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160 Comments

politics

Speaking Lies for Power

How Toronto's dailies are failing their readers, and failing to hold politicians to account.

It’s touching that people were so shocked about the latest journalistic crime committed by the increasingly tawdry Globe and Mail. Despite all the evidence of the newspaper industry’s massive collapse, concerned citizens remain earnestly naive about the principles it purports to uphold and the importance it once enjoyed.

That’s sweet, but it’s time to get real. Among the many groups discredited by the recent provincial election—including conservative ideologues and pollsters of every stripe—Toronto newspapers surely rank high.

Before the vote, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives had lost 91 of the 92 seats they contested in Toronto this century. During the vote, they lost that one seat due to a campaign even more inept and anti-urban than their usual efforts. And yet three of the four major Toronto dailies endorsed them.

How could they be so far out of touch with their own readers? How is it that our own newspapers no longer even try to represent us?

The best answer yet was provided by a Globe insider who leaked the ugly truth behind that paper’s notably tortured and ridiculous endorsement to Jesse Brown’s Canadaland podcast.

It’s actually funny when you consider the effort the Globe made to pump up its endorsement into some kind of momentous event, trying to create suspense with no fewer than three lead-up articles of bumbling and stumbling tergiversation. A portentous Facebook post promised the great ta-da! at noon on Friday, June 6. Except, as the insider pointed out (backed by helpfully cached internet evidence), no endorsement appeared for another two hours and forty minutes.

What did happen during that time, the insider told Canadaland, was an ignoble scurry in which Globe editor David Walmsley informed his editorialists that the paper’s ownership had demanded they rewrite their tepid endorsement of Kathleen Wynne in favour of Tim Hudak, the people’s choice.

The tortured, mealy-mouthed editorial that ultimately appeared, absurdly recommending that voters elect a minority Hudak government—as if that were a choice on the ballot—outraged readers sufficiently that editor Walmsley felt obliged to broadcast a defence. Slavishly doing last-minute political dirty work for billionaires, he would have us believe, is “a significant process that’s quite sophisticated.”

Say what you will about the Toronto Sun, at least it’s consistent. The Sun‘s post-election front-page splash—“Welcome to HELL”—was a direct copy of its 2011 post-election front-page splash. Such are the synergies that result when the sole purpose of your once-popular publication is the passing whim of a billionaire separatist politician from Quebec. There’s a political pretzel to stretch the imagination. The result is a newspaper from another planet, slowly dying.

As for that other reliable, voice-of-the-people organ, the National Post, it wouldn’t exist were it not for its usefulness as ideological armament for the ruling class. There was never a credible business case for it in the first place—it was conceived as Conrad Black’s political cudgel—and it has only ever lost money. Yet it mysteriously persists—for the sole purpose, it would seem, of hectoring progressive voters who represent the vast majority of potential newspaper readers in the city and the province. And who, not surprisingly, ignore the National Post.

But attracting readers is no longer the point with these publications. It’s all about thumping the tub for the Man.

The irony is that newspapers gained their greatest integrity and authority when they were most profitable. As long as a paper could return 20-per-cent profit margins on a routine basis, as most could throughout the late 20th century, few of their owners much cared what the editors and reporters got up to. Thus were born what we call “journalistic principles”—and as profits have disappeared, so have they. The more you hear about such things today—and you hear about them a lot, generally from the mouths of the biggest sellouts—the less they mean.

In this particular hypocrisy again the Globe excels, as made clear in a current management proposal to turn every one of its reporters into a “content creator” for hire to advertisers. The scheme is outlined in a bizarre memo, also leaked to Canadaland, that delineates three different classifications of journalistic whoring and outlines a complicated set of sanitary procedures “content creators” must undergo to prevent infection—all depending on how intimate the encounter is expected to be. And all in the name of “protecting the Globe’s brand—its integrity and the integrity of its employees.”

It’s hard to know which is worse—the abject surrender of editorial independence or the delusion that it can survive in such sorry circumstances. They’re inviting the Devil into the newsroom and expecting to keep him in line with chalk marks on the floor.

As someone who spent most of his career at the Globe, it pains me deeply now to say, “Thank God for the Toronto Star.” It is the only mainstream, progressive voice left in our progressive city. Not by mere coincidence, it is also the only newspaper still doing damn-the-consequences public-interest reporting, as opposed to the lame, fish-in-a-barrel “investigations” the Globe is proffering under Walmsley. The fact that the Star won this year’s prestigious Michener Award for its aggressive pursuit of Rob Ford assures us that all is not yet rotten in daily newspapers—that somebody, somewhere still knows the real thing when they see it.

Think where we’d be if the last of the four also took orders straight from the headquarters of Capital, Inc.: staring sullenly from the sidelines as a triumphant Ford offered a grinning Hudak the keys to our city.

John Barber is a former Globe and Mail employee and occasional contributor to the Toronto Star.

Comments

  • stapler

    Thank god for Canadaland. Here’s hoping they keep holding the stale, insular Canadian press to account.

    Also, I don’t believe the Globe or the Post would consider themselves to be Toronto dailies. They might be HQ’d here, but they’re national papers.

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      “they’re national papers”

      They like to say so, don’t they? But it doesn’t make them any better at it than they are at being Toronto dailies.

    • OgtheDim

      Rosedale’s 2 National Newspapers

    • lowrez

      Globe no longer circulates in Newfoundland & Labrador, so it’s no longer a national paper, strictly speaking.

    • Matthew

      The Globe regularly runs what are basically local-interest-only Toronto news stories in their national editions and online, take for granted that readers have intimate knowledge of Toronto (i.e., dropping references to Ossington hipsters or whatever) and generally make minimal effort to cover the rest of the country.

      I’ve always figured the Post should have located itself in Calgary or Vancouver, rather than be part of the extremely insular TO media circle jerk.

      And it’d be great to see more coverage of the east. I don’t think the Post has anyone east of Quebec, and the Globe has ONE, for the 2.5 million people in all four Atlantic provinces. (Where the Globe is widely derided as an organ of Upper Canada, grudgingly respected for some of its biz journalism and little else.) Meanwhile, they have multiple reporters just in Toronto city hall.

      The perspective on Canada we get from the Globe is incredibly distorted geographically as well as politically.

  • pblunderer

    Good article, horrible ending.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    As a Globe subscriber – one who actually pays for the real paper, the whole “content creator” thing bothers me. It sounds like a newspaper version of infomercials. I’ve considered switching to the Star for the very reasons outlined above. If it weren’t for the Star’s aggressive reporting on Ford we may never have found out what a lowlife was elected Mayor back in 2010. The Star’s recent reporting on Police carding and the issues around Police data given to the US Border guards is also noteworthy.

    • dsmithhfx

      “If it weren’t for the Star’s aggressive reporting on Ford we may never have found out what a lowlife was elected Mayor back in 2010″

      Some already had a pretty good idea based on his antics as Councillor, and some of the stuff his family was into.

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        Some, yes. Anybody watching City politics knew Ford was a loudmouth and a homophobe and had incidents with drinking and violent behaviour. The scope of his problems weren’t known and few of us would’ve called him a crackhead back in 2010. The Mayor hanging out with gangster, investigated by Police, doing crack — most people wouldn’t have called this and it took the Star’s investigative journalism to really lay it out. Although, sadly there are still those who don”t believe it or don’t care as long as he saves them money.

