I Still Hate the Globe and Mail

There is nothing like watching a newspaper self-destruct before your eyes. In a week, the Globe and Mail (to insular Americans here, it’s the self-proclaimed “National Newspaper” of Canada) will implement a paywall scheme that will limit readers to 10 free articles per month, encouraging people to subscribe to the online edition for $20 per month (25% more expensive than the New York Times and about the same as the Wall Street Journal, two newspapers to which it compares itself but pales in comparison).

Two recent events demonstrate how reputable it really is.

First, there is Margaret Wente, a columnist who used to distinguished herself by being conservative (before the entire newspaper started acting as handmaiden to the Harper government), who was accused of having plagiarized articles over a period of three years. The whole matter was swept under the rug by the newspaper’s “Public Editor”, who called the whistle-blower an “anonymous blogger” (who is in fact a visual artist who teaches at the University of Ottawa and clearly identified herself).

Then there is Leah McLaren, who never had a reputation for mastery of anything except the frivolous and the self-indulgent. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Globe pigeonholed her in the Style section. Recently, she wrote a column on the Home of the Week, a column based on whatever Toronto-area house happens to be on sale, with the asking price and the name of the real estate agent. This being the Globe, houses worthy of such coverage often had asking prices in the seven figures. The one in Leah McLaren’s column was more reasonably priced at $600k, but there was a problem: she owned it. She did not even try to hide the fact. But the newspaper, not seeing the potential conflict of interest, ran the piece.

It is this fine, fine newspaper that now places itself on an equal footing with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Readers disagree.

In the meantime, the fun continues. The Globe had an article on people posting online creepy pictures they took of strangers. “What you need to know about ‘creepshots’ and why Toronto women should watch out.” Women specifically, I can understand, but why Toronto? Because one woman living there complained.

Then the article goes on to say: “He’s the online pervy version of that guy staring at you on the subway; he’s legally allowed to be there, but it ruins your night. And Canadian law protects his rights.” This happens to be true in nine provinces, but not in Quebec, where there is a legal precedent against publishing pictures taken of specific people in a non-newsworthy setting without their consent, even if they are in public.

Meanwhile, the newspaper’s anti-Quebec stance goes unabated. It published a poll asking:

So, I put it to you: Is the Globe and Mail outrageous, a bit worrisome, nothing to lose sleep over, or laughable?

Holy crap. That’s quite the second post!

But it’s better than the Post!

I would be really surprised if paywall was anything more than cookie-clearing away from being circumvented.

[addressing the camera] There’s an old joke - um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

Vetarnias, thanks for the links, made for very interesting reading. From the Wentegate link:

Maddeaux speculates that “the days of copyeditors and fact checkers at every publication are long gone,”

This just makes me sad.

I get the daily edition delivered to my driveway…what’s this ‘paywall’ you speak of? ;)

Seriously, though, some of the editorials lately have been atrocious (though I suppose that is the point of an editorial, to spark debate).

There were a couple last week that really annoyed me, though, with all things that annoy me, I have quickly forgotten what they were.

On the other hand, I do usually enjoy their in-depth pieces such as the one on Africa they did recently.

It’s still better than anything by Sun Media.

The problem with the G&M is that its editorials are always hortatory in tone - never “it might be better if” and always “it must”. And 90% of the time they don’t even seem to have an understanding of what they’re taking position on.

Let me put it this way. What if the chef published a cookbook that proved popular enough that it would catapult him to a nationally syndicated television show and soon enough found himself to be advisor to the government and started becoming increasingly obnoxious with his pronouncements about cooking? Well, the Globe and Mail is the Jamie Oliver of the Canadian media scene.

Reminds me of what the paper tried very recently, namely putting video adverts before loading the editorial cartoon gallery. All you had to do was skip to the comments and go back.

Hello? I forgot my mantra.

The Globe has now taken the opportunity to give a voice to the downtrodden, the powerless, the oppressed - the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. A magnificent example of agenda-setting reporting that I will now dissect.

The voice of Canada’s CEOs is urging parents to enroll their kids in Asian language classes to match them with the growing appetite of employers for multilingual workers.

Yes, always the employers’ Gargantuan appetite must dictate everything, including civics and education. It’s no longer a matter of whether a language is worth learning for cultural reasons - in which case, if we exclude the official languages of Canada, there is half a dozen major European languages to choose from - but of whether a language can be useful.

John Manley, the former finance minister who now heads the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, said it is time for a national debate over how to encourage new language skills as part of the country’s trade efforts.

At the national level, the Conservative government is making an aggressive push to expand trade with China, India and Latin America, but Ottawa has no say in provincial curriculum or local school-board policies.

If I may translate from the Globish: Ottawa should have a say in exclusively provincial fields, the constitution be damned, because Money is at stake.

