Toronto Globe and Mail’s opportunity

I seem to focus on the Toronto Star in most of my screeds. This does not mean that Toronto’s Gob and Male does not merit attention.

To the Editor:

re: MacGregor’s column March 23 2005:

MacGregor makes hay with the just-released statistics showing car salespeople and politicians neck-and-neck in a race for the bottom regarding their perceived trustworthiness. He writes at length about the used-car lot’s lot, but I think he misses the point.

Fact is, car salespeople, just like any sales profession, fall into a wide spectrum that ranges from the huckster in the corner lot to the shyster in the plateglass showroom, but it doesn’t stop there.

Car salespeople rely above all on advertising. It’s their main tool to call their “marks” onto the killing field.

Car advertising is the real sacred cow of this discourse. Advertising a product that kills tens of thousands of people in North America every year (and sickens or injures hundreds of thousands more), without any disclaimer about its safety, its effects on urban sprawl and the loss of biodiversity, its encouragement of war and instability in lands that have oil, and the real experience it offers (e.g. stuck in car-clogs, looking for parking spots, paying for insurance), can never do anything to improve the perceived trustworthiness of the car salesperson.

MacGregor mentions that journalists are themselves half-way down the trustworthiness chart, without really wondering why.

I have a thought. Maybe it’s because at the end of the day most of your readers know you are beholden to your advertisers. And the sleaziest advertisements of all, the one that promises the most and delivers the least, is that for the automobile. Journalists are part of that food-chain.

How do you rid yourselves of this problem? Join the growing international call for a moratorium on car advertisements. Just as has happened with smoking and firearms, the advertisment of cars will come to be outlawed.

The Globe and Mail should be at the vanguard of that progressive movement.

Yours Truly,

Jacob Allderdice

One Response to “Toronto Globe and Mail’s opportunity”


    Well the Globe and Mail's letters page wasn't interested, but Roy MacGregor himself wroted back (somewhat cryptically) as follows:

    "I will, of course, search for it daily in the upcoming week!

    "(Seriously -- thank you for writing. I've often said that if you compared SARS to car accidents over the same period, you'd have to wonder why we fully accept the one unbelievable horror and refuse to
    accept the much smaller, understandable tragedy.)

    "Roy MacGregor"

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