Mills No Martyr for Press Freedom. (Offensive Lines)

By Smith, Doug | Canadian Dimension, September-October 2002 | Go to article overview

Mills No Martyr for Press Freedom. (Offensive Lines)


Smith, Doug, Canadian Dimension


Over the summer former Ottawa Citizen publisher Russell Mills was being heralded as one of the great defenders of freedom of the press for standing up to the Asper family in a conflict over the paper's editorial policy. It appears the Aspers and Mills came to a parting of the ways over a sustained attack on Prime Minster Jean Chretien that concluded in a call for the prime minister's resignation.

As a result, Russell Mills has emerged as a hero, a holdover from the days when there was supposedly a strict separation of church and state in the newspaper world, when editorialists felt free to speak their minds without looking over their shoulders, wondering if they were not offending the proprietor.

This, of course, is crap. And no one knows it better than Russell Mills.

In his fascinating book, Yesterday's News, John Miller, a journalism professor at Ryerson University, tells a fascinating story about Mills. Shortly after Conrad Black purchased the Southam chain, he announced that the Ottawa Citizen lacked the "air of a newspaper of the capital of a G-7 country." That sort of comment could have many meanings, but Russell Mills, who was the paper's publisher, suspected that from his perspective none of them were positive. In particular, he recognized that past editorials criticizing Mike Harris's Common Sense Revolution amounted to a serious liability.

To save his skin he flew down to meet Black in New York City. There, according to Miller, "Mills presented an ambitious plan to turn the Citizen into a paper, as he put it, that would be respected 'among the people who are significant to [Black], who are people in high levels of government and business.' That meant a new, more conservative editorial policy and beefed up national and business news.

As soon as Mills returned from New York he fired editor Peter Calamai, who was being blamed for the anti-Harris editorials. His replacement was William Watson, a McGill economist who believed Brian Mulroney would go down in history as one of Canada's greatest prime ministers. Mills told Miller, "I'm making sure that the things that are published in the Citizen are things that I personally agree with. I have to be able to defend them because Conrad may be on the phone saying 'Why did you do that?' It hasn't happened yet but that can happen." Black let Mills keep his job, noting that he had undergone a "conversion."

Perhaps Mills was not up to yet one more conversion experience -- although the coming generation of Aspers seem pretty right-wing to me. The man the Aspers brought in to replace Mills, Gordon Fisher, was a high flyer in the Southam organization for years and played a central role in dumbing down the Vancouver Sun and the Kingston Whig-Standard. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mills No Martyr for Press Freedom. (Offensive Lines)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.