Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Maclean's is wrong. . . . .

A lot of people have been talking about the rather tasteless article in Maclean's Magazine which claims that Quebec is the most 'corrupt' province in Canada. Now keep in mind, if you haven't seen the edition, that this isn't some small article hidden inside the magazine. Rather, a headline in big letters graces the cover which says "The Most Corrupt Province in Canada" with an accompanying picture of the Quebec Winter Carnival's Bonhomme Mascot carrying a briefcase stuffed with money.

Yesterday I heard one of Ottawa's right-wing radio hosts on CFRA defending the article by posing the question "Well if the author of the article proved with appropriate methodology that Quebec was, in fact, the most 'corrupt' province, what you do expect Maclean's magazine to do?" This is a typical ridiculous right-wing response to such a tasteless and divisive media move. Now besides the many obvious value judgements involved in such a claim of corruption and the difficulty of reducing such a judgement to any real empirical standard, this question also raises important questions of journalistic responsibility. My question to the right-wing radio host is this; If we could prove that, say, Canadians of African descent committed more crimes than any other identifiable group, would Maclean's run an cover article of a Black man holding a gun with an accompanying headline "The Most Criminal Race in Canada" ?? Of course they wouldn't (though I am sure that some people wouldn't put it past them). Because everyone knows that how you present something is just as important as the content of that which you are presenting. Maclean's is a sensationalistic, mindless, irresponsible periodical and the presentation of this article demonstrates this very point. I hope that the Province of Quebec sues Maclean's if for no other reason than to simply bring attention to their consistent irresponsibility.


Anonymous said...

Maclean's might be wrong. They've been wrong before. In fact, they've been wrong a lot, and no one seemed to care before (when it was Regina, Toronto, BC).

Usually it has statistics to back it up (but I thought you weren't a fan of statistics), but in this case Quebeckers are embarrassed by the string of scandals, stats or no.

I'm sure you'll agree that Parliament shouldn't be wasting its time calling the kettle black.


kirbycairo said...

Thanks for the comment Leo. It is the sensational, divisive nature of the presentation that is the problem here. By all means expose the corruption but to present in relation to a "province" rather than a government, particularly in the present atmosphere of divisiveness servers no one. In fact it serves no one to make comparisons of one province over another unless it is specifically to talk about how some places have avoided corruption through certain kinds of legislation.