12.16.2010 10:45 AM

Maclean’s does it again

The magazine says Canadian universities are “Too Asian.” Previously, it called all of Quebec “corrupt.”

This is turning into a pattern.

In both cases, politicians called for the magazine to apologize. (In respect of the Quebec mess, its parent company did apologize; in respect of the “Too Asian” headline, it has deleted that intolerant headline, and expressed hope that it caused “no offence.”)

Are you convinced?  (See that?  That’s a Maclean’s trick.  Say something really offensive, but follow it with a question mark.  That way, you get to say it, still, but you can hide behind the question mark if things get too hot.  To wit: IS MACLEAN’S RUN BY TOTAL IDIOTS?)

Anyway, getting politicians involved just turns it into a big free press thing, with predictable results.  Much shrieking and braying, etc. etc., nothing really achieved.

But if average citizens and community groups are upset – and with the “Too Asian” edition, they truly are – that’s something Maclean’s can’t so easily dismiss.  They need to carefully consider what is being said to and about them.  If nothing else, they need to think about what they are doing to their credibility.

Will they change course?  Who knows.  Rush Limbaugh is quite popular, I suppose, but I doubt there’s a soul alive who still considers him a journalist.


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    Tim says:

    I’m afraid Rush Limbaugh is a speaker of unvarnished truth to countless thousands of his followers and McLean’s is well aware how that works in the magazine business.

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    Tim Lemieux says:

    The Chinese Canadian National Council are ‘average citizens’? They sound more like yet another perpetually offended special interest group.

    I imagine real average citizens probably read both and thought a) hmm, the Quebec article is timely with all we’ve been hearing about corruption in Quebec’s construction industry and judge selection, and b) the ‘Too Asian’ article was probably was just stating the obvious: it seems more kids of Chinese descent are going to Toronto universities than ‘white’ kids. Like some columnist said the other day, the only people who should be offended from that article are white students, who come across as being more interested in partying than studying.

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    Peter says:


    I just clicked the link you gave for the too asian article http://www2.macleans.ca/tag/too-asian/ and it came back “not found” . It looks like there is an effort at damage control at Mcleans because of a back lash.

    I was offended by the use of Bonhomme for the cover on the issue that dealt with corruption in that province . Bonhomme is the mascot for the Quebec winter fair and I’m pretty sure he is not corrupt .

    I think it took away from the article . Symbols like Bonhomme should not be used in this way .

    Having said that , they couldn’t print enough copies of the issue .

    With so many sources of news and information everybody seems to be yelling louder and more extreme to get their share of the market .

    I guess the next step will be for people on the left to use examples like this as a reason why SUN media shouldn’t get a lic. for their news channel .

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      JH says:

      Peter – re the the yelling comment – what do you think journalism today is all about? Are you old enough to remember when we had real non-partisan journalists and commentators in this country? When we could depend on the media to give us the straight goods? Those days are gone. Those 400 media types in the US conspiring to get Obama elected were a perfect example of the media today. Never mind Rush Limbaugh, he’s only a clown, many of the folks engaged in this were mainstream press types.

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        Conservative Peter says:

        I agree with Jon Stewart who basically said that Glen Beck and Keith Olbermann were two sides of the same coin . I like to listen to Mike Huckabee’s podcast at work . He knows how to get his point across without being over the top . He’s a decent guy to who was against the war in Iraq .

        As far as Obama goes I think that the Democratic super majority was the worst thing that could’ve happened to him . A more balanced house and senate would’ve allowed him to work out compromise solutions with stuff like healthcare .

        Obama could’ve been the democratic equilivlent of Ronald Reagan had he started off by going after malpractice insurance costs and tort reform .

        These are two issues that republicans try to appear moderate on regarding health care reform .

        All of the lawyers who give to the democrats would’ve flipped and the average guy would’ve cheered him on .

        But instead he came to Washington with a mailing list of moveon.org Obamabots who he thought he could use to bully everybody in Washington including members of his own party .

        Now things have swung the other way and not much will get done for the next two years .Even George Soros was caught saying that it might be time to put money elsewhere .

        If Mike Huckabee runs and Sarah Palin doesn’t then I think he has a great shot .Mike Huckabee during a debate at the Ronald Reagan Libary said that money should be invested into infrastructure because for every billion dollars 40 000 man years of work are created .

        All of the Republicans and Democrats disagreed with him so some money went into unemployment benefit extensions but most went towards $600 stimulus checks to every house hold in America .

        People used the money to buy guitar hero and rock band for their kids and to pay off some credit card debt .The recession hit anyways .

        Mike Huckabee’s infrastructure plan would not have prevented the econmic crisis of the fall of 08 but those jobs would been created right at the worst of it .

