Mike Duffy… you're no Mike Duffy

To paraphrase a famous American: I knew Mike Duffy, Senator, and you’re no Mike Duffy…

I couldn’t help thinking that as I read Halifax Metro’s account this week of Duffy’s inane, ill-tempered and spectacularly ill-informed rant about the King’s College Journalism School. Full disclosure: I teach at King’s.

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“Kids who go to King’s, or the other (journalism) schools across the country, are taught from two main texts,” Duffy huffed to a gathering of 60 Cumberland County Conservatives. Those texts are Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and some other unnamed tome on the “theory of critical thinking,” which, to Duffy, appears to stand for subversive.

“When you put critical thinking together with Noam Chomsky,” Duffy puffed, “what you’ve got is a group of people who are taught from the ages of 18, 19 and 20 that what we stand for, private enterprise… is bad.”

Uh… Earth to Mike: Noam’s not on the curriculum at King’s. And critical thinking? What were you thinking? What were you drinking?

“When I went to the school of hard knocks,” Duffy explained, taking refuge in the last refuge of any guy who is long past his best-before date, “we were told to be fair and balanced. That school doesn’t exist any more.”

Yes it does, Mike. It’s called journalism school. We still teach that fair-and-balanced mantra your soft Senate sinecure has long since hard-knocked out of whatever was left of your own critical thinking. Only we do it far better now.

Trust me on that. I may teach in what you consider an effete journalism school, but I learned my trade in the same hit-and-miss school of hard knocks you did.

The irony—worth remembering if only for the sake of nostalgia—is that Mike Duffy was once a very good reporter. When I was a junior journalist at CJCH Radio in Halifax in the early seventies, Duffy was a star at CHNS, our bitter cross-town rival. He was energetic, driven. His skepticism about everyone and everything—call it critical thinking—made him an equal-opportunity skewerer of all he encountered. Fair and balanced?

Somewhere along the line, however, Duffy gave up thinking, let alone critically. He even used his last journalistic bully pulpit at CTV to brazenly audition for the ultra-soft-knock job of Tory Senator. By the time he’d officially become a wind-up toy for Stephen Harper, he’d long since become a parody of the journalist he once was.

Pity.

I knew Mike Duffy, and you, Senator, are no Mike Duffy.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Kimber, Website
  1. You may deserve the consequences of the kind of policies and thinking that you want, but the problem is I do not want the consequences that you deserve.

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  2. The question at hand is do Mr. Duffy’s claims stand up to scrutiny or are they invalid.

    First, it appears that Chomsky’s “manufacturing consent” is not on the curriculum. Second, the second book he mentions, an unnamed book on “critical thinking” is not a good example since it is not a book. These claims have been proven false.

    As for Duffy’s school of hard knocks, this is not a real school.

    We might want to reevaluate Duffy’s remarks based on their lack of valid grounding.

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  3. Liberal, Tory same old story.We now have over 3.5 million people working for government across the country. Just sickening! Average salary in government is $70 thousand yearly and rising. Average salary in the private sector is $45 thousand yearly and dropping. Over 10% of government employees make over 100 thousand yearly. In the private sector the number is under 2 %. Nice eh? Look to Greece, this is where Canada is headed if we don’t stop equalization and get spending and government growth under control. These tax and spend, union, socialist, big government, social engineering BS that has be destroying this country has got to stop. It has left Quebec and has been spreading throughout the rest of the country since the 1970”s. Thanks Trudeau. The Liberals have spent the last couple of decades destroying Ontario’s economy, its English speaking history and culture, with high taxes, high salaries, big government, social engineering – expensive forced bilingual and multicultural crap, unions controlling just about everything, new programs, new departments, the size and growth of government and salaries have been out of control for decades with no end in sight. Lie after lie, spin, bs from politicians and all government officials on a daily basis, scandals, corruption, millions of dollars being wasted on all sorts of socialist bs again with no end in sight. Heavily in debt, the Hst, tax after tax after user fee again with no end in sight. The Conservatives response to any of this, silence. What will the Tories repeal, what programs will they eliminate, what taxes will they reduce…what waste will they cut, do they support property rights, how about de-amalgamation? No response as usual… Liberal, Tory same old stories, both have destroyed Ontario’s economy, Its BNA and UEL history and both have no ideas and policies on how to stop this erosion, this destruction…not to mention the racism, bigotry, ethnic language cleansing and human rights violations going on in Quebec, bills 22, 178, 101… What a mess!!!Both have destroyed our proud BNA, UEL history, both have destroyed our economy, both have been responsible the out of control growth of government, tax increases, out of control immigration policies, expensive bilingual/multicultural polices, both are a disgrace to our forefathers. Both parties are all about spin, lies, scandals, corruption…both full of it on a daily basis.