        • Kivi Shapiro

          As long as they think he saves them money.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            Yes. That’s the way I should’ve worded it, thanks.

    • nevilleross

      NOW was doing a better job being against Ford than the Star, IMHO.

  • http://racingtoaredlight.com/ Soused Bergin

    I think the only G8 country with a more concentrated media ownership is Italy, these papers are the children of incest and it shows.

  • wklis

    Remember when the media union urged people NOT to vote for Hudak?

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      “Trapped in a newspaper factory / Send help”

    • MaryL

      I remember that. I also remember a lot of journalists being really pissed off with that statement.

      The media union has no real power to make journalists write in support of their position, and the media union owns and runs no newspapers read by the general public. It’s not much of a comparison.

  • Sara

    Robyn Doolittle and Cathal Kelly happily ran off to the Globe. I wonder what this says about them.

    • http://www.matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

      Well, for Robyn Doolittle she had mentioned that city beat for 4 years under circus conditions of Rob Ford had worn her out. The Globe made her an Investigative Reporter and I’m guessing the Toronto Star wouldn’t. Would no one on Kevin Donovan’s Investigative team at the Toronto Star make room? Anyways, I can understand why she would want that position.

      • rich1299

        I can understand her getting worn out on the local beat with Ford as mayor, but she was still an investigative reporter even if her focus was only local. Her departure was a loss for the Star as for the G&M it’ll depend on how they use her talents I suppose.

        • http://www.matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

          Robyn Doolittle was never in officially an investigative reporter for the Toronto Star. She only got to work with the Toronto Star investigative team when she landed the Ford crack story. Then she was allowed to take a break from the Toronto Star to write Crazy Town.

          She was assigned to the city beat and had weekly city hall articles. She recently started videos that were covered city hall news in 60 seconds, with her speed talking through it, trying to jam as much information in.

          Now at the Globe, she seems to be only writing investigative news articles that come out every few weeks when she has managed to uncover something big.

    • OgtheDim

      Cathal Kelly left so that he could get beyond Toronto based teams.

      • stapler

        But he was replaced by Bruce Arthur, no? I think Arthur regularly writes about non-Toronto sports things.

        Kelly was a great pick-up for the Globe. I went from never reading their sports page to including them in my regular rotation.

  • http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2014/05/09/rob_ford_one_wild_night_in_march.html Bumbaclot

    Holy smokes, I thought me and Mammo chased this guy outta Toronto for good?

    Also, what the frig is tergiversation? Is it a guy dressed up like a girl, or a girl dressed up like a guy?

    • eternaloptimist1971

      There’s this thing called the “internet” (or a dictionary) that helps prevent people from putting their foot in their mouths with meaningless comments

      tergiversation
      Equivocation: falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language
      wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=te

      • dsmithhfx

        “helps prevent people from putting their foot in their mouths with meaningless comments”

        That won’t help Bumbaclot. Not one bit.

      • Torontopoly

        *cough* Satire

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        Mayor Bumbaclot doesn’t do the “interwebs” he’s got better things to do, like meet “constituents” at gas stations or brush up on his patois.

  • mytwocentsworth

    Lately, I’ve considered cancelling my online subscription to the Globe…it’s outrageously expensive, $20 to $10 for the other TO dailies. But I find the readers’ comments interesting enough to continue, for now.
    I’ve seen nothing from Doolittle since she left the Star; IMO, she’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’. The Star has enough good reporters to fill her shoes, easily.

    It’s great to see two of the best from the Globe, writing elsewhere, Salutin at the Star and Barber here. Write on, John, write on.

    • http://www.matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

      Robyn Doolittle was responsible for breaking the second story on the video of Rob Ford doing crack cocaine again.

      She was also one of the writers of the the story about the Fords inappropriate deals with a company that worked to try to get tax cuts in turn for getting more business.

      Also complete unrelated to Ford she wrote stories about Union Station going over budget and the problems that project has had.

      She isn’t doing daily articles, but still manages big articles as expected of an investigative reporter.

      • mytwocentsworth

        It’s good to know Doolittle is using her talents in the investigative field, and I wish her well. Her readership at the Globe is less likely to reach Torontonians, so I wonder if she is working on more nationwide subjects?

    • TorontoisRoy

      I cancelled my Globe subscription when Neil Reynolds & Margaret Wente started their G&M columns. Two more ignorant individuals I’ve never read. Fortunately Reynolds is dead now.

  • OgtheDim

    Not sure news makes money any more.
    Unless you count 680 or Newstalk as news. Or Entertainment Tonight Canada.

    Kevin Newman got cancelled today, for example.

    • bjhtn

      I can’t write 680 “News” without putting “News” in quotation marks.

      Their coverage consists of this:
      1) What did the daily papers report on today?
      2) What is CNN reporting on today?
      3) What is ABC News reporting on today? (and why is it always ABC News?)
      4) Send a hard-nosed field “reporter” out to Bay and Lake Shore to see if drivers coming into the city want the Gardiner to come down (five guesses!) or sending someone out to King and Bay to ask about the weather (“I see you’re wearing shorts today! Does that mean that you are glad that summer is here?”)

      • roblamberti1

        ABC because they buy the feed. Same with CNN. They’d be better with BBC.

        • OgtheDim

          They’d get complaints about the accents.

  • tenchux

    Hypocrisy knows no bounds when it comes to liberal media. Your own claims that the Star and even the Torontoist aren’t as culpable as the Globe, are mistaken. Let me be clear – the Globe and Sun – were to your sensibilities out of line, and I would agree. But the claptrap is so apparent that preaching about times of journalistic integrity while your own paper and the Star were so overtly biased, borders on venality. Your endorsemts of the Star, coming from the Torontoist, is also out of touch with a great many readers. Your liberal sensibilities are beyond my comprehemsion. For a simple litmus test, how many articles do you think were objective about a legitimate push for a non confidence vote, as conventional Westminster politics adheres to?

    • OgtheDim

      As nobody pushed for a non confidence vote, it being a budget, not a throne speech, what’s your last point about?

      Are you pushing the ONDP story that Wynne had a choice to go before the legislature even though both opposition parties said they would vote against the budget?

      Or are you saying that Hudak’s unwillingness to even attempt to work with the Libs was somehow noble?

      • tenchux

        Confidence votes aren’t only reserved for throne speeches. I haven’t read one single article that speaks to the issue of whether or not the government of the day was right in dissolving the legislature rather than face a cofidence vote. Indicating that the budget wouldn’t be supported doesn’t mean the vote would have happend for sure. Nonetheless little can be done to hold any goveremt to account, ever, without non confidence votes. Not in our model preaching responsible goverent principles.

