To Hell with John Doyle

Like you, this morning I woke up and opened the Globe and Mail and found that John Doyle had totally ripped me off.

He’s not the first newspaper columnist to do this. And it’s not the first time he’s done it. It doesn’t bother me much.

Maybe because this is a blog, he thinks that whatever me or my readers write is free for the taking. His MO is to lift what he needs, discuss it in his column, make a vague reference to anonymous degenerates, and then downplay the importance of the information itself.

If the validity of my stuff was so suspect, you’d think he’d leave it out of the column altogether. But this has been going on for months.

I was going to let it pass, but this article comes on a very auspicious day. Also, I have some time to kill and this won’t take very long.

Last night at the Drake Antonia Zerbisias explained to a packed room why she won’t be writing a column on media criticism any more. It was all off the record but from what I understand it was a cracking good monologue and she also talked about media concentration and the big boys telling you what to think and do.

And so, today she starts her Living column and that’s it for media criticism in Canadian newspapers.

Antonia wasn’t alone last night at the Drake. There were other media types there telling stories from the trade, so let me get in on the fun and tell you a story about John Doyle:

Back in the halcyon days of the 2005 Lockout, he was a big fan of this blog. When I took jabs at CBC management he was one of the first newspaper columnists to clap.

Flash forward to early 2007, and I was part of a “national disgrace,” had descended into “infantile nonsense” and displayed “hilariously badly written hatred of real journalists.”

Keep in mind that I wasn’t even blogging at the time. I was a month into a hiatus.

So what had happened?

I’m still writing the same juvenile nonsense, it’s just directed at him and the Globe sometimes. I said I fell asleep during the Globe’s Live Chat With John Doyle. I called Gayle MacDonald “Gayle HackDonald” for making up a story about CBCers calling the police on Canadian Idol, and threw in a dig for summertime sad sack Andrew Ryan for good measure. I wondered why Doyle and Ryan would each give the season premiere of Dragon’s Den a bad re-review one week apart from each other. I said that Hal Niedzviecki was “probably not a total idiot” and followed up by outlining his idiocy. A common tactic for me.

According to Doyle the only bright spots in this national disgrace of online media criticism are Dead Things on Sticks, which is unfailingly supportive of Doyle, and TV, eh? which unfailingly avoids an opinion on anything.

Clearly I had fallen out of favour.

Doyle is a big supporter of analysis and criticism. Except when it’s aimed at him and his newspaper.

And I also said once that I wanted to write a post called “To Hell with John Doyle.”

Well, here it is.

Let’s see you steal this one.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted June 25, 2007 at 4:20 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    DMc has a point. He has the guts to credit himself for “Charlie Jade”, something I would never do.

  2. DMc
    Posted June 24, 2007 at 8:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I make you ill? Great. Vomit away. Get rid of all that pleasing bile. Then go look in the mirror and ask, “hey, what have *I* added to the culture today?”

    Then step back and join in with the Ecklers et al about how unique and beautiful the flower of your criticism is.

    When the time comes, I’ll take the bad review of my work like a man — because that’s the gig. But I guess if you won’t sign your name to a comment, that’s probably something you will never, ever understand.

    Ouimet: this is your constituency? This is who’s going to save the CBC?

    I’d start circling some ads.

  3. Allan
    Posted June 24, 2007 at 7:12 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    DMC – I really enjoy when someone holds a contrary opinion, and you get top points for taking such an opinion to remarkable lengths.
    Talk about a deeper hole with each post.

    Doyle gets paid to think?
    Talk about Money For Nothing!

  4. Anonymous
    Posted June 24, 2007 at 4:46 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Denis, you’re sycophantic toadying gets more and more pathetic with each post.

    If Doyle wants to defend himself, he can. He doesn’t need someone like you to do it for him.

    You’re going to paint yourself into a corner. If he praises your show, people are going to say it’s just because you’re such a suck up. If he tears it to shreds… Well, then I guess you’ll be right, and you’ll have bragging rights.

    Either way, clam up, you’re making people ill.

  5. DMc
    Posted June 24, 2007 at 8:34 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Now that’s utterly, completely ridiculous.

    Doyle writes hard opinion, like Jay Scott used to. It’s got edge and it’s unequivocal and Canadian criticism would be far better if there were 10 more writers like him on the TV or culture beat. Anonymous snipe, anonymous snipe, carp and bitch versus a guy who puts his name to his stuff and takes his lumps — you’re not just emasculated here, you’re laughably so.

