Friday, November 8, 2013

Worthington, Peter Worthington,

Peter Worthington, shown in 1966, was writing for the Sun's predecessor, the Toronto Telegram, at the time.

July 15, 2011, Caledonia Victims Project, TorSun founder Worthington hammers 'journalistic negligence' & 'defacto' suspension of Charter, Police Services Act protection for Caledonia victims, by Mark Vandermaas, diigo,

His integrity is why, despite coming to the Caledonia party a little late, Peter Worthington is and was, from the time I moved to Toronto after leaving the Canadian Forces in 1978, one of my personal 'heroes' as I followed his Toronto Sun columns on topics such as his relationship with the famous Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko, and his bizarre prosecution (eventually dropped) under Canada's Official Secrets Act.

Check out the Wikipedia entry for him below which doesn't begin to do justice to his career and accomplishments which include being inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame in 1996, military service in both WWII and Korea, service as a war correspondent (including during the Six Day War) and…being in the right place at the right time on November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby murdered Lee Harvey Oswald: Peter Worthington

Toronto Sun: Peter Worthington

May 13, 2013, Daily Brew, Legendary Toronto Sun co-founder Peter Worthington was a witness to history, by Steve Mertl, diigo,

May 13, 2013, Toronto Sun, Toronto Sun founding editor Peter Worthington dead at 86, by Shawn Jeffords and Jenny Yuen,

May 15, 2013, National Post, Conrad Black on Peter Worthington: A fearless newsman with unshakeable integrity, by Conrad Black, diigo,

Peter Worthington at the Dallas police station where Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby in 1963.

November 22, 2011, Huffington Post, I Saw Lee Harvey Oswald Gunned Down, by Peter Worthington, Co-founder of the Toronto Sun,

Every anniversary since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, I've been asked to comment or review what happened that sorry day.

I happened to be the only Canadian journalist in the underground garage of the Dallas police station that bright Sunday morning two days later, when JFK's accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was gunned down by Jack Ruby.

Police had planned to move Oswald to the county jail at 5 p.m., but advanced the timing to Sunday morning.

In those days I was a reporter with the old Toronto Telegram, and as soon as the news came over the wire that the president had been shot, several of us were dispatched to Washington where the late Gordon Donaldson was bureau chief.

It was a Friday, and within the hour Ken McTaggart, Dorothy Howarth and I were on our way with news still breaking. Ken and Dorothy are dead now -- arguably, both the greatest reporters of their day.

We worked all that night, and on Saturday realized we had no one in Dallas to cover the accused assassin. The Toronto Star was there -- Rae Corelli, a street-wise, old-time reporter. One of us had to catch the 1 a.m. milk-run flight to Dallas. Me.

I remember the endless flight to Dallas, landing at various spots en route, and feeling a deep depression and sense of personal loss at Kennedy's death. The flight was the first chance I'd had to reflect, without having to cover some aspect of the tragedy.

In Dallas I checked into the hotel -- I forget which one. I was exhausted and intended to sleep until the 5 p.m. advertised time of Oswald's transfer.

It was around 9 a.m. on the Sunday, and I remember thinking of my army days and the admonition: "Time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted." An agitated conscience persuaded me to check out the police station before bedding down. I wanted to know the lay of the land for the 5 p.m. move. I'd still catch a couple of hours sleep.

The police station was quiet, but stairs leading to the underground garage was alive with the babble of voices. I went down, prepared to show what credentials I had and to explain my dishevelled, unshaven presence if there was a security check.

There was none. I found myself on the police side of the garage, TV cameras and journalists packed and hollering across the driveway. I began chatting with a plainclothes cop, hoping to discourage others from questioning my presence.

I think local cops assumed I was FBI, while the FBI figured I was a local cop.

Soon, out of a doorway, came sheriffs, escorting Oswald who was wearing a sweater, had a bruise mark on his face, and was furtively darting glances side-to-side.

I began to shift down towards the car that would take him, when suddenly from the packed crowd of journalists, a hunched figure wearing a fedora lunged at Oswald and there was the sharp "pop" of a handgun being fired into his side.

Oswald crumbled, shrilly moaning "Oh... oh... oh." The gunman vanished under a pile of police bodies.

Pandemonium erupted. I thought I recognized the gunman as a Chicago Tribune reporter I'd met during the Saskatchewan Medicare crisis a year earlier, and was relieved when it wasn't him, and I wouldn't have to try and remember our conversation at the time, which I'd totally forgotten.

The plainclothes detective and I both felt the shock waves of the gun being fired. We nodded at each other and remarked that we were lucky the gunman was a good shot. Had he missed, we felt we were in the line of fire.

