Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Critical Lens On The Putz

Here's a bit about the woman Howie Kurtz believes is an expert on media standards and ethics:

If her name seems familiar, however, it is not likely to do with any piece of commentary she may have written. In 1996, while attending Simon Fraser University near Vancouver, [Rachel] Marsden alleged the school's swim coach had raped her. In 1997, following an internal SFU inquiry, the coach, Liam Donnelly, was fired.

He was soon reinstated, however, after putting forward evidence that cast doubt upon Marsden's credibility. Marsden admitted to having frequently sent Donnelly gifts and sexually explicit e-mails. She claimed they were intended to draw him into a discussion of his alleged sexual harassment. According to Donnelly, Marsden had been stalking him for months.

It was a dark episode in SFU's history. The school's president resigned over it, citing depression.


About her work, then: Biographical information posted on various Web sites notes her "writing has appeared in Macleans magazine and the National Post.

That's a stretch. Marsden once had a letter to the editor published in the National Post. She once had a letter to the editor published in Macleans. And that's it.

Marsden's various biographies note she "has worked at BCTV News (Global TV’s national flagship station) in Vancouver." Technically, yes. Years ago, while pursuing a college degree in broadcast journalism, Marsden spent a month at BCTV as a volunteer student researcher.

Then there is the widely distributed claim that Marsden once worked with ABC Television News in New York City as an assistant to former anchor Connie Chung.

"Nobody by the name Rachel Marsden has ever been employed here," says an ABC News spokeswoman. "She might have been an intern, but she was not on our payroll. She is not in our data base."

Marsden ignored queries about her contributions to Macleans and the National Post. Regarding ABC News, Marsden wrote that her "official title was 'Production Assistant,' which included assisting then-anchor Connie Chung at one time."
Or, as the Putz described her on today's Reliable Sources program, "Rachel Marsden, columnist for The Toronto Sun."

The Putz also left out this tidbit from 2004 (via Wikipedia):

Ms. Marsden harassed the victim mainly by repeated telephone calls and e-mail messages. There are aggravating circumstances. By a trick, Ms. Marsden obtained copies of e-mails that the complainant was sending to other people and therefore had knowledge of how he was responding to her harassment. She used this information to involve some of these other people. She continued with her harassment even after she was aware that police were involved.


The consequences to Ms. Marsden for committing this offence have been significant. She was arrested and held in jail for over 24 hours before being released on strict conditions of bail. The police issued a press release concerning the charge and as a result Ms. Marsden received very considerable adverse publicity. It may be argued that Ms. Marsden seeks such attention but there is no question that it has come at a high cost. When her employer in Washington, D.C., learned of the charge, she lost her employment. In the future, prospective employers will likely be concerned about her lack of judgment and her irrational response in this matter.

Marsden was 27 when this went down, according to Judge Kitchen. Perhaps Howie's listeners might have found this information of some value when assessing Marsden's opinions on the instability of Britney Spears.

I'm only surprised Howie didn't give her a slot on the Clarence Thomas segment. Mike Medved seemed to lack experience on the topic.

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