11 January 2010

The Globe dispatches Murphy to the Post

Some years ago, when I first started reading The Globe and Mail, the paper had two columnists—Terence Corcoran and Spider Robinson—who tediously insisted that cigarette smoking didn't cause cancer. Both eventually disappeared from the pages of the Globe, Corcoran moving on to the National Post, a much more congenial home for his reactionary views.

Recently, there have been two columnists in the Globe manifesting a similar denial about global warming—Margaret Wente and Rex Murphy. In Saturday's edition, Murphy was absent from his usual prominent place on the op-ed page. And where had he gone? The National Post of course. No doubt he too will feel much more at home. A treat for Globe readers was to find Murphy replaced, at least for last Saturday, by Doug Saunders, one of the Globe's best and most perceptive journalists. Let's hope this becomes a tradition.

I have no particular quarrel with writers such as Wente and Murphy. They get paid for being contrarian, for provoking liberals, so they are just doing their job. If progressive thinkers say one and one is two, their task is to say it's three. But Wente and Murphy have been getting far more column-inches in the Globe to write nonsense about global warming than scientists, i.e. people who actually know what they're talking about. This perversion of debate about the most important issue facing us is not healthy journalism. Perhaps the Globe has finally realized that and has decided to behave more responsibly, just as it did with cigarette smoking.

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