Being for the benefit of Mr. Wells


My colleague wonders whether, having spent my entire career attacking subsidies of one sort or another — subsidies to transport, subsidies to finance, subsidies to farmers and fishing and mining and manufacturing and everything in between, and in particular subsidies to the cultural industries, including film, broadcasting, books and magazines — I might nonetheless make a mockery of everything I’ve ever written, not to say a total hypocrite of myself, by secretly preferring that Maclean’s, alone, should be subsidized. He feels there may be some doubt whether I support a special exception from the general principle for the company that pays my salary. He wonders how “in good conscience” I could fail to clear this up, as “nobody should have to guess.”

Grateful as I am for his concern for my conscience, I think I’ll leave him guessing.

Filed under:

Being for the benefit of Mr. Wells

  1. Coyne, you truly are a mensch.

  2. Is this about not wanting to fund jazz?

  3. I'm on Coyne's side of this debate. I think he's been absolutely clear on his position. I also watched him co-host the Lang and O'Leary exchange and hope someone gives him his own business show. The guy knows his stuff, and he speaks it with honesty.

  4. But Andrew, it goes deeper than this. You've never had a real job in your entire life. Not one that was valued according to the market principles you demand everyone else live by, in any case.

    Like everyone in your class, you're a parasite.

    • Yes, professional writing has no element of the labour market whatsoever. All those years at the National Post and Maclean's and becoming a respected enough pundit that the CBC dared to put him on the same screen as Chantal Hebert and count on him to hold his own? He didn't actually have to apply for those jobs and he certainly didn't have to do anything to earn or keep them. They were given to him as part of the government's "Get Andrew Coyne As Much Media Exposure As Possible" program.

      It's the same reason beginning writers find it so easy to break into the business with prestigious assignments and high-profile by-lines in major publications. No market elements at all.

    • WTH are you talking about? Macleans still gots ta sell issues son

  5. To add: You haven't even authored a book, as far as I know.

    • I'm pretty sure he doesn't eat enough fruits and vegetables.

      Gotta go, just realized I need to start writing a book.

  6. Coyne is a Class Warrior! who hates horses, but loves cheap labour!! LOL

    • and Coyne's hatred of horses shows the validity the march of history

      • Too bad he doesn't understand the affront of the GG (Canada's offficial leader) to true Liberals (currently voting Conservative)

  7. Can't wait for the next instalment of Coyne vs. Wells: Smackdown Edition!

    • Once this gets stale, would introducing a 3rd element freshen things up?
      Coyne VS Wells VS _______ ?
      What a twist!The question is – who would be the perfect writer for this triangle?

      • Good idea. To liven things up, we should probably pick a name from the list of Canadian pundits who have been smacked down publicly by Wells in the last six months.

        Off the top of my head, we have:

        Christie Blatchford
        Angelo Persichilli
        Johnathan Kay
        Norman Spector
        Kelly McParland

        I'm sure there are others, so if you can think of suitable candidates, I'll add them.

        • Didn't Feschuk already do this? I couldn't find the link, but "Steyn versus everyone: four hours of angry" had me giggling for days.

          • The reality is – anyone outside of the Maclean's family is more "fantasy" battles.
            I think Feschuk could possibly be the ideal 3rd.
            He would offer, as he already does, his comical spin on the ongoing battle.
            Problem is – how would Wells and Coyne get back at him?
            Would they team up or tag team against the Comedian?
            Would they try to out joke him?

        • Hmmmmm – whom out the 5 do you think would prove to be the more formidable adversary?
          Who has the most wit and snark, yet can bring something new to the table?

      • Coyne vs Wells vs Naomi Klein

        • Hmmmmmm – Has Klein ever faced off against either?
          I'm trying to picture how her style would fit in.
          She'd certainly bring in a differing range of perspective.

      • What about Jack Mitchell? No, he doesn't employ me.

    • What a pity WrestleMania was last weekend.

  8. Whoooo Hooooo – it's beat up on Andrew time! Can I play?

    And…he's cute too!

  9. BLet it be remembered that MacLeans' is the recipient of a considerable chunk of publications funding.

    • Who isn't?

