The Mail

National newspapers

April 13 1998
The Mail

National newspapers

April 13 1998

National newspapers

The Mail

So, the scoop on media baron Conrad Black is that “the plan for a new daily has his rivals in a tizzy” (“The scoop on Conrad Black,” Cover, March 30). How about: “Black’s control of most major printed media in Canada leaves honest journalists in despair,” or “Conrad Black has capability to manipulate public opinion in Canada”?

Eroca Shaler, Vancouver

Like others who have written about Conrad Black’s new national daily, you suggest its estimated $ 100-million cost over eight years is something worthy of notice. As someone who has spent his life in the newspaper industry, I can assure you that this is peanuts for an undertaking of this scale. Indeed, in your next article (“Goosing the Globe”) you show what a national newspaper can cost:


should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters

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Fax: (416) 596-7730


Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number.

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Anybody looking for evidence of the dumbing down of The Globe and Mail need look no further than editor-inchief William Thorsell’s recent piece on the Davos Forum. On the other hand, Black’s strong political views make him a politician, not a journalist. And then there is Barbara Amiel’s assertion, in your same issue, that a soldier who embezzles the army should still be entitled to the Victoria Cross (“The unseemly pillorying of Alan Eagleson”). Thank heavens for The Economist.

Bob McKercher, Toronto

Newfoundlanders are continually offended by the Globe's arrogant editorials and inaccurate reporting on matters of crucial importance to our economic well-being. One hopes we will receive fairer treatment from the rumored competition.

Barbara Chalker, St. John’s, Nfld.

Eagleson on the cross

I have just read with interest Barbara Amiel’s unique approach to the Alan Eagleson affair (“The unseemly pillorying of Alan Eagleson,” March 30). It is fascinating that there is hardly any reference to the players he stole from and whose lives he helped to ruin. Without their persistent pursuit of justice, Eagleson might well have escaped any consequences for his actions. On the issue of the Hockey Hall of Fame, her allusion to someone having their Victoria Cross taken away because they were later found to

the Globe made a profit of $37.4 million on revenues of $245.2 million last year. In other words, the current annual cost of publishing the Globe is $207.8 million, which means Black’s $100 million couldn’t feed a national newspaper much beyond six months, let alone eight years.

Wilfred Popoff Saskatoon

As a devoted reader of The Globe and Mail, I am very concerned that the newspaper is being dumbed down. Michael Valpy had an outstanding column and it should have been retained. I hope the Globe never becomes another “McPaper” or anything similar to USA Today.

Bill Bolstad, Regina

have embezzled from the army is disingenuous to say the least. But the most revealing part of her column are her comments about “the mob.” With an aristocratic disdain, we can almost hear her call: “Let them eat cake.” Amiel and Eagleson belonged to the same elite class that purports to run this country. It seems the elites are not to be subject to the same standards of justice as everybody else. The Family Compact is apparently still very much with us.

Christopher White, Whitby ,Ont.

Alan Eagleson, in spite of his shortcomings, gave us Canadians perhaps our proudest unified moment since 1867. Hyenas, back to the den.

Robert Cudney, Torontc

Barbara Amiel’s column represents the firsl time that my father’s dilemma has beer explained to the public. No other journalisl has presented the story with an investigative attitude to his real problem and explained it in a concise and unbiased manner. Congratulations to Maclean’s and specifically Barbara Amiel for delivering the story in a courageous, independent and objective manner.

Jill A. Eagleson, Torontc

There is no unseemly pillorying of Alar Eagleson. In fact, he is only reaping a portior of what he has sown. By pleading guilty tc lesser charges, Eagleson has managed tc use the system to his utmost advantage Translation: mitigate your losses and keef the public guessing as to what really hap pened. This is reinforced by Barbara Amiel’s column. Eagleson knows exactly what hap pened and that is why he never officially tool action against author Russ Conway for hav


ing allegedly libelled and slandered him. To have done so would have meant denying the allegations and having to face crossexamination on every minute detail. How do you think he would have fared then? The facts did the Eagle in, not the system or the public outcry. Of course, what do I know? I’m just another disgruntled hockey-playing attorney having to endure a few more tasteless lawyer jokes courtesy of the Eagle’s contribution.

James G. Ciampini, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.

Barbara, where have you been? Every good thing Alan Eagleson did for hockey was but a setup for him to swindle money. Did you not read about his pilfering the funds from the sale of the advertising of the boards during Hockey Canada’s trips to Europe? This money was to go towards the players’ association pension fund. Instead, it went into the Alan Eagleson fund. Did you not learn of his false legal bills for having to go after insurance money for injured players when the insurance company had already paid without

pressure? The list goes on. Everything Eagleson did was a setup to line his pockets, and you are willing to forgive him for the wonderful job he did in international hockey. This man is a crook and he belongs in jail.

Ross Klopp, Waterloo, Ont.

Oh, the irony of it. Amiel begins her whitewash of Alan Eagleson with a biblical reference to the mob yelling for Barabbas. That notorious mob was made up, of course, of ignorant, mindless fools who hoped to see Barabbas freed even though he was a known criminal—a vicious schemer and a murderer. Amiel goes on to say that since Eagleson chose to plea-bargain we can never know the extent of his guilt. It seems to me that this works in Eagleson’s favor, rather than against it. Finally, she claims that Eagleson is responsible for the mega-salaries that today’s hockey stars command. Really? This from a man who is known to have colluded with team owners to keep players’ salaries reduced? It is unfortunate that some sort of recognition cannot be given to columnists who strive for the nadir of fatuous, specious editorializing, for, with this remarkable bit of writing, Amiel has reached the journalistic equivalent of absolute zero.

