In this Canadian Press photo, you see Julie Couillard, a woman once linked to a Hell’s Angels member, being escorted by an unidentified MP to an official function. We’ve decided not to identify the MP in question, since he hasn’t been charged with anything and we don’t want to sully his reputation.
Wait, you say? It’s stupid of me to disguise his identity since his name and photo have appeared in Quebec media all over the place?
Tell that to Quebecor/Sun Media.
Quebecor-owned outlets, including TVA/LCN and the Journal de Montréal, pretty notorious for exposing gossip, decided to blur this woman’s face and refrain from mentioning her name in their news reports (though apparently the word didn’t get out to all their bloggers, nor to the anglo Sun Media papers which are running CP stories with her name on their websites).
Both are in the news recently because of allegations that she, the ex-girlfriend of Maxime Bernier, was once married briefly to a member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang.
Of course, no evidence whatsoever has been brought to light suggesting that she did anything wrong, much less him. In fact, it seems the guy, Stéphane Sirois, actually grew out of favour with the Hell’s for marrying her.
Now while the Conservatives are pleading for privacy and the opposition is screaming OMG biker warz NATIONAL SECURITY!!!111, most of the media outside of Pierre-Karl Péladeau’s control are milking this story for all it’s worth. They want to give it maximum exposure, reveal as much as possible, put it out there for everyone to gawk at.
(I guess the Journal, for one, had a change of heart after that, and decided to un-anonymize her later this morning)
Fortunately, the rather obvious and curious actions have not been missed by the bloggerati. Patrick Lagacé, Martin Patriquin, Richard Therrien of Le Soleil, 321Blogue, Julie Bélanger, MédiaTrib and others have pointed this out with curious looks on their faces. Could there be some collusion between Bernier and Péladeau? Could Quebecor be afraid of the biker gangs? Surely their explanation of not wanting to sully the reputation of an innocent person can’t be taken at face value considering what we know of the Journal et al’s ethics.
As we ponder the conspiracy theories, let’s get back to the story.
And really, there’s a very important reason this story is getting so much attention: Look at her. She’s hot. We-stiff-on-hard-for-thee hot.
Imagine, if you will, taking sex out of the equation. If this were an unattractive male friend who had, say, an important business relationship with someone alleged to be linked with the mafia or other organized crime, would it have gotten attention from the news media, even if there was no evidence of anything wrong involving the minister?
Of course it would. But it would have been a 500-word story in the politics section. Not Page 1, and not more than a brief on TV.
So, in the end, Quebecor is at fault for nonsensically hiding information from the public. And the rest of the media is at fault for sensationalizing this issue just as an excuse for running file photos of her boobies.
UPDATE (May 11): According to LCN, the woman (who they’re still not identifying) told the Journal her life has been destroyed by this scandal. Note that the Journal identifies her. But the LCN story about the Journal story doesn’t. How weird.