        • rich1299

          Not supporting the budget automatically triggers an election in a minority gov’t since the budget is always a confidence vote. Both the PCs and the NDP, who refused to even read it, made it very clear they wanted an election right away by refusing to supporting any budget regardless of its contents. At that point there’s nothing left to debate so why bother trying to have a debate? If the NDP wanted more time to prepare for an election they could’ve very easily dragged out the budget process just by indicating they might support it before voting against it and automatically triggering an election.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          What difference does it make? The NDP said they wouldn’t support the budget. Wynne asked that the House be dissolved because her government no longer enjoyed the confidence of the house. Presenting a budget so that the opposition could shoot it down is pointless.

          • tenchux

            The difference I’m trying to point out is that all media outlets have over emphatically spoken about not supporting the budget, as some sort of moral principle, rather than democratic procedure, one steeped in tradition. We have confidence votes for a reason. More to the point, and even if it was pointless, why is this article preaching about other newpapers, when it has done the exact same as they have. The only difference is that its own bias coincides with its own moral imperative. An article or two could have been looked at, giving not simply the cons of not supporting the budget, but the pros of rejecting it, on conventional principle, on moral principle, whatever…

          • OgtheDim

            Not supporting a budget in a minority government when you know the result will be an election is not legislative procedure….its a political decision.

            And there were numerous articles discussing the moral principles being ignored by the ONDP in doing so.

            The ONDP themselves indicated their only reason to not support the budget was “Liberal corruption”.

    • rich1299

      Torontoist and the Star aren’t presenting advertising as if it were something else like a column or article. The two are also very different things, one a newspaper and the other a blog, there’s never been any evidence at all their election endorsements weren’t what they claimed to be unlike the G&M and NP.

      The NP has also been caught passing off advertising as if it were something else on behalf of the oil companies’ association (I forget the association’s name offhand). The advertisement was about how a woman from BC who had a big role in the Northern Gateway pipeline insisted the pipeline was the safest thing possible and essential for Canada’s and BC’s futures. Several other smaller newspapers also printed it as if it were a news article despite it being a paid advertisement.

      Presenting advertisements as if they were news articles or columns should be banned just like TV news media aren’t allowed to knowingly lie in their newscasts.

      Its the same problem regardless if its presenting ads as something else or if claiming an endorsement is from their editorial board when its actually the owner’s opinion alone. News media are supposed to play a critical role in our democracy by keeping citizens informed about what their gov’t and politicians are up to.

      Newspapers which print deliberately deceptive articles/columns like the NP and the G&M aren’t simply abandoning their democratic role but are using that role to distort democracy. If the positions have merit on their own why wouldn’t they acknowledge them as being paid advertisements or the opinions of their owner?

      • tenchux

        “News media are supposed to play a critical role in our democracy by keeping citizens informed about what their gov’t and politicians are up to.”

        My thoughts exactly. But let’s not talk as if the Torontoist, even if it is a blog, is keeping people informed, dramatically different than other news outlets. Now, I qualify this because there are key differences, but nothing that differentiates the overt bias that came from each and every news outlet during this past election. Martin Reg Cohn, Rick Salutin…these are supposed to be who we get informed decision-making from at the Star. I could name a list of people at the Star that were terrible. And there are enough at the Torontoist that were equally culpable for how the information provided was stacked in a certain direction, not in a purely objective way.

        My critique has been that no news outlet that was part of this election is beyond reproach. Maybe I’m not speaking to deceptive articles and paid advertisements. We know corporate conglomerates predominate the major news outlets. But the Torontoist lost respect, or just opened my eyes, that it is political like the rest.

        • dsmithhfx

          What, in your view, is an ‘objective’ news outlet?

          • tenchux

            38.6% is overwhelming? We have high standards here in Ontario. The Torontoist could easily have done something different from the pack, but did the same. How is that hard to see – the choice was laid out there as if it were common logic, vote Liberal. Why is it that the other side of the coin wasn’t taken up, at all? Simply because the budget was amazing? There is no reason that a scandal plagued government should have gotten as much endorsement as it did, and moreover, the proedures to legitimately stop them, or check them, ignored altogether.

          • OgtheDim

            So the latest attempted revisionism from Horwath is that Wynne had options after Horwath said they were voting down the budget?!?!?!

            Horwath indicated they could no longer support the Wynne government anymore due to corruption and would not be supporting the budget.

            Once she does that, there are no procedures for anybody to use to check or stop the Libs.

            Horwath blew all that up.

            Horwath went Nuclear.

            And lost influence.

            Geez…….the ONDP is getting to be like the Tories. Unwilling to admit they EVER make a mistake.

            And, now, blaming the media?!?!

            Next they’ll be blaming the unions….oh wait, they already do blame the Working Families Coalition.

            Pathetic. The ONDP is becoming more Tory every month.

          • tenchux

            That’s real rich. Coming from a Liberal. Tories and Liberals differ only in social policy, nothing else. By the way how is going nuclear equivalent to maintaining the same amount of seats, just in different areas. What about the popular vote. The Liberals were the ones on the hot seat for mismanagement and lies, not the NDP. The priorities are backward here. The government in power was the disgrace that did actual harm. And they won by a constructed majority not 50 +1%. On that note, reap the benefits of a government that shares everything in line with Tories, in a capitalistic sense. Have a look at what the OMB is doing today. Who struck down Marchese’s bill before the election? Right and the NDP is Tory. Liberals and their $180 plates and in the back pocket of corporate elite.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            If they differ only on social policy then they differ, by necessity, on spending and revenue earmarked for social programmes.

          • OgtheDim

            Funny how people both with the ONDP and with the PCPO assume that those who disagree with them are Liberals.

            It is possible to be non-partisan, you know.

            BTW, I used nuclear in a context. Consider what that was.

            If you are hoping to find somebody to defend the OMB and the Libs, it won’t be me. But if you expect to come on here and throw out lines like “liberal media” and try to create some revisionist understanding of what happened there, just to keep Horwath from being turfed, don’t be surprised when people come down on your views.

          • tenchux

            Fair comment. If revisionist means I mean to reflect on how things went down, pointing out that a much more fair account of things could have taken place, by the media because that is how most gather information, then so be it. I’m not propping up Horwath either. From a non partisan level, my focus on the confidence convention could apply to an opposite situation. It just wasn’t.

          • dsmithhfx

            No media outlet has gone after the Liberals for corruption/mismanagement harder than the Star. They pretty much broke all the major scandals.

            You ascribe waaay too much influence to editorial endorsements and columnists’ opinions.

    • roblamberti1

      I would like to clarify something before we talk about political machinations that have everything to do with politicians and nothing with the media.
      Let’s quantify the so-called Liberal media, at least in Toronto: The Toronto Star. (If you want, include the Hamilton Spectator and Waterloo Region Record.)
      Let’s quantify the neutral ground: CBC (don’t confuse asking questions with being “Liberal”).
      Let’s quantify what you’d call the non-liberal media: Toronto Sun, G&M, AM 640, 1010, Sun TV, CTV, National Post, all of the weeklies owned by Metroland, all of the newspapers (daily and otherwise) owned by Quebecor outside Toronto, all Irving newspapers, all Black newspapers, PostMedia, I can’t name all radio stations in other provinces that are like 1010 or 640 in Toronto…
      So how come the “liberal” media gets the blame for everything you don’t like? Could it be that, um, well, the majority of people disagree with the conservative agenda?