J. L. Elliott, Calgary

Just to set the record straight, the crowd that yelled for Barabbas yelled to set him free. It was Jesus’s flesh the mob was drooling for, like the hyenas Amiel describes. And despite her disposition to take a contrary position on just about anything, I doubt that even the contrary Amiel would paint Eagleson as a Christ figure.

Meg Jordan, Huntsville, Ont.

Thanks to Barbara Amiel for giving us a more accurate slant on Alan Eagleson’s misfortunes. In the United States (and increasingly in Canada), it is sufficient tc dismiss someone as a “convicted felon” or whatever, while completely ignoring the process responsible for imposing the label. Legalistic (or just plain nasty) bureaucrats who worship the letter of the law, seem to be devoid of common sense or the slightest re gard for human life. Alan Eagleson has paid the price required by the law, such as it is. The rest is cruelty.

David J. C. Cooper, Torontc

Columnists often try to tell us that day is night, black is white, or wrong is right While I tend to admire this kind of icono clastic behavior, simply declaring a particulai reality does not make it so. I suggest that this is how we should interpret Barbara Amiel’s spirited but futile attempt to resurrect the “good” name of Alan Eagleson. Despite hei


efforts to suggest otherwise, we know the man to be corrupt; his guilty pleas established this reality.

Ben Bradshaw, Ottawa

On the eve of Holy Week, when Christians the world around recall the events of Christ’s trial and crucifixion, the reference to Barabbas is, at best ambiguous, and at worst irreverent. And the florid phrases about Canadian mobs as vultures (with traditions yet!) do not meet the tests of reality or readable English. Unseemly indeed.

Rev. Lawrie Purdy, Port Credit, Ont.

Quebec's politicians

I have to disagree with Glenn Woiceshyn (“Canada’s savior,” The Mail, March 30). Jean Charest has exactly “the right stuff’ to beat Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard. The separatist movement in Quebec is not at all driven by “ethnic nationalism”; it is driven by a series of prominent Quebec politicians and their respective personality cults. The movement would likely never have been noticed by the mainstream were it not for René Lévesque’s oratory lightning

rod, and would have faltered, perhaps never to be heard from again, in the quagmire of Jacques Parizeau’s near-disastrous fall from grace, were it not for Bouchard’s powerful personal presence. Charest has the potential to utilize the same vibrant style that has so long steered the Quebec psyche towards separatism to instead steer the people of Quebec to the “reason and individualism” Woiceshyn cites as necessary.

Monty Montgomery, Nepean, Ont,

Genuinely curious

I am curious to know if anyone who isn’t a journalist found The Newsroom to be “a genuinely funny sitcom” (“Finkleman unbound,” Television, March 30). I’ve yet to meet such a person.

Lauraine Armstrong, Saskatoon

'The greatest paper'

I am looking forward to reading Imagining Canadian Literature (“Jack McClelland, writ larger than life,” Allan Fotheringham, March 30), having met Jack McClelland on

more than one occasion. But I must correct Fotheringham on his statement about the Chicago Tribune. Col. Bertie McCormick boasted on the front page of the Chicago Tribune, “The world’s greatest newspaper,” not “The world’s finest newspaper.” The slogan is still on the Tribune and, in fact, the initials WGN became the call letters for the Tribune's radio and TV station and are still used today.

Douglas Valentine, Toronto

Death on the agenda

Maclean’s has given extensive coverage to many cases of assisted suicide, euthanasia and alleged mercy killings (“Should Robert Latimer go free?” Cover, Nov. 17, 1997, about Robert and Tracy Latimer; “The final hours,” Cover, March 17, about Dr. Nancy Morrison). The deaths involved in those and countless other cases have put these sensitive and difficult issues on the agenda of Canadians. It is time for the government to provide the legal and social structure to guide Canadians, their courts and their physicians in confronting these issues. It is time for Canadians to give Parliament and the government the mandate to design a law legalizing and providing the most humane procedures for allowing


people to end their own lives and the lives of those who are terminally ill and incapable of making that decision themselves.

Geoffrey F Bruce, Ottawa

To end someone’s life is like putting an animal to sleep. Who has the freedom to select the appropriateness of this moment? Should this freedom be given to any individual who is a doctor? Should the wish to end a human life be so easy as going to a medicine cabinet and filling up a syringe with the right potent drug and injecting it? If euthanasia is not done in a more controlled and democratic manner, I am afraid it might be as effortless as that. In a world where there is a growing aging population and it is no longer economical to support the aged in their ill health, will legalized euthanasia give us a guilt-free solution? Before euthanasia is given a free reign, many such questions will have to be dealt with.

Dali Basu, Kanata, Ont.

Royal limitations

You write that the Queen’s newest initiatives for changing the monarchy are “not good news for the scores of regal cousins” (“Downsizing royalty,” World, March 23). Actually, there are only four cousins who carry out royal duties and figure in the cost. These are the grandchildren of King George V: the Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent. They and the wives are the only royals outside the Queen’s immediate family who are addressed as His or Her Royal Highness. The other HRHs are the Queen’s family: her mother, sister, husband, children and those grandchildren fathered by Charles and Andrew. Princess Anne’s children are not “royal” per se. Limitations on who could be designated royal were established early in this century.

Linda M. Murphy, Windsor, Ont.