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Politics and its Discontents: Real Journalism: Holding Harper To Account

Unlike the kind of faux journalism that the CBC’s most reverent chief correspondent, Peter Mansbridge, has perfected, real journalism requires critical thinking and hard-hitting questions. In that, The Toronto Star holds to consistently high standards.

To appreciate this fact, consider first the following exchange during the year-end interview the Prime Minister granted his media acolyte:

Mansbridge: So why don’t we propose something then?

Harper: We have proposed something.

What have we proposed? Well the Province of Alberta, excuse me, the Province of Alberta itself already has a, it’s one of the few GHD regulatory environments in the country. It (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: In the Time of the "Official Truth" There’s No Room for Journalism

John Pilger looks at what the Western media offer up as journalism and sees instead propaganda.  He sees the essence of the mainstream media as not information but power.

The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003. The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: From Andrew Mitrovica

[View the story "Media accountability, or lack thereof" on Storify]

drive-by planet: Whistleblower Udu Ulfkotte exposes CIA hand in German media: ‘German politicians are US puppets’

“We’re talking about puppets on a string, journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.”

- From an interview with German journalist Udo Ulfkotte.

A new book by Ulfkotte entitled Bought Journalists: How Politicians, Intelligence and High Finance Control Germany’s Mass Media has taken the lid off the tactics (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: All the spin that’s fit to print

This week, British Columbia saw evidence that corporate media does not report adverse details about public finance unless the material is dropped on desks in digested form, complete with defensive spin from government or industry.

The issue of BC taxpayer subsidies to the oil and gas industry is not new. Auditor General John Doyle qualified his opinion of the province’s 2012 financial statements for reasons that included this: “Failure to provide for earned natural gas producer royalty credits “No provision has been made in the summary financial statements for royalty credits earned bynatural gas producers under the government’s deep-well (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Hedonists of power

Chris Hedges wrote many words for the New York Times; some of them wrong. He participated in false reporting that helped orchestrate invasion of Iraq by the coalition of the dragged kicking and screaming. He recognized error though and became an articulate critic of his nation’s aggression. The NYT, which preferred the Bush administration’s version of truth, condemned Hedges and encouraged his departure.

He is sometimes controversial but always thought provoking. His latest column at Truthdig is a good one: The Myth of the Free Press. An excerpt: “The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Election-Eve Racist, Sexist Attack on Olivia Chow

If this cartoon were published, say, 2 weeks before the election, it would have been debated as a tool of racist, sexist propaganda and yet another blemish on corporate media. Her support would likely have grown after such a brutally immature attack.

But because politics is a dirty, disgusting, sociopathic game, it was published the day before the Ontario municipal election.

Read what Olivia Chow thinks of it below:

Chow told CP24 she thinks the cartoon is “disgusting.”

“Because I am Chinese-Canadian, I must be a communist and have slanted eyes and glasses … and since I am a (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Zombie Journalists

If you’re wondering what’s contributing to less accountability and more soft fascist, totalitarian government behaviour…

Leaked memo confirms that Globe and Mail wants journalists to write advertorials

http://canadalandshow.com/article/leaked-memo-confirms-globe-and-mail-wants-journalists-write-advertorials

August 28, 2011 Agreeing with Ezra Levant? (6) June 26, 2010 More Despinning the Spin and Chill Around Israel (0) May 7, 2014 Occupy, For Democracy (4) January 21, 2014 How to Spot a Good Journalist (0)

Politics, Re-Spun: The CBC Respects Dignity Better than Corporate Media

Corporate media, being owned by corporations, needs to maximize shareholder wealth. That means news is a loss leader.

News is about generating sensationalism, excitement or hysteria.

News is about generating ratings to charge more for advertising to maximize shareholder wealth.

Thus, when the CBC characteristically doesn’t sensationalize something, it’s noted around the world.

CBC is owned by us, WE are the shareholders. WE maximize wealth by having high quality, respectful journalism that enhances dignity. Not like the Jerry Springer that corporate media has become.

So, read this, especially the last line:

Mansbridge, in sharp contrast to the frenetic, breathless delivery (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Climate Change Science Deniers, Ignorance and Media’s False Balance

Climate change deniers are science deniers.

That makes them either stupid, or so incredibly biased/conflicted that they are willing to ignore science and dodge accusations of their own stupidity to accomplish some other goal.

