More on Judge Wyant blaming the media

- September 15th, 2012

I’ve had some more emails on the Judge Wyant situation and his buck passing statements in the Provincial Court 2004-2006 Annual Report.

As usual, I like to respond to some of the people who email me on these issues. Here’s one from Jamie, followed by my response:

To: “Tom Brodbeck”
Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2012 1:36:26 PM
Subject: Re: “Gloves off? Let’s Hope So, Judge Wyant” Straw Man

In the 2004-06 Provincial Report, Wyant states that: “In informing the
public…it is important that the press be responsible and balanced.”
That is not ‘passing the buck’ onto the media for negative attitudes
towards the justice system, certainly not when you follow up that
statement by saying: “I believe personally that my own role is a vital
one on the issue of public confidence.”

If you realize Judge Wyant does not blame the media solely, and
acknowledge that he takes personal responsibility for the issue of
public confidence in the court system (as he does) then you cannot
accuse him of ‘passing the buck.’

Jamie also wrote:

>
> In your September 9 article, you say “[Judge Wyant] wrote in his
> 2004-2006 annual report that…the media was at fault for perpetuating
> ‘negative attitudes’ toward the courts. Talk about passing the buck.”
> You accuse him of “blam[ing] the media for the public’s loss of
> confidence in the justice system.” By selectively quoting Judge Wyant,
> you make it seem like he claims the media is solely responsible for
> the negative attitudes towards our court system. If he ever actually
> made that claim, then he indeed would be passing the buck.
>
> You neglect to mention his following statement in the 2004-06 report:
> “I also recognize…the criminal justice system has a responsibility to
> balance the information that is given to the public and to educate the
> public on the role of the criminal justice system. I believe
> personally that my own role is a vital one on the issue of public
> confidence.”
>

My response:

You’re only reading a small part of his passage. I guess that helps your argument. However, I prefer to deal with the facts. What he said in the report was this:

“I remain concerned about the role of the media and the perpetuation of negative
attitudes towards our court system. In that regard, while the press has a critical and vital role to
play in informing the public and to be a watchdog for public organizations, it is also important
that the press be responsible and balanced.’

He says he’s “concerned about the role of the media and the perpetuation of negative attitudes.” Yet, he provides no evidence or examples of how the media allegedly perpetuates “negative attitudes.” Is simply reporting the news — including some of the heinous crimes that are processed through the courts — an act of “perpetuating negative attitudes?” I believe we refer to that as “shooting the messenger.”

Judge Wyant’s allegations were baseless and without merit. And it’s surprising as a judge that he provided no reasons for his criticism of the media. Normally when courts give decisions without reasons, they are successfully overturned at appeal.

Also, the role he speaks of regarding his responsibility in the justice system is to inform the public about how the justice system works. So he gets on the radio once in a while and fields light questions about the court system. Good for him. However, he takes no responsibility whatsoever for the unfit sentences he has handed down over the years and how those decisions — as opposed to the media reporting on those sentences — is the true cause of the public’s loss of confidence in the justice system.

Tom Brodbeck
Multimedia Columnist– The Winnipeg Sun-Print and Digital

(d) 204.632.2780 | (f) 204.697.0759
www.winnipegsun.com |www.winnipegsun.com/facebook | www.twitter.com/winnipegsun
(e) tom.brodbeck@sunmedia.ca | (a) 1700 Church Avenue, Winnipeg MB R2X 3A2

Categories: Politics

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