Fair and Balanced

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Is The Herald cozying
up to the premier?

I rushed out and bought a copy of The Herald tonight, after an amusing exchange with Shannon Reardon, a Facebook friend.

Reardon was upset that Danny Williams was on the cover of the magazine, with the word INVINCIBLE? in big, block letters. Reardon is not a fan of The Herald or Danny Williams, for that matter so this cover had her doubly upset.

No one on this planet is invincible, she wrote, and making it all go to his head even more with this is just gross. Ugh. I saw this at the store tonight and almost hurled.

She commented on her own update, adding, Let's come back down to reality: I look forward to when the NAFTA challenge on the GF-W mill all takes place and we are burned another several hundred million all because of Mr. Invincibles conduct. He won't be so invincible then, costing us at the end of the day about $1 billion.

Regular readers will know that Im not a member in good standing of the premiers fan club. But, no, I didnt pile it on. Instead, I defended The Herald.

My first impulse was much like yours, Shannon, I wrote. However, in their defence, The Herald's purpose is to sell magazines. To do that, they put popular people - usually celebs, yes, but sometimes local personalities too - on the cover. And who is more popular in this province right now than the premier? It's a business decision, pure and simple.

Reardon agreed, but still opined that the words on the cover were misleading.

Well, the word 'Invincible' is intended to get your attention, I replied, and it does have a question mark. In smaller type, it says SCANDALS, BLUNDERS CONTROVERSY. If they were kissing his arse, they wouldn't have used those first two words, because they are guaranteed to piss him off. Yes, it is a blatant ploy to sell magazines, but I do see an attempt at balance as well.

Reardon agreed with this, adding that an exclamation point rather than a question mark would have changed everything.

But still, the way the word is under his name like that, that word, even with the question mark, it makes one immediately associate it with him, and that, too, is perhaps an intention, Reardon wrote. Kevin (Kelly, the author of the story) could elucidate this. I'd say he'd say much like what you are saying, Geoff. And the SCANDALS, BLUNDERS CONTROVERSY is an acknowledgment of things that have most definitely happened since 2003. Fair enough. But it is still a gross cover!

I concurred, adding this: There is no question about it: one's reaction to the cover is determined entirely by one's personal opinion of the premier.

The exchange did pique my curiosity. I dashed out and bought that issue, to read Kevins story for myself. (There were only three left in the rack, so it seems to be selling well.)

The article is reasonably balanced. It brings in the voice of Kelvin Parsons, of the Liberal Opposition, who fires a few well-aimed darts. It refers to many of the problems that have dogged the premier over the last year or two, and does not indulge in idolatry. I can nit-pick some of the detail, but this is an analytical piece with a subjective tone, so its really my opinion against Kellys.

For example, I didnt agree with this summary statement, toward the end: The government has also had no major political scandals as of late, especially nothing like the political spending scandal of four years ago.

In my view, the bungled expropriation of the Abitibi mill is a genuine scandal and major credibility hit for this government; one that will emerge, over time, as the Sprung greenhouse of the Williams Government. But, see, thats my opinion. Its Kellys article, and he has a different take. (And Kelly does refer to these events earlier in his piece as blunders, not scandals.)

Peppered across the four-page layout are quotes from the premier, from various speeches and news articles, which I did find bothersome. It was the premier in full rhetorical flight, bragging about various achievements and attacking sundry enemies, without any countering information. But those are graphic elements, not parts of the story, right?

All in all, the author is not too fawning in his praise, or over the top in his criticism. Like the cover itself, the story is right down the middle. I may quibble about some of the analysis, but the piece is balanced and fair.

And I bet they will sell a few magazines.

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Recent comments

  • Kelly Foss
    July 31, 2010 - 18:33

    I have to say, the Herald covers that annoy me the most are the ones when they yet again profile their own staff. I wish I had a dollar for every time Fred Hutton and or one of the NTV News team graced the cover. Mother's Day, Christmas, Fat Tuesday - every 'special' day is another chance to trot out the old gang for another gawk. Personally I think there are enough fascinating people in the province that we ought never have to look at those 'guys' again. Save it for 6 p.m. okay?

  • Robin
    July 27, 2010 - 14:54

    I have the mag and took the picture for my picture frame, constructed of a toilet seat, with the picture behind. When people open it, they laugh so hard it makes Danny jiggle.