    If you disagree with him — great. He’s provocative and demands to be disagreed with, but to say Doyle comes up with nothing original — well, congrats bubby, you’ve just entered the world of libel.

    Good thing you’re courageously anonymous.


  6. Anonymous
    Posted June 24, 2007 at 7:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well, the Doyle lovers can defend him to their last breath but to me the real crime here is laziness.

    So Doyle maybe gets emails from the CBC and he reads blogs. Woop-de-do. How lazy is it to just reprint other people’s jokes and comments? He’s the only one in the group actually getting a paycheck to think, and he can’t write one lousy joke?

    He can’t pick up the phone and ask a few questions? He can’t (gasp) get out of his chair and maybe go do some interviews?

    An original thought would be nice. Ouimet has lots of them and she comes up with them for free in her spare time. Doyle can’t get one when it’s his full time job?

    If “journalism” just means lifting from the internet, that’s a gig I really want to get into.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted June 24, 2007 at 6:08 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    We’ll miss you, Antonia!

    DMC and DULL BOY I wonder if you’re reading the same blog as I am? The “similarities” between Doyle’s columns and Teamakers have been going on for a long time.

    Many people have mentioned it where I work. It’s kind of a running joke.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted June 23, 2007 at 8:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Doyle used to write innocuous blurbs in Broadcast Week as “Shirley Knott”.

    “Henrietta Wallmark” took over that beat–is that a real person?

    Point being, the Globe writers also use handles when it’s convenient for them not to blow their reputation.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted June 23, 2007 at 3:17 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I think what Ouimet’s problem with the two negative reviews is that a newspaper rarely reviews anything (film, television, theatre) TWICE.

    So to review something twice, and to have both be negative reviews is a bit suspect.

    I mean, could you imagine The Star disliking Evan Almighty so much they gave it two negative reviews?

  10. DMc
    Posted June 23, 2007 at 2:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well I had a big long comment that got eaten by stupid blogger. But lo and behold “dullboy” got to basically the same place. The precie of what I said:

    -I understand why Ouimet posts anonymously and that, and this blog is a valuable service.

    -When Burman got iced/left, I had three or four people email me about it, despite the fact that I never write about news. So to assume that Doyle doesn’t have a deluge of people contacting him from the good sinking ship CBC is naive.

    -The jokes made weren’t so original — two people I know said similar things to me. Were they stealing from the blog too? This is what happens when ideas are in the ether. If you don’t recognize that you become like Eckler suing Apatow — a figure of ridicule.

    -The prevailing CBC attitude that “Doyle is out to get us” is myopic and solipsistic, and completely at odd with reality. Taken together, his posts show that he’s as comitted to CBC as an idea and institution as anyone working there.

    -Two neg Dragon’s den reviews…really? So you’re telling me that if one had been positive, one negative, the whole thing wouldn’t have come down as, “see, the Globe can’t make up their mind!”

    -All this is part of the same disease. Take the freight, grow the fuck up and don’t whine when someone legitimately criticizes the organization. It makes it harder for those of us who support CBC to stand up to the wingnuts who knee jerk with, “burn the place to the ground.”

    -The basic construct of “how can you trust X when he wrote Y” is probably the hackiest hackster barb currently extant. I gave Joe a bit too much credit. I look forward to the “Yo Mama” jokes.

    G’night Gracie.

  11. Antonia Z
    Posted June 23, 2007 at 11:40 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Happy Fucking Pride Boys.

  12. dull boy
    Posted June 23, 2007 at 10:50 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Is it implausible that Doyle could get distressed/elated emails and phonecalls from CBC employees? Some of his correspondents may read this blog and echo the sentiments they find here, or they may come up with opinions and ideas on their own that happen to be similar to Ouimet’s or her commenters’.

    The joke connecting Burman to another Tony – in a much-discussed scene in the greatly aniticpated finale of a popular TV show – does not take a stroke of genius to make. Doyle, give him his due, is a clever fellow, besides being paid to watch and write about TV shows.

    For all I know, Doyle steals from this blog all the time. But for all I know, he has never stolen anything from it. Nothing here backs up claims like “He’s not the first newspaper columnist to do this. And it’s not the first time he’s done it.” Who else? What other times? With no more to support the accusations than hunches fed by resentments and an evident propensity to see conspiracy in coincidence, how – I regret to ask – is this anything more than a self-satisfying smear-job?

