February 15, 2008

Last Kick at the Bucket for the National Post?

It has never been a secret that the National Post has played itself to the right-of-centre crowd, a group that isn't directly targeted by either The Toronto Star or The Globe and Mail; more so when Conrad Black was owner and less so with the Aspers now in control. All the while Canada's third-place national paper has been a losing venture with losses estimated to fall between $15 million and $60 million each year since its inception. There are likely several factors that have contributed to these losses despite having an apparent hold on a particular political spectrum. Particularly, the audience they want is already partially established with The G&M while the rest are established with papers from the Sun Media group.

And that is what may be the real explanation for the out reach to characters such as Shaidle and McMillan and giving them space for their nauseating brands of bigotry and twisted logic. The National Post has spent many years and lots of money failing to attract the right-of-centre crowds away from the established and better written G&M. Therefore, the NPs only option to right the ship, as it were, is to go after the other part of the same crowd, those who are enamored by the like of the Sun. Turning to Shaidle and McMillan is the perfect start since these two are willing to say anything to draw attention and attack anyone that is remotely to the left of their views.

I have my doubts the plan will work: - For far too long the NP has tried to reach out to establishment and the intellectual elites and in the process has alienated droves of ‘common’ people – the same people that are already established with the Sun-media papers. - Despite the Sun-chain being well-known for its right-wing stance and employing quacks of its own (i.e. Michael Coren), in recent years it has been employing columnists from across the spectrum (Sheila Copps, Syd Ryan, etc.) to broaden its appeal – likely from the understanding that their original target audience is considerably small. - A big part of the appeal of the Sun-media papers is their elaborate sports sections. In fact, I would argue that it is the largest appeal of the paper since on a daily basis there are typos found within the news sections but not within the sports. - The NP will never put a Sunshine Girl in their paper.

Where the NP may gain by courting the followers of Shaidle and McMillan is with the few, truly far-right group of Canadians. The type of people that reference and advocate lynching, shooting, mass killings, etc. of others that don’t share in their extremely narrow points of view which Shaidle and McMillan court everyday. One only has to glimpse at McMillan’s latest stunt where she demeans Holocaust survivors in order to ‘prank’ Warren Kinsella. Or take a look at the many supportive comments left at both Shaidle and McMillan’s sites or callous comments sent to others, to understand the people I'm referring to. These are people without logic, common sense, compassion or joy and are seemingly ready to blame and lash out at others at any given moment for lacking these traits. If this is where the NP is looking to go then I say by all means do it because it will be the last thing they'll be remembered for; the hiring and courting of racists and other bottom feeders.

The NP is seemingly taking its last kick at the proverbial bucket to stay afloat. Which it won’t be able to do. Hopefully, while it’s on its downward spiral into oblivion and obscurity it will give a fleeting wave to Shaidle and McMillan and the like who will also eventually follow in its path.

Allow me to provide my own insensitive addendum to this: There must be a punch line in here somewhere about the fate of the NP’s founder, Conrad Black, and his fortunes of late and hitting rock bottom and the NP itself spiraling downwards while hiring some of the lowest common denominator. Or maybe not...

Further Reading:
*A week of blogging demagogues at the National Post?
*The National Post just got more Toronto Sun-like.


j said...

Great analysis. If true, we can be thankful. A newspaper can't hope to survive by finding an audience with wing-nuts at the fringes of Canadian society.

Werner Patels said...

I am through with the NP.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)