Reactions to Online Anonymity in Cornwall Ontario – Councilor Gardiner and the S word and Councilor MacDonald’s possible Conflict of Interest – November 17, 2011

CFN – Wow.  I am absolutely floored by how much interest has been showed in the issue of Online Anonymity regarding posts.    I’ve been flooded by emails and calls and it’s interesting to see how petty some of the competing media has been.

The Free Holder who also have been targeted by the City report did a story, but of course left us out of their story.   They didn’t defend the point or debate it; simply report the comments at council.

Le Journal’s Greg Kielec made a few twitter posts about it, again not mentioning us by name, but I have to give Greg some slack as he’s been busy with some strong material about CAO Paul Fitzpatrick’s myriad of cases against the city.

And today Joel Herrington; a charming gent offered his opinion in the Seaway News.  Essentially if you have nothing nice to say; shut up and if you have something to say sign your name.

That’s a very antiquated way to look at things especially when some people are in very sensitive jobs.   Having chatted with Joel I’m kinda wondering if those are his words or his managing editors?

Bottom line is that if it’s our job in the media to report “the truth” why are so few doing so?  At least locally?  Monday night I sat next to the Cornwall Daily’s Bill Kingston and their new anchor (another bright mind from Toronto coming to the sticks to make a name for herself so that she can work her way to the bigger markets) and challenged Bill to actually write about the reality of this situation.

Of course, true to corporate self you didn’t read anything there.

Councilor Elaine MacDonald

How many issues have been treated this way?  If the city is going to throw its weight around and cut advertising to any media that THEY find offensive what is the value of the media?  Is it just one big ad bag?   I don’t have a problem with that.  I do have a problem with the hypocrisy of some media outlets that suggest they are high and mighty when it comes to standards when they are just presstitutes.

In the meanwhile the only profanity to grace CFN in an awful long times was Councilor Syd Gardiner’s use of a derogatory term in our video of the coverage of this subject.  You can witness his demented rambling which also included a bizarre reference to Dr. Oz in the video clip below.   You can also watch the gross hypocrisy of Councilor Elaine MacDonald who was quite happy to have her election team during the provincial election not only post without disclosing their full names, but also post questions at debates without disclosing that they were working on her campaign.   Also, why is she entering this debate when she has a direct relationship with Our Home Town as a columnist?  Is that not a conflict of interest?


And we’re rolling out one of our polls on the subject.

Should people be able to post anonymously in the comments sections of media sites? You can make up to two selections.

View Results

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The topic of Online Anonymity is an interesting subject.  Both sides have merits.  We here at CFN are leaning towards a more stringent moderation policy rather than try and create a non legally enforceable policy.   It should be interesting to see if the City of Cornwall choose a more enlightened direction or chooses to cut its ties with the number one and two media in Cornwall which seems like an awful odd way to promote its brand.  In light of  Project Truth and the cases coming to light against it from Police Brutality to abuse of City Staff, and now attacking local media many are starting to wonder what its “Brand” is?

You may post your comments below.  Please don’t use the same language as Councilor Gardiner though as we do not tolerate such words here at The Cornwall Free News

Coffey's Coffee


  1. I have been reading posts for many years on the Freeholder and on the CFN, well, since it began. I have never seen the profanity Mr Gardiner speaks about. I know Jamie would not let that pass cuz he even edited my post using the layman’s term for flatulence.
    The freeholder also has a place where you can have those posts removed and or they are automatically x’ed out as is visible in some posts. So where is Sid getting his information.
    Bernie is about the only one with some form of intellectual approach to the whole issue. She has asked for clarity on what is meant by offensive commentary as well as what kind of moderation is acceptable. You would think that a arson charged with economic development would have that information presented in the proposal. It also makes me wonder how many other things are done with so little and such poor direction and management
    Just this little snippet shows council is not dealing with it well and that has been clearly displayed by Bernadette’s questions.

  2. The city council doesn’t mind reading people’s comments about them. The point is that city council doesn’t want anyone else to read those comments. Wanting the names of posters is probably the council looking for retribution.

  3. That’s BS. I post on seven or eight sites and all that’s required is a valid email address to register and log in, using any name you want. They all have rules. Slander is never tolerated, nor is hate speech on most of them.

  4. Author

    Which part is BS Furtz? The city report pointed at CFN, which you post on quite a bit suggesting “often” we have profanity and vicious personal attacks. Do you agree with their statement?

  5. The BS is that Council seems to be saying that the city should only advertise with outlets that require commenters to use their real names. Not sure, but I think this requirement would be a precedent in Canada.
    I’ve been following the comments on this site for quite a while, and can’t recall any profanity, unless you consider words like “BS” or “poop” profanity, and if you do, you have a big problem. Obviously I don’t follow every story here, but the only “vicious personal attacks” I’ve noticed come from the preacher, and they are not directed at Council. My guess is that Council just doesn’t want to hear any criticism from the local media. It’s called “small-town Ontario politics”.

  6. After watching this clip a few times I asked myself …what is wrong with using proper English literature on internet posts?

    The “S” word referred to by Mr Gardiner is in the Oxford dictionary as “a slovenly or promiscuous woman.” Its origin is Middle English.

    Toronto holds a “S”___walk, the reason so women can dress in a way the feel comfortable. Of which I believe even Shakespeare has a name for.

    As for pseudonyms, will we soon see novels written by ghost writers removed by schools in Cornwall? Mark Twain or Samuel Langhorne Clemens is already having his classic Novel Huck Finn re written due to the ‘N’ word. Where do we stop?

    Sid if I may quote Mr Clemens
    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

  7. Excellent comment Smee. If people are going to get bent out of shape by old English words, maybe they should hide under their beds for the next hundred years or so. Good Lord, how can you run a web site while worrying about trivial shit like that?

  8. Alas yet another question for Sid and the clan.
    Everyone I Listened to in this clip only had concern about the quality of the verbiage used. Nobody was concerned about the legitimacy of the content. Is this the fly in the ointment council can use to censor the public.

    “False face must hide what the false heart doth know”

  9. Author

    so far the only local media supporting the report was the Seaway News via Joel Herrington’s “editorial”. Sue Stewart of Corus even bleated about it on her facebook page showing her support for Joel’s position and the cities report. I wonder though if she’s that informed or simply supporting her good buddies’s hubby? Claude McIntosh in his column today pretty much echoed what I’ve written about it although in his style 🙂

  10. smee, keep up your Shakespeare and Twain quotes and allusions. You are doing wonders for these threads. Keep the Bible handy, too. As you know, one doesn’t have to be fixated on damnation to find all kinds of truly wonderful stuff in that great book.

  11. Do you all know that anonymous comments are allowed in Canada’s three largest newspapers which are The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, the National Post and many others?

    Just imagine what would happen if the city was to ban all advertising on these sites. The city could not post job openings (even for a new city manager position) on any of these national sites. It could not advertise CORNWALL IS GREAT ads on any of these sites. All of these sites might then write negative stores about Cornwall. PERHAPS, the only papers left would be The Seaway News and The Glengarry News. The suggestion by the administration does not make any sense … unless we think we still live in the dark ages.

    It almost seems as if the city wants to shut down 2 of the 3 papers in the city. WHY?

  12. “It almost seems as if the city wants to shut down 2 of the 3 papers in the city. WHY?”
    Jerry, the answer to your question is really simple.
    The biggest threat to any elected government is an informed public.

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