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RE: Substantial Public Editor Complaint RE

Unfounded Series - TIME SENSITIVE

From public editor <> hide details create a rule
To Amy M <>
Sent Friday, February 17, 2017 at 10:55 AM
Show all headers

I am sorry that I have offended you. that was not my intent. My intent was to explain my difficulty in reading
the links you sent. I am open to investigating further as I said if there were other links. Generally the various
versions of breaking news stories are not available as they use the same headline (as you have seen), but I will
make another effort next week if you have no other versions. If you are unhappy with my answer, you are free
to appeal to the national newsmedia council, an independent body which reviews such complaints.

From: Amy M []

Sent: Friday, February 17, 2017 6:04 AM
To: public editor
Subject: RE: Substantial Public Editor Complaint RE Unfounded Series - TIME SENSITIVE

Dear Ms. Stead,

I'm disheartened to say that your obtuseness is astounding.

1. You responded to my complaint by accusing me of sending you viruses. This is egregiously malicious
and without basis. I am asking you now for an apology.

Some of the links were from a traditional Internet archiving site: The 'is' extension indicates
the country of Iceland, where most digital journalists conduct their business to access the safety of
encryption (to protect sources) and the legislated privacy from government spying, that imperils our work
in the Five Eyes domain. That PGP dropbox the Globe and Mail adopted is likely routed through Iceland
as well, to protect the privacy of your whistleblowers. It's a shame you don't know the basics about
modern reporting, or the challenges Canadian journalists are up against. Currently there's a government
inquiry in Quebec about this very issue, and it's why many of us use the storage systems from Iceland as
a professional precaution. The country is not a virus and neither is its privacy policy, or respect for
freedom of the press.

Moreover archiving sites are a necessary tool in modern journalism, to preserve webpages in their
original form, before the content is altered or vandalized. They are required to preserve digital evidence,
because far too many people delete their actions to escape liability and newspapers have begun
ignoring ethics in favour of erasing history. Just like libraries used to archive the daily papers on
microfiche, today it requires an Internet service because more content is published online than in
newsprint. I regret this alarms you and results in destructively false allegations.

You may have also been required to enter a 'CAPTCHA' response, to ensure the archive isn't being
abused by digital robots. If the CAPTCHA process alarms you, then I'm not sure how you can access
80% of websites. That too is a common safety feature that was adopted by Internet services in every
country around the world, including Canada. It's even included on email sign-up pages, so I don't see
how you wouldn't be familiar. I also don't see how you can be a public editor, if you're not familiar with
anything about the Internet or digital journalism.

2. You accused me of sending links that 'were compromised and not in the Globe and Mail font', so you
'cannot be sure they are real'. Do you mean to say that if YouTube and search engines don't publish their
content within the Globe and Mail, that you're incapable of accessing the Internet? Or can you just not
read anything that doesn't use the identical font as the newspaper chose for its website? When did fonts
become proprietary to eyesight? Please tell me that you're kidding.

3. You flatly admit that you didn't inspect the evidence, with these crass and offensive excuses. How can
you assert your own assumptions without knowing what you're responding to? If this is how you handle
serious complaints, then I need to add you to a grievance with the National Newsmedia Council. This
behaviour is completely unprofessional and instead of asking any questions to orient yourself, you
accused me of trying to hack you (RE sending viruses). You've just proven that you're incapable and
inappropriate for this particular job.

4. Your email confirms at least part of my ethics allegation, that is absolutely contrary to the professional
guidelines for Canadian journalists. But there you are defending the infractions, as if these standards
don't apply to the Globe and Mail. If they don't apply, then none of your reporters can win awards and
you'll have to cease membership with the National Newsmedia Council, that once gave you professional
credibility. Did you even read the ethics guidelines from the Canadian Association of Journalists and J-
Source? Or was their font incompatible with your eyesight? Do you know what these organizations are?
Has the Globe and Mail intranet bubble disabled you from seeing beyond the office walls? How do you
read things like transit schedules, bank statements, or social media? Because they all use fonts that are
different from the Globe and Mail. I'm nearly worried there needs to be an intervention of some sort, to
save G&M staff from never being able to read a Google search result again. You know that's what you
claim to be incapable of reading, right? Internet search results are what you deem to be a threat. At least
that part is cynically ironic and perhaps an apropos metaphor.

