The Globe & Mail’s evidently terminal decline has accelerated to the point where it can now practically be measured by the day. It’s not just that they’ve abandoned the integrity of the free press for unflinching support of the government, even to the point of printing editorials defending the Cabinet from the Ethics Commissioner. It’s not just that they permit confirmed plagiarists to remain on staff as high-profile columnists — that one’s recent output, incidentally, includes some real quality hard-hitting pieces, like how firefighters are mostly unnecessary because most calls are false alarms.
Last week, the Globe’s public editor Sylvia Stead, the one who printed a shameless and inexcusable defence of her plagiarizing colleague last fall, published a pair of doozies of her own. The first made what was arguably a far bigger deal than was remotely justified over the fact that the Globe’s “new corrections policy” had swung into action immediately after the paper printed a statement that the Toronto Maple Leafs will not have any Thursday games in 2013 — a statement which turns out to be as baseless as it is uninteresting. The same corrections policy has already swung into action to correct some of Wente’s latest gaffes, but not, noticeably, all of them, even in that one article. Wente has such a prodigious error rate that she really should have her own dedicated fact-checker, which, obviously, the Globe cannot afford.
Stead wasn’t done there, though. On Thursday, she followed that up with a remarkably fatuous proclamation that “journalism is alive and well” on the grounds that a small, well-outside-the-mainstream American web outlet — not, notably, the Globe itself — has proven that a star college football player lied to the media about having a terminally ill girlfriend. “It shows great investigative journalism can be done,” Stead babbled happily, apparently completely oblivious to the obvious lack of any such “great” work going on at her own organization.
Until Tuesday, anyhow. On Tuesday, Brad Wheeler graced the Globe with a review of the sensational proof that — wait for it! — a singer at Obama’s inauguration ceremony lip-synched her way through the American anthem, using a pre-recorded track to prevent the possibility of any embarrassing glitches.
The Globe is hardly the only news outlet to get excited about this pointless, boring, and hopelessly irrelevant “scoop,” but I’m sure this was exactly the sort of thing that Stead had in mind when she called on her colleagues to get back to the basics of sound investigative journalism. Election fraud, assassination programs, torture of alleged terrorists… and lip-synching singers. Finally the journalists are getting their priorities straight!
Here’s what Wheeler offers as the Marines Band’s rather pathetic excuse for the matter:
According to a representative with the United States Marine Band, the superstar singer decided at the last minute to mime to a vocal track she’d taped earlier. “All music is pre-recorded for the ceremony because there are so many eventualities and conditions that day,” Kristin DuBois, a rep for the band told the N.Y. Post. “We performed, live, the band. But we received last-minute word that Beyonce was going to use the pre-recorded vocal track. Those were the instructions we were given. We don’t know what the reason why.”
Speaking of the New York Post, here’s how they wrote the paragraph in question:
A rep for the United States Marine Band revealed that she decided to perform to a pre-recorded track at the last minute. “All music is pre-recorded for the ceremony because there are so many eventualities and conditions that day,” Kristin DuBois, a rep for the band tells Page Six. “We performed, live, the band. But we received last-minute word that Beyonce was going to use the pre-recorded vocal track. Those were the instructions we were given. We don’t know what the (sic) reason why.”
Many commenters ask why I still bother criticizing the Globe. The reason is because, in spite of myself, I still believe they are redeemable. And unless the Toronto Star takes over the national news scene, which judging by both relative quality and circulation figures isn’t nearly as crazy as it sounds, the Globe has to be redeemable. The National Post and the Toronto Sun certainly can’t be trusted to take its place. Thinking I could find a paranoid commenter blaming the whole thing on the liberal media and use that to make these papers look silly, I headed over to their versions of the Beyonce “scoop.”
I didn’t find what I was hoping for, I have to say. Still, the Sun’s loyal readership didn’t let me down: