Ali Velshi corrects me!

Ali (or someone with detailed knowledge of Ali posing as him) has deemed my half-assed post worthy of comment and correction.

Hi there. I’m not sure who you are or how you developed such strong opinions of me, but you are entitled to them. I would, however, like to correct you on a few points. My first “permanent media gig” was with CTV’s Canada AM as a producer. I then moved to CFTO as a reporter, and then to CTV; s Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa as a producer/correspondent. It was only after a sabbatical running a small business that I returned to CityTV which, I assume, is the “downmarket financial channel” to which you refer.

I got my internship at CNN more than 15 years ago on a strictly competitive basis. I had no connections in media in the United States whatsoever, let alone at CNN.

You have every right not to like or respect me or my credentials, but I would ask that you at least be honest and not misrepresent me.

Thank you.

Ali Velshi

Fair enough, if you wanna get all factual and detail-y on me. Jeesus, if I thought anyone was reading, I would have been more careful.

Anyhow I will assume that Ali’s rendering of his resume is more accurate than my characterization. I worked in Media in Toronto in the mid 1990s including a fair amount of work with CFTO – which probably is and was the largest local TV operation in Canada- but I actually don’t recall Ali being on air at that time. I accidentally saw CFTO news last week and was appalled but not at all surprised to see that at least half of the talent is exactly the same as 15 years ago. So props to Ali for upward mobility.

I may have been vaguely aware of Ali on CITY-TV but the downmarket financial channel I was referring to was actually what was called ReportOnBusiness TV at the time. It was apparently shot with one camera in a studio the size of a small walk-in closet. It was just profoundly weird televsion, especially when guests were on. Partially due to the two-shot being exactly the same as the host shot, and partly from the effort to squeeze another person past the garment rack into the “studio”. This is entirely related to the inherent lameness of all things Canadian, rather than any inherent limitations of Mr. Velshi.

To give Mr. Velshi credit, his on-air skills have improved considerably since then. And even before he corrected me I had started to regret using the term “idiot”, as I don’t think he demonstrates stupidity. I stand behind “fat bastard” 100%, and note that Ali does not attempt to dispute that assertion.

And unlike many who posted on the subject, I don’t think that Ali’s lack of background in Economics makes him unable to report Financial news. I do think that the whole Financial News biz is filled with cheerleading charlatans who lack real insight, or pump up stock promoters or both. And Ali is not a wacked out hype artist like Jim Cramer, or a know nothing like most of the talking heads, or both like Maria Bartromomodoomdo.

I just have the history of seeing in real time Ali’s youthful campaigns against “the man” and finding a certain – I don’t know; irony?, hypocrisy?, personal growth? in his becoming a shill for “the man”. I do think that Ali is a little sensitive to criticism, as demonstrated in his exchange with David Zurawick on Reliable Sources last week

Which brings us to “who I am” – in relation to Ali. No one really. I don’t know Ali. But we have some bizarre connections. We attended the same university at roughly the same time. I think my last year was his second. I knew many people who went to his high school. I think we may have been involved in student government at the same time although I don’t recall if he had a formal position. We had a number of friends in common, who all thought highly of him. I thought his public politics were naiive and demagogic and not helpful to rational discourse. I have many friends in the faculty in which he studied, and my studies were in an area that seemed to hold an interest for Ali. I worked on the student newspaper and student radio. I later worked in media in Toronto in the mid 1990s including with at least one company that he did. I have friends who worked at some of these broadcasters at the same time he did. My next door neighbour for 6 years was a senior exec at a broadcaster that later employed Ali. etc. etc. etc.

So to say that I know Ali Velshi would be an overstatement. To my recollection I never had a conversation with him, although certainly it is possible. I knew him to see him at school. When I later saw him on TV I recognized him immediately. And he keeps popping up.

So I would say that I am not possessed of any great inside info on Ali, and he is correct in pointing out that i misrepresented him. And i don’t think his lack of background in economics disqualifies him.

Still a fat bastard though.

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