The Globe's curious man-love for Gregor

Post by Mike Klassen in


Newspapers are falling on hard times. Kevin O'Leary of CBC's Dragon's Den program claims they're dead men walking in a digital age. I hope he's wrong, however. We need good reportage from the MSM for the sake of our civil society.

good pecs
The Globe sexes up Gregor Robertson's image

Widely considered Canada's "best" newspaper, the Globe and Mail is fundamentally a Torontonian publication, but it makes an effort with a BC Edition, a 3-page thick assortment of articles relating to the country's third largest metropolitan region. It can be a great read most of the time, but even for a media-consuming glutton like me it's an afterthought when it comes to local coverage.

This weekend the Globe decided to blow out the doors with a feature profile about Vancouver's Mayor Gregor Robertson. It's oddly devoid of any criticism of the Mayor's performance in office, and reads a bit like a corporate brochure. I'm not sure if the Globe's readers are the last people in Metro Vancouver who haven't heard the Robertson story, but we get it all again in today's puff profile.

  1. Child of privilege raised in North Vancouver
  2. Mom remarried, lived in states with rich step-dad
  3. Went to US college, met Amy
  4. Bailed on med school, sailed to south Pacific
  5. Got exposed to toxic fertilizers, became an organic gardener
  6. Moved back to BC
  7. Met Joel Solomon on Cortes
  8. Political operative Mike Magee persuades him to run as NDP MLA
  9. Solomon and Magee scheme for Robertson's run for Vancouver mayor, Gregor moves here
  10. Gregor promises to end homelessness by 2015, and make Vancouver world's greenest city

What makes today's Globe piece is the sexxed up descriptions of Vancouver's farmboy mayor. Here are a few quotes:

"His brown hair slightly mussed, coloured by sprigs of grey, Mr. Robertson leads officials and reporters on the line's inaugural run. "Smooth," the smiling mayor comments, "a sweet ride."

He is perfect on camera: His good looks are described as "Hollywood movie star handsome"

Is it getting hot in here? Do I smell a hunka-hunka burning mayor? We even learn how the Mayor outfits himself:

...on a warm January day, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson tucks his grey suit pants into his blue dress socks, dons a helmet and sets off from his two-storey home near City Hall. in a business suit and bike helmet, never mind the regular rain, Mr. Robertson puts 80 kilometres a week on his two-decade-old mountain bike.

On arrival, there's not a bead of sweat on him.

Very "smooth" indeed. Then there is this quote, which suggests that he could play not one, but ALL the roles of the Village People:

From work as a cowboy in rural British Columbia and sailing the Pacific Ocean in a small boat, to starting an organic farm and then Happy Planet, Mr. Robertson is no standard-issue staid politician.

The writers both have significant experience as journalists, and Ian Bailey has done some great coverage in Vancouver. Why then, does it sound like they've never been to City Hall before?

"People complain and moan and groan about the inconvenience or the cost or the potential debts, and pressures on the city," Mr. Robertson said in an interview in his modest City Hall office. "We're getting through all that..."

There is only one "office" for the Mayor of Vancouver, and while it is not garrishly appointed, the 1200 square foot, wood-panelled room that overlooks downtown Vancouver is hardly modest.

This quote from the story also sounds a little detached from reality:

On homelessness, Mr. Robertson faced down middle-class residents' anger last year over emergency shelters. The city has opened additional facilities this winter to little protest.

Faced down middle-class residents? Is that what you call slinking in at midnight so the public won't see you is called?

The rest of the article is a collage of factoids about Robertson. He plays tuba, so they spend a few column inches on that topic. The always tactful Jimmy Pattison describes Robertson as "a good listener," which is a kind way to explain the blank expression.

The article's sidebar tries to make a comparison to other Olympic mayors, such as Montreal's Jean Drapeau or Calgary's Ralph Klein. The reality though is that there is no comparison to these two titans of Canadian politics and Gregor Robertson, and to make the connection is a stretch. A paper of the Globe's calibre should attempt to point this out to their readers.

- post by Mike


After I read the globe story I felt like I needed a cigarette. Or two. We all know the MSM is having a honeymoon with Gregor, but this was a bit much.

Where have the days of critical thinking and analysis gone in our major dailies? Are we left with this type of nonsense? No wonder I cancelled my subscription to the Mop and Pail, they've gone downhill in my opinion. They should be embarrassed with this type of so-called news coverage. Kudos to you for having the balls to take them on.

A puff story for a puff mayor.


And worse, the writers did not get the facts right.....there has NOT been an increase of cyclists on the Burrard Street Bridge as they state, and why would this bully Mayor be said to face down Middle class citizens? He held ONE meeting of a handpicked few with whom he eventually sought to discuss the issue...... , some of whom did not live in the area. Now he continues to ignore pleas of Hornby St merchants who will shortly go out of business due to his bad street planning. Funny how so many West End residents think his bragging about being "green" is laughable. Due to his particular agenda he ignores the cars that back up into the West End polluting the neighbourhood around the Burrard St Bridge. He does not care if he ruins small businesses, or diminish Vancouverites property values.It is time the media stopped looking through rose tinted glasses at this man. He has no imagination on how to ensure that city Icon, The Bloedel Conservatory remains. Honestly the man is incompetent.

The model in the photograph is Evan Wadley from Silver Model Management in NYC, one of our website clients. Evan is a great guy and amazing athlete, and even I'd have to say he's far too nice to be a politician!

Globe and Mail aka Stale and Lame.
Another bankruptcy wannabe periodical. Just wait and see. Keep'em coming boys, I'm always in need of litter box paper liner.
As for the above mentioned article, that will go as a fragrance catcher in my grandparents farm outhouse.

Sean, what a great connection!

Huh...obviously "you guys" arent supporters...but the "union loving mayor" who you consistenly state doesnt make any tough decisions or go against the unions is making tough guys just get too caught up in the slagging..which appears to more often than not have a jealous slight to it..Why dont you do a story on hte amount of positions cut in the past year....They have laid off and reduced many union positions in the City...Most recently a Fire Rescue Unit that protects the posh Kerrisdale Community is alledgedly being taken out of service reducing 10-12 positions of the dept...and reducing the daily manning by 2-4 persons and the Rescue truck... If you are so much more than the MSM why arent you reporting this type of info...Either A: cause it would go against your arguments about the Mayor/and the tough choices.. he does make in tough times.or B: THis type of news does not epitomize the type of reporting you want to get involved with...or C: you arent aware of it yet and it is soon to be a huge story broken by CC..
I usually pick "C" when unsure ....
I am not for or against this Mayor but I do appreciate the toughness of his job in these times and the hand he was dealt when taking office....lets report some hard facts....

Philip, thanks to your comment you've now helped to "report" all of these union job layoffs made by Mayor Gregor Robertson. Now, if we could only someone else to report it beside you that would be gratifying indeed.

One description of Mr. Robertson - the light is on but no ones home.

Good post. Sums up many of the same feelings I had when I read the article.

I think Gregor Robertson is a generally likable guy, and I'm sure he's sincere in his ambitions, even though I don't agree with his approach most of the time.

But that Globe story was all fluff, and rather disappointing from an otherwise respectable newspaper.

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