But it didn't take long for outraged FP online readers - and TGCTS listeners - to assail the gatekeepers' trick of not reporting the true facts in the first place, and then say no one complained about what they read.
"A decade ago, there was a public revolt against an NDP government plan to use $20 million from Autopac's profits to fund crumbling universities. Drivers flooded call-in shows and editorial pages and then-premier Gary Doer was forced to abandon the plan.
This time, no similar outrage materialized."Oh ya? said one listener...
Let's begin by confirming that Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata is an excellent organization that does fabulous work. My complaint is not with them, but rather with the Free Press coverage, its lack of investigative journalism and the perception of conflict of interest that arises when you look closely at the facts behind the donation.
No mention of the misleading press release, quoted verbatim by the Freep, which stated that the value was less than $100K.
No mention in the Freep that one of CLOUT's member agencies was the recipient of the donation or the possible conflict of interest that this may represent.
No mention in the Freep that MPI specifically targeted Aboriginal organizations for the donation (per Brian Smiley and MPI's comments to The Great Canadian Talk Show on 92.9 KICK FM), rather than offer the building to ALL service agencies in the area.
No mention in the Freep that the hand over was overseen/attended by elected provincial NDP officials in a city ward where the NDP is fielding candidates in the upcoming municipal election.
No mention in the Freep that The Great Canadian Talk Show on 92.9 KICK FM broke the real story about the value of the building.
No wonder there has been little public outcry. When you leave out the facts of the story, there is little to be critical of.
Other FP commenters reflected what we had heard on our show when we broke this story:
"In my opinion no crown corporation - MPI, MB Hydro, etc. should be doing anything but their core business. Thata a full time job. Do it and do it well. Being a "good corporate citizen" is something I don't expect from them and I don't want my money used for."
"Its doesnt matter how noble or worthy the cause; MPI is not a charity. Premiums are supposed to insure ratepayers in the event of an injury;(something they dont do by the way, but most wont figure that out until its too late) not save inner-city kids."
"There is no doubt that the Ma Mawi is a good organization and the building will be put to good use. My problem is with the mandate of MPI, where does it state that it should be donating buildings to local causes?
This is, in effect another tax on community involvement - one that I have no say, nor can elect or choose not to elect politicians for making these decisions. Who is to say that there wasn't other community groups wanting the same building, maybe it could have been sold and the proceeds given to another charity, or towards reducing our ridiculous insurance premiums (no they aren't even closest to the lowest in North America). "
"I don't agree with MPI giving anything away. It should have been sold. But realistically, who do you complain to? If you complain nowadays you're being racist, insensitive or intolerant. MPI's response is quite typical. Not too much flak, we must be doing okay.
An excellent example of today's "oversensitivity" is posting to this website. If you have anything that can be misconstrued or judgemental to the gov't the main stream media will ensure it never sees this board."
and our favorite:
" Well MPI should try reading the comments about them in the papers."