Sleeping with the enemy

I was shocked this morning to see a column by Randall Denley in the Ottawa Citizen.

It hasn’t even been a week since he went down to defeat at the hands of Ottawa‘s once tiny perfect mayor Bob Chiarelli. Already, he is spewing forth his political insight as a member of the paper‘s editorial board.

When The Citizen management said the paper was taking him back, like many readers, I was surprised.

Management defended the move, explaining he would be part of the paper’s editorial board, which is composed of writers who are left, right and centre. Denley, they said would only be one voice.

That seemed reasonable to me.

The editorial board is a good place for Denley to serve out his sentence as a failed candidate particularly as he has been a long time columnist.

He deserves to get a job back after his long tenure at the paper.

But he should not be allowed back as a columnist. No way, no how.

He gave up that right when he ran for public office.

For its part, The Citizen has promised that Denley would no longer be a city columnist. So what do they do? They make him a general political columnist, with no mention of his strong political affiliation. The blurb at the bottom of his column simply says he’s a member of the editorial board.

This is wrong.

The Citizen, to put it bluntly, is sleeping with the enemy.

What’s more, his column today was a flagrant and fawning defence of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, a fellow Tory. It’s like Denley left months back to serve a political apprenticeship under John Baird and then came in to do an internship at The Citizen.

These are serious times and we need serious, thoughtful commentators not political mouthpieces who spew the party line.

I don’t get it.

It’s a sad day for journalism.


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