A report that Heather Mallick quit her insightful column in the Globe and Mail's Focus secion over an editing decision leaves a gaping hole in my Saturday mornings. It's a rare weekend when something she writes doesn't generate discussion of an issue in our house.
The only evidence of Ms. Mallick's presence today is her contribution to a Globe Christmas wish list and her "Bought" column, in which she describes an item she purchased at some point, and tells a short story about its virtues or oddities.
It's not the same as her regular examinations from a decidedly humanist point of view, of the many injustices or stupidities just under the media's radar.
As Toronto Star's Antonia Zerbisias writes in her media blog, Mallick quit her regular column because an editor insisted her item about Noam Chomsky being unfairly libeled in The Guardian should repeat the original libelous comments.
Mallick tells Zerbisias:
"I had written a column on the Guardian's deplorable and grotesque libel of Noam Chomsky. The handling editor then said I had to repeat the libel. I said that it was libelous to repeat a libel, as any editor should know. I waited to see the final version (I had my editor's word that I always get to see a final version) and on Friday morning was horrified to find that the column had gone to the printer without my having seen it. I said pull it. The Globe refused."
Says another blogger, commenting on Zerbisias' blog:
"I had a brief exchange with another progressive (former) Globe columnist over the summer, and got the impression that dealing with Globe editors was not fun, not always professional, and fraught with annoying exceptions for those not toeing the Globe's general editorial line. Just an impression, though."
Good for Mallick for sticking to her guns on a point of principle. And what was the Globe thinking?
Update: Corrected spelling of Antonia Z's name.