22 May 2009
Michael Cooke, Editor The Toronto Star
Dear Mr Cooke;
I am writing to you in the first instance, in accordance with the guidelines of the Ontario Press Council, with a specific request: that you publish in your newspaper a rebuttal to the two part article by Tyler Hamilton on wind turbines printed on 11 and 12 May 2009. Tyler Hamilton original article 12 may 2009
The text of the rebuttal (which is self explanatory) is attached. tyler hamilton rebuttal Mr Hamilton’s two part article is also attached. Tyler Hamilton original article 12 may 2009 We feel that the article contained serious inaccuracies which you would not wish to mislead your readers.
As you are aware, the Ontario Press Council Code of Conduct states: “The writer should never knowingly mislead the reader, misrepresent a situation, or place any person in a false light. No consequential errors should go uncorrected”. The Ontario Press Council calls for “stories . . . about a controversial subject” to “represent a balanced examination”; “each article should be able to stand on its own in terms of fairness and balance”.
“The Council regards . . . columns . . . as journalism of opinion and a manifestation of freedom of the press. . . .In exercising this freedom, newspapers have a responsibility to provide a forum for expression of counter opinions”.
I would appreciate hearing from you on this matter at your earliest convenience.
CC: John Honderich, Chair of the Board, Torstar
Hon. Roy Romanov, Senior Fellow in Public Policy, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan
Public Editor, Toronto Star
Ontario Press Council
Hon. Dalton McGuinty
Hon. George Smitherman
RESPONSE From TORSTAR
Dear Mr. Stelling: I am writing to you from the Public Editor’s Office of the Toronto Star on behalf of Editor, Michael Cooke, and Editorial Page Editor, Ian Urquhart. The article you have put forward for publication consideration is an opinion article that expresses your organization’s views of Tyler Hamilton’s articles of May 11 and May 12. Mr. Cooke, as editor of the Star’s news pages, does not determine which OpEds are published in the Star’s editorial pages That is the responsibility of Mr. Urquhart. Mr. Urquhart respectfully declines to publish your opinion article due to the fact that the Star has in recent months published two significant OpEds expressing strong views against wind energy (March 2, by Donald Jones “Ontario cannot afford to bet its power on wind power” and March 24, by Michael Trebilcock: “Ontario, don’t be seduced by wind’s breezy glamour”). I think that the Star has given this issue fair hearing on its OpEd pages and on the Letters pages, providing ample opportunity for numerous letter writers to express varying viewpoints on this controversial issue. However, given your strong views about Mr. Tyler’s articles we would also suggest that you submit a letter to the editor for publication consideration succinctly expressing the points raised in your Op-Ed article. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters must include your full name, address, phone number (for verification purposes). Only your name and city will be published. Letters run from 50 – 150 words and the letter editor reserves the right to edit letters.
Best Regards, Kathy English