. . . that Doug Ford will be the next Premier of Ontario.
For years I have had the impression that the Globe and Mail leans to the left. If challenged I couldn’t have supported that position. Until now. Last Saturday (June 9 2018) I was reading the Globe and Mail at the local library, and was struck by the unrelenting anti-Ford bias in its pages. So much so that I spent $5.25 at the local pharmacy to purchase Saturday’s edition. No price is too much to pay for the raw material for a blog article!
Digression: The Globe and Mail’s bias is probably well known to Torontonians and they are probably thinking “Well done Captain Obvious! What’s next? Are you going to validate your impression that the sky is blue”? I will see that criticism and raise you this quote: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”.
It contained fifteen (!) opinion pieces on the Ontario election with an abundance of content critical of Doug Ford. Examples include:
- “A sober, centrist province got the choice of a populist blowhard, a far-left ideologue and a cynical, exhausted premier. The worst of the lot won”,
- “Make no mistake, Doug Ford’s election is a disaster for Toronto”,
- “Nothing in his career thus far suggests a capacity to learn and evolve”.
On the other hand, I could not find a single positive statement about our premier-designate in any of the fifteen articles! Damning with faint phrase doesn’t count, like when Adam Radwanski writes that “He proved more adaptable this spring than many who knew him predicted. …he was expected to be too stubborn and convinced of his genius to take advice and show discipline“. To be fair, several of the articles accepted the Ford victory as a fact and their tone was more neutral. It is impressive that some journalists were able to move through denial, anger, bargaining, and depression in less than 48 hours!
Digression: When Ford was elected head of the PCs, my first thought was for the #MeToo movement which was responsible for unsubstantiated accusations against his predecessor and false accusations against Steve Paikin. The slightest impropriety in Doug Ford’s past, or even someone with a grudge, could have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. To me the fact that this didn’t happen is an indication that Doug Ford has a moral compass. That’s newsworthy.
As well, contrast this coverage with the Globe and Mail’s coverage of Justin Trudeau’s victory back in 2015. The Globe and Mail characterised it as a “stunning political comeback” (link). No such adjectives were used to describe Doug Ford’s victory, even though he received a greater percentage of the vote (40.5% to 39.5%) and a greater percentage of seats (61% to 54%).
Even the letters to the editor reflected that same bias. Eight letters commented on the election: seven were critical of Rob Ford!
Bottom Line: my initial impression was correct. If anything “leans to the left” is an understatement, although it wouldn’t make a top-ten list (link).
Final thoughts: Looking at something like this in depth always raises more questions than it answers: How can a professional organization let their bias reach this level? Have they decided that their role is to confirm the biases of their readers? Do they think that not appealing to PC voters is a good business model? Do they think that readers won’t notice? I expect that I’ll be thinking about this off and on for years!