Christie Blatchford's column on the media coverage of Jack Layton's death is bold, provocative, and either crass or brave, depending on who's talking, but does she have a point?

Christie Blatchford's column on the media coverage of Jack Layton's death is bold, provocative, and either crass or brave, depending on who's talking, but does she have a point?

Fellow National Post columnist Jonathan Kay certainly thinks so. In response to both Blatchford's column and the following and overwhelming criticism of it, Kay defends and then praises Blatchford.

He writes that Blatchford had "guts" and "courage" to go against "the wall of sentiment that suffuses those around you" and dub Layton's deathbed letter "vainglorious", adding: "When I read these words, I got the feeling I always get when reading a truly great columnist — the feeling of someone taking the thoughts out of my own brain, putting them on paper, and showing them to me … along with the unspoken question: 'Is this what you were trying to say?'"

Here, in part, is what Blatchford wrote, and what Kay is referring to:

"Who thinks to leave a 1,000-word missive meant for public consumption and released by his family and the party mid-day, happily just as [TV journalists] were in danger of running out of pap? Who seriously writes of himself, ‘All my life I have worked to make things better’? The letter was first presented as Mr. Layton’s last message to Canadians, as something written by him on his deathbed; only later was it more fully described as having been ‘crafted’ with [NDP] party president Brian Topp, Mr. Layton’s chief of staff Anne McGrath and his wife and fellow NDP MP Olivia Chow. Mr. Layton wrote it, as Mr. Topp [said], ‘in his beautiful, energy-retrofitted house’ in downtown Toronto. These people never stop."

Blatchford also criticizes journalists who, she says, turned Layton's death into "a thoroughly public spectacle" and, in some ways, also those who mourned him:

"Certainly, Canadians liked Mr. Layton, but the public over-the-top nature of such events — by fans for lost celebrities they never met, by television personalities for those they interviewed once for 10 minutes, by the sad and lost for the dead — make it if not impossible then difficult to separate the mourning wheat from the mourning chaff. His loss — his specific loss and his specific accomplishments — are thus diminished."

Reaction to the article has lit up the Twittersphere, and the National Post comment board. While some definitely  agree with Blatchford, most don't.

Take this one from lkms2000 on the Post comment board:

"I cannot remember the last time I read something so hateful and disrespectful. A good man just died, his body ravaged by a horrid disease, and many Canadians, regardless of their political beliefs, are profoundly sad about that. You have shown us all just how low some journalists are willing to sink, in a pathetic attempt to be controversial and edgy. Shame on you."

Or, others that have quoted Layton's own letter in response, such as the Toronto Star's Antonia Zerbisias on Twitter:

"With regard to Blatchford's column, remember what Jack wrote: "My friends, love is better than anger."

Others questioned whether the Post should have published the article at all:

"Astounded that NP would publish Blatchford's article at all, let alone the day after Layton's death. Incredibly poor taste and judgement [sic]."

What do you think? Was the column all wrong, or did Blatchford have a point?

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