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Twitterverse reacts to Layton story

Canadian reporters and pundits on Twitter have been in an uproar since Friday night. The cause: Sun Media's report that Jack Layton was found in a Toronto bawdy house in 1996.

On Friday evening, David Akin, National Bureau Chief for Sun Media, tweeted: "!!Breaking news !! shortly on Sun News Network: If you've got a TV, turn it on. Incredible news affecting #elxn41" The story as it appeared on the Sun website is here.

CBC reporter Rosie Barton was covering Layton's speech in Courtenay. She was also exchanging angry tweets with others: "Ya know, wild attacks of my journalistic integrity. Last days of a campaign. Tweeps are pretty amped up."

On elxn41, a Top Tweet was by Jian Ghomeshi: "A last-min story about a massage visit in 1996 (!) to affect opinion? Really? What a shamefully cynical reading of the Cdn public." Opponents of the NDP on cdnpoli were having fun inventing obscene hashtags about the report.

Hill reporter/tweeter Kady O'Malley said:"Okay, so it seems that the 'verse is split on whether this is 'news', but there is a keen interest on both sides in knowing the source." ... "I always try to provide sufficient context to any unnamed source to allow readers to gauge what agenda may be at work, for the record." ... "actually, the question of whether it was 'news', as well as the source/provenance of the leak, was part of that story."

Andrew Coyne tweeted: "I guess all i can say is I'd rather be caught naked in a massage parlour than fully clothed working for SunNews."

Meanwhile, in the blogosphere Maclean's reporter Aaron Wherry was first out of the blocks with an account of Layton's statement in Courtenay and a detailed summary of the speech Layton then made to supporters.

Media tweeters and bloggers are also commenting on the latest Angus Reid poll, showing the Conservatives up 2 to 37 percent and the NDP up 3 to 33 percent; the Liberals are now down to 19 percent. In Quebec, NDP support has now reached 45 percent, and 46 percent in the Atlantic provinces. In B.C., NDP support is at 39 percent, close behind the Conservatives' 42 percent. (For more details, download the Angus Reid PDF.)

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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