Journalism ethics expert in 'Scud Stud' defamation case defends column

CALGARY -- An expert on journalistic ethics testified Friday that he doesn't believe a one-time Postmedia columnist did anything wrong when he wrote a contentious article about former journalist Arthur Kent.

See Full Article

Dean Jobb, an associate professor of the School of Journalism at the University of Kings College in Halifax, was hired by Postmedia to write a rebuttal of an earlier report by Jeffrey Dvorkin, director of the University of Toronto's journalism program.

Kent, 61, sued Postmedia, the National Post and Don Martin over a column written about him during the 2008 Alberta election.

Kent became known as the "Scud Stud" for his reporting on Iraqi missile strikes for NBC during the Gulf War. The column at issue said he was a "dud" on the campaign trail.

It used unnamed sources to paint Kent as a loose cannon who criticized the party and its leadership.

Dvorkin, a former managing editor and chief journalist at CBC radio, testified earlier that the article didn't "meet the standards of journalism at any level." He also criticized the use of anonymous sources and suggested it was based on spurious information.

Jobb, who has written a number of commentaries and feature articles for Postmedia, said he is satisfied that Martin was following solid journalist practices.

"He's researching a campaign. He's talking to two key insiders. He's able to obtain an internal email that backs up and corroborates what he's hearing," Jobb said.

"This is extensive research, and while columnists do comment on the news, they often do and should do their own investigation or research to follow up," he added.

"He's done what an experienced columnist would do in this situation. He's followed the leads he's been given and done more research to back up his opinion."

Jobb is satisfied Martin, who sent an email to the campaign website seeking comment from Kent and said no one answered when he called the office, made a sufficient effort to reach the candidate.

He also defended the use of anonymous sources, which he said remain recognized by leading news organization, especially in matters of public interest.

Jobb said politics, the conduct of political parties and behaviour of politicians are "obviously a matter of public interest in a democracy."

"This is consistent with ethical conduct of a journalist."

Under cross-examination, Jobb was asked about an admission by Martin during his testimony that a key paragraph in his article was not true.

Part of the column read: "Alberta Conservatives have bestowed problem candidate Arthur Kent with a less flattering designation as he noisily blusters his way through their reeling election campaign -- the 'Dud Scud."'

Martin acknowledged it wasn't several individuals who used the name, but just one person, and he couldn't remember who it was.

"Would you agree if that proposition is not true, then paragraph two should not be in the article at all?" Kent's lawyer, Kent Jesse, asked Jobb.

"It certainly shouldn't read that way," Jobb said.

Jobb was the final defence witness in proceedings that have spread over four weeks and heard from dozens of witnesses.

Closing arguments are scheduled for next Wednesday with a decision sometime in the new year.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Lac-Megantic jury to deliberate today for ninth consecutive day

    Canada News CTV News
    SHERBROOKE, Que. - Jurors will deliberate for a ninth consecutive day today at the trial of three men charged with criminal negligence causing death in the Lac-Megantic railway disaster. There was no news again from the 12 jurors on Thursday. Source
  • Man charged in presumed deaths of 2 Toronto men set to appear in court

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - A man charged with first-degree murder in the presumed deaths of two men who vanished from Toronto's gay village last year is set to appear in court today. Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old Toronto man, was arrested and charged yesterday as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman. Source
  • Toronto shooting leaves 2 men dead, 2 more with life-threatening injuries

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - An overnight shooting in Toronto has left two men dead and two others in hospital with life-threatening injuries. Toronto police say the four men, all reportedly in their 20s, were found in a car at about 1 a.m. Source
  • California couple's abuse of kids became torture, prosecutor says

    World News CTV News
    RIVERSIDE, Calif. - They were starved and shackled to their beds, sometimes for months. They were beaten and choked. They were given scant medical care, often denied use of a toilet and allowed to shower but once a year. Source
  • California couple's abuse of kids became torture: prosecutor

    World News CTV News
    RIVERSIDE, Calif. - They were starved and shackled to their beds, sometimes for months. They were beaten and choked. They were given scant medical care, often denied use of a toilet and allowed to shower but once a year. Source
  • Authorities amputate hand of convicted thief in Iran

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A semi-official news agency is reporting that authorities in Iran have amputated the hand of a convicted thief in a prison in the country's northeast. The report from the ISNA news agency says one hand of the 34-year-old convict identified only as Ali was cut off by "guillotine" in a prison in Mashhad, some 900 kilometres (550 miles) northeast of the capital Tehran. Source
  • U.S. Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

    World News CBC News
    A bitterly divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan staredown over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported. Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that passed the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure but exposing themselves to charges they are responsible for a looming…
  • Australian prostitute convicted for infecting man with HIV

    World News CTV News
    PERTH, Australia - An Australian jury on Friday convicted a transgender prostitute of causing grievous bodily harm by knowingly infecting a client with HIV. Clayton James Palmer, who identifies as a woman and now goes by the name C.J. Source
  • Atlanta police: Someone stole a car, dumped 2 girls on roadways

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA - Authorities are looking for someone they say stole an SUV with two children inside and left them on major roadways. Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury tells news outlets that 1-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport were found after their mother's vehicle was stolen from a QuikTrip. Source
  • Peru's indigenous await Pope Francis in Amazon

    World News CTV News
    PUERTO MALDONADO, Peru - After lengthy treks through the muddy Amazon, indigenous men, women and children will greet Pope Francis Friday in a visit to the world's largest rainforest that native leaders hope will mark a turning point for the increasingly threatened ecosystem. Source