To ensure that the public has the truth surrounding my resignation from the Toronto Star yesterday, after Editor Michael Cooke made it clear that the newspaper would not publish a story of significant public interest, I want to put the following on the record.
A published report today quotes Star spokesman Bob Hepburn saying, in response to my blog post explaining that I had to resign to break free from a six-week reporting ban and finish the story in question: “There’s no truth to that suggestion.”
Here is the truth of what happened in the minutes just before my resignation at a meting in the Garibaldi Room of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
Before the meeting with Cooke, Executive Editor Paul Woods, a labor relations staffer from the newspaper and two union reps, I insisted that I would record the meeting. Both Star management and the union insisted I had no right to do so.
I refused to back down, just as I have in the face of genocidal killers, generals, corrupt politicians or others who have told me to turn my recorder off.
I have just listened to that recording.
After pressing for the right to deal with the central issue, the reporting ban, at the top the meeting, I was asked again what the story in question was about. I told Cooke I had explained that several times before, but would be happy to do so again.
He listened to the description of details already on the record.
Then, after falsely accusing me of "ducking and dodging" editors' questions for weeks (even though I repeatedly asked for a telephone or videoconference conversation to address any remaining questions following lengthy written replies), Cooke stated:
"Thank you for clearing that up. That is indeed what I thought the story was about. I don't think that's a story for The Star to engage in."
It was clear to me Cooke had rejected the story on behalf of the newspaper he leads.
So I submitted my resignation.
Please watch this space for more developments in the coming days.
And thanks to all for joining me in standing up in defence of our democracy.