To be clear and since you're incapable of reading guidelines, it is not acceptable to delete published
news content that wasn't written in error. It is not acceptable to delete errors either, without noting what
the error was and why it was corrected. It is not acceptable to edit a story without noting what details
were changed and why, for any reason. It is not acceptable to add a second author, to re-write an
original author completely. It is not acceptable to replace one fact with a different fact, because you
wanted to alter the substance of a story. At least you can't do that without a thorough explanation that is
also published with the article, to say what facts were removed and why. If you're noticing a pattern here,
that's because there is one.

5. It's also not acceptable to lie, as you're doing with me right now. It is not widely known that Justin
Trudeau used to volunteer at the McGill University Rape Crisis Centre. I dare the Globe and Mail to put a
poll on its homepage if you care to dispute this further.

Furthermore this isn't a matter of a reporter citing facts about Trudeau. It was a quote from the Prime
Minister himself, that was published by the Globe and Mail, that you completely deleted from the story.
Along with that single line were multiple paragraphs from the same speech that were also deleted
entirely. The Globe and Mail basically erased a public speech given by the Prime Minister, to ensure the
public-at-large could never find it. That was after you published in near entirety and sold access to read
the speech for 24-hours before changing your mind. You decided to control the government's public
address and revoke every citizen's right to know what the Prime Minister is saying. Then you replaced
these facts and attributed them to a different person. In the retail industry this practice is called bait and
switch and it's downright illegal. I hope you understand how brazen your behaviour is.

6. Constantly updating a story is reserved for 'breaking news'. There is no acceptable standard in the news
media to constantly change every story you've ever published. Prepared and scheduled speeches
delivered from a Prime Minister to a university don't qualify as 'breaking news' either. It can't be 'breaking
news' especially when you published the story as 'investigative journalism' in the Unfounded series,
specifically. You advertised and sold it this way to consumers.

If the Globe and Mail wants to behave similar to President Trump, then expect to be called out for it. That
you don't know the difference between 'breaking news' and 'investigative journalism' or the legal
obligations associated with either form, means you cannot be the public editor, nor can you work in any
capacity for the media.

It's so concerning that you've given this excuse, I need to request contact from the Globe and Mail's
legal department. You've admitted to altering an investigative journalism series, with legal implications for
the police, government, and victims. You've adamantly defended your right to keep doing this, as if it's
the norm in your newsroom. Forget about the requirement to note these edits within a story, because
now you've entered liability territory.

When I said I was astounded, I truly meant it. You couldn't have dug your hole any deeper. I now need to
question if I have an obligation to inform the chiefs of police about your position. Every regulatory body
may need to know as well. Certainly every person interviewed by the Globe and Mail will need to know
the newspaper's policy, that any information they provide is subject to change at the publisher's whim. If
G&M wants to re-write their public speeches with the paper's own opinions when no one is looking, then
sources need to know they're consenting to being misrepresented, however the paper sees fit from
minute to minute.

7. You've gone to all this trouble, being purposely offensive, to avoid forwarding the original speech that
Daniel published from the Prime Minister. You're aware that I need it for an active police matter, in which
children are currently in danger. Are you refusing to send the original copy before it was 'edited' by a
different author? If you won't send it and claim the Globe and Mail did no wrong, then what is your
reason for withholding?

