Blog by John Miller

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Caricature assassination?

October 1st, 2018

Bruce Mackinnon and Duncan Macpherson share the distinction of being two of the best editorial cartoonists in Canadian history. MacKinnon, who still draws for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, has won seven National Newspaper Awards, and Macpherson, who died in 1993, won six for his excellent work for the Toronto Star.

Although much of their work depicts politicians and others in the public eye ...

Art of the denial

September 7th, 2018

Mike Pence didn't write it. If he did, his office said, he'd want a byline. 

It wasn’t Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, either.

It wasn’t anything Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, did and he has no idea who did.

Nor was it  Defence Secretary James Mattis, even though his nickname is Mad Dog.

It wasn’t Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of homeland security. Nor Mick Mulvaney, di ...

The Timson rule

September 6th, 2018

For many years I was a senior editor of Canada’s largest newspaper, and my direct boss was a legendary newsman named Ray Timson.

He drove himself to be the best as a reporter, and he drove the Toronto Star to be the best as its longtime managing editor. He personified Holy Joe Atkinson’s credo for covering the news: "Get it first; sew it up; pursue every detail; and play it big."

You can st ...

The real fake news

August 23rd, 2018

Besides seeking the truth and verifying it, the most important function of journalism is independence.

Journalists must maintain an independence from those they cover. Why? Because freedom of the press, which is guaranteed in the U.S. and Canadian constitutions, exists primarily so that journalists can serve as independent monitors of power. Their scrutiny ensures that our leaders are always ...

Purveyor of fear

July 27th, 2018

Truth is a fragile commodity, especially when our perceptions get clouded by strong emotions.

A good example is the fear and anger that most Torontonians felt last Sunday night when we learned that a lone gunman had shot his way along the bustling Danforth, killing two and critically injuring more than a dozen others.

Many of us traditionally turn to journalism to sort out the truth of imp ...

Road to oblivion

December 2nd, 2017

When the history of Canadian newspapers (or, more likely, their obituary) is written, this may go down as the week we heard the first death rattles.

It started with the largest mass closure of newspapers in Canada’s history. Staff at 11 Ontario community newspapers and two free dailies in Toronto and Vancouver arrived for work Monday morning to find the doors locked. Their jobs were gone jus ...

Step up to plate

October 28th, 2017
The Toronto Star welcomed news that a majority of its city's population now identifies as non-white by issuing a challenge to what it called the leading civic institutions: It's time to step up to the plate and reflect this diversity.

In an editorial, the paper said "there's still a yawning gap between Toronto's demographic reality and the makeup of its leadership in almost all sectors -- ...

Fight the right

August 15th, 2017

After Charlottesville, Ezra Levant sounds like a man who long ago jumped into shark-infested waters, and is only now starting to complain about the swimming conditions.

His far-right Rebel Media website is under fire for celebrating and catering to the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who fomented violence and death on the streets of the Virginia city last weekend. It is a charge Levant trie ...

This ship of fools

August 4th, 2017

“Do you need a break from Liberals and socialists?”

That’s what Rebel Media, Canada’s poor cousin of right-wing Breitbart News, is currently advertising on its website – a week-long November getaway to the Caribbean aboard a luxurious cruise ship.
The catch? You have to spend most of your seven days hanging out with Rebel Media’s loonie bin of right-wing commentators.

Imagine yourself r ...

A terrible idea

June 19th, 2017
Once upon a time, any possibility of the government intruding in the affairs of Canada’s newspapers elicited great caterwauls of protest from righteous publishers, who feared the alien hand touching their hems might be about to make a grab for their virginity.

That’s no longer true. Now publishers have their hands out and are shaking their booties.

The sluts! Things are so bad they want gov ...
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