Sunday, August 23, 2015

Political edits: kinda sorta about creativity

Canada's most famous author, Margaret Attwood, recently wrote an editorial for the National Post.  It disappeared from the online edition and according to the Toronto Star, she wondered if she had been censored.  In the strictest meaning of the word, I would have to say she was not as only government can 'censor' people in the legal sense.  It's been a while since I lived in Canada but I believe the National Post is strongly right-leaning paper and the current government is conservative so there is likely to be an exchange of favours now and then.

The article reappeared but with several edits, edits and Jonathan Goldsbie has noted them:

According to the Toronto Star:
“The column was taken down because the necessary fact checking had not been completed,” said the Post’s senior vice-president Gerry Nott in an email. “Senior editorial leadership at Postmedia also had not concluded whether the column was aligned with the values of the National Post and its readers.”

The vanished Post column, minus three sentences, was posted later Friday night on the website of The Walrus magazine. Soon after the lightly trimmed Walrus version appeared on the Post website as well.

“The column was taken down because the necessary fact checking had not been completed,” said the Post’s senior vice-president Gerry Nott in an email. “Senior editorial leadership at Postmedia also had not concluded whether the column was aligned with the values of the National Post and its readers.”

It seems strange to me that a satirical piece, mocking the conservatives attacks on the liberal leader's hair, would need to be fact-checked.  One of the sentences includes, “. . . rumour is that the Hair piece is being ‘evaluated’ by ‘leadership.’ ”  How can one fact-check that?

Editing is often looked at as cleaning up a work in second and later drafts. Here, we may see an effort to change the meaning; an effort made by a second party without the first party's consent or awareness.

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