In BC we are producing oil, gas and coal and stunningly stupid rates, only to go up in the future.

Our corporate media is spewing this “false balance” at us. Journalists who deny the scientific truth of climate change should be fired. But corporate media want to keep them on.

We need to continually inoculate our against this wilful ignorance.

February 5, 2014 The Media Corruption (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Join Ricochet: A new take on independent media.

Have you joined yet?

No? So, you’re good with corporate media spinning things for you, against your personal, community, national and ecological interests?

Oh. Ok.

Ricochet is an audacious response to a difficult context. Independent and in the public interest, Ricochet will provide a space dedicated to investigative journalism and high-profile opinion. Published in two distinct editions, English and French, Ricochet will illuminate the cultural and political diversity of this country.

via Ricochet: le journal nouveau genre. A new take on independent media. | Indiegogo.

July 6, 2010 More Bad News for Dreams of Solid Journalism (1) November 15, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: People Should Stop Attacking The Margaret Wente

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t read Naomi Klein’s new book about climate change.

It doesn’t matter because the internet of things.

It doesn’t matter because most of what’s important in the world is in the comment section of news stories, not the stories themselves. We all know journalists are biased anyways.

She is a public intellectual and deserving of respect. Maybe you’re all just jealous. Or lazy.

Look, it’s easy:

Stephen Harper wrote a book about hockey in Canada, A Greater Game. It’s a sociological book about hockey’s place in our culture. It doesn’t matter that Stephen Harper doesn’t (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Comforted by false reality

A New York Times article, The Surprisingly Large Cost of Telling Small Lies, quotes a successful English business person about the need to confront truths, even uncomfortable ones, “…telling lies is the No. 1 reason entrepreneurs fail. Not because telling lies makes you a bad person but because the act of lying plucks you from the present, preventing you from facing what is really going on in your world. Every time you over-report a metric, under-report a cost, are less than honest with a client or a member of your team, you create a false reality and you (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Beat reporters left the building

In 2010, the small city of Bell, CA was front page news nationwide. Over 17 years, the city manager and other municipal officials bilked tax payers out of millions of dollars. The LA Times won a Pulitzer for reporting on this story but it had paid no routine attention to this “cesspool of corruption” during the many years the fraud was active.

Deadbeats, the September 12 episode of WNYC’s series ON THE MEDIA (available by podcast) examines the failure of journalists to hold the powerful accountable.

The entire program is worthy of your time because the same decline in (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: PR tops journalism in U.S.

If Americans often seem uninformed or misinformed about current affairs, it may be because they get more propaganda than news. There are now five times as many public relations experts at work in the U.S. than reporters. Furthermore, the difference is growing. While the number of reporters in the country dropped by almost 9,000 from 2004 to 2013, the number of PR experts increased by over

Northern Insight: Racism taints Kwikwetlem reporting

My initial reaction to reports of compensation paid the Kwikwetlem First Nations Chief was plain wrong. Until detail was gained, I assumed Ron Giesbrecht committed an egregious abuse of public funds. That reaction was encouraged by cursory media reports that were shaped by common prejudices, reinforced by what lawyer Joseph Fearon calls an “example of the ‘corrupt chief’ narrative.”

In late July, federal Conservatives began posting audited financial statements of Canada’s First Nations. Within hours, news organizations such as Postmedia were churning out revelations that were short on detail but loaded with indignation. National Post immediately had writers Paula (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Redefinition of news

It is no secret that Postmedia, owner of daily newspapers from Montreal to Vancouver, accumulates losses at rates it cannot sustain. Raising prices and reducing expenses is not a solution. Despite higher fees, circulation revenues declined 11% in the past three years. More seriously, print advertising dropped 30% in that time frame.

The deadly spiral troubles old media. Lower cost inputs result in lower quality outputs. Content degradation means fewer readers, which means less advertising revenue, which demands further cost cutting. For large media empires, the future is not bright.

In its 2011 Annual Report, Postmedia stated, “We continued to (Read more…)

Northern Insight: R.I.P. Paul St. Pierre, 1923-2014

In the summer of 1968, I was a naive minion of the Liberal Party, helping manage the coastal part of Paul St. Pierre’s campaign to become MP for Coast Chilcotin.

