Conservatives (CPC)

Dear Globe and Mail

disposito, Prof. Holger Syme, October 16, 2015

You have the best arts coverage of all our Canadian newspapers. You have some excellent reporters. During this election campaign, you published a number of serious, well-considered, forcefully argued editorials. I don’t know why you feel the need to give Margaret Wente a platform, but I can overlook that. Often, I feel like you are the only Canadian paper that aspires to some sort of intellectual seriousness. The Toronto Star tends to break more stories than you do, but I prefer your vibe. I’m stuffy that way. I don’t know why anyone would read the National Post, except, occasionally, for its long(ish)-form theatre reviews.

And today, you left me without a Canadian paper to read. I’m cancelling my subscription…

After reading the complete article, you may have a sense of the skill deficiencies within senior levels of Canada’s newspapers. No doubt, the press employs young people with potential to become consummate journalists but steady cutbacks not only shrank editorial offices, they pruned heartwood that provided durability and decay resistance to each news organization.

When any corporation excises it most experienced staff, it expects to save costs and it may hope to gain vitality. Instead, remaining staff becomes submissive and the operation loses institutional memory, knowledge and wisdom. When management selects a brainless course, there is no one willing to dispute the choice.

David Walmsley, Globe and Mail editor for the last 19 months, moved from one senior media job to another since coming to Canada from the U.K. where he worked in Belfast, Glasgow and London. Within weeks of his arrival at the Globe, the newspaper’s staff were expressing uncertainty, worry and discontent. Media critic Andrew Mitrovica blamed in part, “a proposal to have editorial staff pen advertorials paid for and approved by advertisers.”

The Globe’s editorial supporting the Harper dominated Conservative Party, but not Harper, has been called an example of absurdist humour. The twitterverse reacted in its usual multi-faceted fashion:









5 replies »

  1. Well done Norm. However, does not the publisher call the shots in the editorial policy of a news paper? If so the publisher says write an editorial supporting Harper. The Board whines- do we have to? The Publisher insists. The Board ( who wants to keep their jobs) snivels but acquiesces. They do an editorial that no one, not even the publisher would want to be associated with. To me, this editorial shows more about the power of publishers and owners in an economy where even experienced journalists are afraid for their jobs. Liz King


  2. Indeed, a private company's decisions are ultimately the responsibility of the owner. For The Globe and Mail, that is Lord David Thomson of Fleet, who is listed by Forbes as 25th among the world's billionaires ($34 billion CAN). His instrument of control is Phillip Crawley, publisher since 1998.

    Ryerson Review of Journalism wrote in 2000:

    “…Thomson handed the Globe over to British talent. Stuart Garner, a Brit who has been running Thomson's soon-to-be-sold newspaper division out of Stamford, Connecticut, hired Phillip Crawley, a former colleague and fellow Brit, to be president of the Globe in October 1998. Crawley was promoted to publisher and CEO in mid-1999 and began replacing the paper's senior editors with Fleet Street journalists. Review editor Simon Beck joined the Globe in May, followed by Addis and [Chrystia] Freeland, an Alberta native who left Canada as a teen to study in the U.S. and Britain, made her mark at the Financial Times of London and had never worked in the Canadian media. In January, Nigel Horne was imported from London to run the Report on Business magazine and Broadcast Week…”

    The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming, How Fleet Street stormed Front Street and colonized The Globe and Mail

    In my view, it is foolish to imagine the Thomson family would allow their newspaper properties to advocate for the good of all Canadians. They operate for the benefit of Thomsons, who rank as the richest of Canada's elites.

    It would have been a major surprise had the Globe and Mail supported any political party other than Conservative. That they did it in a hilariously clumsy fashion is a surprise and my point here is that they've stripped so many of the good people from the organization that there was no one left able to save themselves from themselves.



  3. The Globe and Mail endorsed the Conservatives as did the Vancouver Sun. It just demonstrates how out of touch they are with Canadians and why their readers are abandoning them.

    I too stopped picking up the Globe and Mail after their endorsement. I stopped buying the Vancouver Sun almost 15 years ago. I can buy clean news print for the bird cage.


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