By Colby Cosh - Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 0 Comments
In January, the Globe and Mail appointed longtime editor and correspondent Sylvia Stead its first “public editor”. What say we pause right there, before we go any further? The job of “public editor” is one most closely associated with the New York Times, which has had five different people doing the job since it created a post with that title in 2003—soon after the Jayson Blair fabrication scandal. The function of the public editor at the Times, as the title suggests, is to advocate for journalism ethics, fairness, and proper practice on behalf of the paper’s readership, dealing with concerns and challenges as they arise.
To that end, the Times—quite naturally, one would think—has always recruited people for the job who haven’t been associated with the Times for their entire adult lives, but who do have some knowledge of journalism and non-fiction practice. The first Times public editor was Daniel Okrent, a legendary book and magazine editor. The new one, Margaret Sullivan, has been associated with the Warren Buffett-owned Buffalo News since 1980.
The Times is probably careful about this because it created the “public editor” job in the wake of a serious credibility crisis. It could ill afford to choose somebody who had grown up in the Times cocoon and was an irrecoverable permanent hostage to old friendships, work relationships, and office politics. In fact, it would be fair for you, dear reader, to ask the question “Why would you?” Why wouldn’t you hire someone with some independent standing to represent the public, if you were serious about it?
Well: those last six words bring us to Ms. Stead’s remarkable papal bull, published Friday, concerning Globe columnist Margaret Wente. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 26, 2011 at 11:30 AM - 13 Comments
Fareed Zakaria wonders if America would be better off with a parliament.
Remember, the political battle surrounding the debt ceiling is actually impossible in a parliamentary system because the executive controls the legislature. There could not be a public spectacle of the two branches of government squabbling and holding the country hostage.
If we’re in for another five years of this squabbling in the U.S., we are going to make presidential systems look pretty bad indeed.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM - 7 Comments
In light of the U.S. debt crisis, Fareed Zakaria compares the American system to parliamentary governance.
Some political scientists long hoped that American parties would become more ideologically pure and coherent, like European parties. They seem to have gotten their wish – and the result is abysmal.
Here’s why: America does not have a parliamentary system like Europe’s, in which one party takes control of all levers of political power – executive and legislative – enacts its agenda and then goes back to the voters. Power in the United States is shared by a set of institutions with overlapping authorities – Congress and the presidency. People have to cooperate for the system to work.
See previously: Debt and responsibility
By John Parisella - Friday, March 6, 2009 at 12:24 PM - 5 Comments
Stephen Harper surprised many people when he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria last Sunday that…
Stephen Harper surprised many people when he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria last Sunday that the Afghan insurgency would probably not be defeated. He did not say that it was an error to be in Afghanistan, nor that lives were being wasted in combat. He merely stated what most outside experts had already said and what was later repeated in an official government report issued this week. He was not fudging the facts nor conceding defeat. Rather, he was putting things in perspective.
Let us recall that the UN- and NATO-backed operation was launched after the tragic events of 9/11. Of course, the Taliban and their atrocious policies had been around since well before the twin towers fell, and no western nation was openly considering an invasion in the 1990s. Women were kept covered in burkas, deprived of fundamental human rights, and barred from attending school. Meanwhile, the Taliban government was allowing al Qaeda to flourish and plot acts of terrorism against America and its allies. We all knew that and nothing was being done. Only after America was attacked did a consensus emerge to overthrow the Taliban.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 2, 2009 at 1:51 AM - 8 Comments
Post, Star, CTV and CBC are all making prominent mention at this hour of the Prime Minister’s comments, broadcast on CNN today, that the Afghan insurgency cannot be defeated.
The significance of those comments aside, note that the Prime Minister was broadcast saying the exact same thing on the exact same American news network ten days ago.
(Granted, Ottawa was rather preoccupied that day. But then the Prime Minister’s observation was rebroadcast two days later as part of a full interview with Wolf Blitzer on Feb. 21.)
By Paul Wells - Monday, January 26, 2009 at 2:25 PM - 3 Comments
Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show on CNN: it’s really, really not Crossfire! This week’s edition was about Afghanistan. Guests include Rory Stewart, Steve Coll, occasional faux-Canadian Michael O’Hanlon, a potential challenger for the Afghan presidency, and Elián Gonzalez. Just kidding about that last one!