won’t take long): although you get the gist from the headline: Canadian opposition shuts down air review. For comparison’s, here’s coverage of the same meeting from Canwest and the Globe and Mail.
So what wouldn’t you have learned from Lilley’s story?
Well, you wouldn’t have learned that, although the Conservatives called for this meeting and considered this a vitally important issue, the Conservative committee chair couldn’t be bothered to show up. Everyone else, though, was there. Somewhat relevant. Also relevant is that appeared to be a deliberate tactic by the Conservatives to gain a majority on the committee, a ploy the opposition parties refused to play along with.
You wouldn’t have read that this issue actually falls under the mandate of the transport committee, not the public safety committee, and that the Conservative decision not to call that committee back was no mistake.
You wouldn’t have read the Conservatives blew-up the meeting rather than agree to discuss the G8/G20 security response, which would seem to be an actual issue falling under the mandate of the public safety committee.
If you’re wondering, Lilley didn’t forget to include these things. He made clear on Twitter he deliberately decided not to, because he’s not writing a story on “procedural wrangling.” Which is odd, because he did include this line in his story:
Conservative MP Shelly Glover called the procedural wrangling that lead to the scrapping of the meeting “nonsense.”
Putting aside our procedural wrangling about Lilley’s alleged lack of focus on procedural wrangling, you’d have to read down to the very end for this line:
At the committee the Liberals circulated regulations from 2007 that do not mention any requirement for airlines to visually verify the identity of all passengers.
Which is an extremely soft-peddled, down-played way of saying that in fact the regulations written and put into place by this Conservative government actually don’t require the airline to match the face with the ID at the gate, meaning that in the video that QMI used to manufacture this entire melodrama and trigger this farce of a committee hearing, the Air Canada gate agent did absolutely nothing wrong.
5. (1) An air carrier shall, at a boarding gate, screen any person who appears to be 12 years of age or older by asking the person for one piece of government-issued photo identification that shows his or her name, date of birth and gender or for two pieces of government-issued identification at least one of which shows his or her name, date of birth and gender.
(2) If the name on the identification is not the same as the name on the person’s boarding pass, the air carrier shall compare the name, date of birth and gender on the identification with those of persons specified to the air carrier by the Minister under paragraph 4.81(1)(b) of the Act.
(3) If the name, date of birth and gender on the identification are the same as those of a person specified to the air carrier, the air carrier shall immediately so inform the Minister.
So, as you can see, not only does the government not require a face to be matched with a piece of photo ID, if you show two pieces of government ID they don’t even require one of them to have a photo. Which would seem, if you’re travelling domestically (because you’d need a passport internationally) photo-ID isn’t even mandatory.
In journalism, they call Lilley’s last line burying the lede. Others call it “refusing to admit that this whole story we’ve been peddling is actually a load of crap.”