CANADALAND
#41 (A Fate Worse Than) Death Of The Newspaper
Veteran journalist John Barber has written a fire-breathing, bridge-burning polemic on the state of Canada's newspapers, including The Globe and Mail, where he spent most of his career. He explains why he had to say it.

Episode Rundown

00:00 The Fat Fuck incident

01:41 John Barber’s fire-breathing, bridge-burning essay in the Torontoist

03:44 “The increasingly tawdry Globe and Mail…three different classifications of journalistic whoring…inviting the Devil into the newsroom and expecting to keep him in line with chalk marks on the floor” Jesse reading from parts of the John Barber piece, also a call back to the show we did back in June.

04:11 “The National Post, it would not exist if not for it’s usefulness as an ideological armament for the ruling class… There was never a credible business case for it in the first place-  It was conceived as Conrad Black’s political cudgel — it has only ever lost money… The Sun, a once popular publication, is the passing whim of a billionaire separatist politician from Quebec (Pierre Péladeau)… Attracting readers is no longer the point of these publications, it’s thumping the tub for the man…” more of Jesse reading Barber’s article.

06:19 “Why is the readers’ interest the last thing newspapers think about when they endorse politicians?” Barber

08:53 “ If newspapers stop making money as going concerns, as actual business that turn a profit, they still have a value to certain people, and that’s what they persist for in this country.” Jesse

11:17 “The nature of the political coverage or any sort of coverage, whether you were taking down the government or selling perfume, it didn’t affect your profits … but now that all that authority has been stripped away there’s no commercial basis upon which to rest that sort of institutional authority and power. They remain as these kind of zombie presences influencing public opinion.” Barber

12:13 “To see what my former colleagues at the Globe are now being asked to do, it’s like assisted suicide.” Barber talking about the proposal to force writers into writing advertorials about companies they normally report on.

13:39 Harold Evans’ book dealing with Lord Thompson and Rupert Murdoch

16:27 The extensive Globe and Mail jogging archive

16:38 “I left because the era was over and I was not in good water with the management there by any means. There was a push to get the older, more expensive people out.” Barber talking why he took the buyout from the Globe and Mail.

19:00 “There hasn’t been an environmental reporter at the Globe and Mail for five or six years. Instead they got a perfume columnist”: Barber

19:10 “If I want to know what Canadian energy policy is, I look at The Guardian…that’s all I have to say about it”: Barber.

20:39 “If you look in Britain, a Russian billionaire will own a newspaper and suddenly the editorials will start reflecting his point of views. Anyone can see this happening.” Barber talking about Alexander Lebedev

23:53 “Half the time I’m in here, I’m trying to talk about the future of journalism. I’m talking to retired journalists a lot of the time, because they’re the only ones that will speak their mind.” Jesse reflecting on Canadaland

26:99 Schmozzle?

30:20 Taiwanese politics?

31:07 “I think he’s got a blast or two and then it quickly diminishes ’til he gets something up his nose.”: Barber in reference to Mayor Rob Ford. Also, Rob Ford’s 5 foot 11.

32:44 “We’re going to miss Ford (Mayor) when he’s gone. I mean, journalists are going to miss Ford, come on. It’s never going to be this good.” Jesse

“First of all, Ford will always be with us, I don’t think he’s going anywhere … I don’t care what he says, he’ll always be screwing up and flaming out and doing that sort of thing.” Barber

July 20, 2014
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