Tuesday, August 17, 2010

it's tough to be an editor

Some editors, depending on t he size of the newspaper, have to punch out an editorial every day. Nobody can possibly know enough to have something original to say for some 300 days a year. As a result, many editorials are terribly ill-informed.

Remember when the Liberals,NDP and Bloc were threatening to form a coalition to defeat the Harper government? A Moncton Times editor fumed that this was unconstitutional behaviour. Anybody who could say that obviously knows nothing about our system of government at all. There is nothing illegal or even questionable about forming a coalition. The Conservatives did it for the election of 1917. Perfectly correct behaviour.

But I want to sort of offer a compliment to the Moncton Times. Editors often don't know what they're talking about. Nor is there any reason to belief they could After all, why should a person whose job is setting up a  newspaper be an authority as well on military  afairs, foreign diplomacy, provincial government, economic theory, health needs, education...and on?

But, in my time here, I have never seen the Moncton Times (or most papers) descend to vulgar sneers and innuendo. That distinction today (August 17) went the The Toronto Globe. The editorial was headed "Why Tests Matter". It was about standardized testing, school ranking, and teacher opposition to both.

It was clear from the first sentence that the editor knew squat about education. It was also clear he was avoiding any mention of who was behind the move to standardize tesing in Ontario schools - the Fraser Institute - an organization to help along businesses that are feeling especially greedy.

But what was really disurbing about it was a cheap shot, a vulgar sneer at the teachers. They were protesting, said the editor, because they were against high standards. (Even if that were true - and it almost certainly  is not true - there is no way the editor could have known that about thousands of people.)

Oh, you will also find a report in the same copy on the teacher protest. It's as prejudiced and unprofessional as the editorial.  Though suppedly reporting on the protest, almost half of it is dedicated to the arguments of the Fraser Institute.

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