    As for Dragon’s Den, it grew in popularity over its short run and ended up a nice little hit. Because really, who cares whether Doyle and his cranny-mate like a TV show?

    And in other news, writing a “Living” column should not, let’s hope, preclude Antonia Zerbisias making forays into media criticism, since our use and consumption of media product is a big part of living. (How old are baby-boomers going to have to get before newspapers rename the section “Dying”?)

  13. Joe
    Posted June 23, 2007 at 7:24 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    John Doyle may put an end to his spiritually plagiarizing ways tomorrow.

    One day, Ouimet may choose to reveal his, her, its, or their identity.

    But Den(n)is McGrath will always be the writer of _Charlie Jade_.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted June 23, 2007 at 7:12 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The biggest tragedy here is the loss of Antonia.

    We’re going to miss you, AZ.

    You were always honest.

    Good luck with the new column.

  15. Ouimet
    Posted June 23, 2007 at 6:55 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Look, I don’t do this for money.

    I don’t do this for fame. Quite the opposite, I would probably lose my job if I told you my real name.

    I do it for fun, and believe it or not, to get closer to the truth.

    To that end, if a journalist wants to pretend the ideas and discussions on this blog are out “floating around” in the ether or out there in the Zeitgeist and use them in his newspaper article, I really don’t mind, because he’s kind of right.

    And if he can glean some money or fame from these writings, more power to him. It’s not my bag.

    And if he doesn’t want to credit this blog for the ideas and discussions he uses, who cares? He knows the truth and I know the truth, and that’s enough for me.

    (Although I admit it galls me to spend a dollar on a newspaper to find my own stuff inside, 2 days old, warmed over and reheated.)

    But when a writer steals what he needs, doesn’t give me credit, and then insults me and my readers and my commenters?

    Not once, but numerous times?

    Well, my first instinct is to tell the writer to go fuck himself.

    Denis, I’m surprised at you. A writer from Canada’s national newspaper, the most-read guy in the TV industry, steals from this little blog, and you’re going to tell me that writing anonymously is a greater sin?

    Jesus Christ, your love of Doyle is clouding your judgement. Just think about that. Is a sane response?

    For that matter, take 10 minutes and read what Doyle wrote, and then read what this site has on Tony Burman. Doyle even uses the same jokes as my commenters. You think this is cool?

    For that matter, read this thread and comments again. Kempton isn’t connected with Dragon’s Den, he’s a fan. And I have no problem with a bad review. But 2 bad reviews by 2 different critics in the same newspaper? Well, I’m not going to suggest that CTV told the Globe to sink the Dragons’ Den, but they probably did. Oops, did I say that?

    Your suggestion is that I write a letter to the editor? What, on a typewriter? With a stamp? Have you lost it, Denis?

    Oh gee, maybe they will publish it! Wouldn’t that be cool? I hope they choose mine! Maybe I should soften the media concentration part…

    Fuck that. I’ll write it here for the world to read, a little closer to the truth, and on my own terms.

  16. Allan
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 8:23 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’d be happy to sit here and listen to you two kick and kiss each others asses all night long.
    It’s a sport I also enjoy.
    But if I can just take a moment to acknowledge this outstanding post by Ouimet.
    I’m impressed by the dignity and self-respect that she’s displayed here.
    And how clearly she presented herself and the issue, and backed it up.
    It’s one of the best posts I’ve ever seen her do, and she’s knocked me out several times before, but this one is very special.
    Probably because in this case, she wasn’t standing up for the CBC or calling for a higher practice of ethical behaviour, or just having a really good laugh.
    She was standing up for herself.

    That’s hot.

    (cerebrally speaking)

  17. DMc
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 7:03 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Yeah. Um. Okay.
    Thumbs up, Joe. Thumbs up. Dale Carnegie to the end.

    In other news, several ex-Chum staffers were heard today referring to Ivan Fecan as “Jor-El.”

    Made me smile. G’night, Gracie.

  18. Antonia Z
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 4:16 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Uh …

  19. Joe
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 2:55 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Now, Den(n)is, if we’™re out-of-touch privileged babies, why don’™t we compare your bank account with the anonymous commenters’™?

    The killing-me-with-kindness act isn’™t working, by the way, particularly after specifically threatening to kick my ass. Yours is a bigger target.

