The ranks of journalism in Canada today sport no shortage of truly awful scribes. There are plenty that are openly biased, the odd one that might resort to a little light racism from time to time. Then we've got the loudmouths like Blatchford and shills like Fife.
But, for my money, the bottom of the barrel is PostMedia's pseudo-military correspondent, Matthew Fisher. If this joker has a specialty it has to be in setting up straw men and then knocking them down.
Matthew Fisher is a jumped up blowhard. A couple of weeks back he wrote a column in which he lamented the Canadian public's abysmal knowledge of defence matters. When I read that I almost choked. I thought that was exactly what his reportage had been aiming for all these years, to dumb down the public.
Fisher says Canadians don't know their collective ass from their elbow about military matters. No, that's for real he-men like himself. Except that a quick trip through PostMedia/CanWest's archives shows that it's Matthew Fisher, PostMedia's military newsydupe, who hasn't got a clue.
During our adventures in Afghanistan, Fisher was fond of reporting on our enormous victories. As recently as June of last year, Fisher was dishing up this sort of drivel: "...signs that the Afghan war has been won in Kandahar today are everywhere, from old Taliban haunts in the Horn of Panjwaii to the booming provincial capital."
Of course Fisher predicted our total victory over the Taliban back in 2008: "One can only guess at the reasons that Canadians have not been told that their soldiers have the insurgents on the run in Kandahar."
Too bad the Taliban weren't reading Matthew Fisher back then. They might just have tossed their weapons and given up completely. But then again the Talibs are mainly farming people and they know better than to eat horseshit.
More recently, Matthew Fisher has turned his journalistic acumen to a truly sophomoric effort to boost the F-35 light bomber. And he's pulling out all the stops.
In December, PostMedia published what they hilariously branded an "analysis" piece by Fisher claiming that "Canada Will Buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, No Matter the Cost." And, true to form, Fisher laid it on thick.
There is no chance that Canada will cancel its order for about 65 F-35 joint strike fighters.
...With Japan now having finally decided to opt for the F-35, 10 of Canada's allies including Australia, Israel and Singapore, have reached the same conclusion as the federal government: That the joint strike fighter is the best choice to deal with emerging security threats in the 21st century.
Of course Fisher seems to believe Canada has actually ordered the F-35 which, I suppose, bolsters his narrative even as it was utterly untrue.
Fisher then goes on to say we're all craving the F-35 because some day we'll need it to deal with those Chinese:
"Despite its staggering cost, the jets' capabilities have appealed to western governments deeply concerned with how quickly China is acquiring aircraft carriers and expanding its blue water and sub-surface navy to project military power far out into the Pacific Ocean. Beijing is also building a fleet of icebreakers to operate in the Arctic Ocean."
Really? Canada needs the limited-range F-35 light bomber to scour the Arctic Ocean for Chinese icebreakers? That's it?
Today Matt's at it again. This time he purports to put the the F-35 "in perspective" which means in Matt's highly selective and disingenuous perspective. And, sure enough, he's brought a battalion of straw men to knock over.
He begins with this whopper, "Price estimates now range from $75-million to $162-million per aircraft." This is a guy who simply cannot let facts get in the way of his spin.
"...the Canadian military still reckons the per-aircraft cost is about $85-million and that the federal government can purchase F-35s under the $9-billion ceiling." Really Matt? Care to tell us exactly who in the Canadian military still thinks anyone is getting the F-35 for $85-million and why that person still has a job?
And, of course, to Matt there are but two Canada's. One with the F-35, one without. With the F-35, Canada, "...will continue, as we have done for a century, to commit ourselves to military alliances and partnerships to further our national interests. To be worthy allies and partners, we have to be more than peacekeepers uttering platitudes - the bulwark of the Liberal defence strategy for years."
So, Fisher implies, if Canada finds an airplane that's actually better suited to our national and international needs, more capable and less expensive than the F-35, we're just a bunch of Liberal losers.
And this joker just goes on and on, paragraph by paragraph, with a command of logic and balance that would do Rush Limbaugh proud.
Sure the F-35 has had development problems but every airplane has'em, says Fisher. Really Matt? Name one that has had delays, performance shortfalls and cost overruns remotely approaching the F-35's. C'mon, just one. You're the self-proclaimed Pro from Dover. You must have that at your fingertips.
He writes, "...the overriding question remains: Does or doesn't Canada need a replacement for the CF-18s and if so, what performance should that replacement aircraft be capable of."
Yes, Canada does need to replace the CF-18s and, yes, we should have an open policy discussion of 'what performance that replacement aircraft should be capable of.' But Fisher really wants us to jump into the F-35 without doing that first. Only if we have an assessment of our actual needs into the next twenty or thirty years can we tell whether the F-35 is better or worse and value for the money compared to our alternatives.
We have needs that are particular to such a huge country with such an enormous coastline with such a small population and so much sparsely populated and vulnerable territory. But Matt says we don't need to weigh the alternatives because Japan has figured out the F-35 has a place in its air force and they must also have figured out its best for Canada to field a paltry 65 of these things. Canadians don't need to trouble their pretty little minds with those questions.
Hacks like Fisher are a disgrace to Canadian journalism and PostMedia should be ashamed of dishing up Fisher's drivel to a Canadian public, that by Fisher's account, is poorly informed on military matters.