Friday, April 29, 2011

The Very Seriously Unwell Knell of The Globe and Mail

I'm not saying it's terminal, but it's very worrying.

Canada's "national newspaper" published - presumably after considerable thought - an editorial endorsing Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada in the current Federal Election, an editorial that managed to avoid the entire reason for the election in the first place: contempt of Parliament and the abuse of power.

There seems to be a pattern of great newspapers going broke and caving to crass political pressure. Consider for example the New York Times that continues to publish Wikileaks documents while simultaneously portraying them as not that important, the leaker of said documents as being an unprincipled sex maniac, and the source - who clearly thought he was upholding his oath to the American Constitution - a traitor.

You can't have it both ways. Either you're interested in the truth or you're willing to look the other way, just like the Germans who affected not to notice the concentration camps. Of course, there's a price for speaking the truth, as Bradley Manning is allegedly discovering, but one that the owners of The Globe, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Times (of London of course, there is no other) are anxious to avoid. Even The Guardian, supported by a trust, managed to screw up the WikiLeaks bonanza, to the extent of excluding the CBC in some misguided apprehension of exclusivity. Look where that got them. There must be some German word that combines "hubris" and "stupidity".

Even over the last 10 years, The Globe has published fabulous stuff - like Graeme Smith in Kandahar who was clearly not "embedded" and spoke the truth. It's as if the Globe Editorial Board lives in its own bubble universe, and doesn't read its own newspaper. Actually, that's very much like The Wall Street Journal, even before Murdoch bought it.

It's time for loyal Canadian citizens to save The Globe and Mail from eating its own young.