      • tenchux

        Nothing in my posts suggest a Conservative agenda. Far from it. What else would you call open endorsement to Wynne and the Liberals.

        • OgtheDim

          The phrase “liberal media” is a throw away tag line used by conservatives only.

          First time I’ve heard it from an ONDP apologist.

      • rich1299

        The Waterloo Region Record isn’t “liberal media” but rabidly conservative in all senses of the word. Though its owned by Torstar much of its federal and provincial political coverage could’ve come from the Sun. Their fawning over the Harper Cons and the Hudak PCs is so sweet its nauseating. Despite the Record’s best efforts all the cities in Waterloo region still voted Lib or NDP with the PCs losing a seat in Cambridge. The mostly rural parts of the region voted for the Hudak PCs the same as mostly rural ridings did across southern Ontario.

        • roblamberti1

          There you go. One more for the non-liberal media.

        • OgtheDim

          The Record is where curmudgeons live.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Being biased and being for sale aren’t the same thing. Every paper has a bias, but there’s no integrity when you “create content” for payola.

      And which party – after preemptively saying they wouldn’t support the budget – complained they didn’t get a chance to vote in favour of it? Which leader said they were reluctant to get into another election?

  • rich1299

    The Star does do an awful lot of excellent investigative reporting in
    the public interest. Torstar also gives the other newspapers they own
    full editorial control without interference. They own the Waterloo
    Region Record which has become rabidly and solely Conservative, all of
    its columns and editorials are right out of the Ontario PC and Harper
    Cons talking points. For some reason I had expected them to show more
    balance since they’re the only full newspaper in the region not counting
    small community newspapers that rarely cover anything political. Still
    in this last election only the mostly rural ridings In Waterloo region
    elected a PC, the cities all elected Libs or NDP despite the Record’s efforts.

  • woodths@gmail.com

    Too true. Media seeks profit no longer integrity of journalism. More depressing is that we allow the insider elites to tell us what to think, what are the issues, then we are forced to pick the least worse of the worst. How does democracy ever survive?

  • dsmithhfx

    “all of the major pubs are anti-worker”

    Not the working-class pubs!

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    The premise here is that it would be much better if the major papers better reflected the general public instead of pushing the agenda of their out-of-touch owners. Toronto votes left and centrist, election after election after election, with few exceptions, but the majority of daily papers lean right and endorse candidates on the right, election after election after election. None of the papers attempt a middle-of-the-road balance, but two of them exist to throw punches at Liberals and push a rightwing agenda and the other is apparently the mouthpiece for whichever corporation wants to pay for “articles”.

    • Michael H

      I don’t buy this stance that whenever a newspaper represents a position that I disagree with it is “pushing the agenda of their out-of-touch owners” etc. – but the one reflects my opinion there’s no agenda, no bias. That’s way too easy.The newspapers you’re talking about obviously reflect the point of view of a percentage of the population and the journalists who write for it. That it may not be the “majority” seems absolutely irrelevant. They are representing valid points of view that should help inform the debate. In fact, all this talk about the majority of people think this or that is actually kind of creepy. Isn’t it desirable that the majority have their comfortable assumptions challenged?

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        As I said, none of the papers are without bias, but why are most of them biased against the majority of the population? (Because their owners don’t share the progressive values of most of the province.) Who does it serve to have left/centre governments “challenged” and right gov’ts applauded (or ignored until it’s no longer possible, c.f. Ford)? (The right-leaning business community and their Tory allies.)

        • Michael H

          It depends on which side your point of view aligns with. If you do not identify with this apparent majority perspective – i.e. you think the Liberals were an appalling government and should have been sent a clear message that such malfeasance will not be rewarded; if you believe the province’s economy is in dire circumstances and a fiscally conservative approach is necessary to stave off a crisis – then the majority seem to be the ones who are out of touch and gullible… and the media that report this seem to be offering much needed insight to the complacent masses.

          If you identify with the majority perspective then it all gets dismissed as devious agendas of the “right-leaning business community and their Tory allies”.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            The majority can’t be out of touch with the people, it just doesn’t work like that. That’s what we’re talking about here, being out of touch with the majority of Torontonians and Ontarians, not out of touch with whatever economic model or austerity measure the Right is pushing.

            It’s a false dichotomy that left-leaning media aren’t or won’t be critical of left-leaning governments – look at the Star‘s coverage of Ornge and eHealth over the last two years.

          • Michael H

            Geez, You’re making this much more difficult than is necessary. You seem to be adding stuff to what I have said to make it fit your bias. Nobody said the majority was out of touch with the people – whatever that means. I said that one’s opinion about these newspapers “representing” the majority depends on what side you take in the culture wars. So that to the people who hold a different perspective than the so called “progressive” one, it seems that it isn’t the newspapers that are out of touch with the people(as Barber is claiming and you are supporting).. but that the majority is “out of touch” – period. As in, out of touch with the seriousness of the economic situation in the province and the ineptitude of an arrogant, disingenuous Liberal government that should’t be rewarded with another mandate.

            These are legitimate concerns held by real citizens – but “progressives” tend to reduce such sincere. informed and legitimate concerns to a series of pre-packaged, regurgitated cliches about sinister “right-leaning business community and their Tory allies” rather than addressing them.

          • Testu

            If you backpedal any harder here you’re going to wake up yesterday.

          • Michael H

            What are you talking about? How is restating what I wrote before “backpedaling”?

          • Testu

            “then the majority seem to be the ones who are out of touch and gullible”

            “Nobody said the majority was out of touch with the people”

            “but that the majority is “out of touch” – period. As in, out of touch
            with the seriousness of the economic situation in the province”

            Perhaps you explained your position poorly, but what you replied wasn’t restating it, it was backing away from the statement you originally made.

          • Michael H

            You are clearly mistaken. Are you reading what you quoted?

            I originally wrote that to the people who hold the minority view:

            “… the majority seem to be the ones who are out of touch and gullible”

            tyrannosaurus_rekIt then claimed I said the majority is “out of touch with the people”. Which I very clearly did not.

            So I restated it: “… that the majority is “out of touch” – period”.

            How on earth do you construe saying the same thing twice as backing away from what I previously wrote?

          • Testu

            So I was mistaken, I didn’t realize you were making a distinction between some objective reality and the people’s perception of it. My mistake.

          • Michael H

            I appreciate that.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            You’re making it difficult by trying to shift the topic/premise introduced by Barber to fit your bias. It isn’t up for debate whether or not the majority of Toronto and Ontario can be described as progressive (using popular vote as the metric), and it isn’t up for debate that the majority of the major daily papers serving that demographic fall somewhere between “conservative” and “hostile to progressive” (using their political endorsements and editorial bias as the metric). QED: most of the papers are “out of touch” with Ontarian values.

            “Progressives aren’t sincere, informed, or have legitimate concerns” is what I’m getting from your second paragraph.

