Withdrawal from commentary at the Globe and Mail

I have decided somewhat reluctantly to cease commentary at the Globe and Mail newspaper and online. That might bring some joy to the opponents who have argued with me for years but I’m fed up with them and with the G&M “moderation”.

I have seen innocuous comments of mine censored while vile and offensive personal attacks against me have survived.

I joined the Globe and Mail  Catalysts program in the hope of getting some objectivity into commentary. Management have been unresponsive to my observations that moderation there is often capricious (especially on weekends), gives no warning of impending censorship, no justification, no rationale, no notification, no audit trail, no appeal. Management has been silent to my complaints so I’m leaving.

BTW their science reporting sucks.

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5 Responses to Withdrawal from commentary at the Globe and Mail

  1. George Ennis says:

    I understand your decision completely. For all intents and purposes there is no moderation at the Globe and Mail. As for reporting on the climate science it does not appear that they have any science journalists let alone anyone who has taken the time to understand the climate change.

    There is this idea that has taken hold that a journalists must always present two side to the story and that both must be given equal consideration, time and respect by the media. This has contributed to the growing scientific illiteracy and ignorance in such areas as medicine (particularly the effectiveness of vaccines) and climate change.

    Many of the people who comment in the globe and mail struggle to understand what is even the difference between weather and climate, what is meant by anomalies, distribution risk curves, etc. It is in most cases impossible to have any kind of intelligent informed discussion.

  2. David Wilson says:

    I am sorry to hear this … your comments on Globe articles have been a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel and will be missed, by me at least, and I doubt I am the only one,

    be well.

  3. David Wilson says:

    glad to see you have somehow made it easier to comment here – so there is some sort of balance at least 🙂

    another blog with some (to me) good information and civilized discussion is Andrew Leach’s ‘Rescuing the Frog’

  4. Alan Burke says:

    The lack of response by management is particularly galling given a recent demonstration of incompetence. I had used the online commentary ability to send an email with links to a manager who should have known about the ability to do so by clicking on the little envelope to the right of the text area. Here are parts of the conversation:

    1. Hi Alan,

    Did you send this e-mail to me?


    —–Original Message—–
    From: community@globeandmail.com [mailto:community@globeandmail.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 7:58 AM
    To: xxxxxxxxx
    Subject: Capricious and unfair censorship

    As usual, your “moderation” is capricious, inconsistent and unfair.

    Article Title: Extreme weather getting worse – and climate change to blame, studies say Link to Article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/science/extreme-weather-getting-worse—and-climate-change-to-blame-studies-say/article1910066/
    Link to Comment: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/science/extreme-weather-getting-worse—and-climate-change-to-blame-studies-say/article1910066/comments/?plckFindCommentKey=CommentKey:deffadb2-4f90-45e5-9eee-943fe12cbf97

    My comment at 12:34 AM was censored without justification. I thanked SoundOff for his support and suggested that he visit my website at https://climateinsight.wordpress.com I did not violate any commentary standards – pointing to that site in no way could be construed to be advertising because it is entirely self-funded by me, I gain no financial benefit from it, it contains no advertising, I have no vested interest and it is a repository of objective and reputable scientific studies and policy documents. My purpose in referring to it is to allow readers to form their own opinions on the basis of objectivity rather than the too frequent unsubstantiated material usually posted here by contrarians and denialists. Why should my website be subjected to such censorship when no such action is taken in references, for example, to WattsUpWithThat which is loaded with advertising and propaganda. At least I am open in divulging my interests and identity, unlike my critics here who usually hide behind pseudonymity to make unjustified, inflammatory and often libelous comments about me and my website. I end up being censored while comments like this remain intact in spite of being reported as clearly abusive: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/adam-radwanski/ontarians-pay-price-for-liberals-backfiring-green-energy-plans/article1912364/comments/?plckFindCommentKey=CommentKey:dab5f021-b7ca-4d85-97db-bbbffa13086e “Building, Alan’s use of recreational drugs leaves him poorly equipped to deal with the realities of our world!” “Moderation” here is in need of a deep overhaul.

    2.In response to my admission that I had sent the message I got: Is there a reason you’re disguising your e-mail as community@globeandmail.com ?

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Alan P. Burke (Home) [mailto:alan.p.burke@rogers.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:18 PM
    To: xxxxxxxxx
    Subject: Re: FW: Capricious and unfair censorship

    Yes, I did.

    I responded “That’s how it’s stamped when sent directly from the commentary at G&M by clicking on the little envelope on the right hand side. No disguise was intended. “. The silence has been deafening especially coming from a manager directly involved in online commentary.

  5. Hi Alan,

    I too am increasingly dismayed by the “community standards” at the G+M and share your concern about the weekend moderator(s) there. In particular, it seems there is a new policy of erasing posting history, which is arbitrarily exercised. I have found comments in my profile there erased on a few ocassions over the past couple of months, while a cursory examination of other posters (among those keeping their profile accessible) shows that they have not been touched: eg. “mememine69” and “political junkie” posts from 2009 are still in their respective comments files.

    Currently, mine seem to be culled on a weekly basis.

    I appreciate that your past role as a Catalyst there has involved you in some discussions regarding community standards, and I believe I am justified in complaining to the management (who may or may not be sympathetic with me on political grounds). It is very troubling to see a media organ which claims to serve as the leading (print media) platform for public discourse in Canada, evidently engaged in the active suppression of its contributors, according to the whims of some back-room operative with a grudge.

    I have forwarded a link of this blog thread to a facebook group I have just “liked” called “Boycott the Globe and Mail”


    … although I must say the proliferation of ignorance which remains in G+M commentary is very difficult to ignore at the best of times. Especially regarding issues as important as climate policy.

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