Former farm publisher passes away

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The Farm and Country under Phillips represented the worst in sensationalist tabloid journalism - the publication, and the strident editorial views espoused therein, are neither missed, nor mourned.

The Farm and Country under Phillips absolutely did NOT "cater to business-minded farm families" - it, instead, by the use of fear-mongering, sensationalism and "us versus them" stridency in the advocacy of what can now be seen to be the worst of socialist mediocrity, pandered to the baser instincts of the human condition.

While Phillips may have had a vision, it was, alas, a vision tainted by long-ago times when advocacy was shriller, and whatever side you weren't on didn't matter.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I agree with Bev Hill above.

The fact that Phillips was able to count among his friends people of all political persuasions speaks volumes.

Phillips saw the good in people. He was a good man.

I must comment on Steve Thompson's disparaging comments on the late John Phillips, past editor of the now defunct Farm and Country paper.
John was a long time friend of our family. Because of his objectivity in reporting and editorializing on agriculture in Ontario and Canada,he earned the respect of farmers, farm leaders and politicians.After 25 years "at the helm"of Farm and country, he left that busness in a strong equity position with money in the bank. It took only 7 years of incompetent leadership to destroy it.
That Steve Thompson would write so disrespectful of a fine and respected gentleman, upon his death, speaks volumes of the lack of objectivity of this " one trick pony" SHAME.
Bev Hill Varna

Phillips was absolutely NOT objective in either his reporting or his editorializing - therefore, any respect he earned from farmers, farm leaders and politicians was because of his partisanship, especially towards supply management, rather than because of his objectivity.

Phillips' understanding of economics, or at least his reporting of it, pandered to the worst instincts of his readership - nobody deserves to be respected for that.

To that end, Phillips, like Eugene Whelan, represented another time long-since and thankfully gone. Whelan, for example, bullied Beryl Plumtree, Chair of the Food Prices Review Board, and farmers applauded him for doing so, thereby earning Whelan the mis-placed and completely-undeserved respect of farmers. Phillips earned the same sort of mis-placed and undeserved "respect". Therefore, we, in the farm community should be ashamed of the way we eulogize entirely the wrong people.

Furthermore, I simply don't believe Phillips earned the respect of any politicians because he simply didn't deserve to do so. For example, I was in a kitchen table meeting with a former Provincial Minister (from more than 30 years ago and not William Stewart) of Agriculture who was livid, and deservedly so, at the yellow-journalism rife in the Farm and Country under Phillips - I well remember the Minister's outburst - "Who writes that garbage?" and that, I suggest, was the widespread impression of Phillips in political circles - it certainly was mine.

Mr. Hill doesn't seem to understand that even though Mr. Phillips may have been a fine and respected gentleman to his small circle of equally-partisan disciples, his muck-raking prose and his complete lack of respect for those he shamelessly pilloried are absolutely not the attributes of either a "fine" or "respected" gentleman.

Shame on Mr. Hill for his own lack of objectivity.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

perhaps these comments should have been edited from this forum...unless as I have often thought ....Mr Thompson is the Editor?
G Kimble

I was shocked that Mr Thompson would use this forum to disrespect a person who has just past.
G Kimble

In my first posting, I noted that Phillips was a divisive force not entirely deserving of the accolades being bestowed on him.

In response, Mr. Hill launched a scathing, and completely-uncharacteristic, ad-hominem attack on me to which I quite-properly responded.

I have disrespected nobody, except possibly for Mr. Hill who completely-deserved it.

Phillps' prose and his partisanship represented the worst of the bad-old-days - it's what he did to which I objected, and to the extent that what someone does in his job is a template for who he is in his private life, so-be-it.

The bottom line is that I have been far-kinder to Phillips in death than he, the magnet for libel suits, ever was in the Farm and Country to the living.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I was initially disappointed, but not surprised at Steve Thompson's character assassination of the, just recently deceased, John Phillips and with his follow up June 2 rant.
Once again, Steve Thompson, has clearly demonstrated that academic achievement is certainly no indication of intelligence, common sense or common decency.
While I do not wish to participate in any further meaningless drivel I do feel an obligation to respond.
John Phillip's memory does not deserve any taint, however minor and erroneous, by Steve Thompson
Bev Hill Varna

Editor: Message has been edited in accordance with our guidelines.

How could I possibly taint someone who like Phillips, in his own words in the original story, seemed to be proud of having had libel suits launched against him?

I don't get it - Mr Hill is falling all over himself to sanctify somebody whose prose and tactics invited libel suits, and yet he tries to crucify me for pointing out why these libel suits were launched in the first place.

Oddly enough, the language and smear tactics used by Mr. Hill in his uncharacteristic "rant" against me are eerily similar to the writing style (shoot the messenger by equating academic qualifications with brainlessness) employed by Phillips in the Farm and Country and which earned him both the libel suits and the well-deserved disdain of many.

Get over it, Bev, Phillips quite-needlessly hurt many people, and had the libel suits launched against him to prove it - and while you have every right to defend him, you do not have the right to use his tactics to smear anyone who disagrees, even in death, with Phillips' use of the hurtful prose and style which attracted those libel suits.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Libel suits are most often launched as a chill tactic. Any libel convictions for Phillips? If not - sorry, but suits don't "prove" anything. In fact, chill suits are a badge of honor many times, perhaps that is what you sense in his comments.

One observation - hurtful prose and style, needlessly hurt many people - sounds familiar in this forum, ya think?

Phillips had strong opinions and freedom of the press - much like your freedom of the pixels here - the same laws apply. His opinions were just as valid as yours - in fact he was paid for his opinions. Just because you disagree with his opinions does not make you right and him wrong.

I do agree that Hill's "rant" was uncharacteristic.....yours are very, very predictable.

I don't think your comments have tainted Phillips or ever could...... they only reflect on you.

Editor: This topic is now closed

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