Comparing media coverage for Senators Jim Munson & Mike Duffy

First, the similarities.

Both Senators Jim Munson and Mike Duffy were born in Atlantic Canada and are 68 years of age. Both were also former journalists, including being foreign correspondents at crucial events in history.

Jim Munson
Senator Jim Munson


  • Was born in July of 1946 in New Brunswick.
  • In 1979 he moved from radio broadcasting to CTV, where he stayed until 2001.
  • During some of the years with CTV, he served in Beijing.
  • In fact, he was present and reported on the Tiananmen Square riots in 1989.
  • He also covered the Iran/Iraq war in the late 1990s.

In August of 2002, Munson was hired by former Liberal PM Jean Chretien to be his Director of Communications.  Just a year and a half later, two days before Chretien would retire, he appointed Munson to the Senate to represent Ottawa/Rideau Canal.

Senator Mike Duffy
Senator Mike Duffy

In Mike Duffy’s case:

  • He was born in Prince Edward Island in May of 1946.
  • He first joined the CBC’s The National in 1977 and covered Parliament Hill during the Trudeau, Clark, and Mulroney years.
  • In 1975, he also covered the fall of Vietnam and was one of the last journalists to escape before the North Vietnamese advanced into Saigon.
  • In 1988, Duffy left the CBC and joined Baton Broadcasting, hosting a Sunday morning program called “Sunday Edition” where he stayed until 1999.
  • After Baton, he moved to CTV to host the nightly politics program called “Power Play.”

On December 22, 2008, Duffy was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as the representative for PEI.

Now, the differences.

The main differences between Munson and Duffy are their political affiliations. Munson is Liberal and Duffy is Conservative. Yet, political affiliation aside, if there has ever been any major controversy about Jim Munson, I have never heard about it and nothing is listed on his Wikipedia page. What he does do, which is exemplary, however, is work for improvements to autism programs and services.

  • However, like Duffy, Munson most certainly has done Liberal partisan work in the past, as according to this Ottawa Citizen piece, he even flew on the Liberal leader’s plane. Which brings up the issue I heard in the #DuffyTrial this week — that Senators were expected to do partisan work but were not supposed to take part in election campaigns!! True or false?
  • Then, there is the fact that Munson was Liberal Senate Whip at the time of the former Senator for Manitoba, Rod Zimmer, situation. Just imagine how differently the media would have covered that scandal had Zimmer been a Harper appointee? Has former Prime Minister Martin, the PM who appointed him, for example, been held responsible for Zimmer’s behaviour?
  • As well, there is former Liberal Senator Mac Harb, who will go to trial this summer over the $231,000 in housing expenses he has already repaid. The allegations against him would have happened under Munson’s watch as Senate Whip. Yet, as with Zimmer, neither he nor former Prime Minister Jean Chretien have been held responsible in any way? At least, not that I have heard or read.

However, in terms of Munson himself, there is only this column on the CBC website that mentions him when the Justin Trudeau Liberals started posting parliamentary expenses online:

Senator Jim Munson, who lives in Ottawa, billed $103.09 for a lunch at Ottawa’s Metropolitan restaurant for two people, but gave no details about the meeting. It was his sole hospitality charge. He also charged $1,681.54 for two days of airfare, hotel and meals to attend a conference on autism in Fredericton where he gave a speech.”

  • What caught my attention was the sentence that the $103.09 was Munson’s sole hospitality charge plus his air fare for his work on autism. Amazing, actually, that his meal and travel expenses were so minor when compared to what we have heard and read about Duffy’s.
  • Does that mean Munson is paying his own Senate related meal and hospitality expenses or that, aside from his work on autism, he is not doing very much outside of Ottawa compared to other Senators? Of course, Trudeau kicked all the Senate Liberals out of caucus last year, so there is not as much partisan work going on now as there once was.

Plus, there is the fact that Munson lived in Ottawa before his appointment and his constituency is Ottawa. So, provincial residence requirements and housing expenses are a non-issue for him. Unfortunately, not so for Duffy or Harb!

The crux of the matter:

So, does the mainstream media treat Mike Duffy differently than Jim Munson? Absolutely. Why? I am not sure. Perhaps Duffy’s behaviour or reactions to criticisms have something to do with it — such as his attitude of entitlement, the extent of his expenses submitted and the fact that someone else had to pay the taxpayers back. But, how do we square that with Harb’s housing expenses which are even higher than Duffy’s?