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  4. Well spoken Mr. Kimber. You have chosen to be kind for the real truth wrt the days of Want-a-be Senator Mike Duffy and CTV would indeed really raise the hair on the back of the neck’s of true short sighted Reformer’s who sit at home in fuzzy blue sweaters.

    Canadians have benefited from the high of standard of graduating students from the University of King’s College, Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. Many have taken an active part in trying to make no only Canada a better country but providing assistance in making the world a better place. Man will believe what you do not what say Mr. Duffy and I suggest you use our taxpayer time effort and money to investigate into the many accomplishments of the students of the U of King’s College rather than rant on in support of Canada’s first leader (Dictator/control freak) who has made it clear the Media at any level must be government controlled. Public broadcasting is the mainstay of Democracy and that ladies and gentlemen is why the first thing any invader does when taking a country over shuts down all radio and TV stations and puts them under military control.

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  5. “Zeigist”
    Wow…what have you been reading…do you live in North America…how can anyone in todays society really beleive there is a right wind slant in the mainstream media…Wow…

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  6. I keep hearing left-wing journalism. The journalists aren’t left or right For alot of journalists they present the facts, the only problem is, the owners of the newspapers, TV’s, cables, want to put their slant on the news. In Canada CanWest Global and most of the newspapers across Canada are owned by one family, with a right wing slant, Rogers is notably right wing. It is time to put an end to the monopolies of our news. Break them up. Mike Duffy only got away with his poor newscasting because the highter ups encouraged him. News Corp, owned by Robert Murdoch has a monopoloy on newspapers, tv stations, movies, across the world, and he is right wing conservative. The news is no longer has a left point of view, it is only right conservative, and that gets rid of dissent and democracy.

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  7. RE: “Fair and Balanced journalism has long been a thing long past. Much of the media in this country has long lost any real semblance of balance and quite possibly might some of the most partisan political actors in the country.
    I might also suggest that this could be a very significant reaason why much of the mainstream media is being ignored by the general public…both readership and viewers are down significantly.”

    I stopped paying for news when I started weeding out all the bias thrown-in in an attempt to form public opinion so the reporter can be a political player.

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  8. Jeff O said, “Who is this jackass to be insulting ME?”

    It appears to me that Duff has been successful in raising this issue.

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  9. flick harrison said, “Conservatives seem to think any education at all is a left-wing concept. They always rail against “professors” as if it were the same word as “communists.””

    You seem to be very narrow minded in your thinking here.

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  10. RE: “The primary media outlets and most of the journalists within are left-wing. So are the journalism schools. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of great journalists out there. That just means that most journalists have the same bias, and that most of the news is slanted in the same direction.”

    Conrad Black said that one reason he started the National Post is because he looked at Canada’s newspaper and saw that they were all the same.

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  11. RE: “If there’s one thing I’ve been taught at J-School, it’s that balance, fairness and accuracy or the top prerequisites of any good journalists. He has lost his mind along the road to Tory heaven (if that’s what they call it) — All let’s also remember, that any good journalist TELLS the story, does not BECOME the story.”

    I suspect you will find things change when you start working full-time for all those “well respect news sources” that are busy spinning their stories about the news in an attempt to be an opinion-maker. CBC’s US bureau chief calls himself and his colleagues opinion-makers.

    Look at Britain. The BBC is considered the biggest effort in forming public opinion.

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  12. RE: “Sadly, we have very few REAL reporters in Canada. Now we’re inundated with ignorant people who like the title of journalist, but are rarely more than opinion columnists. Which, as we know, are simply reporters too lazy to do research.”

    I find the same thing. I remember TIME magazine in the 70s being a great news source for getting a complete and accurate picture of what happened. Now, with every news source you have to weed out the comments added by the reporter in his/her attempt at being a political player.

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  13. RE: “Great story, I emailed Mike Duffy and offered him a sheep costume for sale.”

