As I perused my copy of the Brandon Sun of May 22, I was astonished to see what may well be the worst bit of journalism I have seen in this publication.
The opening line was: “A rash of cabin burglaries near Big Point on Lake Manitoba has coincided with a massive manhunt for a missing man from Sandy Bay First Nation.”
Well there were any number of other coincidences, such as the Victoria Day weekend and a partial eclipse of the sun on Sunday, neither of which got any mention in the story. And rightly so because they are just that: coincidences.
Two single-sentence paragraphs detailing the burglaries are followed by six one-sentence paragraphs with details of the tragedy which precipitated the search. (Note the term “search” as opposed to “manhunt.” The latter term is generally used in the context of a search for a criminal at large and not for the victim of a boat capsizing.)
What is the implication here? That the friends and relatives of the missing man are responsible for the break-ins? That they are putting their concern for the victim aside to seize the opportunity to engage in a little larceny?
Is it because many of them are from Sandy Bay First Nation and therefore an affront to those affluent enough to afford a lakeside cabin? It certainly strikes me that this is the innuendo in this story, one unsupported by any reported facts.
It gets worse because the story goes on to relate the woes of the cottage owners caused by last year’s flooding. I have a good deal of sympathy with the victims of all these misfortunes.
To link the three in a single front page story is however a journalistic tour de farce that any editor ought to have known enough to quash before it got to print.
So the question that remains is: was it a slow news day or is this an example of latent racism rearing its ugly head?
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 26, 2012