          • Michael H

            I’m critiquing his explicit dissatisfaction with these publications making a political endorsement with which he disapproves and claiming that because it doesn’t reflect the majority view therefor there is something sinister and unwanted going on. Is there any chance that the members of the editorial staff of these newspapers actually think that the Liberals have done a lousy job for 11 years and that the best option is the Conservatives? You’re acting like there is absolutely no plausible explanation why anyone wouldn’t endorse the Liberals other than they must be in the control of some diabolical puppet masters. Maybe it’s the Star editorial board you shouldn’t trust because they will endorse the Liberals no matter what! Why is that? What are their allegiances? Who are they in bed with? What’s their agenda? How are they benefiting? This conspiracy game can be played in both directions…but you only apply it to media that don’t reflect your opinions back to you it seems.

            In response to:

            “Progressives aren’t sincere, informed, or have legitimate concerns” is what I’m getting from your second paragraph.”

            You shouldn’t be getting that because I never said that. I’m saying “progressives” tend to think they are the ONLY ones who are sincere, informed, or have legitimate concerns.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            The editorial staff at at least one of these papers was prepared to endorse Wynne and found themselves overruled by the paper’s owner, so it really isn’t up for debate whether such diabolical puppetry could occur.

            And you might have a point about the Star rubber-stamping the Liberals, if they hadn’t endorsed the federal NDP in 2011, if they didn’t have a history of endorsing the Tories from 1940 through the 1980s, and weren’t constantly calling out McGuinty for Ornge and eHealth.

          • Michael H

            If the Globe allegation is true it may be an individual case of what appears on the surface to be an unseemly intervention, but I’m sure you’re not holding this out as evidence that all media outlets that found reason not to support the Liberals were part of some vast conspiracy.

            As for the Star supporting the federal NDP in 2011 when Michael Ignatieff wasn’t Left wing enough for them, and supporting the federal Conservatives for the first time in 50 years in 1972 – and that you have to go back to the 80′s to find the last time they supported the Conservatives provincially…well, if you want to argue that this somehow undermines their otherwise undisputed reputation as a left/Liberal newspaper then so be it.

            And if you are citing the Star’s criticism of McGuinty over eHealth and Ornge as proof of their objectivity and that they are not merely the mouthpiece for the vested interests of their particular political persuasion….then in the name of intellectual consistency I am sure you will grant the same assessment to the National Post after perusing the random sample of editorials below that demonstrate a consistent and vigorous criticism of the Conservatives. At the very least you have to admit that these examples completely undermine your wild assertion that this newspaper is “controlled from the top down” by right wing power brokers “and their Tory allies” to push and applaud right of centre governments:

            John Moore: Tales of Canada’s turn to conservatism have been greatly exaggerated

            Tasha Kheiriddin: Why I can’t vote for Tim Hudak

            Andrew Coyne:Tories are not interested in changing government, but in occupying it. The Conservatives are the ‘Ottawa elites’ they decry

            Andrew Coyne:We once had to wait weeks for a new Harper abuse of power. Now we’re getting them two or three a day

            Maybe Griffin Centre mental health patients need protection from Doug Ford –
            The placement of group homes is an important and legitimate public issue. There are civilized ways of discussing the matter. Then there’s the Ford way.

            Full Pundit: Rob Ford haunts us still-
            Toronto’s catastrophe mayor is in rehab. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully. But the shadow he casts over provincial politics is large.

            The PC Party of Alberta is sorry — for everything:
            The province’s Progressive Conservatives have become a spoils-of-power patronage machine of no discernible principles

            Matt Gurney: Rob Ford’s sexually lewd comments about Karen Stintz far worse than alleged crack video

            Christie Blatchford: Conservatives’ mandatory victim surcharge idea is boneheaded but judges should still comply

            Michael Den Tandt: Tim Hudak will never win PC majority in Ontario if he insists on casting himself as Mike Harris 2.0

            John Ivison: Harper’s attack on the Chief Justice qualifies as yet another blindside hit -
            Stephen Harper is a repeat offender when it comes to playing the man (or woman), instead of the puck, if they cross him

            Herb Gray’s respect for parliament was something the Harper government could learn from -
            Gray opposed a 30-page omnibus bill put forward by his own Liberal government, so we can guess at what he thought about the Conservatives’ 800 page monsters

            Adam Dodek: Hitting the brakes on Harper ’s unilateralism

            John Ivison: Hudak first promise should have been to stay clear of foolish electoral gimmicks

            Supreme Court reminds Harper he’s not omnipotent -
            The restraints of the constitution and public opinion hold in check even the most authoritarian of party leaders in our system

            Harper government’s ‘misguided’ plan to close Canada-U.S. price gap doomed for failure:
            It is a thoroughgoing policy debacle in the making; the Tories would do well to heed to a panel of competition policy experts’ advice, and deep-six it

            John Moore: Tim Hudak offered a vegan tasting menu when all Ontario wanted was the fish…
            Ontario’s right was so convinced of the self-evident superiority of its product the Conservatives actually thought they were winning.

            A made-in-Canada solution to prostitution:
            Jesse Kline: The wrong way to deal with prostitution

            Peter MacKay’s prostitution law a failure on all counts:
            Public money has been wasted on surveys that reveal inconvenient truths and a law that will need to be re-written has been imposed

            If Redford wants to be treated like royalty, she should be deposed like royalty –
            Whether it was private flights for her and her daughter, or gold-plated severance packages for her staff, Ms. Redford was the embodiment of the fiscal irresponsibility her party has become known for.

            John Ivison: So far, Stephen Harper’s free trade deals not living up to the political hype

            Chris Selley:Why so quiet, John Baird?:
            Not normally a master of nuance, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister has been strangely reticent on the case of a Canadian journalist imprisoned in Egypt

  • Michael H

    I have read this article a couple of times now but I’m still coming away with the same impression….John Barber is arguing that we would be much better served if the media represented his “progressive” viewpoint and none other. He seems to think that if the “vast majority”(38%?) of the electorate think the same way then the news outlet that challenges the status quo the least is the only one worth having around – as if the role of a newspaper is to reflect the majority viewpoint back to the population. Or is his premise that it was somehow every newspaper’s duty to throw their support behind Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals – or risk being seen as (gasp!) not “progressive” and therefor not conforming to Barber’s preference for only “progressive” voices in our “progressive city”?

    • Jacob

      What I got from it is that the Globe is more beholden to the demands of its ownership. It doesn’t matter what all the employees think, all it takes is one phone call from a billionaire to do a 180 on an editorial.

      • Michael H

        I agree that if it’s true that the ownership of the Globe pressured the editorial board to change their support from Wynne to Hudak that this could be problematic. I say “could be” because there is a difference between the paper endorsing a party and the owners telling individual columnists to only write supportive columns for a particular party. I don’t think that is what is being alleged here – although Barber certainly leaves that impression.

    • ANoneeMouse

      Wow, are your numbers ever off! 69% of voters in the entire province voted against the Conservatives, and therefore would be considered progressive. The number in the GTA, where the vast majority of these newspapers would be read, is even higher.

    • tomwest

      That 38% applies to Ontario, not Toronto.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      38%? You mean 67% – that’s who voted for the Liberals, NDP, and Green parties, each of which can be described as “progressive” in contrast to the so-called Progressive Conservatives. 67% is a vast majority.

