Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dear Chatelaine

Your July 2007 edition showed up at my place today. That's right. The edition that prompted this.

The piece by Sara Angel, At Home With The Harpers, seemed so much more... fluffy in the actual magazine starting on page 87. Maybe it was the advertisements. Or maybe it's just that glossy effect of the page and the size of the pictures.

Then, on page 93 is a piece by Sally Armstrong, The Krieber Factor. It wasn't fluffy at all. It was an "in your face" interview backed up the writer's perceptions and, yes, even an anonymous source criticizing the spouse of Stephane Dion.

Between them was a piece entitled First Wives Club, by Danielle Groen. Interestingly, that very same term, "First Wife" appeared in Angel's short, fluffy article on the Harpers at home.

Be advised, there is no such thing in this country as a First Lady, First Wife or First Family with respect to any political leader. That is a form used in republics. Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Your magazine has employed a term commonly employed in the United States to describe the spouse and family of that country's president.

We don't do that here.

Something else stands out. The overuse of the word "ordinary" attributed to Laureen Harper and the word "ordinariness" used by Angel in describing the Harper household.

Why didn't you just interview Sandra Buckler and get the over-repeated talking point right from the horse's mouth?

Let's be clear here. The articles were written by two different authors. Whether by assignment or by coincidence, the editor-in-chief approved the layout, the likes of which was intended to portray the spouse of Stephen Harper in soft terms, in contrast to a much tougher article, with unattributable sources on the spouse of Stephane Dion.

So, searching Chatelaine's masthead, what do I discover? The editor-in-chief is none other than... Sara Angel, (better known by her maiden-name, Sara Borins), author of the Harper piece.

I can recognize a political ambush when I see one.

So much for the legacy of Doris Anderson. There was a time when Chatelaine was a champion of the progressive feminist movement. Now, apparently, it's just an extension of MacLeans and a home for Reform/Alliance/Conservative shills.

Thankfully, Heather Mallick still writes the gutsy stuff which earned Chatelaine its once respected place in Canada's journalistic market. At least she survived the editorial staff blood-letting which saw the best and brightest of Chatelaine tossed out the door.

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