Yours truly,
Amy MacPherson

On 2/16/2017 at 4:50 PM, "public editor" <> wrote:

Hello Ms. MacPherson and thank you for writing. You have made many points about the
Unfounded series and discussed the important work that still needs to be done on the
subject of sexual assault.
As Public Editor, I want to focus on your initial complaint and concern that this story:
changed during the days reporting. The lead paragraph on that story is PMJT said the
federal government is prepared to play a key role addressing issues around how
institutions deal with victims of sexual assault, as police services across the country
announces reviews into how such cases are handled in the wake of a Globe and Mail
That story was published at 11:07am. The bylines are Leblanc and Doolittle.
I tried to reach some of your earlier links but they were compromised and not in Globe
and Mail font so I cannot be sure they are real. They also seemed to lead to potential
viruses so I avoided them.
When breaking stories are being written, to keep things simpler, the original story is
added to, subtracted from, includes more and more complete information etc. as the
day goes on. Yes the initial news break about the PM came to Daniel Leblanc. And from
there during the day the two reporters were working on gathering more information. You
were concerned for example that a reference to JTs work at a rape crisis centre was
dropped from a later version while Rona Ambroses experience was added. Mr.
Trudeaus experience was previously known and not a major fact in any case.
Certainly the practice is to constantly update stories and when that happens some
earlier and perhaps relevant information can get dropped.
Daniel was the original writer on it and Robyn added quite a bit during the day.
There is no evidence of anything other than a normal breaking news follow in this story
and no evidence of any pressure to change it. If you have direct evidence, I would be
happy to hear it.

Sylvia Stead
Public Editor

From: Amy M []

Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:52 PM
To: robyn doolittle; Leblanc, Daniel; public editor
Subject: Substantial Public Editor Complaint RE Unfounded Series - TIME SENSITIVE

Dear Robyn, Daniel, and Sylvia,

I regret to be writing in this capacity today and that it now requires assistance from the public
editor. I couldn't have expected it to come to this and I'm still particularly stunned by the Globe
and Mail's behaviour.

I've included my original email to Robyn and Daniel below, so I don't need to repeat these
events for the sake of bringing Sylvia up to speed. This is an unusual case that now involves
more than an error and I'm forced to pursue an allegation of journalistic fraud, against you and
the newspaper.

Being an industry colleague, I never would have sought to do this. I have nothing to gain by
making one of few remaining publishers look so bad, but what you've done is inexcusable. It's
dangerous, cowardly, duplicitous, and an affront to our profession in the utmost. If your
behaviour continues without discipline and subsequent training, I would be letting you burn all
our jobs to the ground. I would be condoning your hypocrisy and the gaslighting of vulnerable
females, as you bait sex assault victims into further abuse and oppression by the Globe and

I wish for confirmation that professional discipline will be undertaken by the employer. If
the Globe and Mail refuses, I will have no choice but to submit this incident to theNational
Newsmedia Council (formerly Ontario Press Council) for impartial intervention. That's not
something I look forward to doing, but I definitely will if your stonewalling continues. You have no
right to re-victimize women and children for the sake of promoting your own careers at their
expense. You have no right to hide behind their scars or endanger them further, for your own
vanity and covering up the ethics breaches you've committed.

I'm so aggrieved by your actions that I may yet contact Robyn's source for the Unfounded series
at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. It would be brutally scandalous if you push me to release
what you've done to the public and this is your last chance to address the matter honestly,
before I take it out of your hands. You're currently celebrating the success of your featured
series and the public would be equally interested in the dirty play that transpired behind the
scenes, where you became predatory toward your subject matter. I can't emphasize how serious
I am about holding you to account and forcing you to be decent human beings, if necessary.

You see, when I take time off from journalism to pursue other opportunities, I've also been a
spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Social Workers, children in foster care, and a
provincial task force related to the many vulnerabilities experienced by victimized women and
children. Whereas Robyn muses at the novelty of learning about this strife and suggests most
people didn't know about it before she published ( ), the truth is that
most women are aware and even the Premier has addressed this publicly
( ). Whatever her politics, it was probably the
most humane and sincere connection she ever made with the press. (For the record, I've never
been employed by the Ontario government and I have no conflict of interest in bringing this to
your attention.)

