Actually, attributing words to someone that we never actually said could be grounds for legal action if those words cast that person in a poor light.
I doubt Prime Minister Stephen Harper will take any action -- the Toronto Star pulled their terrible headline. But a major Canadian news site is taking the heat for the Toronto Star's unprofessional behaviour, and that's not right.
What's worse, the headline was change but without any apology or acknowledgment, which forces National Newswatch to rely on the Google cache to defend himself against complaints that ought to be going to the Toronto Star.
A quick search reveals that the word "dead" does not appear in the story.
Nor, apparently, does an apology to Prime Minister Stephen Harper for misleading Canadians as to what the prime minister said.
I think the Toronto Star owes the prime minister and the readers of the newspaper an explanation.
Interestingly, the National Newswatch has provided another link to the same "drop dead" reference, as it relates to Liberal Dalton McGuinty:
"Premier to city: drop dead"
The only difference, the whiny right didn't care when it was a dirty Liberal, just when dear leader was implicated. It is a turn of phrase, something which all the news outlets do on a regular basis to prescribe a tone or theme to a story. Drop dead seems entirely consistent with:
"I raised the issue directly with Mr. Harper as to whether his government had any interest whatsoever in lending direct support to our municipal partners," McGuinty told reporters later.
"It would be fair to say that he is not particularly receptive to that approach."
The Tories are such a sensitive bunch. Were they up in arms when the Conservative ads implicated McCallum, even though they knew the inference was intellectually dishonest? No, but just watch the flurry of emails and criticism, should anyone disparage Harper. Should the title have been changed? Maybe a little harsh, but hey they all sell papers don't they? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. It is nice to know the Conservative posse is on the scene, demanding a higher standard of journalism. Wait for the crickets the next time the comments are directed toward the opposition.