      • Horse-Canada, for one.

  10. I rather like the proposed "Get Andrew Coyne As Much Media Exposure As Possible Program" (GACAMMEAPP, the easy to remember acronym). The only question is where I write my proposed email suggestion. To "Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity"? "Career Transition Assistance Initiative"? "Cultural Spaces Canada"? "Magazines and Community Newspapers"? "Moving Financial Literacy Forward"? "Moving Forward with Public Private Partnerships"? "National Arts Training Contribution Program"? "Targeted Initiative for Older Workers" (sorry)? "Work Sharing"? "Canada Small Business Financing Program"? "Canadian Television Fund and Canada New Media Fund"?

    For myself, as I like Coyne but think he's sometimes thick as a plank, and the proposed programme is all about exposure, I'd suggest "Large-Scale Wood Demonstration Projects in Targeted Offshore Markets". GACAMMEAPP could be a sub-program, where we wheel Coyne out abroad, to promote Canadian punditry in vital, targeted, export markets.

    Anyone with a better suggestion is welcome to consult the list, from Canada's Conservative Govt, "taking real action and delivering real results for Canadian families – getting things done, for all of us", as they so modestly and truthfully claim:

    • "Targeted Initiative for Older Workers"

      That one.

  11. And I note that you're so classy you post anonymously. Coyne puts his thoughts out there for people to like or not like and he does so daily. He has made a pretty damn fine living off of this, so I think you've got zero credibility here to call anyone a parasite, let alone Coyne.

    • Nice distraction. but the fact remains that Coyne has been one of the greatest promoters of the principle that value should be determined by the market…despite being entirely shielded from market principles his entire career. Worse, he's been a vocal critique of anyone who makes a living in a similar fashion.

      Glass houses, my friend. Glass houses.

      I happen to support, in theory, the very neoliberall belief that something has no extrinsic value other than what other people are willing to exchange for it. I don't make a living saying that, however.

      • I often peruse this site, and find it ridiculous that people hide behind avatar names and then trash the people who write these blogs. You don't even have the courage of your convictions and you complain that Coyne hasn't even written a book? What have you done? Your accusations are hollow.

        Also, Coyne is not shielded from market principles. If his commentary doesn't sell, he's out of a job. If there is no demand for the services of Coyne, he doesn't get hired. Do you understand that? No demand equals no paycheck. Yet here Coyne stands, as popular as ever. And here you stand, commenting on his blog because you read it. Obviously, you are part of that demand. How do you like them apples?

        • Unless someone is claiming certain expertise or knowledge gleaned from their RL identity, it makes no difference to me if someone chooses to post anonymously. Everyone is just typing a baseline opinion, a "joe average", if you will. I give no extra weight to your blog post because you type what very well may be a real name on it.

          • Bingo.

            I don't really think MacLean's Regular (note the intentional irony in the spelling of "Macleans") is any less credible than his real-life alter-ego, a gentleman commonly known as "Tiggy".

          • I haven't the foggiest idea what you're talking about.

          • Who the heck is Tiggy? Trudeau + Iggy merged together into some evil zord?

        • "I often peruse this site, and find it ridiculous that people hide behind avatar names and then trash the people who write these blogs."

          Andrew Coyne's mom, is that you?

          Also, Coyne is not shielded from market principles. If his commentary doesn't sell, he's out of a job.

          He worked for years at the money-losing National Post. And now he works at Malceans. Who knows if it's a loss-leader for Rogers or not.

          Those aren't market principles.

          How do you like them apples?

          I like them fine. I don't have to pay for them, after all.

  12. Mom? Is that you?

    • No. I'm one of Helena Guergis's staffers. For the right price, I'll "update" your Wikipedia entry.

    • As the battle ensues, don't forget to mention that you are not afraid to mingle with the plebs!

    • Nice one. Hey AC, isn't the internet awesome?

    • Interesting to know what Macleans Regular calls a real job and, would he prefer Mr. Coyne on welfare?

