Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Globe’s standards

In case anyone missed it, there’s been some discussion about standards at the Globe and Mail recently in regard to Margaret Wente.

Someone sent this in, and I wondered if I was missing something, but apparently not.  It appears the Globe’s Leah McLaren is using column inches in ‘Canada’s newspaper of record’ to sell her house.

At the risk of sounding "obsessive" for even bringing this up, it reminds a bit of Margaret Wente’s "Great Big Bike Adventure".  Here’s a bit of how that appears in the Globe:

Butterfield & Robinson knows that, these days, luxury is a commodity. Anyone with money can stay in a fancy hotel or eat at a restaurant with starched linen. But not everyone can eat at Signor Bindi’s. So B&R offers experiences you can’t get on your own. In Siena – one of the most exquisite cities in the world – Giorgio took us to meet the Countess, who has a palace on the main square, where they hold the famous horse race called the Palio. The Countess was ageless, gracious and impeccably coiffed. She shook all our hands. Her daughter-in-law gave us a tour of the 18th-century rooms and the priceless Old Masters, and then we sipped prosecco. It’s rumoured that she rents out her windows for $5,000 apiece during the Palio. The ancient cathedral in Siena is astounding, but the Countess was equally impressive.
Experiences like this do not come cheap. The Tuscany trip is one of B&R’s signature tours, and the price is as breathtaking as the Tuscan hills. I long wondered what you got for it, and now I know. It’s not in my nature to gush, but this trip really is all that: luxury, scenery, pecorino cheese, ancient cities, Tuscan birdsong, the wisdom of Giorgio, and the thrill of mastering that hill (even on an e-bike). Plus glorious downhills that go on and on forever. Pure bliss.
Butterfield & Robinson offers e-bikes on request for many European trips. The five-night Tuscany biking trip departs and ends in Florence, is offered in both spring and fall and costs $5,495 (U.S.) a person. 1-866-551-9090;


  1. Nailed it again, MC! Although Wente's free advertising is a common and widely accepted journalistic practice these days, Leah Mclaren's use of the Globe & Mail for the sole purpose of selling her own property is beyond the pale. The grey lady is looking paler all the time. Time for accountability, and not just in the case of the Wente-Stead-Stackhouse plagiarism scandal.

  2. I have to admit, in some ways I would miss Margaret Wente if she were sent on her way by the Globe. Some (many) of the comments that follow her articles are perfect in a deadpan reply to how ridiculous her articles are, some point out the logical holes in her column in a straightforward way, and some are straight-up hilarious.

    Wente columns have audiences because they're like car wrecks on the side of the highway - traffic slows down to look just to see how bad they are.

    I have to admit though, that McLaren conflict skated right by me, but wasn't familiar with Leah McLaren anyway and hadn't read anything by her. It's far worse than the travesty that is Margaret Wente.

    Wonder how to Globe will deal with this one...

  3. Agree about the comments. Unfortunately the Globe removes the best ones, even if they're not offensive.

    One example - following a column where Wente took shots at Anne Marie Slaughter for having "white people's problems", a commenter wrote something pithy like "Guess this is a 'white people's' column".

    It was removed.

    Increasingly, the comments disappear without leaving the usual place marker indicating the time, and the reason for removal. They simply vanish.

  4. User @allisauce24 on Twitter also pointed to a Globe & Mail column from Leah McLaren's mother in which she shilled out her farmhouse, earlier this year:

  5. If you want to see some shoddy journalism look up all the recent stories on 'Bath Salts'. The media in Canada are still connecting it with the crazy Miami cannibal attack even though the police there said they found zero proof the guy ever took MPDV.

    They also are citing a Narconon spokesman who fabricated stories of treating patients on the drug who were ultra violent and had superman abilities. Yeah Narconon is a transparent Scientologist organization being sued all around the world for malpractice.

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  7. An excellent column in the National Post. Corcoran's column was just terrible.

    One point from his article that was REALLY strange, was his assertion that there was a libertarian solution to the issue. He writes:

    "All this is giant fallout from what was once talked about in journalism schools as the “social responsibility” theory of press freedom. The absolute libertarian theory — a free press self-regulates within a competitive market for readers — was dismissed."

    Does anyone know what he is talking about here? All of this played out among private media institutions, or citizens using social media. There was no government involvement, and the controversy took place within the proverbial "free market place of ideas". Is he suggesting the free-market would take care of things better? If so, I no clue what he's referring to, since, well, the entire story is an example of the free-market at work.


    Anyways, nicely done. Keep up the good work!