Thursday, 1 February 2007

Bill Brioux e-mail

Bill Brioux, the Sun's popular TV critic laid off in the latest round of cutbacks, spoke his mind at a farewell party on Jan. 25. Former and current staffers responded to his comments with a huge round of applause.

Bill repeated much of what he said at the party in an e-mail to Dennis Earl, a Hamilton blogger/writer with a keen interest in the Sun.

Dennis provided his e-mail message:

I wanted to write to thank you for all the kind words and support throughout a tough time for me personally and for many of my colleagues at the Toronto Sun.

The Sun was the rebel yell in a sea of grey, the rock and roll paper in town. It was all elbows up, take no prisoners, tell the truth journalism.

Those were the days.

The saddest part about working there the last year or so was the fear in the eyes of almost everybody in the place. It had to be heartbreaking and tragic for the few Day Oners still on the floor. These men and women built the Sun out of nothing, out of the ashes of the Tely. They were not going to be silenced by a management that was no longer interested in the newspaper business. That took real courage and guts and fire in the belly. These people had plenty of spine and tremendous conviction.

Would that same spirit were alive today. That generation that grew up with Watergate and which was going to get to the bottom of every story has been packaged out the door or simply retired or been downsized. An entire generation of real news people has been converged out of existence. The new generation seems content to become conscripted into the marketing machinery of whatever multinational has them by the throat.

This isn't the Sun I joined just seven short years ago. It was the place to be fearless. It was a place to tell it to the reader straight. I'll always be grateful that the Sun gave me a voice and let me use it. What else could any writer want?

Now editors pour over copy, deathly afraid of any words that might offend one or two people at the top. Doug Creighton must be spinning in his grave.

Have to agree with you on the utter ineffectiveness of the union's little byline yanking scheme last week. What's next - stamping your feet? Holding your breath? I'm not holding mine anymore.

Wearing buttons or T-shirts is not going to change anything at the Sun. The survivors are going to have to stand up and take their paper back. It will be tough in an atmosphere where there is zero tolerance for dissent. Still, what is there left to lose? Bloody well go down fighting. otherwise, as Edward R. Murrow invoked in his Shakespearean stare down of Joseph McCarthy, 'Cassius was right. 'The fault, Dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.'

In any event, at a time when words no longer seem to be as valued - at least in the old media - I wanted you to know that yours were greatly appreciated.


Bill Brioux (pronounced "Brio" in Ontario and "Breeeyoo" east of Kingston)."

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