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Earlier discussion

Globe editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon takes questions

Continued from Page 3

Not the Alliance: Mr. Greenspon, thank you for taking this question.

You often hear criticism on The Globe's online forums that the G&M is biased for the Liberals, a "leftie rag," etc. These same people usually feel there is a media conspiracy and rely on blogs for their "news."

Yet The Globe endorsed Harper the last election. No doubt, many of the conspiracy theory buffs feel that this endorsement was a sham, made only so that you could criticize him post-election. Please comment on perceived media bias.

Edward Greenspon: Bias seems to be on a lot of minds this morning.

All I can say about our election endorsement of Mr. Harper is the Liberals didn't find it a sham. It was a bad day for them to have The Globe and Mail come out in favour of their adversary. But even when we endorsed Mr. Harper, we expressed reservations and put him on notice that we would be watching him very carefully on issues such as today's vote on same sex marriage. At that point in time, we felt that the Harper Conservatives were the best choice available. We were particularly concerned that in democracies, change is required from time to time. And that the Liberals seemed to have run out of gas.

By the way, we had endorsed the Liberals in the 2004 election. We are independent and beholden to no party.

We are mindful of the choice we made last January, acting in our role as adviser to our readers. But we did not take out a Conservative membership card and therefore feel perfectly free to criticize the government when we think it is warranted.

Josh Wales, Montreal: In both the Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 issues, World AIDS Day received little to no coverage. I would have expected a day of such global importance to have been significantly acknowledged in our national newspaper.

While the Liberal leadership race was undoubtedly an important event, surely a day of international solidarity with the 40 million people infected by HIV/AIDS and commemoration of the millions who have already died, merits front page coverage. Was this an editorial decision or simple lack of awareness?

Jack Doober, Brantford, Ont.: Yesterday (Dec. 6) was the anniversary of the killing of 14 women in a school in Montreal and one rose was added for the Dawson shooting. But this was not covered in the Globe so I could comment [on the article online]. Why was that? I have a question to raise about the responsibility of gun manufacturers.

Edward Greenspon: Josh and Jack, independently, you've both essentially asked the same question so let me address them together.

I will start with World AIDS Day. This paper, as you will know, has devoted an extraordinary amount of coverage to the issue of AIDS. We are one of the few papers in the world to have a staff correspondent in Africa — the estimable Stephanie Nolen (currently on maternity leave) — largely dedicated to the AIDS issue. Stephanie has probably done more than any single other person with the possible exception of Stephen Lewis to educate and sensitize Canadians about the horrible human toll HIV/Aids is taking in Africa.

This past summer, Canada hosted the International AIDS conference. We again devoted pages and pages of coverage to this gathering as well as special Web reports.

However, we are a newspaper. And so we write about things when they are newsy, not when some agency pre-determines a day.

Today, for instance, is International Civil Aviation Day. (It's also Pearl Harbour Day.) I'm not comparing the two, but most days actually have a serious anniversary attached to them.

Which brings me to the second question. Yesterday marked the 17th anniversary of the horrific shootings at L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. Every year, there is a commemoration.

On the 10th anniversary, we gave this event major coverage, as we had every year before that. We may reflect on it again on a future anniversary.

We also need to make sure we devote our energies to the issues that are percolating today, such as climate change, the state of the RCMP and, as you say, gun control.

Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, globeandmail.com: Thanks very much, Ed, for joining us today to take questions from our readers. Any last thoughts or comments?

Edward Greenspon, Editor-in-Chief, The Globe and Mail: Thank you, Jim, for the opportunity to join you today.

And thank you to all those readers who sent in their comments and questions. It is important that we don't get isolated from our readers and this is an important forum to ensure that doesn't happen.

Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, globeandmail.com: To our readers: We're sorry we could not get to all of the dozens of questions you submitted today. Our "Ask the Editor" discussion takes place on the first Thursday of every month.

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