If, as Jorge Ramos stated in accepting the Burton Menjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in defending press freedom, “…the best in journalism becomes a way of doing justice and speaking truth to power,” how on earth have we gotten so far off the mark in Canada 2015? The near unanimous record of the press in the just past federal election is exactly the opposite—speaking lies to its readership in support of a thinly veiled corporate agenda to frivolize our democratic institutions as meaningless trivial pursuits to be manipulated-and discarded in all but the flimsiest pretense of journalism.
Running Conservative Party supporting feature articles that don’t even meet the standard of not being obviously false and vacuous endorsements of the Conservative Party that reflect only the class interests of the ownership, the Canadian media has exhausted its credibility on this federal election.
While no party-none!-dared buck the press, it is time for us as citizens to demand that our media be compelled to fulfill its social responsibility to search out and report the truth (s).
To me it seems nothing short of an insurrection that the people of Canada rose up in the face of the lying distortions that they encountered in almost all media and threw the Conservatives out. Perhaps it is time for us to go the next step and throw out the media that has been so blatantly treating us as mere commodities to be manipulated for corporate profit instead of sharing with us fair, accurate information as the necessary condition of a functioning democracy.
When I read of sinking profits in the Canadian newspaper industry, my heart warms—the market is working! Reading any of the corporate media is a demoralizing experience but especially so with the Postmedia papers, no where do I find a semblance of truth and—as the federal election so clearly shows—nowhere do their opinion pieces reflect Canadian citizens or values.
In abject defiance of the idea of reporting any form of truth both the National Post and Globe and Mail ranked the Harper Government as having a “solid” economic record—information that was supposed to counter all the rest of the corrupt, mean-spirited, socially and environmentally destructive efforts of the Harper years. But they simply palmed the Conservative impact on unemployment, debt, economic growth, real personal income. They palmed away the record of six-going on seven-deficit budgets. Can you imagine what they would say if an NDP government ran that kind of deficit budgeting?!
I won’t even open the box on the absurd corporate press in the US that simply stamps out the marching beat to ever more American bombs and boots in its enthusiasm for never ending wars and ever escalating tax cuts for the 1%.
In 1980 the Kent commission, called to evaluate the impact of increasingly concentrated corporate media ownership, found that Canada’s newspaper industry had drifted into a situation that was “clearly and directly contrary to the public interest.” The Committee held that “this country should no longer tolerate a situation where the public interest in so vital a field as information [is] dependent on the greed or goodwill of an extremely privileged group of businessmen”.
I will run a follow up article based on your opinions about:
a. Has Canadian media improved since the Kent Commission?
b. Do you think the newspaper industry should have a responsibility to the public?
c. How do you think we could improve the quality of journalism in Canada—Comox Valley?
d. What role do you think The Word can/does play in making Comox Valley media more responsive to citizens?
e. What are some of the most glaring press misrepresentations you noted during the federal election?
f. What where do you go to find more accurate information about your world?
please write me at ngreynoldsng at gmail.com