    • Michael H

      Everyone really focused in on that parenthetical 38%. I would have been interested to hear someone(other than Jacob) address my comment. Well, my 38% was from the perspective that the Liberals took over much of the Left from the NDP this last election….and many traditional Lefties thought the NDP had given up their “progressive” credentials. As for the Greens’ 4.8%…I guess you can add that in there. But point taken to all who criticized my math.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Your entire post is based on the incorrect assumption that it’s “his” progressive viewpoint, that the progressive viewpoint isn’t the majority viewpoint (“38%”).

        • Michael H

          No it’s not.

          Take out the parenthetical 38%(as I said before, an aside – not the point I was making), and you get this: “He seems to think that if the “vast majority” of the electorate think the same way then the news outlet that challenges the status quo the least is the only one worth having around – as if the role of a newspaper is to reflect the majority viewpoint back to the population.”

          Did you miss all of that?
          The obvious point I’m making is that he seems to be complaining that points of view that don’t conform to the “majority” (of which he is a member) are somehow a blight on a preferable homogeneous intellectual landscape.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I did miss it because your use of pronouns instead of articles framed the rest of your post the wrong way.

            He’s complaining they push a self-serving minority perspective for business reasons while disingenuously presenting it as a public service, as if their political endorsements are due to “sophisticated” assessments of platforms rather than which one will benefit their shareholders, damn the rest of us.

            In short, they don’t represent out values because they don’t exist for our benefit.

            Imagine a national daily newspaper owned by the Scientologists, pushing a pro-Scientology agenda without ever disclosing that connection or motivation. The problem isn’t that it’s a minority opinion, the problem is it’s being done surreptitiously and for the profit of a handful of people at the top of a pyramid somewhere.

          • Michael H

            So nobody who writes for these publications and who express these sorts of views is doing so for authentic reasons? None of these journalists, thinkers and analysts are sincere or have valid concerns and insights? They are all just part of a conspiracy to promote the interests of a small right wing elite? And I suppose none of the citizens who share that perspective have valid concerns or opinions either?

            Can you not see anything dangerously insular and deeply narcissistic about labeling anyone who thinks contrary to the consensus as corrupt and therefor incapable of valid insight?

            You’re not debating their ideas or defending your position against their critique – you’re just categorizing anyone who holds the opposing point of view as morally and ethically beneath you and telling yourself it is justifiable to dismiss them out of hand. This strikes me as an extremely convenient short cut around thinking.

            Earlier you suggested (inaccurately I believe) that I was indulging in fallacy in one of my statements. I would suggest there is a major fallacy in drawing a comparison between a newspaper published by Scientologists and the legitimate news organizations in Toronto that we are discussing here (as an aside, appeal to popularity is another logical fallacy).

            But while we are throwing around thought exercises, imagine a population that has grown so comfortable with an unsustainable status quo that it is willfully manipulated with feel-good bromides from an arrogant, deceitful and incompetent government. At the same time, those who recognize the seriousness of the problems and want to address the incompetence and avert a crisis are condemned for not being part of the consensus – labelled by the complacent majority as dangerous, mere minions of “a handful of people at the top of a pyramid somewhere”, and the worse thing of all….not “progressive”!

            In a scenario such as this, would you not agree that those voices that are at odds with the majority represent a very positive force in society?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Does it matter if anyone below the owners and/or owner-appointed editorial control is genuine? They aren’t the ones steering the ship. If newspapers weren’t controlled from the top down we wouldn’t be having this conversation: the journalists they employ and the bias they bring to their articles would be a closer match to the aggregate values of Ontario.

            Whether their bias – their political agenda, their beliefs about the economy, etc – has merit is irrelevant to the matter at hand. Austerity measures could be a proven success around the world (they aren’t), deregulation could be proven safer and fairer for consumers (it hasn’t), tax cuts to the wealthy could be demonstrated to spur unprecedented job creation (again, no), but that has nothing to do with the premise of this article: these papers and their political agendas do not represent what the average person believes, they represent what a minority with very specific political and financial interests believe, and they do not wish us to be aware of that.

            (There’s a major difference in our thought experiments: you’re assuming the pushers of the minority/self-serving perspective are correct and in fact heroic, and anyone not on board with their subterfuge disquised as a news service is foolish. At no point in this did I say the majority are correct or the minority is incorrect.)

          • Michael H

            You say: “you’re assuming the pushers of the minority/self-serving perspective are correct and in fact heroic…”

            My point is this: How can you even begin to have a credible assessment of any of this when your starting point is an unsubstantiated conclusion that the minority perspective is “self serving” to the interests of some diabolical elite? You even write “minority/self-serving perspective”…as if it is some self-evident objective truth that these are interchangeable. It isn’t self-evident. It’s just an accusation that you have in no way made a case for. Have you even questioned it or have you simply internalized the concept as a given for “progressives”? You keep asserting that these publications are merely an elaborate front for sinister forces without ever feeling the need to demonstrate it. You are just repeating vague Leftist slogans about ” a handful of people at the top of a pyramid somewhere” who are “surreptitiously” posing as thoughtful professional journalists and analysts when in fact they are engaging in “subterfuge disguised as a news service”. And then you actually turn around and claim that you are not saying that they are “incorrect”…this shadowy cabal of surreptitious liars who have pulled off the most brazen coup in Canadian media with the sole purpose of enriching themselves at society’s expense. With respect, that is disingenuous to say the least. It is also a claim that strains credulity.

            I said in the previous post that rather than engage the opposing perspective with rational evaluation, you resort to simply demonizing the people who hold those views; conveniently proclaiming them morally and ethically inferior to yourself, thus sparing you the need to address their point. Your response was to do the exact same thing again.

  • hamish

    A good column on an essential topic. There’s also an issue of climate change and our over-reliance on cars; the major media tend to be fairly “carist”

    • Michael H

      “Carist”? Really?

  • Jacob

    The National Post was founded explicitly to spite Jean Chretien and his Liberals, because Conrad Black personally didn’t like him.

    So think of the paper’s DNA in that respect.

    • Michael H

      I think Black was contemptuous of the entire Canadian media landscape and wanted to put his own imprint on it. Regardless, I don’t see how that is particularly relevant. The Star is famously and unrepentantly Liberal-Left. Writers like Andrew Coyne and Chris Selley and others in the Post are extremely critical of the likes of Harper, Hudak and Ford. The willingness to apply the same standards of criticism to your own team as you apply to the other side is what I look for in a newspaper’s editorial board.

  • a_w_young

    I found myself wondering, “when are they going to talk about how horrid The Toronto Star has been lately while suspending anything resembling journalistic integrity this past election?”

    Then I read “..it pains me deeply now to say, “Thank God for the Toronto Star.” It is the only mainstream, progressive voice left in our progressive city”

    You can’t be serious.

    I’m grateful for when they get it right, and they keep some important conversations going but what went on for those few weeks was something no progressive should tolerate. (Pushing false narratives and abusing online and offline space to drive it in the worst ways to make sure certain parties were successful… it was as low and tacky as Sun News ever was).

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      Examples?

      • OgtheDim

        Examples are not found in the current ONDP talking points.

        Remember, Horwath doesn’t do details. :-)

  • OgtheDim

    On another note, does it mean anything that the included picture is in Yorkville?

