Media should stop sensationalizing news about well-known people innocently posing for photos with shady characters

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STORY 2 ITEM 4
 
(Photo: Bob Ford poses with some men connected with Hells Angels. Facebook photo)
 
ONE would expect the media to use some common sense when covering news. For example, this week, they unnecessarily sensationalized news about Toronto Mayor Ford posing for a photo at a football game last weekend with men who had ties to the Hells Angels. The picture was posted in the photo gallery of the Hells Angels Toronto website.

Ford told a reporter: “I don’t check for people’s credentials and ask for resumes before I take a picture. I take pictures with every single person that wants to take a picture with me.” That’s what politicians, movie stars and other well-known people usually do – posing with fans and admirers.

Should they get a criminal check on everyone who wants to take a photo with them? How ridiculous is that!

 

MAINSTREAM media has in its ignorance and / or bias embarrassed and even directly or indirectly maligned members of the South Asian community because they can’t understand or conveniently choose to ignore an important aspect of the community: that they are a well-knit lot where even distant relatives and people from the same village or area from India are all considered part of the family. And when it comes to weddings or funerals, hundreds of people turn up. They rejoice and they mourn together as a community.

For instance, some 13 years ago, a bodyguard of a gangster who was attending a South Asian wedding got gunned down outside the banquet hall and because then-premier Ujjal Dosanjh had also been invited to the celebration, the whole story was given the predictable twist although Dosanjh didn’t know who the gangster was and had nothing to do with him.

As everyone knows, South Asian weddings are huge affairs with as many as 300 to 500 people attending. You invite entire families – you don’t go around doing criminal checks on all of them.

Then there was the case some eight years ago when Ripudaman Singh Malik visited the house of the family of a South Asian who had been gunned down. One newspaper reported: “[The victim’s] grieving father was receiving dozens of visitors at his Delta home Sunday, including Ripudaman Singh Malik, the Khalsa School founder acquitted last month in the Air India bombing.”

What was the relevance of Malik’s visit to the story? I vehemently criticized the report for this bias at the time.

A student of journalism at Carleton University wrote to me at the time and noted: “After reading the story a few times over, I was still at a loss as to how Mr. Malik’s visit to the [victim’s] household was relevant to the reporting of their son’s death.”

Of course, a lot has now changed in the manner that mainstream media in B.C. now reports on the South Asian community – and I claim a lot of credit for forcing them to be less biased about us.

 

 

– RATTAN MALL

EditorAsianJournal@gmail.com