Whatever. While political affiliation should not matter, it will be interesting to see and read if we get minimum media coverage or Duffy-like media coverage regarding Harb during his trial this summer.

It will also be interesting to see and read whether or not Chretien and his PMO staff will be blamed for Harb’s alleged failings “because he appointed him” as Harper and his PMO are blamed regarding Duffy.

At the very least, for the sake of our democracy, the potential for media bias is something the mainstream media itself should think about — very carefully!

C/P Jack’s Newswatch. Welcome readers.


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Sandy is a retired educator, author & former conservative political strategist. She operated the first "Crux of the Matter" from 2006 until 2017 and opened this "Crux of the Matter 2.0" blog in late August, 2018.

39 thoughts on “Comparing media coverage for Senators Jim Munson & Mike Duffy

  1. It is because the MSM is in reality the Liberal Media Party and they will stop at nothing, including misrepresentation, falsifying and inventing “facts” in order to bring down the PM. At the same time they will do everything to ignore and cover up the most outrageous wrong-doings by Liberals and that includes the Ontario Liberal Party.


  2. Agree Alain. Sorry for how long the post is but it is one of those topics where less is not better. However, the more I looked, the more anti-Harper and anti-Conservative media bias I found. When you think of what is going on in Ontario with the Liberals in power, its scary. I will say, however, that the media did hammer the federal Libs over the Sponsorship Scandal!


  3. Well Sandy out here on the left coast looks to this grumpy old guy that if it’s Conservative it’s news, if it’s Liberal it ain’t.
    It, the Duffy faux scandal, is the only thing the Lieberal Media have, he, Mr Duffy is having his day in court.
    IMO he is no more guilty than many more in the red chamber.
    I am not excusing him I am finding that the rules were very loosey-goosey.
    The Lieberal problem is a lack of leadership, a lack of consistant behavior on the part of their savior so, “Look a Squirrel (Duffy) ” is all they got, the “shiny pony” ain’t so shiny no mo , so be prepaired for much more blovitating by the usual suspects. JMO Sandy.
    The people I come into contact each week at V.I.U. cannot stand to hear Juniors name mentioned, I think anyone with above room temp IQ has him pegged again JMO


  4. On CBC Power & politics on April 7th the guest was senator Rose-Marie Cool…she is one of the Liberals dismissed by Trudeau and now listed as an INDEPENDENT by CBC(not a LIBERAL)sic
    She said” Duffy, Whalen & Brazeau have been persecuted, and were dragged through the mudd for years for political reasons. Mike Duffy is standing alone for all the sins, basic rights of your life, your limbs & security of your reputations.” Then she told Evan Solomon “a lot of YOUR BOYS ” have been doing the posting & talking. Just remember STAY FAIR and remember the assumption is innocent until proven guilty.
    Evan looked so shocked that someone FINALLY had the guts to call him out on what they are up to. He ended by saying, that’s something for another day and closed down the segment.
    She had a lot of other interesting things to say…it was near the end of that show if you want to check it out on their website.


  5. I hear you Bubba. Our democracy is being adversely affected. We must be a joke in the rest of the world. I tried to be fair when I wrote this post. Something the media is not, most of the time.


  6. Good to hear OG re Rose-Marie Cool. The 3 Conservative Senators are definitely being made out to be scapegoats. I mean, in Wallin’s case at least, they changed the rules after she had received repayment on her expenses.

    The problem is: When is a Senator not a Senator? I would say only when they are at home and doing a family thing. Otherwise, they always have to be “on.”


  7. I try, as much as possible to avoid watching the ‘news’ or reading ‘news’papers. However tonight I was eating in a restaurant and in the background was a news channel on the TV. I guess I wasn’t watching it very closely because I couldn’t even tell, toyou if it was CTV or CBC but I caught a blurb about a rally in Quebec “for global warming”. The wording struck me funny but as they panned out over the people gathered it became evident that it was a rather small group attending the rally. Nevertheless the ‘news’ carried on like the people attending were all climate experts and not simple dupes or otherwise simply social activists. Long story short it reminded me of why I don’t watch TV news. Because, to paraphrase McLuhan, the media is the message.


  8. We expect the journalists reporting the news to give us the facts free from spin but we’re seeing more and more tinkering with facts to manipulate opinion. Does this not count as political interference in our democratic process, allowing poeple to arrive at their own opinion after being presented with the facts?


