I've been thinking . . .

"A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity."    

Franz Kafka

"The craft or art of writing is the clumsy attempt to find symbols for the wordlessness. In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable. And sometimes if he is very fortunate and if the time is right, a very little of what he is trying to do trickles through--not ever much. And if he is a writer wise enough to know it can't be done, then he is not a writer at all. A good writer always works at the impossible."

John Steinbeck

On Standing Up

On July 8, during an interview on CBC's As It Happens, it seems I conflated the co-producers of the documentary film "Franklin's Lost Ships," in stating that they had clammed up.

For the record, I haven't had time to go back and listen to the interview to hear my precise words. I'm focused on finishing the reporting on the broader issue of untruths and distortions arising from the film and other matters connected to John Geiger, CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

But I accept the impassioned criticism that I've received from the Toronto-based co-producers and want to set the record straight for a second time.

My reporting and writing is almost finished and I expect the facts to be in front of the patiently awaiting public very soon.  

For now, I want to make sure the record concerning my attempts to interview the documentary's co-producers, London-based Lion Television and Toronto-based 90th Parallel Productions, is clear and factual.

Lion TV was initially open to speaking with me, but an interview never happened, and the firm has since stopped replying to emails. I'm still trying.

Gordon Henderson of Toronto's 90th Parallel Productions was immediately receptive to an interview when I first reached out in May and we set a time and date to speak. I had to break that appointment when the Toronto Star's executive editor Paul Woods ordered me to stop reporting on anything related to John Geiger.

I was forced to resign in order to break free from a six-week reporting ban and resume my work to complete a story of significant public interest. 

Naturally, folks at 90th Parallel were angry when I did not make it clear on CBC radio that I was only talking about one of the filmmakers in the co-production. Andrew Gregg called me a liar. He had every reason to be angry.

As the public will soon see, I take facts and the truth very seriously, and work extremely hard to get both right. I've even offered my life up for the truth numerous times. That is is on the public record. So I don't fault people wh get upset when I make a mistake. Readers and listeners expect and deserve accuracy.

As I explained in an apology posted on Facebook soon after the CBC interview, the tongue sometimes works faster than the mind--especially when you're tired. That's what happened to me.

The truth is that 90th Parallel is being helpful in establishing the facts of how the film now in such hot dispute was produced. Readers will soon see those facts.

Gordon Henderson at 90th Parallel is one of a very few people willing to stand up and put his name to verifiable facts. By far the majority of the people I've contacted on this important story, including journalists, have not been willing to stand up and be counted.

I don't condemn them. I understand their fear. The public will soon see the root cause and, I hope, stand up for the people who need their support and work as one to cure a disease that is eating away at our democracy.

So thanks, Gordon. And more apologies for slipping up.

Now I'm back to writing the story everyone's waiting for, and to defending the truths of devoted people who care about one thing: being true to an important episode in human history, and to the 129 brave men who lost their lives trying to expand the horizons of human knowledge.

Truth, and facts, do matter. Sometimes, they are even worth dying for. I've lost several friends and colleagues who never doubted that. I want to honor them by getting things right at this crucial time.