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Monday, January 18, 2010

Not Dead Yet

It's demise is much exaggerated

The Globe and Mail has been predicting the demise of the National Post for 11 years now, and counting.

Before that, they spent 10 years incorrectly predicting the demise of the Financial Post, which went from a weekly to a daily in 1988 in direct competition to the Globe's business section, and is still thriving.

That makes 21 straight years of being wrong. If you were born the year the Globe started being wrong, you could be married with children now. You'd think they'd get tired of it, but they have long memories over there. And they really don't like competition. Witness the need to interpret every bit of news about the Post's fortunes in the most negative possible context. Maybe it makes them feel better about being wrong so often.

For those with long historical memories, which in Canada can be measured in the low double digits, you'll recall that the Globe was founded by one Mr George Brown, originally of Edinburgh, later of the City of Toronto. Brown of the Globe, as he was known, was a free trading, free marketing, small government and separation of Church and State sort of chap. In other words he would be utterly appalled at the modern Globe. He would also be appalled at the current state of the two other institutions he created, the Liberal Party and the Dominion of Canada. 

The latter has dropped its title, and the former has forgotten the actual meaning of its name. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher. If old George could rise from his grave at the Necropolis, my guess is he'd be working at the National Post. Not with much enthusiasm perhaps. The Post has lost quite a bit of its Black-era fire and vim. What the Globe's editors never grasped, no matter what Fleet Street puppy mill they were bought from, was why the National Post exists to be begin with. 

It was not one of Conrad Black's vainglorious larks. Had it been merely that it would have folded even before the Aspers got hold of it. No, the Post was what the Globe was suppose to be, a broadly conservative paper. The Globe's understanding of "conservative' was being stodgy and pontifical. Which is, ironically, the New York Times understanding of the word too. The Gothic lettering (which it dropped in the 1980s) and editorial tone of a knowing older brother, or a parent with a vaguely disreputable past who is trying to counsel you of paths taken. 

Of opinions that might classified as libertarian or classical liberal, in other words those of its founder, little is heard. Why would such opinions matter? Just the nattering of children about some fantasy world that has never existed - such as Canada in the 1860s. No, the Globe was the sober and adult paper. The Sun was for the white trash distant relatives, the ones politely ignored at Victoria weekend outings. The Toronto Star was for the middle class left leaning idealists. Those who work rather than those who rule, or at least believe themselves to be ruling. In this cosmos the National Post makes no sense. Freedom - even as the Post understands it - well that's just some people talking.

Posted by Richard Anderson on January 18, 2010 | Permalink


NP is the only newspaper even remotely coming close to a libertarian/small government/individual rights/free enterprise ideology.

Which is why it is the only newspaper I would ever consider subscribing to in Canada.

And, considering its relatively large readership, it does seem fill an important space in the MSM.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2010-01-19 9:44:04 PM

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