This could have been such a simple matter if you responded respectfully, but you've gone and
made things substantially worse. You could have responded, 'thanks for the inquiry but we're not
able to accept the scoop', or just sent the original copy with an, 'all the best'. I was waiting
patiently as possible for any acknowledgment and I didn't know if you'd be empathetic or
professionally curt. It didn't matter how you responded and only that you did.
That's why I went on social media to privately message Robyn and that's where I discovered
what amounted to your response. I was going to ask if you received my email, but instead I
learned that you severed our communication. You went to the effort of silencing me, in defiance
of everything I've said. The day before I emailed, we both followed one another and private
discussions were possible. In fact, we shared a conversation in the past. But after receiving my
inquiry you deliberately ended that connection and tried to hide from your ethics issue by
covering it up.

Then I saw the positive PR you both extended to the government and police. You did this
immediately after I forewarned you as an industry colleague, that you might be facing
manipulation to spin the story in exactly this way. You were warned about helping the
government censor a major sex scandal and did what you could to abet it by doubling down on
censoring your journalistic fraud as well. You both refused to inquire what my information is
about. You're still maliciously withholding the original article, when you're aware that I need it for
an active police investigation. It was widely published before the desecration and you can't even
be honourable enough to forward that much.

Instead you decided that what I said is Unfounded, without looking at any of the evidence. You
became the very illness you've written about. You hypocritically pointed the finger at police, to
cover up that you're doing the same thing. It was mortifying to have to read your tweets,
pontificating like this:




If good policing can't rely on gut instincts without evidence, then neither can investigative
journalism. Moreover what you did was data analysis, because you didn't bother to investigate
your own story. Robyn and Daniel were too concerned about making a name for themselves,
that they didn't behave as the Fourth Estate and let sloppy work confuse the matter to promote
their own headshots. Here are a few examples of that too:

1. At Flare/Rogers

2. At CTV

3. At CBC

4. And Reuters + the Prime

But hey, it's all about you, right? You believe you caused the police to change their practices
without inquiring with anyone about the Ontario Premier's Marshall
Plan ( ) after citing and impugning countless Ontario police forces.

The only time a Marshall Plan is mentioned by the Globe and Mail is a handful of months after
the Premier's version, but your publication believes it's a WWII issue ( )
completely unrelated to sex assault. I don't know how you can call the Unfounded series a
lengthy investigation, let alone responsible journalism. What happened to the money that was
already allocated for training police to handle sexual violence cases, with a government

If I wanted to be a real jerk I could inform bureaucrats of that caveat and turn your story right
back on the Globe and Mail for being so irresponsible. But that's not what I want and I only
sought to protect endangered youths in a political organization. I was willing to let you off the
hook and give you the story to lend credibility to your work, if you could do the bare minimum to
follow ethical guidelines.

From J-Source and the Canadian Association of Journalists, I draw your attention to those
guidelines now:

HTML version

PDF for printing

You broke so many ethics rules that it would be easy to obtain a ruling. You even committed
some of the most deadly sins to journalism. I don't understand why you want to go head-to-head
with me in a battle for your reputations, over forwarding a single original copy of the story (and at
least pondering your choice to break all the rules). You're aware this pertains to the public safety,
but here you are obstructing it. Your reporting is dishonest, incomplete, and a compromised
extension of the PMO.