It was a strange riding, with almost 700 words needed for the official description of its boundaries, 4-5 times more than a typical electoral district. Surface travel from one interior community to another on the coast involved almost 1,000 kilometers, ferries and at least 15 hours. The constituency map was product of officials who knew nothing of the places.

Nevertheless, St. Pierre was a guy comfortable in small towns and (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Just How Many BC Government Comms Staff Are There?

Below are all the job titles of all the comms staff in the BC Government Communications and Public Engagement bodies as of last week. Count with me!

There are 278 people!

278. That’s more than a few. The records include folks in these two areas:

Government Communications: which tends to the day-to-day communications functions, including strategic communications, media relations and issues management; and Strategic Initiatives Division: which largely consists of technical experts who provide corporate online and data services to government.

But don’t take my word for it; count for yourself. I might be off by a few. (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Hudson Mews v. Portland Hotel Society

The Code of Ethics published by the Society for Professional Journalists includes, among others: Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.

Is the pro-media of British Columbia guided by those or similar principles? Consider the following.

When insiders at the Portland Hotel Society were caught misusing tens of thousands of dollars provided them by public agencies and donors, outrage echoed for weeks and heads rolled at the PHS. I did a Google search tonight, using the phrase, “Portland Hotel Society” audit.

(Read more…)

Northern Insight: Hey Tom, whose energy policy has been nonsense?

In the article “Unparalleled, indeed,” I quoted from an item written in 2011 by Black Press proselytizer Tom Fletcher. In it, he “lauded Gordon Campbell’s “long-term strategy to export hydroelectric power” and he called John Horgan the champion of doomsayers. Fletcher wrote of “evidence that current NDP energy policy is nonsense.”

Reader Merv Adey drew Fletcher’s attention to this quote with:

Demonstrating, at the very least, poor arithmetic skills, Fletcher responded:

However, his was not a convincing answer since the International Energy Agency and the financial media had been reporting on a natural gas glut since 2008, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Occupy, For Democracy

Journalists protest the erosion of freedom of expression in Canada on Feb. 27 in Toronto. Photo Credit: Hiba Zayadin

When I write about soft fascism, I sometimes feel too Canadian. I don’t want to be impolite and talk about hard or old school or 20th century fascism because frankly, when people read that word, they think, “hey, is he talking about Hitler kinda stuff? Ok, then, so it’s not fascism.”

It is though. You don’t have to start a genocide for someone to consider your actions fascist.

It’s a kind, gentler, Canadian-style fascism with a hit of Tom Horton’s (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: 17 Things To Do While Watching TV News

There’s more than 17. Way more.

And you don’t have to do them all, you just have to start with a few.

Chances are, though, that you already do some of this. Click here, you’ll thank me:

“Never have I seen such a perfectly exquisite – and devastating – deconstruction of a ‘journalist.’”

via Watch This Perfect Dissection of Grief Lamprey Nancy Grace From HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’ – disinformation.

August 15, 2009 Ambient Media Has Now Killed Off Broadcast Media (3) February 1, 2013 How to Petition the CRTC against Sun News’ Mandatory Carriage (54) September 3, 2013 You (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: If the 1% Has Russell Brand Killed…

If the 1% has Russell Brand killed, we will see it in the corporate media as a drug OD relapse, or a freak accident.

Why?

He is dangerous because he fearlessly tells the truth and challenges pretence.

Let’s examine this in some detail here [with video]:

His brain works twice as fast as most brilliant people I’ve encountered in my life. He is the socio-political heir of George Carlin. He speaks truth to power AND the masses. And frankly, WE’VE FORGOTTEN THAT THE MASSES ARE THE POWER. He is sober, so no one can credit his speedy speaking style on (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Systemic Pressures Make Journalists Sloppy

Gosh, the corporate media sure can be sloppy.

The heart-wrenching photo of a four-year-old Syrian refugee pictured alone crossing a desert into Jordan spread far and wide this weekend, but the fact that his family was just metres away was left behind.

Photo of 4-year-old Syrian refugee triggers sympathy, confusion – Your Community.

But there are systemic pressures that contribute to this kind of sloppy journalism making everyone #FacePalm sometimes:

Here 4 year old Marwan, who was temporarily separated from his family, is assisted by UNHCR staff to cross #Jordan pic.twitter.com/w4s2mrNnMY

— Andrew Harper (@And_Harper) February 16, 2014

(Read more…)