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Professional Critics

When the Canadian media wants to have a go at the Canadian military there are a couple of dial-a-quotes who will usually feature in the story. No matter the issue, these characters will have something critical to say. It doesn't matter how much or how little they actually know about the matter being discussed, they will be disgusted and/or outraged. Most are former members of the Canadian armed forces. Some are very former, in that they haven't worn a uniform for decades. But journalists are guaranteed a quote for their story which is highly critical of the Canadian forces. My guess is that British journalists have a similar call list. But sometimes there are reasons, very good reasons, why these pundits are former members of the military. Privacy rules, particularly when it comes to medical records, mean that the public cannot properly judge their credibility and impartiality. I suspect many of the "journalists" are just as ignorant about these characters' backgrounds as the public are; though whether that's down to a lack of professionalism or something more sinister I would hate to speculate. I have worked with, and for, some people who decide what the story is before they've spoken to a single person involved and know exactly what quotes they need for it. Those who fail to deliver the required quote just don't get quoted. And some of them are real publicity hounds.


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