Oswald was dragged inside. The police were frantic. There was yelling and shouting. A TV crew was held at gun point to explain themselves. Individual reporters faced guns as police hunted for accomplices. It was a nervous time. Hysteria beckoned. Still, no one questioned my presence.

Oswald soon reappeared on a stretcher, being taken to an ambulance. The big question was whether he was alive, and would he live?

He was at my feet, the grey colour of cement. His eyes flickered. He was alive, but it was clear to me that he was already dead. Or soon would be. His sweater was rolled up and I could see the shape of the bullet beneath the unbroken skin, around his kidneys.

What I remember, that seems rarely to get mentioned, is the cheer from the crowd lining the street outside the police station when they heard that Oswald had been shot. This was Dallas -- no friend of Kennedy, but a city embarrassed that he'd been shot there.

In those days I'd spent more time covering wars, revolutions and crises abroad than stories at home, and was not used to on-the-spot TV reporting. I phoned the Telegram to reassure the Sunday editor that I had the story covered. I was mildly surprised and disappointed he wasn't more enthused. He said they knew I was there because I was on TV all morning. It was my first exposure to TV news coverage.

Unbeknownst to me, the rival Toronto Star was also looking at live TV coverage from Dallas and saw theTely man, and wondered where their guy was. They phoned his hotel and woke him up. He still thought 5 p.m. was the moving time.

Better him than me, I thought when I heard the details. More evidence that time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted. As punishment, theStar suspended Correlli without pay for a couple of weeks.

In Dallas, attention shifted to the gunman -- small time bar owner and criminal wannabe Jack Ruby, whose trial I covered three months later.

Over the years, and in innumerable interviews, I've been asked about the case. Was it a conspiracy? Maybe Ruby was a hitman for organized crime? How about Oswald's Cuban connection? And/or the Soviet connection, where Oswald had defected as a Marine and then re-defected back home? Was Vice-President Lyndon Johnson involved? How about a gunman on the grassy knoll? How could Oswald have shot so accurately and so fast? What about so many skeptics of the assassination dying suddenly?

To all these and other theories, I simply don't know. I was just there.

What I do know is that over the past 48 years, no memoir, no diary, no deathbed confession has materialized that indicates a conspiracy. This absence in America, which is a chatterbox nation that can't keep secrets, seems substantial evidence that Oswald acted alone.

Yet even now, theories keep emerging. A woman claiming to be Oswald's lover has recently written a book claiming inside knowledge that Oswald didn't kill Kennedy, but was trying to prevent his assassination. What nonsense!

There's recently been a claim that Oswald's shot didn't kill the president -- it was a Secret Service man's gun firing accidentally that hit the president's head, killing him. This lapse supposedly has been covered up.

And so it goes.

Perhaps the conspiracy theories rage because it's difficult to accept that this shining hope for America and the world was extinguished by a pathetic nonentity, unworthy of notoriety. We may never know. The crime of the century seems destined to provoke questions and theories, far into the 21st century -- just as the assassination of President Lincoln did in 1865.

The violent, untimely deaths of both these presidents has guaranteed them a form of immortality, which is more than can be said of most presidents.

May 13, 2013, Toronto Sun, Toronto Sun founding editor Peter Worthington dead at 86, by Shawn Jeffords and Jenny Yuen,

TORONTO - Peter Worthington, the legendary founding editor of the Toronto Sun, has died at the age of 86.

One of Canada’s most prolific and well-known journalists, Worthington witnessed history unfold during a career that spanned many of the wars, conflicts and news events that shaped the 20th century.

“Sometime during the night, he slipped away peacefully,” said his wife, Yvonne Crittenden.

Peter John Vickers Worthington was born at the Fort Osborne Barracks in Winnipeg in 1927, named after the famous Vickers machine gun, and grew up the son of Gen. Frederic Franklin Worthington.

He joined the navy as a 17-year-old during the Second World War, served as a platoon commander with the Princess Pats in Korea but found a career and calling as a journalist after the war as a reporter, eventually landing at the Toronto Telegram.

Along with J. Douglas Creighton and Don Hunt, he founded “The Little Paper That Grew” with 60-plus former staffers from the Tely after it folded in 1971.

“The Sun succeeded for three reasons — (iconic columnist) Paul Rimstead, (legendary sports editor) George Gross and Peter Worthington,” Hunt recalled Monday. “The rest of it were people who put things together and made sure Peter didn’t go off too far in his right-wing feelings.”

Worthington was admitted to Toronto General Hospital May 2 and diagnosed with a “virulent and evil staph infection” that compromised his heart, kidneys and other organs. He died shortly after midnight Monday in hospital, spending the last days of his life peacefully, surrounded by his wife of 44 years and other family members, including his grandchildren.

