“Boys Wanna Be Her“; ‘Impeach My Bush’ (2006)
Two Stories Featured In Canadian News…
this week will create Urban Legends that are going to need to be explained away by our Grandchildren’s Grandchildren to their Grandchildren unless we stop them here and now.
The first one involves a unique Canadian coin and a mistaken addition to an internal report by an American intelligence service. In 2004 the Canadian Mint, one of the most prestigious in the world, released the first coin to have a painted portrait featured on its face. This involved a new and patented technique. Sometime in 2005 a few American Army contractors, working on projects in Canada, made reports to the Defence Security Service, an agency of the Defence Department, claiming the coin — with a highly unusual and distinctive bright red centre, was a tracking device. At least one of the contractors reports made it into a 29-page report which was briefly circulated inside the DSS. Using recently declassified documents the Associated Press wrote a story aboot the coin and how ridiculous the DSS was for believing a Canadian coin could be used to track the whereabouts of Army Contractors.
The problem with the story is that it’s over a year old, this is its third news cycle and the DSS admitted to having made a mistake almost immediately upon the publication of the 29-page report… and then again this past January.
Buried deep in the AP story — which everyone is reprinting or using as their source — was this statement: “The [DSS] never examined the suspicious coins,” spokeswoman Cindy McGovern said. “We know where we made the mistake,” she said. “The information wasn’t properly vetted. While these coins aroused suspicion [with the contractors], there ultimately was nothing there.”
The timeline goes like this… the first reports of a tracking-coin — and there were only a few — surfaced in 2005 and at least once more early in 2006. They were treated like a UFO sighting (ie: as in not important enough to look at), but at least one accidentally made it into a minor internal report, which the DSS quickly retracted and the 2006 DSS Annual Report — released in January, 2007 — again explained the mistake. Using the news stories written aboot the apology in the Annual Report an access to information request was made by reporters and last week, four months after the last apology, the related documentation is released by US and Canada Intelligence Services. The AP then write their story based on these original documents and — taaa daaa — here we are: Crazy Americans Fear Canadian Coin… Part Three.
#2: A Failing Industry And A Naive Canadian Reporter…
got together this week to announce Canada is a world leader in the heinous crime of movie piracy. Several years ago the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) started telling whomever would listen that Canada is responsible for 80% of the worlds pirated movies. The statistics have been debunked several times by several organizations, but every six months Canada becomes the Kingpin in a crime on par with dealing heroin to strung out D-List actors.
Michael Geist, one of Canada’s most respected technology lawyers, last wrote aboot this on his blog five months ago: “…the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a U.S. lobby group that includes the MPAA, advised the U.S. government in late September that Canadians were the source for 23 percent of camcorded copies of DVDs.
“In fact, AT&T Labs, which conducted the last major public study on movie piracy in 2003, concluded that 77 percent of pirated movies actually originate from industry insiders and advance screener copies provided to movie reviewers.”
I wrote aboot this on my blog waaay back in February of this year. It was a brilliant piece. Basically revenue from theatre ticket sales has been dropping like Nicolas Cage’s career potential, and the MPAA have been trying to deflect criticism of the movie industry’s inept handling of technology issues.
It is understood that Entertainment Reporters are generally at a loss when it comes to business and technology, but the MPAA Urban Legend goes back three or four years and large dailes, like the Globe And Mail where I found this version, have databases of sources which all of their reporters can access. It’s the same with the Coin Story, which has been reported on during at least two previous news cycles over the past eight months. It would have been very easy to do the Coin Story up front and honest, but the people who picked up the AP Story had “Americans Are Dumbasses” headlines they wanted to use so they buried the pedestrian stuff and put the misleading “Dumbass” comments in the top six paragraphs. At best the Coin Story should have been one of those “funny briefs” newspapers run across the top of a page, and the MPAA story should have been an expose on how Hollywood is blaming the loss of their theatre revenue on Canada.
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