I’ve always admired Patrick Lagacé. The way he works hard, the way he does his homework before putting together insightful commentary (instead of knee-jerk reactions), his hair, and the fact he puts me on his blogroll.
But more importantly, I admire the impact he has. Like being able to piss off the entire management team at TVA.
Yesterday, La Presse published a really long letter signed by four executives at TVA which accuses Lagacé of not checking his facts in a recent column about the network burying embarrassing news about itself and friends of owner Quebecor.
As Lagacé mentions at the end of the column, TVA is suing Gesca and Lagacé personally for his previous remarks on this issue.
For the benefit of those who don’t want to read the long letter, or whose French is rusty, here’s TVA’s main points:
- TVA’s news coverage is dictated by TVA, not Quebecor. Quebecor has no control. No control my ass. You don’t get to own the media unless you can tell it what to do occasionally. Obviously TVA decides what the day-to-day news is going to be, but don’t tell me there isn’t some middle manager who knows he’s more likely to get a promotion and less likely to be fired if he suppresses bad news and promotes good news. Just look at its collusion cooperation with Quebecor-owned Journal de Montréal or Quebecor-owned Videotron.
- TVA did, in fact, allow clips critical of TVA to be aired, contrary to Lagacé’s insinuations. OK, sure. I’ll concede that point, though Lagacé got his information from Le Soleil, which got a quote from TVA saying they can decide what to air and what not to air. But stories can be buried without being totally eliminated. Newspapers do it all the time: putting good news on A1 or A2, while leaving bad news to a brief at the back of the business section.
- TVA didn’t talk about 15 job cuts at TVA Québec because it was a non-story, and it was really four job cuts, and only one in news. As Lagacé mentions, it was still 15 job cuts at a regional station, whether or not some people stayed on part-time in another role.
- Lagacé made no attempt to contact TVA before his article was published to check these facts. Lagacé says he tried to contact Quebecor but got no response.
Left unmentioned by both parties is that Lagacé used to be part of the Quebecor family when he worked for the Journal and blogged for Canoe. To say there’s bad blood between the two might be considered an understatement.
But, of course, Quebecor doesn’t control TVA. So this silly conspiracy theory has no basis, right?