This lesson is based on viewing the Ma (Margaret) Murray biography from The Canadians series. Murray became a legend in Canadian journalism despite her terrible grammar and spelling. Although her stories did occasionally generate public criticism, Murray had a loyal audience of readers.
Ma Murray was a strong, independent woman who spoke her mind no matter what the consequences. She even made things up for a good story. The following activities question what we can learn from Murray’s brand of journalism, as well as exploring the broader issues about the reliability of the media for the study of history.
Ma Murray’s grammar was terrible and her spelling was atrocious. She used words like “damshur,” “craparoni,” and “snafoo,” but she became a legend in Canadian journalism. Her readers were just like her – strong, pioneering, and taking no nonsense. One female reader threatened her with a horsewhip, while others broke into her office to destroy her editorials before they could be published. She was publicly insulted and shunned, but it didn’t matter to her a “gaddamm bit.” Ma Murray went right on lambasting everyone and everything she saw as wrong.
Most of the time she simply made things up.
The comparison however is good when it comes to this : “The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”