  9. The media no longer reports news objectively, they make it and shape it. How does one get objective non biased reporting these days?


  10. Actually, if this Senator Ms. Cool is the same Cool Senator that is from Hamilton (can’t remember her first name), she is a decent person. My sister–in-law wrote a thesis on family abuse a number of years ago and a senator Cool helped her with this. Cool agreed with my sister-in-law that men were too vilified.


  11. All of the above as far as the MSM, aka Media Party, being the propaganda arm of the Liberal Party of Canada. I began to realize this about twenty-five/thirty years ago and first weaned my self off of CBC and then a few years later off of CTV. I tried Global but realized pretty quick that it is no better. Although to be fair CTV is not as bad as CBC. CBC radio is no better, maybe even worse. The radio “As It Happens” was, and probably still is if it is still on, nothing but a mouthpiece for Marxism.


  12. Geo — You can’t really expect me to approve your most recent comment. You are a real puzzle. No matter which “handle” you use to sign in, sometimes you are too pro our PM and other times the opposite. Today you were the opposite whether that was what you intended or not. This post is about the two Senators and the media, not about the PMs involved. Anyway, you have been a long time commenter so I regret that I don’t know what your point is.


  13. Basically what everyone is saying here is that they rarely, if ever, watch the main TV news any more. If any journalists read this, surely, that is something to think about because our democracy is surely being adversely affected. Yet, I suppose it has always been like this. Only the 24/7 news cycle allowed us to see the bias more clearly. Sigh!


  14. So, so true on all counts Sandy. It’s effect on our democracy is particularly troubling and should be of great concern to all who value the democratic process and good governance.


  15. What Duffy did was upset the pecking order.
    The senate unlike the House, is a kind of aristocracy, a place where you get a position based on privilege and your station is established by seniority and who you know.
    Any abuse he did where the contention involves expense claims most probably arose as an act of ignorance brought on by some misleading “we’ve always done it this way” type of advice.


  16. OT… we have cap and trade in Wynne’s Ontariowe? Thankfully the weather is getting warmer as people get used to standing in bread lines in this Despotic Dystopia.

    It’s no longer “Yours to Discover” it’s Yours to Recover.


  17. It’s rather fortunate for Benjamin Levin the Duffy trial is taking front and center news space in all media all the time, sad for the little children who are victims of the type of crime he is accused of. Also noteworthy is the fact the media do not link him with the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals every time his case is mentioned in some dark corner of the news rags or from the TV talking heads as they would were he a Conservative operative in any capacity.


  18. I think there is a fair amount of confusion here. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool retired from the Senate in 2012. The senator whom Ontario Girl quotes is Anne Cools. She was not “one of the Liberals dismissed by Trudeau”. True, she once sat as a Liberal senator, but in 2004 Senator Cools crossed the floor to join the Conservatives. She subsequently left that party and has for five years been sitting as an Independent. The CBC is entirely correct in describing her as such.

    Senator Cools does indeed hold the view that the senators Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin have been treated unfairly – by both the press and the Senate. She voted against all three Conservative motions to suspend the senators. I don’t see that Evan Solomon shut her down. He often expresses appreciation of the senator as one who will come on the show and speak her mind. Indeed he interviewed her again on The House this past weekend.


  19. From the say it isn’t so files: First, we have Wynne saying the protests against her sex-ed curriculum are being fueled by Federal Conservatives, then we have Trudeau musing about forming a coalition with the NDP if Mulcair were not the leader. His main objective is to get rid of Harper. So, it appears he has two leaders to get rid of so he and his equally inept advisers can take over the country. The Liberals have learned nothing from their failures.

    What kind of country do we have here when a political leader thinks he can mess with the wishes of the majority to take over as leader? This is not Poppa Castro’s Cuba.

    We have a lot to be concerned about with Momma Wynne teaming up with Trudeau against the Conservatives at every opportunity.


  20. I agree Liz J. Most of the sex ed protesters yesterday were Muslim women. From what I am hearing, no one is fooled. At least, I sure hope not.


  21. I like your motto reversal Liz. Hilarious. Cap and Trade has worked no where else. Yet, here we are. Another cash grab.