    I don’t get it. I guess it must be a ridiculous idea.

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  14. RE: “We still teach that fair-and-balanced mantra…”

    Conestoga College in Ontario does not teach fair-and-balanced. When I talk to the journalism students there, they tell me that the instructors tell them they have to be biased in their reporting.

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  15. Jeff-O wrote:
    “The goal of any good writer is to present the facts from all sides.”

    I agree Jeff-O, now if only Canadian journalists and journalism students actually took that to heart.

    Sadly, we have very few REAL reporters in Canada. Now we’re inundated with ignorant people who like the title of journalist, but are rarely more than opinion columnists. Which, as we know, are simply reporters too lazy to do research.

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  16. If there’s one thing I’ve been taught at J-School, it’s that balance, fairness and accuracy or the top prerequisites of any good journalists. He has lost his mind along the road to Tory heaven (if that’s what they call it) — All let’s also remember, that any good journalist TELLS the story, does not BECOME the story. Duffy should have thought it out before making a fool of himself.

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  17. As a long-time journalist Duffy is only speaking the truth, which many of us see as obvious.

    The truth is that most journalists are biased, biased in the way they present a story, the way they select the facts they wish to talk about, biased in which they portray the actors involved in a story, biased in the way they demand evidence from their sources, biased in the stories that are selected to be published.

    The primary media outlets and most of the journalists within are left-wing. So are the journalism schools. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of great journalists out there. That just means that most journalists have the same bias, and that most of the news is slanted in the same direction.

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  18. Jeff O got a BJ from Kings in 2007. Cool.

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  19. I went to Carleton Journalism school, which was considered the best in the country at the time. Not only was Chomsky NOT on the curriculum, but a mention of his name would cause bewildered, pitying blinks from any professor. Even the most progressive J-profs had their own kind of bloodhound instinct, independent of any narrow ideology. That’s their job.

    Conservatives seem to think any education at all is a left-wing concept. They always rail against “professors” as if it were the same word as “communists.” Do you think our society is so simple that it can be run by uneducated people? As if pumping gas or administering a hospital were the same job?

    And what’s more, most conservatives in positions of power HAVE educations. Why weren’t THEY brainwashed? Must be all the corporate-fascist news and entertainment they watched on TV instead of studying, balancing out the communist propaganda from the CBC and University.

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  20. Most brand-name journalists use the ‘bully bullpit’, don’t they? Don’t think Duffy is special in that regard. As for how he televised the sad Dion in those moments –that is not much worse than what goes on each and every day in every media portal, on every station, in every paper. There’s always a target.

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  21. The only thing less balanced than Duffy’s journalism is his diet.

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  22. Thanks Stephen. Mike Duffy’s comments surely caught the attention of many past J-school students. I (Kings, BJ ’07) was offended by MD’s comments as much for the insinuation that those who choose to study journalism aren’t capable of thinking for themselves, as for the fact that his inane jabbering undercuts the public perception of working journalists as a bunch of hacks harboring agendas. Who is this jackass to be insulting ME? Isn’t his salary coming from my tax dollars? People are drawn to reporting for any number of reasons, many desire to live a life of learning and share those learnings with their readers/audience. Some might have a view that they are inclined to turn to – it’s called life experience, Mike – but we were taught to check those presumptions. I was also taught during my time at King’s that if during the course of researching and writing a story I could prove the thesis of the story I set out to write incorrect that I had then come upon something truthy. The goal of any good writer is to present the facts from all sides. The school of hard knocks might have taught MD how to kiss ass and turn in stories, learning as he went. It’s obvious though that he learned how to kiss the right asses to end up where he is currently sitting in his patronage tower.

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  23. Let’s be realistic Professor;
    Fair and Balanced journalism has long been a thing long past. Much of the media in this country has long lost any real semblance of balance and quite possibly might some of the most partisan political actors in the country.

    I might also suggest that this could be a very significant reaason why much of the mainstream media is being ignored by the general public…both readership and viewers are down significantly.

    I might also suggest that this has hit a nerve with the lonely professor…how will his students react…it does not take a genious to realize that these schools are for the most part teaching a pro-left wing / anti conservative bias…I have talked to many students, both from Kings and from other Universities, and there can be little doubt of this left wing bias. Liberal left wing good…conservative bad…duh…is this critical thinking…

    It is high time this professor and many like him start to look at what the Canadian Public wants and more importantly needs…unfortunately his teachings do not produce the end result that is needed in our society…shame on you Mr. Kimber….