    And I seem to recall a recent posting of yours in which you stated, in effect, that the cuntier you were online the more work you got. Guess what: In a predatory environment like the Corpse, sometimes the same thing can be done only under cover of anonymity.

    How many Teamakers readers would be willing to add Den(n)is McGrath’™s blog to their RSS if he opened up comments to anonymous posters? As with Ouimet, he can still moderate such comments. I would just like him to accept that not everyone can afford to be cunty under their own bylines.

  20. DMc
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 2:27 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You’re so cute Joe I just want to rub your head and buy you a smoothie. Rage on.

  21. Joe
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 1:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’™m not anti-American. I’™m anti-specific-American, and you’™re him.

    If you want, I can start a Facebook group agitating for the repatriation of Doyle to Ireland. I’™m equal-opportunity.

  22. Joe
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 1:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hey, Den(n)is, someday somebody’™s going to walk right up to you in public and say, in a voice loud enough to be overheard and quoted in the satirical press, ’śStop acting like the arbiter of propriety and wisdom in the Canadian television business.’ť (That pretty much exemplifies being a big fish in a small pond in the first place, but we’™ll put that aside for a moment.)

    Such a declaration may be followed by the vocative phrase ’śyou self-important fucktard.’ť

    There are good reasons to write under a nom de plume. Ouimet is pseudonymous, not anonymous, and I see exactly two anonymous comments on this entry.

    Americans and their goddamned self-importance. You say we might have to wait five years for you to go back? Tick… tick… tick.

  23. Bill Lee
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 12:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well, I’m sure that Doyle gets the proverbial brown envelope and frightened outside-cbc emails as Frank magazine does.

    And while much of the stuff in the column was in Ouimet’s blog, it was also in Broadcaster and Playback magazines.

    And the rest is water-cooler stuff gotten anywhere people put two and 2 together and 4 in the Future.

    The spite was entertaining but pointless. There is a greater world out there and the CBC is not in it, but of it.

    Now about Ms O’Neil taking the excrable Sunday news format to the National. What stories?
    And that CBC in BC under the new chief is a laboratory beyond the mountains of multi-media platforms by fiat, in preparation for a rollout across the country except Quebec.
    Ah oui, Quebec. A special case. So few have cable that digital conversion might not take there for Radio-Canada and the old sets will have to be fed analogue for some years to come with 20? 30? percent fewer SRC viewers.

  24. DMc
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 12:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece


    Guys, like it or not, whatever you think, John Doyle writes under a byline each and every day. To snipe at him from cover of anonymity is a lot worse than whatever his “sins” may be.

    Now maybe Ouimet here has a point and maybe he doesn’t. But whether she does or not, that doesn’t excuse the whole “I hated your review snark snark snark…” if you thought there were factual innacuracies in the review, and they were major, then maybe a letter to the editor is warranted.

    I’ve gotten a couple of reviews in my time, for my theater stuff mostly, that were grossly unfair. But you don’t respond. You just don’t. It is simply unprofessional to do it.

    If Doyle hated Dragon’s Den, and you’re connected with it, grumble all you like. But seriously — this is unseemly. This whole comment thread. It makes me worry that this industry of ours really is just a bunch of out of touch, privileged babies.


  25. Anonymous
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 8:40 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It doesn’t bother you much Ouimet, but you wrote about it. Interesting.

    What goes around, comes around.

    Allan, based on recent history, you’d be an excellent commentator on someone using other individual’s work. You’re an expert on the subject.

  26. Ouimet
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 6:52 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece
  27. Don Joyle
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 4:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    From Doyle’s column …

    “I’ve been in receipt of much anonymous grousing from CBC’ers across the country …”

    I read Teamakers

    “I can’t take the anonymous material seriously …”

    But I’m happy to rip it off almost verbatim

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this. But it’s definitely the shape of things to come. Big money, oldskool dopes like this discredit everything about new communities in communication, take their watered down sentiments and sell them as mainstream.

    This proves that you really are THE CLASH, Ouimet. Doyle is just GREEN DAY.

    Doyle, if you dunno who they are, call up one of your great-great-great granchildren and get them to fill you in what that means.

