As a number of readers have pointed out in the comments, Gary Mason's recanting of his original use of bogus teachers' salary numbers in the Globe and (nolongerEmpire) Mail made it from 'Tweet to Print' a couple of days ago.
Here is the lede to Mr. Mason's recantage in print:
As bargaining resumes this week between the provincial government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, the subject of wages is certain to come up.
So is the view the union holds that the government has been disseminating information that is either false or misleading in a bid to bolster its cause. The BCTF is particularly upset with media reports that circulated last week quoting a 2010-11 Statistics Canada report purporting to claim the mean B.C. teacher salary was $80,582, making it the second highest among Canadian provinces.
Except, the Statscan survey actually referenced an average “per educator” figure – one that included wages paid to administrators such as principals and vice-principals who make more than teachers and can skew averages. It was a distinction that went unnoticed by most, including myself (an oversight I regret). In fact, the standard teacher salary in B.C. for 2012-13, with allowances, was more like $71,485 – a not-insignificant difference...
This, of course, is a good thing.
There is something that did not quite make it from the Twittmachine to the page in the recantage process.
See if you can spot it:
Why does the fact that Mr. Mason told us, via the Twittmachine, but not via his much more widely read Globe and Mail column, that the government of Christy Clark and Peter Fassbender fooled him into using Statscan numbers out of context in an effort to generate a 'misleading' meme actually matter?
(especially when you consider the fact that, as Mr. Mason noted in another tweet, the same misdirecting also took place at other major proMedia outlets in Lotusland)
Later in his print recantage Mr. Mason went on to tell us, in detail, about how the BCTF has also used Statscan numbers to make arguments about overall spending on education.
And, after doing so, he essentially led his readers to the conclusion that:
'See, both sides do it!'
Nowhere in either his Tweets or his two columns on the subject does Mr. Mason ever once indicate that the teachers used irrelevant Statscan numbers in a deliberate attempt to get him to write a misleading column.
Do both sides really do it?
And (this is what really matters here)...
Does the average thinking member of the public who goes out of their way to keep themselves reasonably informed by reading things like Mr. Mason's columns, Michael Smyth's rantings and Vancouver Sun editorials know that both sides actually DON'T do it?
Of course not.
And, on a related note, who's talking about that court decision now?
All which brings us back to the crux of the matter, which Paul Willcocks got to in the comment threads awhile back when he noted: "It's good that Gary Mason has recanted, but it would be better if he reported who suggested he use the shoddy numbers."