Monday, April 11, 2011
Good for the goose, good for the gander
After listening to NOW magazine editor Susan G. Cole defend her Rob Ford cover on the radio, and after reading my recent blog post on, a graphic designer (who prefers to remain nameless) decided to have some fun. He has Photoshop equipment, so he turned on his computer and created a mock cover featuring Susan’s face rather than Rob’s on NOW’s cover. The cover lines are arguably offensive, perhaps funny to others, but I am not comfortable posting to this blog. What’s good for the Goose is not Good for the Gander.

This unsolicited work came with the following note:

“When I heard Susan G. Cole, the editor of NOW, defend the cover on the radio last week, I decided to see how she would like it. Here’s what I put together. I sent it to Susan G. Cole and some radio personalities like Arlene Bynon and John Oakley. Arlene sent me a reply, but I haven’t heard back from Ms. Cole.”

NOW magazine’s Rob Ford cover has created quite a lot of noise this past week. One defense offered is “free speech”, a principled position indeed. But sometimes speech isn’t free, if you have to defend a libel suit. That’s called libel chill. Others believe pragmatisim trumps principles, and that if it is good for business, then so be it. Free market capitalist triumphantalism at its best.

Another argument is that the ends justify the means… i.e. that since Rob Ford is politically incorrect, and dangerous… all’s fair in love and war. Apparently NOW is waging a war or sorts. Call it a class war or call it a classless war. Others have suggested that the comedy value of the Photoshopped cover is obvious, and that everyone should just lighten up. Fair enough. As for sex trade ads in a “progressive” magazine and questions of double standards, oh well, who cares, right?

Lost in all the noise is whether or not the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) should adopt some guidelines or code of conduct, similar to the Society of Professional Journalists (which is U.S.-based, but accepts Canadian members):

Read the code and then ask yourself:
Are these guidelines smart or stupid?
Are these guidelines helpful or harmful?
Are these guidelines of any value in free market/free speech democracies like the U.S. or Canada?
Are limits of any kind, like yelling fire in a crowded theatre, reasonable or a threat to our liberty?

So let’s vote on two items. The first one is just for fun, the second I hope will actually spark some intelligent debate.

Visit my blog on to vote on the Rob Ford cover:
Who cares!

You can also vote on the following question:
Should the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors strike a committee to look at developing a made-in-Canada set of guidelines?

Visit by clicking here.

- Scott Bullock
About Me
Scott Bullock

Scott Bullock is the the creator of Bullock has worked as circulation director for both consumer and B2B magazines including Toronto Life and FASHION. If you have a great cover to share, please send all submissions to 

Note to readers: some of Bullock's posts may refer to his clients.
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Any news on how it performed on newsstands?...
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