  28. J. Frank Willis
    Posted June 22, 2007 at 4:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Doyle You don’t get it pal.
    John Doyle is past his best before date. You don’t get it pal. I am talking about Seven Wonders of Canada which seemed to put a bee in your bonnet. One of the few original phrases in his column on Thursday was “air-headed cuteness of Seven Wonders of Canada.”
    Doyle, unfortunately, is still living with the first TV of his Irish childhood. That was when the medium delivered the message (to quote a great Canadian, you know who).
    What Doyle doesn’t realize in his criticism that Seven Wonders and Great Canadian Wish List are two of the things that CBC is doing right. (and by the way, Mr. Doyle and Mr. Stursberg both ideas came from the ground up, from the peasants, not the consultants. I doubt the Maggot would ever think of the Seven Wonders of Canada. He’d probably go for Canada’s Seven Bloodiest Blocks. Now that I’ve mentioned it, look for someone to steal the idea).
    It was true what Peter and Shelagh said about the CBC system being overwhelmed with the thousands of nominations and millions of votes for Seven Wonders. It was a complete surprise and forced the staff in both radio and TV, not to mention IT, into overtime, sleepless nights, migraine headaches and eye strain and cost more money than expected (but got good numbers Mr. Stursberg). It was supposed to be one of those simple radio panel ideas that happen all the time but Canadians, yes Canadians, wouldn’t let the CBC stop at that. And Mark Kelley was right, those nominations opened a lot of eyes. Who had heard of Mt. Thor before it was nominated?
    We live in the era of interactivity. If a million Canadians say they want the Seven Wonders, it means something, not just for the CBC but for TV in general. When Doyle didn’t realize that, it showed he didn’t get modern television, a fatal flaw for a TV columnist.
    I wonder if Doyle and the Globe and Mail could handle a million e-mails?
    Has John Doyle ever come out of his TV cranny long enough to look at the northern lights or see the stars on a clear night in the middle of Saskatchewan? I doubt it.
    Doyle is right about the threat to serious journalism at the CBC and right about the decline of TV drama in this country. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the magnificent land (remember I was just on a canoe trip myself).
    Perhaps the Globe and Mail should take Doyle’s advice to home and junk its travel pages.
    Now I actually disagreed with choosing the igloo and the canoe because they are objects, not wonders. But that was part of the inexperience from this new interactive media world we live in, the criteria should have been more specific. There were more than 20,000 nominees and many different people nominated the same place or things so that meant tens of thousands of nominators. Interactivity is what the 21st media is all about.
    P.S. Memo to Christie Blatchford. You’re also past your best before date. Your stupid piece on Seven Wonders in the Globe and Mail shows you’re still living in the 70s when the Toronto Sun thought it could dictate to the world. A million votes. Same question as the one I posted to Doyle. What you would you do with a million e-mails? It wasn’t a handful of bearded lefties at the CBC who made up Seven Wonders, it was the people of Canada.
    P.P.S. Memo to Richard Stursberg. You have a tiger by the tail. With Seven Wonders and Great Canadian Wish List and the upcoming super secret incubator in Vancouver you have opened the gates. I am going to sit back in my retirement rocking chair and watch and laugh as the Canadian people blow you and your consultants out of the water with the unexpected.

  29. Kempton
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 10:12 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hello Ouimet,

    I think you have a very valid point with respect to the unattributed references. Makes me want to dust up my old blog posting about John’s “fact checking” when he reviewed Dragons’ Den (see below for an excerpt).

    Best Regards,

    P.S. Here is what I wrote previously with respect to John’s review of Dragons’ Den. “I wish The Globe and Mail the best of luck in reaching for the quality or standard that it used to have. At the same time, please be aware that fact-checking is the foundation of a good newspaper. What Stephen Glass did to The New Republic and what Jayson Blair did to The New York Times may have been beyond repair.”

    Of course, John wasn’t too happy to see names like Glass and Blair in a letter talking about his writing.

  30. Allan
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 9:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece


    Now stop the war in Afghanistan.
    No, really.
    Stop it right now.
    Stop it, right now.

    And don’t break your spying only silence and say anything here Doyle. It’s quite confirmed that you’re a plagiarizing snob with the kahoonas of a eunuch; a lonely, desperate boy sitting in his cold cubicle concocting devilish jabs at the CBC … no wait, that’s me.

    Too bad you don’t have a nifty sidebar like Ouimet, eh?

  31. Anonymous
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 8:51 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Go get ’em Ouimet. It’s time someone belled this mangy cat.

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