Friday, August 14, 2009

Notes on The Report: What we are and what we aren't

An Alberta Report Primer

The Alberta Report hasn't been back for 24 hours and already the humour police are posting comments that they don't think a Barry Goldwater quote is a good choice for a left-wing blog.

So, in light of this, we apparently have to explain what we are and what we aren't.

1. We aren't Tiny Perfect Blog. Not even close. First of all, we're going to reveal our identities just as soon as we figure out how to add a page on this fancy new template. Second, we're not what one would call NDP insiders, though we've all worked in what one would call "The Left." However, more importantly, we share a healthy disrespect for authority. We also don't always agree with each other or the NDP: we've been known to yell at each other in bars and at least one of us once quit the party in disgust. This is a healthy part of democracy and we think it's good for the progressive movement, too. Especially the yelling in bars.

2. Disagreement is important for democracy, but humour is perhaps more crucial. So yes, we find Barry Goldwater quotes somewhat amusing, and we love Reginald Maudling. We think politics are funny, because the egos are so ridiculous, the perspectives so myopic, and the errors so egregious. We think it's too bad that nobody can make a joke anymore, and we don't like the way everyone has to parse their words lest they get eviscerated by the owners/editors of mainstream "out of context quotes make for easy stories so we don't have to pay journalists real money to do real investigative work" media. We don't allow sexism, racism, homophobia, or other idiocies to masquerade as humour. But we like to make jokes. And we will make jokes. If you can't tell the difference between our 'real' posts and the satirical ones, the problem is not ours.

3. From time to time, we will post 'real' news. It will be serious. It will be well-researched and fact-based. That's because politics in this province needs to be at once taken more lightly and at the same time more seriously. The stakes (economic, social, environmental) are high, and Albertans deserve a more interesting news climate. And if we make a mistake, we won't act like a 'real newspaper' and bury the correction in 2-pt font someplace you'll never see it.

4. From time to time, we will entertain gossip, idle banter, the mundane, rumour, hearsay, banal reflections on the meaning of Lego, and things that turn out to be just plain wrong. But if we're wrong, we'll say it. Oh, and we won't pretend to our readers that it's actual news.

5. The only flaming we'll tolerate is the kind that upsets traditional gender roles. So if you're an NDP or Liberal caucus staffer with an axe to grind, viciously attack your enemies elsewhere; we hear the comments section of is a popular place to anonymously air dirty laundry. If we don't like the tone of your comments, we'll delete them. It's just that simple.

6. Following point #5, we prefer people assign their names to things they say. Being anonymous allows you to be more of a bully or a jerk than you would be in real life. In politics, there are sometimes good reasons for anonymity: your point of view will make you unpopular, might cost you your job, your views clash with the party establishment and might get you blackballed, or you have information whose release will result in the above. We ask that you reflect upon your reasons for anonymity and use judgement that's at least the level of an average 13-year-old.


6 Responses to "Notes on The Report: What we are and what we aren't"
  1. Anonymous said...
    August 14, 2009 at 8:14:00 p.m. MDT

    Hi Larry. Getting bored of being ignored over there at PIA? Nothing like being the media's ATA dial-a-quote, is it? And, judging from the incomprehensible post that follows this one, hi John, hadn't heard that you "quit in disgust," just thought you finally got tired of breathing the asbestos in the Annex.
    Have fun.

  2. Anonymous said...
    August 15, 2009 at 11:37:00 a.m. MDT

    Don't know if Larry is involved, but I have figured out who one of the writers is.

  3. Johnny Rotten said...
    August 15, 2009 at 11:19:00 p.m. MDT

    Also Tony Clark, former director of communications for the Alberta NDP Caucus... That means the other is Lou Arab, finally? Or mark wells?

  4. sned stelmach said...
    August 16, 2009 at 9:10:00 p.m. MDT

    So what exactly did he do? You do know that almost any other party would take him in a second...

  5. The Alberta Report Editorial Collective said...
    August 17, 2009 at 10:53:00 p.m. MDT

    Anon @ 11:37 - ooh what an able sleuth you are! We're going to post bios and all when we get around to it (ie when someone other than me gets around to it, because I don't concern my pretty little head with this techie stuff)
    You won't have to waste your summer Saturdays "figuring things out" anymore. Then maybe you could go outside and leave your computer screen on a Saturday morning - oh, the glare! oh, the other people!

  6. anon 11:37 said...
    August 18, 2009 at 9:25:00 a.m. MDT

    Sned, who are you talking about.

    Shannon - touchy, touchy. I wasn't being critical, just pointing it out. No need to mock my fear of real humans. I thought this was a 'kinder, gentler' blog. Perhaps you ARE TPB :)

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