“Off the Rack” falls to cutting room floor

I love the sound of coincidence in the morning.

Last entry, I pointed out the irony of a writer in the Toronto Star implying bias on the part of the Economist magazine because it covered the news in a way that would please its main advertiser.

Samuel Becket put it best: “All life long, the same questions, the same answers.” The question we come back to again and again as we look at the commercial media is “who’s paying for this story?”

In the case of the Economist, it was Halliburton, and Alfred Holden of the Star noted how, along with the two page Halliburton ad was an interview with Halliburton CEO David Lesar.

In the case of the Star, it’s the automobile industry in general, and General Motors in particular. My response to Holden was to “Take a look at yourself.” I put the question to him both on these pages and in the form of a letter to the editor of the Star, cc’d to Holden. I received no response to either letter.

But this week, “Off the Rack,” Holden’s regular Sunday feature, has been yanked from its spot in the business pages (you can find it in the “Buzz” section, with the signature of Malene Arpe).

And elsewhere in the paper, we get “The End of the Dream,” by Chris Young, which offers itself as a lament on our lost dreams of a technofix dream car and winds into a panegyric on hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Ah yes. This has to be more in keeping with the ethos of GM and Ford, who were lovingly “car”essed (Hamish Wilson, sit down!) in the article, than Holden’s clear-eyed assessment of “journalistic objectivity” vis-a-vis the petroleum industry.

And it’s GM and Ford, after all, who pay for the news.

At least for now.

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