A Perfect Example of Why The Sarnia Observer Needs To Die

It’s a nice Sunday afternoon, I’m reading through the news. An insane image shows up of a man on fire on the front page of the Observer forty minutes ago with the headline “Flames at Ipperwash.”

The entirety of the news article was mostly about the situation twenty years ago, with only one sentence about the image and situation today:

The brother of a native protester shot dead by an OPP sniper 20 years ago was engulfed in flames Sunday during a dispute near here between natives marking the return of a disputed former federal military camp.

Of course there is no author attached to this piece of “news.” On Twitter, a past London Free Press journalist links to the piece (all owned by Sun Media). Her tweet is the following.

If I was to stop there I would be lead to believe that either Pierre George let himself on fire as a protest, or was attacked by a flamethrower by someone at the protest.

CTV News and The National Post both posted about this as well a few minutes later. Both sources here say that:

Witnesses say Pierre George was injured when he accidentally set himself ablaze while pouring gasoline on a fire that had been set by the protesters to get the attention of people marching to celebrate the return of Camp Ipperwash.

Sun Media and The Observer are guilty of baiting people into clicking on their news which is not news at all. It’s a sensationalized attempt to get a click – it offers a harmful and racist sentence to invoke fear and misinformed judgement of the situation. If Sun Media’s shoddy reporting with questionable ethics is continued to be allowed to call itself news then we are doing a disservice to us all, especially the First Nation’s communities that they are reporting on.

2 Comments

  • I share your dislike for the observer so I thought I’d share my own experience with that horrid periodical.

    I work at a youth shelter for homeless kids, and about the second time I saw a former client’s name written up regarding a court sentencing I decided to write the editor Peter Epp to inquire about their policy for naming those convicted of mainly petty, drug related crime. It struck me how difficult it must be for a 20 something to be stigmatized as a criminal in our community.

    I’ve since written Mr Epp three times; the first he claimed he didn’t receive my e-mail, the second and third time have gone without reply.

    The only inkling of support has been from Barbara Simpson who passed my concerns onto her her editor but her influence seems limited despite her sincere attempts.

    Needless to say, the observer seems content to be Sarnia’s record of public shaming. Whereas their promotion of a positive image for our community seems less than important.

    It is no wonder Sarnia has such a poor community image with a newspaper so inclined to print seedy gossip of no particular value other than petty gossip.

    I don’t know what course of action can be taken, but from the response (or lack of) I’ve received I like you would like to see that piece trash die too.

  • I just sent them an email a few weeks back about how their language is stigmatising towards mental illness, addiction,etc in regards to their gossipy crime postings… No response

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