It takes a miracle for the habitués of the Globe and Mail’s Ottawa bureau to rouse from their seasonal torpor, but Lawrence Martin’s Sept. 1 column got their hammocks in a right twist.
Bad enough that Martin would take a not-so-thinly veiled potshot at them, but to have his slagging featured on the home page of their own paper—oh, the humilification!
Martin, who retired from the Globe a couple of years ago but still writes a regular column, devoted his epistle to Bob Fife, the “hard-edged” CTV hack who broke the Nigel Wright pay-off story, among others, in the spring of 2013.
“The 61 year-old Fife [is] an old-school newsman, a pavement beater who never gives up the chase. He can spot truth fornicators from a mile away. His reporting renders charlatans buck-naked.
“As a talking head, Mr. Fife is hardly Mr. Smooth but on the Senate story he has delivered the scoops. It was his revelation that there was a PMO-directed whitewashing of a Senate committee report. It was his story that revealed the role of Benjamin Perrin, legal counsel to the Prime Minister. For Mr. Fife, his candour in trial testimony brings to mind John Dean of Nixon lore,” Martin burbled.
“In Washington, many media were initially disparaging of the importance of Watergate, and later proven wrong.
“There was only, remember, supposed to be one person on high who knew of the secret payment. We subsequently learned there were about a dozen. Mr. Fife broke that story, too.”
That one of their competitors would receive such a thorough fluffing in the Globe left many minions mighty pissed.
They kept their sentiments to themselves, however, since editor-in-chief David Walmsley, an old school Fleet Street newsweasel, holds Fife in high regard.
Martin’s column, encouraged by Walmsley, was an obvious rebuke of the Parliamentary bureau, which hasn’t broken a big story since Gerda Munsinger blew town (George Hees, shurely?!—ed.)
They even cocked up a no-brainer like Dean Del Mastro’s sentencing. When President Steve’s former parliamentary secretary got hauled off to jail in chains, the Ottawa bureau didn’t run the celebrated DDM perp walk photo carried by every other media outlet, and they filed only a brief newser on the inside pages.
Front Street insiders say that after the election, Walmsley intends to overhaul the Ottawa outpost. This bodes ill for bureau boss Ryan MacDonald. He’s rated insufficiently aggressive to contend with either the competition or the PMO and its Little ShitTM brigade.
The end is nigh.