Coyne toss

The longer-than-usual election campaign has been tough on the media. First the Globe and Mail endorsed the Conservative Party but not its leader, saying Stephen Harper should step down. The response to this risible position was both swift and satirical. “Hell but not Satan,” said one tweet. “Hilary’s pantsuit but not Hilary,” said another. “Duran, but not Duran,” went a third.

Equally grabbing, but a different form of foolishness, came today when Andrew Coyne resigned as editor of editorials and comment at the National Post. Seems he didn’t like the edict from the owners that the paper would be supporting Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. Coyne will stay on as a columnist. He made the announcement in a series of fifteen tweets over a two-minute period this morning. I guess that’s what passes for the equivalent these days of Charles Dickens publishing a chapter a week of Bleak House.

Everyone from Elizabeth May to Miss December rushed to congratulate him for the principled decision that he, as Coyne put it himself, “didn’t want to be seen endorsing or voting for” the Conservatives. All that was fine and upstanding but then he went on to announce that he would be voting for the NDP candidate in his riding.

Do principles just apply to him? What about readers of his column and viewers of his pronouncements on CBC’s turgid At Issue panel? Don’t we deserve at least the patina of objectivity? Sure, one assumes great analysts like Coyne actually vote, but we shouldn’t know who for. As we watch him grandstand tonight as part of the CBC election coverage we’ll know who he voted for and be able to gauge all his comments through that lens. If principles apply equally to all, the CBC should tell him not to come peddling his profundities any more. A tweet to that effect will suffice.

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