By Frank Moher
Jonathon Gatehouse’s biopsy of the Asper family in Maclean’s does a workmanlike job of pursuing the boss’s business. Leonard Asper is presented as earnest but clearly in over his head in trying to run CanWest Global, thus maximizing any damage the article might do to the company (probably not much). A heaping helping of cold revenge is served up in the David Asper profile, which recycles every embarrassing anecdote ever published about the executive vice-president, as well as some that make their debut here. It was Asper, of course, who canned Maclean’s publisher and editor Ken Whyte from his previous job as editor of The National Post, later characterizing Whyte as “a fired former publisher [sic] who has taken his high priced tea party to another employer who will eventually also get tired of the act and the losses.” And Gail Asper is depicted as heir to father Izzy Asper’s wacky notion that there’s life outside Toronto and Ottawa.
Nowhere is the bad blood between the Aspers and Whyte acknowledged, nor that the magazine’s parent company, Rogers, might have an interest in harming a competitor — especially one whose proposed acquisition of Alliance Atlantis would make it dominant in the specialty TV market in Canada. That’s called full disclosure, and it’s not so hard to do. Watch this: I write sometimes for The National Post, which is owned by CanWest and of which David Asper is Chairman. See? Simple.
I can’t imagine why “Leonard and his siblings declined multiple requests over several months for interviews by Maclean’s.” What, they thought they might be treated unfairly?