Canada should follow Australia’s lead, said Mr. Manley, where government policy encouraged Chinese language education in schools. A report released last month by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada made a similar recommendation, pointing to how Australia’s sustained focus on China takes a broader approach than simply signing trade deals.

But Australia isn’t Canada; there is only one official language there, and it’s up to them to decide which other language should be taught. But I am wary of any policy that would settle on one foreign language in particular.

The B.C. government considered taking a step further with a draft curriculum that would have treated French as an “additional language” that would be grouped with others like German and Mandarin. That plan was abandoned last year in the face of objections from supporters of French language education.

Oh yeah, that one. I remember reading about it. I don’t care how much B.C. might think itself beholden more to a country across the ocean than to some other province in Canada itself. The lesson from that one is writ large: the perils of multiculturalism when it starts supplanting the history of the country. Manleyites love it because it complements their corporate agenda. Liberals love it too because they’re about to let a myth lead their party. And even the damn Tories like it now, or at least pretend to like it, which is just as bad.

And because for the Globe it’s always worth striking the iron when it’s hot, this takes place while the newspaper is releasing a series on education reform.

And because for the Globe it’s always worth striking Frenchies with the iron when it’s hot, we get Lysiane Gagnon, who’s supposed to represent the Quebec opinion on the paper even though she’s so federalist as to be laughable, complaining about how the Francophonie is just a bunch of pseudo-French-speaking states. I’m not saying that the organization is not in dire need of reform, but by writing an article like that she just ends up pandering to the Quebec-bashing mentality.

I have here a newspaper 13 months old
I’ve wrapped fish inside it; it’s smelly and cold
But I wouldn’t trade it for a big pot of gold!
I love it because it’s trash

Not this shit again!

I know nothing of this person but given that the majority of Quebecers are federalist, her being a federalist says nothing against her ability to represent Quebec opinion.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say you either vote NDP or PQ? :p

I am not sure what the perils of multiculturalism are and how they affect the history of a country based on multiculturalism.

Yes, it’s this shit again!

I know nothing of this person but given that the majority of Quebecers are federalist, her being a federalist says nothing against her ability to represent Quebec opinion.

No, the real problem I have with it is the GLOBE pretending that it offers a diversity of opinion when it’s not, and all that it capitalizes upon is the fact that she is French and comes from Quebec. It would be as if the Ku Klux Klan hired a black guy to write “Yes, we is inferior” articles for its newsletter.

I am a Quebec separatist, but I am far more conservative than either of these parties; unfortunately that sort of conservatism is long dead in Canada, especially in the Conservative-Reform-Alliance Party (CRAP). For instance, I’m the only separatist I know who advocates maintaining a constitutional monarchy (sans Elizabeth) after independence; the fitting comparison is Norway in 1905.

I am not sure what the perils of multiculturalism are and how they affect the history of a country based on multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism, in Canada, was invented to stamp out the French importance in the building of the country. I’d rather have the old Diefenbaker policy of unhyphenation – at least we in Quebec would remember where the door is – than the anything-goes multicultural approach that says your hyphen is as good as mine. If Trudeau Junior ever gets to run the country, it will be the apotheosis of its crass dominance. The Tories, not to be left behind, have also appointed Jason Kenney as their go-to guy for ethnic votes; now he’s helping the British Tories. And the New Democrats are just as bad.

Can you remind me why are French more important than other cultures in the multiculturalism?

Because we were here first. (As usual, I make an exception for the First Nations - they’re not affected by my position.)

I don’t see why a person from another culture (say Chinese-Canadian) should consider their hyphen inferior to yours?

I think it would be hilarious to just let Quebec go ahead and separate. They’d have the world economic and cultural power of… Luxembourg!

If I went to China, took up the citizenship and started calling myself Canadian-Chinese, the Chinese government would find this…

A) Outrageous
B) A bit worrisome
C) Nothing to lose sleep over
D) Laughable

Then why do the Chinese come here, take up Canadian citizenship, then act as if they were still back in the old country, or take an interest in the old country on every matter of some importance like international relations?

Also ask yourself why Diefenbaker - grandson of a German immigrant, if you couldn’t tell by his name - was so opposed to hyphenation. Precisely because he wanted to fit in.

Yes, that would be quite a change, a functional country in North America. And you see, the thing is that I respect Luxembourg, but not the United States.

Not to mention that to you Americans, Canada already has the world economic and cultural power of Luxembourg. You already don’t care about any culture that isn’t in English, so nothing would change for Quebec, and even for English-language cultures the only ones that matter to you are those that can serve as status symbols - so that’s why you can’t get enough BBC adaptations of Dickens or stuff taking place in Ye Olde British Manor-House (because you still have this aristocratic fetish without aristocrats, per Tocqueville), but you couldn’t care about anything Canadian-made unless it pretended to be set in Cleveland.

Lastly, the greatest service the United States could give the world would be to collapse irrevocably.