“Earlier today, QMI Agency reported that Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby was arrested by Ottawa Police late Tuesday on driving-related charges.
“There was no basis for the story and QMI unreservedly retracts the story in its entirety.
“QMI regrets the error.”
Though thankfully overshadowed two days later by the Ottawa Petfinder’s bizarro front-page grovel to Dalton McGuinty as the week’s most abject media climbdown, the QMI retraction was a particular humiliation for the Ottawa Sun, ground zero for the bogus yarn.
The risible whopper landed on the trash tab’s website around 4 a.m. and disappeared three hours later, amid universal denial and derision, including a 5 a.m. tweet from Chief Chuck Bordeleau.
It alleged Crosby somehow had been pulled over by Ottawa flatfeet in a rented Porsche. But according to the Pens, he wasn’t even in Ottawa, but rather at training camp in Vail (not jail), Colorado.
In the ensuing shitshow, former Sun publisher Rick Gibbons tweeted a defence of his erstwhile sluggos: “I’ll say what they can’t: @ottawasuncom had zip to do with Crosby arrest story. Filed by QMI and posted to all Sun Media websites. #ottnews”
So who authored this credibility-shredding three-hour wonder?
The online item was not bylined, as it would be if any self-respecting hack had scored such a merde chaude scoop. The hack would also have have ventured a confirmatory call to the cop shop, rather than leaving it to competitors to follow up and debunk at agonizing length.
In the absence of a good explanation, rumours are rife through the Sun Media chain that the howler originated with an overexcited 2 a.m. call from none other than Sun Media supremo Kory Teneycke, who insisted the juicy exclusive go online before other media got a whiff of it.
Tenycke, despite his rarified position as head of Canada’s Most Affordable News SourceTM, has zero previous experience in journalism. He spent his formative years as a political dogsbody, catching the flatus of various Reform/Alliance/Conservative knobs, a field of endeavour which has been known to equip some of its survivors with bullshit receptors rather than detectors.
Frank won’t believe a word of it until it runs in the Sun.