    • dsmithhfx

      Only that Yorkville is a tourist haven with nearby hotels.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      About as much as the only human faces in the picture being white. I.e., none. The point of the photo is the collection of newspaper boxes.

  • Don River

    Current Star employee praises Star, trashes rival papers. Boy, don’t tell me objectivity is dead!

  • dsmithhfx

    It does give valuable insight into a certain mentality that holds sway among our current set of overlords.

  • chasball

    People in Hogtown fail to realize that they are out of step with the rest of the Province. Maybe the dailies know something you don’t! How could you people vote for the Liberals who have done so much to discredit their own party let alone the Province?

    • OgtheDim

      Your pat answers don’t match reality.

      I suppose Hogtown now extends from Brantford to Courtice?

      And includes Thunder Bay, Ottawa, St. Catherines, Kitchener, Cambridge…..

      That’s assuming that you believe that FPTP results represent everybody who lives in an area.

      Just a note – even Christine Elliot went down in her % of the vote (as did the Libs in that riding).

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Just over two thirds of the province voted for leftwing or centre-left candidates, so it isn’t Hogtown (or all of the other urban centres) out of touch with the province, it’s rural Ontario in denial.

      • OgtheDim

        A lot of rural Ontario did not vote Tory either.

        Even Randy Hillier did not win half the vote this time.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Enough of them still vote Tory to turn their ridings blue.

          • rich1299

            Not surprising when you consider issues like transit and employment that were threatened by the Hudak PCs aren’t an issue in rural areas. They have no transit to lose and their jobs in farming and quarries are very secure since people still need to eat and construction always needs quarries. Its easy to vote to cut other people’s jobs, to harm other area’s economies, and to cut other areas’ desperately needed transit projects.

    • rich1299

      Its also hard to ignore the GTA contains a little over half of all Ontarians with the most competitive newspaper market in the country. Addressing the issues that affect over half the province’s population isn’t being “out of step”. Plus most of the rest of Ontario’s citizens live in other urban centres with similar issues even if the details differ.

  • Fayclis

    I can’t believe the Toronto Star did not get a strong mention in this article. After all it’s propaganda had a lot to do with the Liberals (alongside with the unions) being voted in again; in spite of it’s many scandals and even a couple of criminal investigations.

    • dsmithhfx

      Which paper do you suppose broke all the scandals?

      • Fayclis

        The Toronto Star broke some of the scandals while watering down and whitewashing a lot of them. Had the Star put the same time and effort on the Liberal scandals as they did on the mayor of Toronto the electoral in the GTA would NOT have a Liberal government- never mind a majority government.

        • Francine Detwiler

          I see. So the fact that the three other major newspapers covering the Toronto election endorsed the PCs was irrelevant? And the fact that the Sun continually goes after the provincial Liberals (with every bit as much energy as the Star goes after Ford) was irrelevant? The Star’s bias was the reason the Liberals were re-elected? Don’t think so.

          • Fayclis

            Wasn’t irrelevant. The voters outside Toronto GTA voted mostly against the Liberals. Your point is? Yes the Sun continually goes after the Libs and about the same as the Star has gone after Ford. Difference is the Sun makes no bones about it while the Star on the other hand strokes other parties and then nicely tears them down. Will give the Star this; they show more finesse when and while getting their agenda out.

          • Francine Detwiler

            Hmmm… you say “show more finesse” where I’d say “show more professionalism and objectivity”. I’m certainly not saying that the everything the Star publishes is the gospel truth, but I think any observer who’s paying attention would come to the conclusion that the Star’s version of most events is closer to reality than the Sun’s version. There’s no one at the Star who even comes close to Sue-Ann Levy or Joe Warmington for sheer bile and partisanship. And my point is that I don’t believe your original assertion that the Liberals would not have won if the Star had been more focused on Liberal misdeeds. The Star doesn’t have that kind of influence (especially outside the GTA) and, more importantly, Mr. Hudak ran a seriously inept campaign. In my opinion, anyway.

          • Michael H

            “There’s no one at the Star who even comes close to Sue-Ann Levy or Joe Warmington for sheer bile and partisanship.”

            Heather Mallick.

          • dsmithhfx

            Mallick is brilliant. SAL and Warmington aren’t fit to shine her shoes.

          • Michael H

            Clearly a matter of opinion.

          • OgtheDim

            Still nothing compared to SAL – she’s a professional rabble rouser.

            Warmington couldn’t even bring himself to toss Ford for his use of drugs with gangbangers.

          • Michael H

            Causing your newspaper to lose a lawsuit and pay out legal fees because you wrote a “defamatory” article that the paper itself describe as being written in a “misleading and inappropriate manner” is less of an indictment of someone’s journalistic integrity than being a “rabble rouser”?

            Well, clearly that’s your story and your sticking to it.

          • OgtheDim

            Ur pronoun use is whacked.

          • dsmithhfx

            Mainstream journos hate her for showing them up as harmless milquetoasts and ass-kissers.

          • Michael H

            Ah, I see.

            Just to be clear here…she’s been held responsible for defamation…not bravado or courage. You know – making false statements about someone?

          • dsmithhfx

            Remind me: what’s an editor do?

          • Michael H

            Renind me: what’s defamation mean?

          • dsmithhfx

            According to you, whatever definition you can pay a lawyer to write up.

          • dsmithhfx

            “she’s been held responsible for defamation”

            No she hasn’t.

          • Michael H

            Yes she has.

          • dsmithhfx

            Sorry, you made the claim, you make it stick.

          • OgtheDim

            Mallick is pointed.

            SAL is a troll – she’s made for twitter.

            Warmington can not resist the cheap shot.

            All 3 sell eyeballs really well.

          • Michael H

            I agree that “All 3 sell eyeballs really well”.

            But Mallick is the undisputed Queen of the puerile Cheap Shot. Regardless of one’s politics, it’s pretty low level stuff when you call politicians you disagree with “white trash”, “porn actress”, “hick”, unintelligent. About Americans she says: “They are a simple people with a matching approach to life.” She called Harper “our hateful pseudo-human prime minister”.

            I could go on and on (see other quotes above and below).

            I admit that I have only read Levy and Warmington a handful of times so perhaps I’m mistaken when I say that I don’t think either of them throw around such childish and insulting language like this.

            Regardless, my question to you is this: why are you so aggressively critical of Levy and Warmington and not Mallick? In fact you praise her as being “pointed”.

            It would certainly be tempting for an outside observer to conclude that you are hyper-vigilant in highlighting the perceived offences of those who do not share your political preference while ignoring the very same (or in Mallick’s case, far worse) offences of those who’s political sensibilities are similar to your own.

          • OgtheDim

            “I admit that I have only read Levy and Warmington a handful of times so
            perhaps I’m mistaken when I say that I don’t think either of them throw
            around such childish and insulting language like this.”

            Yes, you would be mistaken.

            As for what this is all about – debate, opinion, discussion.

            IMHO, SAL and Warmington cross the line into malice every day.

            Mallick – about once every couple of months.

            We are not going to agree. That’s life.

          • Michael H

            I agree to disagree.
            Just to wrap it up – you are saying I’m mistaken without demonstrating it. I can only assume it’s because you can’t.