Across the nation Monday, politicians, journalists, business moguls, commissioners, and sports CEOs mourned an irreplaceable loss to journalism and our country.

Don Cherry called Worthington the “last of a special breed of journalists that they don’t make anymore.”

“He was never politically correct and always told it as it was in a take-no-prisoners style,” Cherry said. “Boy, am I going to miss him. We won’t ever forget Peter Worthington.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted that he was “saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Worthington, a true Canadian patriot. Rest In Peace.”

“We have lost one of our best in Canadian journalism,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said in a tweet of his own while Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak issued a release recalling he “grew up reading Peter’s work in the pages of The Toronto Sun.

“Peter Worthington was there for many of the significant events of the 20th century — and he told us about them vividly,” Hudak said. “These experiences forged one of our country’s most insightful minds and prolific careers in newspapering.”

Toronto Sun publisher Mike Power called Worthington’s death a “tremendous loss.” Power’s office was next to Worthington’s and for the past four years, the pair would often exchange stories about the ever-changing newspaper business.

“He was one of the greatest journalists Canada has ever seen and will see,” Power said. “His contributions to the founding of the Toronto Sun and ultimately to the Sun newspaper chain is hugely significant.”

Paul Beeston, President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, chuckled while recalling the times Worthington had the opportunity to throw the first pitch at home games.

But what Worthington truly wanted was for Lucy, his Jack Russell, to sing the Canadian national anthem at SkyDome — and he wrote numerous columns trying to sway Beeston to allow him to do so.

“That was 20-25 years ago, and he continued to write about that I promised him his dog could sing the national anthem, that I never delivered,” said Beeston, noting Worthington was a devout Jays fan.

Journalist Allan Fotheringham, 80, was a contemporary of Worthington’s. The two studied together at University of British Columbia and their paths often crossed during the next 50 or so years, including a 10-year stint at the Sun together.

“He was a remarkable bugger — and I use that term knowingly and in the confidence he would have approved of it,” Fotheringham said.

From his bedside before he died, Worthington spoke with son-in-law and journalist David Frum about his life and perilous times.

“In all the situations I was in, I never felt fear,” he said. “I felt nerves sometimes. And of course you want to be cautious. You feel that you want to do your best. You tense yourself — and then you wait to see what comes next.”

During his career, Worthington won four National Newspaper Awards, a National Newspaper Citation and was also named to the Canadian News Hall of Fame. He was editor-in-chief at the Sun for 12 years and helped launched the Sun’s sister publication, the Ottawa Sun, in the late 1980s.

He is survived by Yvonne, who called him her “rock,” children Casey Worthington, Guy Crittenden and Danielle Crittenden, and six grandchildren.

— With files from Joe Warmington and Simon Kent

Peter Worthington at the Dallas police station where Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby in 1963.

Peter Worthington, shown in 1966, was writing for the Sun's predecessor, the Toronto Telegram, at the time.

Peter Worthington in Biafra at the height of its unrest.

Peter Worthington's book on the Toronto Sun, Thirty Years of SUNshine.

Peter Worthington and Andy Donato.

Peter Worthington and Doug Creighton.

Doug Creighton and Peter Worthington.

Toronto Sun co-founders Doug Creighton and Peter Worthington swap war stories after Worthington was inducted in to the Canadian News Hall of Fame in 1996. (Sun files)

Toronto Sun co-founders, left to right, Doug Creighton, Don Hunt, Peter Worthington and the Sun's first president, Edward Dunlop.

Peter Worthington at Guantanamo Bay. (Army Sgt. Jonson Tulewa-Gibbs photo)

Peter Worthington in Afghanistan in 2004.

Peter Worthington in his tennis-playing prime.

Peter Worthington with grandkids Nathaniel and Miranda.

Peter Worthington with daughter Danielle Crittenden.

Peter Worthington chats with Conrad Black at a 2012 party. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

Peter Worthington and his wife, Yvonne Crittenden. (Toronto Sun files)

Peter Worthington and Bob MacDonald. (Joe Warmington/Toronto Sun files)

Peter Worthington is seen in a 1982 photo, taken shortly before he left on a mission to Zimbabwe with a $500,000 ransom in a failed attempt to free six tourists held hostage by insurgents. (Sun files)

Then Toronto Sun editor-in-chief Peter Worthington looks over the summons issued by the RCMP charging him with contravention of the Official Secrets Act in March 1978.

Peter Worthington outside Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square, Moscow. (Toronto Sun files)

Joe Clark with Peter Worthington.


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