      • The newpaper industry was/is protected from competition and subsidized by Ottawa.
        The magazine industry was/is protected from competition and subsidized by Ottawa.
        The telecommication service industry was/is protected from competition and subsidized by Ottawa.

        Rogers is one of the most government-coddled corporations in Canada, damaging our productivity and consumers with sky high wireless and cable rates. Every industry Rogers is in is either directly subsidized, protected from foreign competition, or a government-enforced monopoly.

    • ROFL! now that is funny Andrew : you get a political pundit cookie from me man. I haven't laughed that hard in quite some time. We must have similar types of mothers!

  13. So….. Is the Maclean's subsidy awesome or what?

  14. Oh no he di'n't

  15. My favourite is when Coyne says he's subsidizing the CBC more than the average taxpayer because he appears on it for "less than market rates". It's the most mysterious definition of a subsidy and a market I've ever seen. Coyne, you get paid more than the market would pay you for your appearances on CBC and your work at Macleans. That';s what a subsidy does. If you think you're paid your market value, return the full Macleans subsidy from your own pocket (or whatever fraction of it you earn) and go to the market to replace the revenue.

  16. Curious to know if the shareholders of Rogers have a blog so we can find out what their views are on subsidies to the magazine and media industries, such as MacLean's.

  17. Does anyone else around here think that Coyne's being a hypocrite or not has absolutely nothing to do with the issue of magazine subsidies?

    • I really hope it does have something to do with magazine subsidies. Otherwise it is about Andrew Coyne's feelings about people who like horses (i.e., subsidies to MacLean's – good; subsidies to Horse Canada -bad).

      • I meant to imply that Andrew Coyne's personal integrity is not the point at all, that his argument against subsidies is the point, and that it is cheap and lazy to turn it into an argument about Coyne's integrity (about which I don't care) instead of magazine subsidies (about which I do).

        In any case, I agree with Andrew, whether or not he agrees with himself.

        • Maybe he's a closet Liberal and just assumes he's entitled to his entitlements? The shoe does seem to fit….maybe (since it's Good Friday) he should consider casting the beam from his own eye before criticizing the mote in others…

  18. Probably not.

  19. It is not hypocritical to oppose subsidies and accept them at all. Lets put forth an extreme example – if I lived in the Soviet Union, but opposed Communism, would it be hypocritical for me to accept the [rotten and inefficiently produced] fruits of communism? Or should I starve on principle? All of our tax dollars – including Andrew's – go to these subsidies. To rescind one's own subsidies would hardly make a difference (nobody would notice) – now Andrew would be subsidizing everybody else (with his tax dollars) but not even getting the scraps from redistribution. If we get rid of subsidies of some type, we need to do it through consistent principles applied across the board.

    • Would you work for the Politbureau, or Pravda, or Izvestia while holding your nose?

  20. For the benefit of Mr. Geddes as well, no? And every tax-loving Mac blogger, too?

  21. "I meant to imply that Andrew Coyne's personal integrity is not the point at all, that his argument against subsidies is the point, and that it is cheap and lazy to turn it into an argument about Coyne's integrity (about which I don't care) instead of magazine subsidies (about which I do). "

    What an incredible statement this is!

    Coyne's Horse-Something write-up was in fact a very unbalanced piece of writing. Precisely because he did not include an overview of subsidies recieved generally, the write-up attacked on magazine which recieves subsidies. It's a pick-and-choose attitude of the highest order.

    Coyne's personal integrity IS the point! It is cheap AND lazy to scribble down such contents as could be read within Horse-Something, without putting things into context.

    If we no longer care about a writer's integrity, than what's there to read about? Might as well let them play the game of "Pin the tail onto the Donkey". I believe it's played by being blindfolded!

  22. I believe Coyne (and others) have slowly fallen into the trap of "gotcha" reporting, whereby the writer in question is much more concerned about dishing out the scoop than getting to the bottom of things.

    Unless, of course, getting to the bottom of things now means getting the writer's image into the spotlight, instead of sorting out the state of our democracy. It is, after all, just a matter of putting things into perspective. And as of late, I haven't noticed Coyne's perspective to be in regards to balancing his overviews.