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Media outlets shouldn’t have to fight so often for court transparency – The Globe and Mail

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Last week, after legal arguments on behalf of The Globe and Mail and other media, the court released RCMP documents that suggested the gunman behind April’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia was planning his rampage more than a year before the deadly attack.

The Globe story noted that: “A heavily redacted RCMP application for a search warrant revealed that Gabriel Wortman used an online PayPal account to purchase equipment for the mock RCMP vehicle he drove in the April 18-19 killings that left 22 people dead in the province. An RCMP officer subsequently killed him at a gas station in Enfield.”

The public rightly has questions about what the RCMP or other official sources knew about his planning and his obsession with police. It seems clear mistakes were made, from who knew what in those months leading up to the attack, to the police actions during the 13 hours when the gunman rampaged through the province.

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A number of Canadian media outlets believe strongly that it is time for Canadians to know what actions he took and what the police knew. Included in this continuing challenge are CBC, CTV, Chronicle Herald, Halifax Examiner and Global News. They are sharing legal costs in this effort for more documents because they believe Canadians deserve to know.

Search warrants are supposed to be made public after they have been executed with some exceptions and the media should not have to fight so often for this transparency. In the Nova Scotia case, the police have argued that all the information in every document, including the name of an anthropologist who helped on the case, should remain private.

Canadian courts and police are notoriously opaque, and the costs of legal battles to fight for this transparency can be high. So sharing legal costs not only makes sense, and I suspect it also adds to the weight of the argument in court when the media present a single voice.

This is not the only major legal case where the media are pushing for more information.

Another is the case of Alek Minassian, the van driver on trial for killing 10 people and seriously injuring 16 others when he drove a rented van through groups of pedestrians on Toronto’s busy Yonge Street in April, 2018.

The crux of the case is whether he is criminally responsible. His defence team is arguing that his autism spectrum disorder made him unable to rationally appreciate that what he was doing was wrong. The defence asked that videos of his conversations with a psychiatrist not be shown openly after the U.S.-based psychiatrist himself threatened to refuse to testify if they were.

The defence applied for the audio and video footage of those interviews to be sealed or shown in camera. A different coalition of news outlets, including The Globe and Mail, fought the application.

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Justice Anne Molloy said her deepest concern was Mr. Minassian’s right to a fair trial: “He only has one defence available to him. That has been clear right from the beginning.”

Although she agreed to seal any portions of the interviews that are entered as exhibits, she would not agree to play them in camera. Instead, approved media will be able to watch the footage over Zoom, and members of the public will be able to watch at a designated location in downtown Toronto.

“So people will hear it and they will see it. They can report on it. They just won’t have a copy of it,” she said.

Last year, thanks to the media intervention, the judge also agreed that Mr. Minassian’s statement to police when he was arrested should be read into court.

There are times when The Globe and Mail will go to court alone to ask for the release of documents, especially in the case of an exclusive story, but in these important public-interest trials, it generally joins a wide coalition of media. The Globe and Mail follows the rulings of the court, but it is necessary to press for the greatest transparency.

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New social media campaign targets COVID-19 misinformation with science – Global News

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates did not create the virus that causes COVID-19 and he is not forcing microchips into your body through vaccinations.

Those pieces of misinformation are examples of what a group of Canadian scientists and health professionals is trying to discredit through a new campaign tackling inaccurate theories about the pandemic.

About 40 misinformation debunkers are using the hashtag #ScienceUpFirst to provide science-based evidence on social media.

“There’s been misinformation about all kinds of things that you can do to treat COVID with crazy treatments like cow urine and bleach,” said Prof. Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta.

Read more:
Misinformation is spreading as fast as coronavirus. It will ‘take a village’ to fight it

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Caulfield is spearheading the #ScienceUpFirst movement.

“And now we’re in the middle of trying to roll out the vaccine and we know that misinformation is having an adverse impact on vaccination.

“Things like the vaccine will change your DNA. No, it won’t. The idea that the vaccine is associated with infertility. No, it’s not,” Caulfield said Monday in a phone interview.

“There is just an incredible amount of misinformation out there about COVID. I’ve been studying misinformation for decades. I’ve never seen anything like this.”


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Coronavirus: Hinshaw touts safety of both COVID-19 vaccines


Coronavirus: Hinshaw touts safety of both COVID-19 vaccines

He said the campaign was already trending on Twitter on Monday, the day of its launch.

Read more:
Cabbage, cavemen and miracle cures: how fast-moving COVID-19 science can confuse the public

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Caulfield is known for taking Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop to task in his book Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything? and a Netflix series A User’s Guide to Cheating Death.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The initiative is in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.


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Tim Caulfield Targets Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop


Tim Caulfield Targets Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop – Sep 6, 2017

“There’s been research that has shown that the spread of misinformation is having an adverse impact on health and science policy, it’s led to increased stigma and discrimination, and it’s just added to the chaotic information environment that we all have to deal with,” Caufield said.

“The evidence tells us that debunking does work if you do it well, so we’re trying to do it well. We’re trying to listen. We’re trying to be empathetic in our approach. We’re trying to be creative in our messaging and, hopefully, even if we move the needle a little bit, we can make a difference.”

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A spokesperson for #ScienceUpFirst says the campaign is pushing to involve Canadian athletes and celebrities to get the word out about tackling misinformation.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Social Media Reacts To Trump's Second Articles Of Impeachment Being Delivered To The Senate – Forbes

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On Monday, members of the U.S. House of Representatives walked the article of impeachment against former Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate. Nine members from the House, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), will serve as managers – acting as prosecutors – in the trial, which is set to begin on February 9.

