[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n yet another episode of spot the smug disingenuity, we find the Globe & Mail TV critic John Doyle wishing Stephen Harper well, then, next sentence, bashing him over the head on the way out as a “master of attack ads”. Hang on –this could be a rerun. It’s so hard to tell because every episode is almost the same!

John Doyle fares poorly

Based on this nastiness and several previous Doyle episodes I’ve seen, I remain extremely skeptical that Doyle cares a whit about Mr. Harper’s future —  Harper being a Conservative and all.

This episode opens with this cynical “farewell” to a Canadian Prime Minister:

So farewell then, Stephen Harper, once Our Glorious Leader and, once upon a time, known to the more cruel among us as the man who appeared to put his hair in the fridge at night.

Nice. So maybe it’s all a big joke to him. But nothing says funny like the liberal hypocrisy of commenting on a man’s looks and mocking him on it. Do that to his Hillary — and it’s suddenly all deadly serious misogyny. (But call Sarah Palin an Alaskan hillbilly, as he did, and that’s fine. It’s a confusing series.)

Then Doyle tries again to pretend to wish him well but then not. Next paragraph:

Farewell then, and let us consider the legacy. Attacks ads, mainly.

Really? That’s “mainly” the Harper legacy? Political ads that attack the Liberals Doyle adores? He might be taking this a tad personally. The legacy Doyle would describe as “nearly a quarter century of honorable service to Canada” if he were any random government worker, all boils down to “attack ads,” for conservative PM Harper, in his esteemed TV critic mind. No wonder TV critics can’t write history books or successfully run the country for a decade, or, say, for even five minutes.

At least Harper’s attack ads had a limited run. I first noticed John Doyle’s in 2004, and they’re still in reruns, over, and over again in almost every article he writes about anything conservative that pops up on his TV screen and ruins his day. 

Doyle has long been a hostile attack ad against anything conservative — be it a person (his newest target: Donald Trump of course); a business (Fox News Channel — hates ’em!); or a political party — Conservative, Republican (a recent column is cheerily entitled Hell looks an awful lot like the Republican convention). If something conservative is on TV, Doyle reflexively writes something negative and condescending about it, usually something including snarky remarks about the subjects’ lack of intellect, or their “racism” or “sexism.” Or as he describes Donald Trump in one of many multiple-insult-a-paloozas:

…an amateur, right-wing racist demagogue…

I think it’s like the liberal who keeps calling conservatives racist, not because they really think they are, but because the liberal thinks it shields them from being accused of being a racist. How could I be a racist if I’m calling you one?!

It goes on with John Doyle: Hockey’s falling TV ratings? Blame Harper! And Conservatism!

…Further, hockey has been oversold as an aspect of patriotism. The Conservative government of Stephen Harper attached itself to hockey as a way of presenting itself as benign and in touch with so-called “ordinary” Canadians. And the NHL went along with this.

The upshot is the younger demographic associating hockey with old age, conservatism and the past…

If this Harper theory really works, I hope Harper writes a book about the CBC!

Like the rest of the newsrooms in Canada, after constantly and increasingly hating on conservatives, Doyle then overtly blames conservatives for being hated by the liberal media — for example in today’s effort, describing the retiring Harper as “increasingly hostile to all reporters during his years as prime minister…”.

Golly I wonder where in tarnation any “hostility” toward the media could possibly have come from! What an arse!

I mentioned 2004 being the year I first noticed Doyle’s attacks on anything conservative: That was when he attacked Fox News Channel on the mere possibility of it being un-banned in Canada by the Liberals’ CRTC division. Example: Fox News. Not here yet, but already hilarious.” FNC’s Bill O’Reilly commented on-air about the Doyle hostility.  He had every right to after Doyle charmingly wrote of O’Reilly:

We’ll find out if this Bill O’Reilly fella is as stupendously pompous and preening as he appears to be in the rare clips we see of Fox News.

That “Bill O’Reilly fella” now has a legacy of being one of the most successful and enduring anchors, authors, documentary producers, and charity fundraisers in recent times. And there’s more TV facts sure to displease John Doyle: a full dozen years after the Doyle attacks against Fox News Channel started, FNC is by far the number one cable news channel in the U.S., often doubling CNN and MSNBC combined in viewership; and it is obviously still doing well enough in Canada to remain on air, despite Doyle’s laughter at the sheer prospect of it, and his useless attacks. I suppose he’s still laughing now, but it’s fake laughter. Oh come on it was then too.

So he might need to reflect a little longer on Stephen Harper’s actual legacy (and then keep it to himself because he’s a TV critic).

Meantime, in some circles (besides mine) Doyle and his paper aren’t faring very well at all after their long run. The website vice.com recently ran a (tongue-in-cheek) article ending with this lament:

There’s more to media in Canada than the Globe and Mail, and the Globe is fading away as the media that matters. John Doyle won’t stop the rot.

Ouch. Hoist by his own petard. Not a great John Doyle legacy-building slam there, and not really a fair comment (and possibly not even supposed to be taken seriously —  apparently I have no idea what “hilarious” is). Take the politics — and maybe the hockey —  off of John Doyle’s TV and he’s a fine enough TV critic. But if actual facts and serious stories about the trend of the dying newspaper industry are believed, we might soon be bidding a farewell of our own kind to John Doyle and all the other staff at the Globe & Mail.

Joel Johannesen
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