Judging the Gazette scoop

On Wednesday, Alain Dubuc took the Gazette Bouchard-Taylor scoop as an excuse to philosophize about the nature of pre-emptive document leaks and ask whether they’re good for society:

Cette question est la suivante: en quoi le public est-il mieux servi quand un média rend publique une information quelques heures ou quelques jours avant qu’elle ne soit diffusée de toute façon?

He argues in La Presse that the Bouchard-Taylor leak was a bad one, because it emphasized things that were not core to the report (like having francophones learn more English). He thinks whoever leaked it did so to embarrass or usurp the commission.

I’m thinking Alain Dubuc hasn’t seen The West Wing. (You can get it weekdays on CLT, though that channel isn’t useful for anything else sadly.) There, he’d learn that leaks are commonplace in government just before a big announcement in order to “soften up the ground” and prepare people.

Some of my colleagues have suggested that leaking to the anglo paper was a calculated effort to do just that, knowing it would pounce on the controversial aspects (especially about language) and that the report itself would seem tame by comparison. (I haven’t talked to Jeff Heinrich because he’s too cool for me and I doubt he’d leak through this blog something he wouldn’t say in the paper)

So was the scoop wrong? Inaccurate? Misleading? Some people think so.

I’m not in a position to judge, both because I work for The Gazette and because I haven’t had time to read the report in its entirety.

But La Presse’s André Pratte has read the report, and he thinks my paper did a good job.

UPDATE (May 24): EiC Andrew Phillips cites Pratte’s blog post in saying the paper didn’t have a nefarious agenda.

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