Anonymous sources, Gloria Galloway, Stephen Harper and the credibility of the press

Late last week I made a mistake denying that Carol Jamieson was a member of the Conservative Party of Canada. However, there was no mistake that the Globe and Mail was intellectually dishonest for labeling Ms. Jamieson as a “party organizer” implying that she had the consent of the Conservative Party to organize.

Specifically, it seems that Globe scribe Gloria Galloway has been depending on a certain type of CPC “party organizer” for a while now. Funny, whenever Ms. Galloway writes a story about Stephen Harper, the knives comes out along with the anonymous “party organizer”.

First, remember how the Jamieson quote was framed by Galloway in the “shakeup” story last week (Sept. 7):

Those who have been fired “are either people who are dissenting about what Harper is doing or they are former Progressive Conservatives,” said Carol Jamieson, a party organizer in Toronto.

“It looks to me right now that within four weeks, the entire structure will be Canadian Alliance.”

Now, let’s look at some other stories that Galloway has been printing. This one even depends on the anonymous tipster for the headline “Tory insiders upset with party leadership”

“There is a lot of discontent with the turn of things. People are saying it’s time to replace the leader,” said one key Conservative organizer in Toronto who, like many others, asked not to be named because it could hurt his status in the party.

Dissatisfaction with Mr. Harper’s leadership “started expanding with the Belinda [Stronach] defection and then it continued to expand when we didn’t get our [confidence] vote passed [on May 19] and a lot of people in the party are tired of waiting,” said one organizer, who also asked to remain anonymous.

Now consider this quote from an article from Galloway on May 7, 2005:

“What I see is that the general electorate does not like Harper. And they look for things for him to do or say that justify their gut feeling that they have about him,” one high-placed Tory organizer says.

“This is a guy whose entire life in politics has been based on negativity so far,” the organizer says. He’s “cold, cold, cold, cold, cold. He doesn’t seem to like people, he doesn’t seem to like to go out and talk to people. He’s so weird how he approaches things.”

We have already established that Carol Jamieson is not a “party organizer” as Gloria Galloway portrays her in the September 7th article. However, whenever Ms. Galloway writes an article questioning the leadership of Stephen Harper, she bases her entire argument upon anonymous quotes from (one or more) “party organizers” sometimes labeled “from Toronto” (like Ms. Jamieson).

I wonder how many times Galloway has used Ms. Jamieson in the past (labeling her an anonymous party organizer from Toronto).

At worst, Galloway is using the same non-credible (as a party organizer) source to make a continuous argument to millions of non-decided voters against the leadership of Stephen Harper.

At best, Galloway bases party criticism of Stephen Harper on a number of anonymous sources, the validities of which are called into question because a) they are anonymous and b) Galloway lists Jamieson as a “party organizer”.