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A query to Macleans about blogging balance.

I congratulate Stephen Taylor for getting a gig at Macleans as a regular blogger. I do wonder though where the blogging counter-balance to Mr. Taylor’s presence on the Maclean’s roster is, now that they have promoted him and his blogposts to the same blogging section as where you find Coyne/Wells/O’Malley et al. Did the editorial board of Macleans just feel their blogging roster are a majority of “closet Liberals”, so they needed some “balance”, and decided to give Taylor a forum where he can publish his openly pro-Conservative blogging views?

Also.. I noted with amusement that they didn’t even say who Taylor was in his first blogpost. That raised the ire of some progressive commentators in the comments section (which mysteriously had 70 comments in it at one point, and they have now all been wiped). I see in his most recent blogpost (which does have open comments still) that they’ve put a tagline on the end of his column in italics, which reads: Stephen Taylor is a conservative commentator and a fellow at the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. No mention in this disclaimer that he is the head of the Blogging Tories. Perhaps the Macleans folks feel anyone who is reading that blog section will already know who Taylor is.

Regardless, it seems to me that Macleans has been trending right-wing for quite awhile now, and this addition of Taylor means they’re no longer trying to pretend they’re “balanced”. If however, Macleans were to assign a “progressive” blogger or a Liberal one on that blogging site to counterbalance Stephen, I’ll change my opinion on that.

(PS – IF Macleans were to ask me who I’d recommend, I’d be saying Jeff Jedras. Not only is he a good progressive/Liberal blogger, but he also has a journalist background of his own – an electronics and IT journalist admittedly is different from a political journalist, but my point is that Macleans wouldn’t have to worry about him being a “foul-mouthed blogger” on their website.

UPDATE @ 11: 47 am: I see Jurist also made some observations at his blog about the Taylor appointment as well as showing that the “liberal media bias” claim by Conservatives is rather questionable at best.

17 comments to A query to Macleans about blogging balance.

  • (delete that last mangled post please)

    Perhaps Taylor’s intemperate propaganda will be muted somewhat by the fact that he now gets paid to sound reasonable or at least sane. Now let’s see if he can in fact sound sane or if his loyalty is rooted in what Conservative loyalty is usually rooted in – utter confusion and mistaking non-operational abstractions for absolute truths. Blind hope. Fear.aid Conservative loyalty is usually rooted in – utter confusion and mistaking non-operational abstractions for absolute truths. Blind hope. Fear.

  • This article from The Nation makes for good reading:

    What Liberal Media?
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20030224/alterman2

  • roll tide, you can have your own opinions, but you aren’t entitled to your own facts.

    Which is the whole problem in a nutshell.

    The right wing already has its own media outlets: Global, Fox, National Post, talk radio et al. and cannot stand the sources it cannot control.

    Witness the contempt of the “centrist” CPC for the CBC, which is doing a damned fine job what with having its journalistic nuts cut off over the past twenty years (by both Liberal and Conservative governments).

    In actuality, nuanced, fact-based journalism is anaethma to a certain mindset (which while not Conservative in and of itself seems to have gathered at the extreme edge of the philosophy).

    And no amount of screaming “liberal media bias” changes that.

  • Ti-Guy

    Unfortunately the media the US and Canada
    are controlled by Liberal elitists. They hate the two venues they cannot control, Fox News, and Talk Radio.

    Wingnut garbage.

  • roll tide

    @Ti-Guy

    Unfortunately the media the US and Canada
    are controlled by Liberal elitists. They hate the two venues they cannot control, Fox News, and Talk Radio.

  • Ti-Guy

    We Conservatives see these things.

    Unfortunately, Conservative claims about bias always rest on subjective judgements such as “giddiness” and how a particular frame is set up. It sounds downright paranoid. In any case, it’s well-known that the corporate media is generally right wing.

    I don’t care about bias; I care about good journalism.

  • roll tide

    The Toronto Star is pure Liberal. You will notice when they have a guest column such as George Will, they will mention that he is a “Conservative Columnist”, but when Mark Shields is a guest Columnist, “Liberal” is not added before his name.

