Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Who is sorry now?

You may remember that Maclean’s published a controversial cover, featuring an illustration of Bonhomme, the Quebec Winter Carnival cartoon character, with the provocative cover line:  The Most Corrupt Province in Canada

Two years later, and the story has come full circle, with the Charbonneau commission tabling its report. “The details thus revealed support for everything we outline, including testimony about brown envelopes of cash to city engineers, systematic bid-rigging, illegal campaign contributions and plenty more,”  say the Maclean’s editors. Montreal’s long serving mayor has resigned.  The mayor of Lavel’s home and office has been raided by police and he is expected to resign shortly too.

Bloc Quebec leaer Giles Duceppe said Maclean’s was “xenophobic”, Quebec nationalists claimed Maclean’s was “hateful and defamatory,” Jean Charest published a public letter attacking Maclean’s journalistic credibility and demanded an apology, and the House of Commons even unanimously passed a motion censoring Maclean’s

And there were many, many media pundits who piled on too. 

So, will a motion be moved now to apologize to Maclean’s? Will the critics apologize and recant?  Not likely. What goes around, sadly, does not always come around.

What matters is that excellent investigative journalism triumphed in the end, by doing its job of seeking the truth, and to inform the public. Controversial covers matter, because they take great courage, and there is often a steep price to pay for blowing the whistle. Lawyers and PR help can get expensive. 

By the way, the October 4th, 2010 issue sold 115% more copies than the issue preceeding it, sold more copies than any of the subsequent issues in 2010, and with the exception of three “double issues” outsold every other issue in 2010.   It’s great to see that kind of hunger for quality investigative reporting…exactly what magazines are supposed to do.


- 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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