            And more to the point – it isn’t a matter of who does it more often. It’s a matter of finding it inappropriate and worthy of contempt regardless of who does it. Not just when it is practiced by people who’s political perspective you disagree with. It is impossible to have credibility otherwise.

          • OgtheDim

            Meh….if you can’t be bothered to read and compare, that’s your issue.

            I have.

            I commented based on that.

            Deal with it.

          • Michael H

            Usually the onus is on the person making the assertion to offer evidence for his claims. It strikes me as an unfortunate but common quality of “progressives” to have quite strident opinions that they have never even bothered thinking critically about. It’s just enough to believe they are right.

          • dsmithhfx

            “Mallick, among other things, labelled Palin as “white trash” and an “Alaskan hillbilly” and likened her to a “toned-down … porn actress.”

            Indeed.

          • Michael H

            Indeed what?

          • dsmithhfx

            Indeed Palin is white trash, an Alaskan hillbilly, and like a toned- down porn actress.

            Really, I thought it was terribly obvious, even to an idolator.

          • Michael H

            As I said above – a fine example of the tolerant, non-bigoted, unbiased, open minded, non-judgmental, “progressive” thinking Left for you these days.

          • dsmithhfx
          • Michael H

            Sheer bile and partisanship?

            Heather Mallick:

            “Ford won’t be able to stop goading the unions. His monstrous regiment of angry, old, white male voters will love this, initially. Thus will begin an era of industrial strife that will rival Margaret Thatcher rinsing out the coal miners.”

            or,

            “The angry, pink-faced man with the oversized head is our mayor.”

            or describing Canada as :

            “… ruled by Stephen Harper, a hard-right hick with a grudge.”

          • OgtheDim

            Took you a while to find those and you had to go back to 2010?

            Warmington and SAL do much more trollish stuff everyday.

          • Michael H

            Oh give me a break. You’re really going to try that one? Is this the – “I must find some way out of acknowledging a pale-faced fact that doesn’t support my position” – strategy of debating?

            So you are going to assert (without demonstrating it) that “Warmington and SAL do much more pointed stuff everyday”…. while at the same time declaring my quotes…what exactly? That they somehow are not demonstration of Mallick’s “bile and partisanship” because they don’t meet some arbitrary ‘best-before date’ that you’ve decided on? Please.

            And by the way, these comments of Mallick’s are not “pointed”. They are merely churlish and sub-mental.

          • dsmithhfx

            Unlike SAL and Warmington, who do so routinely (heck, it’s probably in their job description), Mallick has never been guilty of “Speaking Lies for Power”. She speaks truth to power, and lickspittle lackeys like Melanie Phillips.

            That the Star’s publisher got cold feet and caved to the threat of libel action AFTER publishing Mallick’s column (see my question, ‘What’s an editor do?’) is on him, not her.

            Libel chill, how does it work?

            Oh and by the way in her own scrivenings, Melanie Phillips labelled liberal Jews “Jews for Genocide”.

            Sure you want some?

          • Michael H

            Clearly your priority here is to continue believing your opinions to be true regardless of whether you can defend them or demonstrate them.

            It is unfortunate when someone will bypass objective evidence and resort to making up convenient conspiracy theories about the Star getting cold feet or whatever in a desperate attempt to shore up an opinion he cannot otherwise justify. Not to mention resorting to throwing around insults like “lickspittle lackeys” instead of making a rational argument for why Mallick should not be severely criticized for writing a defamatory article.

            But that’s the tolerant, non-bigoted, unbiased, open minded, non-judgmental, “progressive” thinking Left for you these days.

          • dsmithhfx

            What “convenient conspiracy theories”? The lawsuit was settled out of court. That’s a fact, not a ‘theory’. Don’t get all sanctimonious about it.

            I’d like to actually read Mallick’s column (yes, it was an opinion column, not an “article” as you would have it. Hello?) — before making up my mind about it. Oh wait, I can’t, it’s been censored. Bet you haven’t read it either. Suffice to say, Melanie Phillips is a nasty piece of work.

          • dsmithhfx

            Hmm. All well-documented facts.

            What else ya got?

          • Michael H

            Let me help you understand what the debate was about. It wasn’t whether or not you liked this schoolyard level of commentary….it was about the assertion that the Star only employs writers who are above such low-level tactics.

          • dsmithhfx

            Are you denying “Ford won’t be able to stop goading the unions”, “[He's an] angry, pink-faced man with [an] oversized head”, and “Stephen Harper [is] a hard-right hick with a grudge”?

          • Michael H

            If you find hateful invective preferable to reasoned mature discussion that is your prerogative. But as I wrote previously, your appetite for that level of discourse isn’t what we were talking about.

          • dsmithhfx

            Sorry, you lost me. What are we talking about? You seem unable to respond to reasonably simple questions and statements except with wild and unfounded accusations. Are you flustered? What?

          • Michael H

            I think you are being deliberately obtuse. I have explained twice now that the discussion that you joined was never about whether or not you think Rob Ford is a big fat dummy. How many more times should I restate that? It is no wild accusation to say that you keep trying to reduce the conversation to that level – just re-read your own statements. I have no interest in debating whether or not Ford is a smelly bumbum-head. If you can find other people on the forum to trade adolescent insults with – knock your socks off!

          • dsmithhfx

            You’ve explained nothing, you only persist in projecting your own, immature level of discourse on others.

            The things you chose to quote are important truths about the idiots and sleazebags that aspire to, and frequently obtain political office. You quoted them, I suppose, as examples of Heather Mallick’s perfidy, but it backfired on you. Boohoo. So don’t read her columns (I don’t think you do anyway, you just wikied up stuff).

            I will continue to relish her writing as a breath of fresh air in the stinking grovel-fest of corporate media sycophancy.

          • OgtheDim

            In most ridings, EVERYBODY was voted mostly against.

            Absolute majorities are/were rare.

          • rich1299

            Every city in Ontario elected Libs or NDP candidates except Thornhill and Whitby and they’re both in the GTA. The only ridings the Hudak PCs won were mostly rural ridings. It wasn’t a GTA – rest of Ontario split but an urban – rural one.

        • OgtheDim

          If you think that spending time and money with gangbangers is equal to deleting emails, you have drunk the kook-aid too deep.

        • dsmithhfx

          You’re deluded.

  • Fayclis

    The Star is the only major without appalling suck? ROFL.

  • Disabuser

    Good column. After four decades of Globe loyalty (I even subscribed in Winnipeg in the 1980s), I gave up a few years ago when Heather Mallick left and the only readable columnist left was John Doyle (and Barber, but I think his city column had gone by then). Wente, Blatchford and other curmudgeons made my stomach turn. (The ROB is worth reading, but only for business insight.)

    A few weeks ago we were completing an eight-week complimentary subscription. I liked some of the colour photo takeouts and some international coverage (when it wasn’t biliously in tune with Harper). And the bridge and soduku are better than the Star’s. But still only Doyle (and sometimes ROB’s Reguly) are palatable.

    The kicker was the Hudak endorsement. I certainly wouldn’t pay money for a paper that could take his lies seriously and endorse his Harrisite schemes.