    Last week when the “Coalition” were signing its papers in a ceremony, the CBC news crew on Newsworld, Don Newman on down were down right giddy on its telecast. As if Canadians were going to be thrilled over this attempted coup.
    The CBC own pollster told a different story to a stunned Don Newman on Friday.

    We Conservatives see these things.

  • I’m a staunch Liberal, but being in the center of the political spectrum, I think the media does a disservice by calling Liberals the “opposite viewpoint” of the hard-right Reform-Cons.

    Honestly, the media needs to put more far-left NDP voices in positions of “opposing” the Cons viewpoint. I’m not talking about run of the mill, ordinary Dippers. I’m talking about the hardcore socialists.

    Why? The debate in Canada won’t shift to the left by bleating on about the differences between Liberals and Cons – this is only viewed as partisan sniping. By introducing some of the more extreme counterpoints of the left of the NDP, it will display to Canadians how extreme the Cons are. It will also create a “need” for center ground – which would be US, of course.

  • carrscanary

    Media bias is certainly a concern. Where does balance lie, I wonder? To be representative of Canadians views does that mean that if about 40% of Canadians have conservative views that there should be this proportion of conservative leaning pieces in a publication? If so you had better tell the Globe and Mail.
    Sadly news is no longer news; it is all opinion even articles not tagged as op ed.

  • Ti-Guy

    If Macleans hadn’t “disappeared* the comments there, there’d be a record of the complaint I was the first to make…that Stephen Taylor’s interests hadn’t been declared, which hadn’t been included in the original post (I checked) but are there now. What fabulous journalistic integrity.

    Anyway, the Conservative Party is smart enough not to have Taylor as an employee. Rather he occupies a sinecure at the “Manning Institute” (ie. Conservative Party pre-school), which provides him with the necessary distance to claim disinterested party status.

    That the establishment media continues to play these stupid games of presenting think tank propaganda as “news” and propagandists as experts is the reason why we should all make sure we don’t spend any money for their “product;” don’t subscribe to their newspapers or magazines and use AdBlock software when you visit their online venues.

  • Still Appalled

    Balance, like bias, is a journalistic fable, an illusion that provides the media plausible deniability about its take on issues. Ideology is fundamentally unconscious and, as such, in inscribed in every textual transaction, be it written or oral, in which we engage, and of course we are both consciously and unconsciously attracted to the texts that embody our own ideological values, be they progressive or not. The Macleans blogger “balance” matters only if you think spin, which is the job of this official “journalistic” blog, matters. Me, if I occasionally want spin, I prefer the non-official, grassroots journalistic blogs since they frequently wear their ideology on their sleeves unlike Macleans that creates the illusion of “balanced” authority.

  • Stephen Taylor is an employee of the Conservative Party of Canada. The least Macleans could do is pass that information on to its readers…

  • Ti-Guy

    Who is the Conservative representative columnist for the Toronto Star?

    Isn’t that Rondi Adamson, or did they finally get tired of her?

    I don’t think this should be presented as an issue of bias and so-called “balance.” I think it should be presented as a matter of journalistic good practice and propaganda has no place there.

  • Ti-Guy

    Well, well…Once again, Macleans reveals the contempt it has for its readership.

    I hadn’t gone back to that post, because, truth be told, it was kind of self-promoting and uninteresting anyway…more of an attempt to drum up “buzz” about “digital democracy” than actually exploring that as a concept in itself.

    Taylor sees himself as *the* guru of digital democracy but in reality, he’s just the Conservative Party’s official spokesman for online media and has no real understanding of media and democracy. He’s just a technocrat enthralled by the technology and sees it as useful for his Party’s propaganda and of course, his career.

    Macleans blogs are a sham, for the most part, even though I have a grudging respect for the most of the bloggers there.

  • If they wanted to also add an NDP to balance it right out, Devin Johnston would be a good recommendation as well.

    I’m somewhat stuck on a good Bloc and Green blogger though for them.

  • Who is the Conservative representative columnist for the Toronto Star?

    • @Darryl Wolk

      Apples to oranges, Darryl, but if Macleans is a pro-conservative porgan as you seem to be implying by bringing the Star into this, it should declare itself openly and stop pretending its presenting all points of view.

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