Blog by John Miller

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Missing the story

May 20th, 2017

Sometimes if you need to wander into a forest to look for something, you can't find it. But you’re often so busy looking, you miss something more important – like a hungry bear stealing up on your flank.

That’s what happened to one of my favourite journalism sites, J-Source. “Canada’s National Newspaper Awards have a diversity problem,” it announced recently, following an analysis of the Nat ...

A humble suggestion

May 13th, 2017

Since I wrote about the controversy over a columnist’s activism at my old newspaper, I have been criticized for betraying long-held standards of journalism that say editorial employees cannot be both actors and critics. Journalists, in other words, cannot allow their outside activities to taint the paper’s reputation for objectivity.

Desmond Cole resigned his twice-a-month column on the Toro ...

Wake up. It's 2017

May 13th, 2017

Sometimes, when you do something stunningly boneheaded, you can get away with it. More often, you do not.

So it doesn’t take a genius to know that, if you’re devoting an issue of your magazine to a celebration of Indigenous writers, you don’t take the opportunity to encourage more white people to write about those subjects.

I mean, as if we haven’t had enough of that!

Hal Niedzviecki paid t ...

Silenced!

May 4th, 2017

This is a tale of two columnists, and how they were treated very differently by Canada’s largest newspaper.

All they have in common is that neither is still writing there.

That loss, I say, is the reader’s.

Catherine Porter is white and a longtime staff writer who wrote a column on social justice issues -- climate change, international development, women's rights, poverty and community ac ...

The Desmond Cole rule

April 22nd, 2017

Shortly after his most controversial public appearance yet, Desmond Cole tweeted: “Have y'all noticed that when I speak my truth, I'm often described as an activist, but no longer as a journalist or author or radio host?”

Toronto media reports told how Cole, who writes for Torontoist online and the Toronto Star in print, disrupted a meeting of the Toronto Police Service Board this week by ra ...

Don't be objective

March 24th, 2017

In his fine new documentary All Governments Lie, Canadian producer Peter Raymont presents an indictment of mainstream journalism, which proved to be too complicit with government and power to warn us of calamities like the Vietnam war, the wars against Iraq, the banking collapse of 2008, and the ongoing war on terror, including weekly U.S.-directed drone strikes.

The documentary noted that, on ...

Dumb and dumber

January 16th, 2017

Scientist Carl Sagan once wrote: "There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question"

Unfortunately, journalists covering Donald Trump's first press conference as president-elect proved Sagan wrong. They asked a ton of dumb questions ...

Ezra in extremis

January 6th, 2017


Ezra Levant is to Canadian political dialogue what The Iron Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher once were to big-time wrestling.

A cartoon figure.

A hateful blowhard.

At least with big-time wrestling, you got the entertainment.

With Ezra, what you get are hate, lies, manipulated arguments, ill-advised stunts and his unshackled ego, none of which are entertaining, and much of which is just ...

Media culpa

November 9th, 2016

By one count, only 19 newspapers in the United States supported Donald Trump for the presidency.

The only one you ever heard of was the National Enquirer. All the rest were small papers with questionable influence, including The Crusader, official newspaper of the Ku Klux Klan.

So what did they know that the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times missed? Hillary Clinton w ...

Cure for "too white"

November 6th, 2016

Shree Paradkar sure knows how to launch a column.

The Toronto Star has chosen her to write a new weekly column on race and gender, and she courageously focused very close to home for her first one – on the unbearable whiteness of newsrooms, including her own. She even criticized her editor-in-chief for being wrong about how accurate such newsrooms can be when they write about other cultures. ...
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