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Media, ethics, and journalism. What works. What doesn't.


Jeffrey Dvorkin

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Away From US Politics - And Loving It

Having relocated to Toronto, I still suffer from bouts of Potomac Fever.

I miss the boil and the intensity of living in DC. The Toronto newspapers here are suffering from many of the same economic pressures of their American cousins. But Toronto is still a four newspaper town: the Sun - a tabloid with much crime reporting, the Star, a suburban-oriented paper that does a great job on local politics (more of which later), the National Post, a conservative paper with good writing but not much sense of place and the Globe & Mail, which sees itself as the NY Times of Toronto, but hipper.

I still get the Times daily (I know, I'll be in the Betty Ford one day for that addiction) and I have settled on the Globe, daily, but not happily.

I miss the Washington Post, which for all its problems, is still a great paper with a real sense of place even if it undercovers the African-American community.

CBC Radio seems a chirpily bland version of NPR, so I listen to WAMU, WETA and WPFW on line. My work at The Real News Network is so focused on the wars overseas and American politics that there is a real disconnect between where I was and where I am.

It's a minor re-entry blip, but it feels intense at this point.

However, I am relieved that I am not even more bombarded by the waste product of US politics. As I read about Michael Savage ("Savage by name, savage by nature") and the other attacks dogs on the right, I feel relieved to pick up the Globe and read about how the City of Toronto admits it's behind in looking after the public gardens while Torontonians complain that their recycling bins are too large.

How delightful to read that there is a sense of normal life and politics after all those years in Washington.

However, there is this little problem of illegal handguns flowing in from Buffalo and the "settling of accounts" is now done the modern way, rather than the traditional Canadian use of the knife. Attention US media: there's a story here.

But I feel guilty about that too. I actually enjoy reading about the minutiae of daily life that isn't constantly fraught about war, the economy and the climate crisis. The guilt comes with the cultural turf, I suppose. (Joke: "What do you call a collectivity of Canadians? An APOLOGY of Canadians."

My God. Don't these people know there's a war on?

Potomac Fever. Once you catch it, it's hard to cure.

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