The entirety of the House Democrats, along with 10 Republicans, voted on January 13 to charge the former President with inciting insurrection earlier in January. That resulted in the storming of the Capitol Building, which left five people dead after a violent mob smashed windows, occupied offices and even the very Senate chamber where the trial will be held.

Soon after the second articles of impeachment were delivered to the Senate at around 7pm ET comments began to circulate on social media. Much of it was simply lawmakers sharing the facts – but it is clear opinions even on the very fact that a trial is being held was divided along partisan lines.

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colorado), was among those who delivered the articles, and made that point clear on social media, “Tonight, I had the solemn duty of joining my fellow managers in delivering the article of impeachment to the United States Senate.”

The sentiment was shared by fellow Colorado Democrat Rep. Diana DeGette, who tweeted, ” Article of Impeachment: Delivered Trial: Ready to Begin”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) (@SenWarren) at least explained why she supports the trial, “Donald Trump incited an insurrection at the US Capitol. The House has fulfilled its constitutional duty by delivering an article of impeachment to the Senate. Now the Senate must fulfill its constitutional duty by convicting and barring him from ever holding office again.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y) (@RepLeeZeldin) countered, “Absolutely no one should be playing along with this total farce of an impeachment of a President who isn’t even in office anymore.”

Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) (D-Oregon) expressed frustration with his Republican colleagues and vented on social media, “Articles of Impeachment have arrived at the Senate. Only 3 of 50 Republican senators showed up. Very disturbing to see this visual message that they don’t plan to take seriously their constitutional responsibility.”

Sen. Merkley added that it was the responsibility of every Senator to hear the evidence – but as has been noted, this wasn’t actually the trial.

Media Reactions

Some in the media also have taken notice of how this unprecedented and historic trial could unfold.

Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio), congressional reporter for Politico, posted, “SCHUMER on witnesses during the impeachment trial: ‘I don’t think there’s a need for a whole lot of witnesses. We were all witnesses.”

Andrew Prokop (@awprokop), senior politics correspondent at Vox.com, questioned the procedures as they are still unfolding, “What McConnell’s play on the organizing resolution reminds me of is Pelosi withholding the impeachment articles from the Senate last year. A kind of goofy procedural overreach that doesn’t achieve anything substantive and ends in a climbdown that’s tried to be spun as a victory”

Reporter Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) showed some unnecessary glee in the fact that the nation will experience another Senate trial, tweeting, “Insurrection, inauguration & now impeachment trial – bring it on!”

However, legal expert Elie Honig (@eliehonig) took a less partisan approach and simply explained why the Senate trial is even necessary. He tweeted, “Yes, the Senate should be able to try a former president. Anything else would lead to unaccountable chaos. But this defense threatens to give Senators an off-ramp and potentially to derail the proceedings.”

Office Of The Former President

While it is likely that former President Trump followed Monday’s event as it unfolded, there was a clear effort to deflect as well. Earlier in the day, Trump officially opened the “Office of the Former President” but what it can actually do (if anyting) isn’t clear.

@Truth_Gazette was one of the few social media accounts to simply share the announcement, tweeting: “President Trump will always be a champion of the American People. The Office will be responsible for managing President Trump’s correspondence, public statements, appearances, and activities.”

However, it was apparent by evening that the announcement was largely just the subject of mockery across social media. There were more than 60,000 tweets by the late evening but few were supportive of the new office. Yet, it is worth noting that it did allow Trump to get back onto Twitter in quite a roundabout way – but certainly didn’t bring the expected response he would have liked.

What is also clear from social media on Monday is that opponents of the President still believe a trial will somehow heal the country. Time will tell if that is the case, or if it just another wedge that further divides the nation.

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Social media campaign targets COVID-19 misinformation with science – KitchenerToday.com

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates did not create the virus that causes COVID-19 and he is not forcing microchips into your body through vaccinations.

Those pieces of misinformation are examples of what a group of Canadian scientists and health professionals is trying to discredit through a new campaign tackling inaccurate theories about the pandemic.

About 40 misinformation debunkers are using the hashtag #ScienceUpFirst to provide science-based evidence on social media.

“There’s been misinformation about all kinds of things that you can do to treat COVID with crazy treatments like cow urine and bleach,” said Prof. Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta.

Caulfield is spearheading the #ScienceUpFirst movement.

“And now we’re in the middle of trying to roll out the vaccine and we know that misinformation is having an adverse impact on vaccination. 

“Things like the vaccine will change your DNA. No, it won’t. The idea that the vaccine is associated with infertility. No, it’s not,” Caulfield said Monday in a phone interview.

“There is just an incredible amount of misinformation out there about COVID. I’ve been studying misinformation for decades. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

He said the campaign was already trending on Twitter on Monday, the day of its launch.

Caulfield is known for taking actor Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop to task in his book “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?” as well as for a Netflix series called “A User’s Guide to Cheating Death.”

The initiative is in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.

“There’s been research that has shown that the spread of misinformation is having an adverse impact on health and science policy, it’s led to increased stigma and discrimination, and it’s just added to the chaotic information environment that we all have to deal with,” Caufield said.

“The evidence tells us that debunking does work if you do it well, so we’re trying to do it well. We’re trying to listen. We’re trying to be empathetic in our approach. We’re trying to be creative in our messaging and, hopefully, even if we move the needle a little bit, we can make a difference.”

A spokesperson for #ScienceUpFirst says the campaign is pushing to involve Canadian athletes and celebrities to get the word out about tackling misinformation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

— — —

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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