Kevin Michael Grace
Kevin Michael Grace
, whose financial position as the result of the collapse of Reports is awful, writes
“So what killed the Report? Editorial lassitude, managerial incompetence, the disastrous intervention of Kevin Avram, among other things. But it certainly wasn't dat ol' debbil "social conservatism." It was the singers, not the song. More on this soon.”
He also suggests that,
“MFAFC Jeremy Lott has made several incursions into the Report's cadaver but knows much more than he's been willing to say. MFsAFCs Kevin Steel and Colby Cosh know much, much more than they've been willing to say.”
From the outside the money line is actually,
“The best analysis was by my friend and former colleague Lorne Gunter, again in the Journal, today. (Sorry, no link.) Lorne chose to ignore the business side, but he is absolutely correct in his assertions that people of influence stopped reading the Report years ago and that they did so because of an utter collapse of editorial standards.”
Does that all hang together? The collapse of editorial standards can be laid at the feet of Link Byfield to a degree; but the lurch towards the farther reaches of the social conservative spectrum which seems to have been Link Byfield’s main contribution almost certainly drove those people of influence away.
Most purely editorial lapses are missed entirely by readers. Not all readers, but a majority. You do not lose 20,000 subscribers in four years only because the editor is either not doing or is not permitted to do his job. You lose them because you are out of touch with their priorities.
“Dat ol’ debbil social conservatism”, taken to an extreme and driven by a fundamentalist Christian agenda will drive people of influence off the subscriber rolls faster than you can say homophobia. Not because they may not agree with the positions; rather because they know the positions are not going to be accepted in the worlds in which they exercise their influence. And the way you stay influential is to avoid fight unwinable wars.
If social conservatism had a moment it ended somewhere in the mid 1990’s when the internet brought unlimited information, pornography and irony to even the most rural and fundamentalist of towns and homes. The bright lights of the big city were a click away. While the so-cons would argue that makes their message even more vital, no one was listening.
More to the point, not only was no one of any influence listening, they were embarrassed with the carrying on of the people who still didn’t realize their movement was over, their moment past. Their were important conservative issues which were being buried in the majority of the populations haste to inter the so-con agenda.
Stockwell Day and the Alliance could not be taken seriously by the vast majority of the population simply because they seemed unable to grasp that Evolution was true and that homosexuals and immigrants were people too. Because they were so far out of touch with the urban reality of Canada other issues which should have been addressed were lost.
Urban conservatives understand media and they understand the left bias in that media. So they work very hard trying to stick to issues which do not open them up to ridicule. Most, if not all, of the social conservative agenda, particularly if there is the hint that some or all of it is to be found in the Bible, is open to ridicule because the rest of the population has moved on.
In America this is much less the case. The Baptists and the fundies have real clout and, because Presidential elections are so close, they can use that clout to trumpet whichever verse of Leviticus happens to be sin of the month. While people of influence’s toes may curl listening to the Moral Majority and its ilk they dare not defy it. At least not on the right. But America is not Canada.
If there is to be another incarnation of Reports or a new magazine serious thought has to be given to where the social conservative issues fit into the editorial matrix. Tone and style are as important as the actual song sung. There is no reason at all there cannot be passionate debate about social issues; but it should be a debate between people rather than between the Godly and the Godless.