What you're seeking to hide is a speech from the Prime Minister, without any legitimate reason
except bias to protect your access. You availed yourself to the government as its communication
tool, with a great big eraser if it wants to rewrite history. When the police, state and news media
conspire to deflect responsibility it's an attack on democracy. A journalist has an ethical
obligation to prevent that collaboration and it's the very function of the Fourth Estate. Something
tells me that somehow you missed the Holy Grail lessons at j-school. Or are they just not
teaching this anymore, in favour of peddling your souls as marketing agents?
In any event you crossed more than one line and for that reason I can't ignore it. The latest
article from Daniel in the Unfounded series directs victims of sexual assault to share their stories
with Robyn:

As far as I'm concerned you don't have the moral, professional or social licence to interfere
destructively in matters this sensitive. You've already proven that you're categorizing responses
as Unfounded, in direct contravention of the premise you've published. And if I think for one
moment that you're oppressing victims further, I have an ethical duty to inform the public.

From a personal standpoint you need to understand the consequence of your actions. I've felt
sick to my stomach since you pulled these shenanigans. I feel discouraged from speaking up
and if I didn't have extensive experience under my belt, your ignorance would have been
successful in silencing me. I've already had to give up my entire weekend, just to ask for
assistance from your public editor now. It's disappointing that neither of you have the fortitude to
inquire about my letter. But I guess it sounds too big for you, so the Globe and Mail ran away to
its haven in the PMO.

While I can be forced to accept the cowardice at your paper, what I can't permit is the
obstruction of public safety, journalistic fraud, complete ethical breakdowns and purposely
endangering child victims. Furthermore you knew this was time sensitive and your meddling has
eaten into the precious time to protect them. I kindly ask that the public editor attends to this
immediately and if no sufficient action can be sought within the Globe and Mail, I will take these
concerns elsewhere. Please confirm that you've received my email before the end of the day on
Friday, February 17, 2017, as well. I have other appointments regarding the children
approaching and I need to know what to advise, or if the Provincial Advocate for Children and
Youth will be needed in this matter with the newspaper.

To Ms. Stead: Please continue reading my email below for the fine details and thank you very

To all: In essence I asked if the Globe and Mail was trustworthy and the effect of your response
indicates it is not. Please see fit to amend this now, especially as trust has become the new
currency in digital journalism and no one recovers from manipulating the public maliciously, or
using their kids as sexual pawns for the sake of ad revenue.
Yours very truly,

Amy MacPherson

----- Forwarded message from "Amy M" <> -----

Date: Thu, 09 Feb 2017 14:34:54 +0000
Subject: PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL Info RE Unfounded Series

Dear Robyn and Daniel,

I'm writing to inquire about your story now titled, Trudeau pledges action as police unite to
reform sex-assault probes:

Originally it was titled, Trudeau recognizes need for more government action in fight
against sexual violence (as the link still reflects) and that first edition was published widely on
the internet, attributed to Daniel only. It wasn't until late in the evening that one or both of you
edited and I have some important questions about that transformation.

I'm also an investigative journalist (freelance, CBC alumna) and I've spoken with Robyn in the
past. I don't mean for the following to seem accusatory and perhaps I can provide you with
another story, if you're able to be straightforward with me about the following.

The edited edition doesn't resemble the original in many ways (read: most) and I wish to know
why the piece was significantly altered. I also wish to know why you agreed to an extensive re-
write by a second author, without noting what changes were made or why, at the bottom of a
replacement article. Why didn't you just publish a second entry regarding the police response?
Why did you remove Trudeau's experience volunteering at a rape crisis centre and replace it
with a similar experience from the Leader of the Opposition? Was it due to orders from the
Globe & Mail publisher? A demand from the PMO? McGill University? Or members of law
enforcement? Did you object to this practice ethically with your editor? And please forgive that I
have to ask, but was the article in any way an advertorial?
Right now I suspect this might have occurred due to interference from the PMO, because
extensive quotes from Trudeau were deleted and your original copy was scrubbed from the
internet entirely. It's a rare occurrence when Google caches can be deleted, let alone from a
story that was published 24-hours beforehand. It was only by searching the less-frequented Bing
that I could manage to locate any trace of it. This is a record-breaking turnaround to scrub what
you originally published and we're not supposed to be in the business of re-crafting history.