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  24. I think Kimber is spot on, and Duffy is way off. I took Kimber’s courses at Kings’, and feel that Roy Eappen up there must have been talking to some kind of space alien or something, rather than a King’s journalism student, because the one thing I don’t remember learning at Kings’ was what political bent to take. I worked for eight years as a journalist before ever setting foot in a classroom, but this garbage about the “school of hard knocks” being a better teacher than the actual program at King’s is as irrelevant as it is insipid. If the “hard knocks” experience comes after a student has graduated, and once he or she begins working in the journalism spectrum, be it radio, TV, or print, is that experience any less valuable than mine, just because it came after the degree? Why are the conservatives so anti-journalism?

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  25. Duffy was just pointing out the obvious. Most journalists, let alone journalism students live in their own little left-dominated world.

    Most stop their critical thinking when they agree with what they’re being told by their equally left-wing profs.

    Kimber’s just ticked because the Duffster pointed out what most people who actually DO think critically have understood for ages. Those who have journalism degrees…..are the folks who prefer to write about something, because that is far easier than actually having to think about something…..or actually having to DO something.

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  26. Mike Duffy is quickly becoming the Rush Limbaugh of Canada, free to thrive in the the Conservative 2000s.

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  27. Why is it that all left wing types start out their rants about conservatives by name calling. Near the beginning of any left wing diatribe you’ll find comments like “inane, ill-tempered and spectacularly ill-informed “. Attack type of journalism begun and perfected by the left lives on.

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  28. Duffy’s journalistic credibility ran out (if he ever had any) the day he started lobbying to be a Senator. He is certainly guilty of his own criticism.

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  29. Mike Duffy is a national joke to the 65-70 per cent of Canadians in the reality-based community. As for those who swallow the Prime Minister’s con-job, good luck to you. When you come back to Earth, it’s going to be a hard landing.

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  30. We’re all brainwashed to some degree or another the only difference between us is that some of us know we are and others just close their minds to newer and cleaner brainwashing.

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  31. oh now don’t hold yourself back, Steven. tell us what you really think about the Puffster!

    😛

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  32. The TAGS on this blog do not appear to be fair and balanced. The TAGS are all related to what the left would refer to as “social justice.” Very CBCish and not reflecting the middle of the road views of the average Canadian.

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  33. I understand what Duffy is saying – I have given up watching or listening to the CBC because many of the staff seem to have a very patronizing and self satisfied world view which does not tolerate dissent- but the subject is not simple. In newspapers the editor added headline often does not reflect the reporter’s more accurate text. I remember one case not long ago. The text reported fairly on a poll about a government proposal. 55% of Canadians supported it, and 45% did not. The headline read “Nearly 50% of Canadians dislike ” Accurate? Also there is a recent trend in all journalism, but especially in TV, to confuse news/fact and opinion. Opinion is more and more offered as fact – presumably because it is cheaper and easier than investigative journalism – and two similar opinions carefully selected are often offered as opposed viewpoints.
    In the past newspapers were often known to be partisan, but we have so few choices left that alternative viewpoints are rare.

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  34. Never has so much Puffery gone “Poof” so quickly.

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  35. Brilliant and spot on…!

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  36. Sorry Duffy
    You lost any credibility as host of Duffy Live as you were clearly a “pro Reform/Conservative” spokes person.
    It is time you become a critical thinker and see the folly of this government.

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  37. Excellent letter.
    Roy always “knows” people to confirm his biases. Never facts.
    And Murty, ant-education like many Reform/con supporters.

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  38. Hey Stephen,

    Do you think that the majority of Canadian media is Fair and Balanced??

    How about the portion of the media that are King’s college graduates??

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  39. What do you call a failed journalist?

    Someone who teaches it.

    Get a real job, Kimber.

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  40. Critical thinking at journalism schools. How very amusing. The students I have spoken to who attend journalism school, are appalled at the group think and the lack of critical think.
    They tell me that the professors start off with the premise that conservatives are bad, if not evil and go on from there. Perhaps the poor professor here is upset that the truth has been exposed.

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  41. Great story, I emailed Mike Duffy and offered him a sheep costume for sale, told him it just his size. No email for his interest yet.

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