Saturday, December 29, 2007

If A Cartoonist Falls In The CanWest Forest....

.....Does Anybody Hear?


Last week, after it had been 'rumoured' that CanWest was all set to fire Vancouver Province editorial cartoonists Bob Krieger and Dan Murphy, Rafe Mair went ballistic and called for a boycott.

We concurred - although for slightly broader reasons.

Since then Mr. Mair's opinion piece in The Tyee has been pulled because. apparently, the cartoonists were not actually fired.

Instead, it seems that they were told that their work, which could be scathing of those in positions of power and influence, would no longer be regularly printed on the paper's editorial pages.

Here's how David Beers states the current situation in a recent retraction/apology in 'The Tyee':

In fact, while Murphy and Krieger were told by Province management that their cartoons would no longer be regularly published on the editorial pages of The Province, they were offered other positions at the newspaper as well as the option of leaving the employ of The Province with buy-out payments.

Now, we understand Mr. Beers' need to correct the record, in a factual sense.

However, we also feel that this latest development, if factually true, is actually more damning because it clearly illustrates (in a non-cartoonish way, of course) the accelerating decline of editorial independence at CanWest's Lotusland media organs.


Because it means that Mr. Kreiger and Mr. Murphy are NOT being gagged for cost-cutting reasons.

Therefore, now more than ever, we fully agree with Mr. Mair that anyone who reads a local newspaper because they want something more than pom-pom waving for Lotusland's Rich and Powerful, and/or the latest airbrushed pictures of Britney Spears, must boycott the Vancouver Province.


One of the original bits of wreckless rumour mongering on The (not-so)Magnificents' cartoon crushing was from Steve Burgess who also wrote more broadly about the gutting of local newsrooms....."There are still good people at both (of CanWest's Vancouver) papers (the Sun and the Province), and they’re still doing good work. It reminds me of what a preservationist once told me about Shanghai: There are still great old buildings in Shanghai, she said, because “they can’t tear everything down at once.”
It is important to realize that Mr. Burgess, like Mr. Mair, also writes for the independent 'Tyee'. However, the Burgess-penned piece referred to above was actually printed in a Lotusland regional called 'The Westender' which is owned NOT by The (not-so)Magnificents, but instead by a different media mogul named David Black (no relation to Conrad The Marauder). Moral of the story....competition counts and, perhaps more importantly, media diversication matters (not dot org).


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