        I hope Americans give the guy a fair shake and that Palin gives it a rest .

        Here is an interesting fact . Of the last 8 sitting presidents to go for re-election all 4 who faced challengers from their own party in the primary lost .

        Russ Feigngold gave a cryptic speech on election night when he suggested that he’d be back with something bigger in 2012.

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      Mr. Chamberlain says:

      Bonhomme is a stand up guy. He once helped push my car out of a snow bank. Just don’t ask if he’s related to the Michelin guy… that get will get you a puggie middle finger.

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    Cow says:

    I used to have a lot of respect for Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells, but they’ve spent the entire year trying to invent and increase the scandals the magazine has caused in order to get publicity. Paul Wells’s twitter feed has become an increasingly depressing place thanks to that.

    It reminds me of being 12 and trying to be edgy and different. At the time, I thought I knew everything. I grew up and out of that phase; it’s sad to see Macleans continuing to grow into it.

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    Riley Robertson says:

    Time to ask Macleans advertisers if they think Canadian universities are too Asian.

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      CEC says:

      That’s a great strategy!

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    Derek Pearce says:

    This was actually an interesting article and it explored racial stereotyping in a thoughtful way- but the header was bad-taste-provocative just for attention and that was lame and desperate-seeming. The Quebec article was in no way Quebec-bashing, it exposed what seems to be a genuine problem when it comes to the construction industry and politicians in that province. Again though, the head and the pull quotes were sensationalizing the issue, thereby undermining the journalism itself.

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      The Doctor says:

      I agree, Derek. The head and pull quotes were provocative, but the actual articles were fairly thoughtful and balanced. And I took a look at the comment thread on the “too Asian” thing, and it’s clear that a ton of those foaming-at-the-mouth commenters had either not read the actual article or had serious reading comprehension deficits.

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        JenS says:

        I tend to agree with Derek, too. They likely crossed the line from provocative to distasteful with the headlines, but beyond that, I don’t have an issue with the articles themselves.

        I do, however, take issue with governments demanding and receiving anything from the media. If there’s a need for apology to the general public, that’s one thing. But it’s simply not the government’s place to make demands regarding coverage, and it’s not the media’s place to cowtow to politicians.

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          The Doctor says:

          Absolutely. And when governments/politicians do this sort of thing (e.g., by some motherhood resolution passed in the house or legislature), it’s usually the worst sort of pandering to interest group pressure.

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            CEC says:

            It appears to me that politicians in government are the ones whos is pandering to Maclean’s by giving Rogers $10 million a year through the CPF and not the other way around. In this case, Rogers/Maclean’s is clearly the special interest group sucking taxpayers’ money throungh the CPF.
            Or is that entitlement, or giving back to Rogers for all that mega fundraising events?

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    Brad says:

    It could be worse, they could make the same statement about the illegal DVD market.

    Watch the news tonight.

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    Conservative Peter says:

    BTW : has anybody seen the orignal article posted anywhere else ? I still haven’t read it yet .

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    Stephen says:

    “Asian kids, meanwhile, say they are resented for taking the spots of white kids,” this quote was the most disturbing and depressing of all from the article. It is something I hear frequently. In my province, Nova Scotia, universities are struggling due to declining enrollment, shrinking population and insufficient public funding. What these racists and bigots do not realize is that without the differential fees paid by international students, many universities would be, now or in the near future, facing closure. How would that effect the number of seats available for “white kids”?

    The article asserted that, “The dilemma is this: Canadian institutions operate as pure meritocracies when it comes to admissions, and admirably so.” Given the level of revenue derived from differential fees, this assertion is laughable. Many international students are recruited by universities or shady recruitment agencies and dropped into universities with inadequate English abilities. Is this their fault? No, how can we blame someone for want to better themselves academically?

    International students can pay up to twice as much as domestic students and face language barriers, no wonder they work hard. Their efforts should be applauded. Even though I doubt it is something they are capable of, MacLean’s should be ashamed.

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    CQ says:

    I didn’t see this article as linked.
    I would like to mention that the former WB network once issued a small informal DVD series of 10 minute tours of approx. 50 universities (or colleges) from across the USA back in 2005. Near the end of each were displayed stats such as average yearly tuition, temperature range, urban vs. rural campus setting, local vs. out-of state students, food plans and residence set-ups etc. And also student population percentages by race.
    They listed Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American. While never broken out, it did come up through occasional and unsuspecting student replies that selected schools also held a prominent Jewish religious percentage.
    I thought during and after President Obama’s 2008 election win, there might become a capable and worthy era of racial discussions. Not shock headlines, baited auto-reactions, and cross-swipes.

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