This is from a handful of searches that return the original lede via Bing: and

And this is the only (partial) original copy to be found online, because someone manually copy-
and-pasted it:

I had to archive those examples because your initial work is important to an issue I'm pursuing.
I'm concerned that unbeknownst to you, the story you edited may have been a spin-job for a
serious partisan matter and I need to request a copy of your original publication, intact.

If you can be amenable with me, I can return the trust and favour, tenfold. I will give you my
emails, text messages and evidence I provided to an OPP Child Exploitation Unit, that indicates
tampering during a forensic warrant. I will avail myself to private interviews with you as well,
because I can't write this story due to my conflict of interest. I'm a peripheral witness and
charges have already been laid against a partisan official, in a heinous investigation that's still
expanding with some of the harshest bail conditions in the country. It's also being maliciously
concealed by the political party. Threats have ensued in retaliation for my police report and I can
show you that in writing too. The threats are to keep evidence from the investigation and harbour
an accused child predator with multiple alleged victims. It expands on your Unfounded' series,
but from a political angle with star studded names you likely didn't expect. You certainly wouldn't
expect the hypocrisy, at least.

I could only do this anonymously with an agreement to redact the emails, as required to comply
with criminal allegations and/or the privacy of children and innocent bystanders. Everyone will
know it was me and that's okay because I warned them I would go public. But I can't entrust this
information to media colleagues until I'm sure of their integrity and commitment to follow
through, in the interest of public safety. I'm doing this because there are local children who are
still endangered. They're at risk because their youth data was given to the aforementioned
predator and the party is seeking to obstruct its records from the investigation, to avoid its own
liability. They're threatening and spinning to bury the fact that they're leaving youth records open
to criminal abuse, in favour of the accused while ignoring the child victims. As I said, charges
were already laid and this isn't a case of gossip or suspicion.

If you can answer the questions I posed to you above respectfully and honestly as colleagues,
I'll respond with my phone number so you can begin grilling me and I'll forward everything in my
possession. I won't do it for the sake of adding spin to an already dangerous situation, however.
I ask for no payment or favours-in-kind and I only need to be convinced that you'll pursue this
ethically, with the proper press freedom that's required. I need to be sure that you're able to
withstand pressure from partisan publishers, the government, or vested interests, should the
evidence be sufficient for you to cover (and it is). The other angle to your series is that
sometimes police attempt to do their best, but they're faced with obstructions to obtain the
evidence. Obstructions that reach political-brass offices and subsequent negligence or abuse of

I look forward to your replies and I wish you both the best. I'm hopeful that you'll be able to make
the kids a priority, when it comes to a battle between reporting and the partisan demands on
media. This is serious shit with even bigger implications (pardon the salty language). But they're
so big and brutally ironic that I couldn't remain silent any longer. To help with your decision to
respond or how to approach, I respectfully submit that I'm a Canadian advisor to the Inter
American Press Association. I've also lectured at Western University regarding journalism ethics,
press liberty, conflicts of interest and partisanship. I'm writing to you humbly and in earnest.
These kids are weighing on me and February 20th will mark another threat to their safety
(reported to police as part of the task force probe, but a trial can't conclude in time and more
charges are pending).

For this reason I ask you to keep our discussion confidential and that we be mindful of
repercussions to youth complainants if my information was mishandled. There is a way to tell
this story without harming the case and some of the charges have already been partially
reported. In the meantime I feel the youth branch of a political party has a right to determine its
own privacy and if they want their personal records in the hands of anyone involved with a child
sex scandal. That too involves a breach of trust that makes the obstruction doubly concerning,
but I will wait for your responses before elaborating.

Please note that I keep an odd schedule and there could be a day's delay to connect with you in
a 9-5 time frame. If my query is agreeable, I will make accommodations to proceed with you

Yours very truly,

Amy MacPherson