  22. Actually Liz, I was thinking more about your comment at 7:10am this morning. I think if Trudeau and Wynne team up, in Ontario at least, he will get decimated. Even in Toronto. By the time of the election, the new taxes will be obvious.


  23. A Wynne/Trudeau team-up should see Trudeau get decimated but we’d have to have a sea change among the voters, sanity would have to break out, the new taxes might just make it happen. Cap and trade, aka carbon tax should be the last straw.

    I’m finding it difficult to look at or listen to Wynne, she’s just oozing arrogance, the epitome of obnoxiousness. Using her gender and sexuality are among her bragging points as Premier which is not uppermost in the minds of the people who can barely get by thanks to the McGuinty/Wynne Liberal financial pillage of this province to keep themselves in power.


  24. On the Supreme Court’s latest “decision”……Is there any point in even voting when this unelected body can go against the wishes of a government elected by the people? This sort of stuff is very close to Communism where people get to vote but it means nothing.
    The Court is like a politburo, sitting on high and telling us what’s good for us.

    Does their decision against prayer in public meetings on a complaint from one Athiest also mean we can no longer sing the National Anthem because it has God in it?
    Has Beverly McLaughlin ever sang God Save the Queen or Oh Canada in a public place?


  25. I hear you Liz. I would encourage regular commenters to use this site as a mini-forum to discuss the kind of issues Liz is talking about — from a small “c” conservative or progressive conservative point of view.


  26. Thanks for the Soap Box Sandy, much appreciated, we really do need to talk about issues that affect us all, keep ourselves informed.

    How about the latest from Wynne, selling 60% of Hydro One to fund “infrastructure”? How will that affect our bills? How will this and her carbon tax affect our bills?

    She’s down to keeping the government afloat while sinking the economy and driving people out of their homes. When you have to rob Peter to pay Paul you go out of business in the real world.


  27. Funny you should say that Brian. We just came back from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake via the Niagara River Parkway and went in front of the Adam Beck Generation Stations 1 & 2.


  28. Wynne is using diversion tactics, again treating us like fools. Selling off 60% of Hydro One and then giving us the privilege of buying beer in grocery stores. Both actions will cost us all more as Wynne continues her tax to spend romp.


  29. I have been working on a special post for three months now. It will be called “100+ reasons to vote conservative on October 19th.” Like the accomplishment lists, there are attribution links attached to each item to make the list more credible. I have not included controversial legislation or policies. Like, once Bill C-51 passes, I won’t include it. But, with the budget next week, I am trying to decide when to post it for the first time. Also, candidates and incumbents may want to use it on their printed materials when they go door to door.

    Any advice on date I should post it?


  30. Sure hope candidates use it going door to door and pass it out at every opportunity. How do we make them aware of it?

    When to post it is a real poser. We know there will be attacks on the budget from the Opps and across the media., a real frenzy for a couple of days, all the usual “experts” will be gnawing on it. Post it at the same time as the budget or midway through the debating period when people need to realize what’s at stake if they decide to vote ABC (anything but Conservative)?

    People need to be aware this is a crucial time when we are dealing with a downturn in the economy and serious matters in world affairs which neither the Liberals, due to weak leadership or the NDP due to ideology are capable of.

    Another person who will be getting air time on the budget will be Wynne, she’ll be a media favourite as an avowed supporter of Trudeau.


  31. Good advice Liz. I think I will wait until I see what’s in the budget in case I need to add any items to my new list — which, by the way, goes from the start in 2006 right through to 2015. Then, when anyone says they are ruining the country or haven’t done anything, there is the reality. They have done a great deal that is positive.

    At the moment, the list is exactly 100 entries, so a few more will allow me to say 100+


  32. Liz asked: “How do we make them aware of it?” I will tweet the link to the CPC and it will be up to them to send the list on.


  33. We are still getting dinged for debt retirement charge on our hydro bills…plus GST, that means the debt is still there. Isn’t there a law in the books since the Harris days that any sale of any part of Hydro , the money must go to paying off the debt? If this is the case, is Wynne going to break the law or change it?


  34. Liz — I was working for the Harris era MPP when the debt charge was added. That original debt was paid off in 2012. Anything on our bills now is misused, or put another way, added taxes. Yet, the media don’t look into this. It was supposed to only be from 1997 to 2012 — 15 years.


  35. My new post is now up re the 100+ reasons to vote Conservative on October 19th. I thought I would try to counteract all the negative about the budget and Duffy.


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