Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Reason Not To Subscribe To The Globe and Mail

As I noted recently, we are currently receiving a free three-month subscription to the Globe, one that we will not be renewing. My last post on the subject dealt with one of the reasons. Here is another.

In its 'wisdom,' and despite widespread evidence to the contrary, Canada's self-proclaimed 'newspaper of record' insists, in its Monday editorial, that the Harper regime is not muzzling scientists.

As with so many other efforts by The Globe to extol Dear Leader, the piece starts off deceptively, seeming to suggest there is a basis for concern:
The Conservative government only undermines itself by restricting the ability of federally employed scientists to communicate freely with the public and the media. It feeds suspicion, suggesting that Canada has something to hide, for example, on such controversial matters as the oil sands – wrongly or rightly.
So far, so good. Then:
Last week, the Union of Concerned Scientists, an American organization, and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada sent Prime Minister Stephen Harper an open letter strongly recommending that Canada no longer insist that government scientists get the permission of a media relations officer before they speak to journalists. Fifteen thousand or so researchers are said to be affected by such rules. There were 800 signatories – Canadian government researchers themselves did not sign it.
Hmmm. Even better. Has the self-titled 'newspaper of record' finally seen the light?
The PIPSC rhetorically exaggerates when it repeatedly says that government scientists are “muzzled.” But in November, 2007, the Conservatives did lay down a rule that any media interview with Environment Canada scientists would be “co-ordinated” by communications staff.

And then we get to the 'exculpatory' heart of the matter, at least what passes as exculpatory in Globeworld:
David Tarasick of Environment Canada and others wrote a paper in 2011, which appeared in one of the world’s most respected scientific journals, Nature, saying there had been an extraordinary loss in the ozone layer over the Arctic. Nobody in government got in the way of its publication, so it cannot be said that Dr. Tarasick was silenced. This was not a case of Galileo, the motion of the heavenly bodies and the Inquisition.
The paper then reveals what the 'real' problem is.
Nonetheless, “media relations” did get in the way of direct, effective engagement with reporters who might have been able to translate scientific language into news stories adapted for the general public.
So you see, it is just a bureaucratic problem that has created a 'bottleneck.'
It is one thing for cabinet ministers and MPs to work with communication staffs in order to keep the government’s messages consistent and coherent, in accordance with cabinet solidarity. It is quite another to insist that thousands of researchers communicate through legions of flacks. That inevitably creates bottlenecks.
So, the message from the Globe, obviously labouring under the delusion that it still has real influence on public thinking, is simple: Nothing to see here. Move along. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Telescope vision is one thing. Patent dishonesty is quite another.

The paper is right about something, however. When it comes to The Globe and Mail, there really is nothing to see there.


  1. You read so that we don't have to. Your service is appreciated.

    1. You're welcome, Mound, but as I said in my post, this is a time-limited offer. With the exception of the political analysis of Lawrence Martin, the Globe has little to offer me.


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