Friday, June 13, 2008

There is No Panacea, but...

I've been thinking about the Poilievre comment and it led me to reflect on the fact that this kind of commentary is becoming more and more common in our society. In much of our media, it's the norm in fact.

Consider the number of talk radio stations across the country. Personally I cannot think of any that promote progressive ideas. Indeed they promote precisely what Poilievre said and more/worse. He's somewhat controlled by the PMO, but continues to serve the Con's purpose. Radio guys? Well, they are not controlled and they lie with even more regularity than the party they defend.

Harperites may be tempted here to suggest that CBC has Cross Country Check-Up. Think about who the host is and give your head a shake.

Additionally, we have all these rabid columnists that not only lie, they promote an agenda that is so far out there it contravenes logic. Yet people are reading and listening to this stuff and swallowing it whole. There is a discussion to be had as to what kind of individual would do that, but let's leave that aside for a moment. The lack of counter perspective is obvious.

I'm not talking about counter spin, I'm speaking of truth.

I think it's both futile and counter productive to launch media with an aim to spin against the spin. What I think might be more productive is to adopt what the Obama campaign has done, but expand it somehow. Have it become something that transcends the net and reaches out as a source available to all. I understand that the net is the next up-rising, but there are people out there who are being fed a diet that is only destined to produce diarrhea.

I'm not sure how to do this and I would love to hear suggestions. At this point, I suspect it would cost a hell of a lot of money, but maybe there is a way to get investment by those who can credibly respond to the lies. I don't just mean Liberal supporters, I mean credible groups who can speak to issues and put the lies to rest.

It's just a thought, but Canadians are being exposed to only one side of many arguments over and over. It's time to put a stop to that. A website is a good start, but I think it needs to go farther.

What say you?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know KNB...do you think the CRHC will allow a Fox News Canada?

knb said...

I'm sure in fact anon, that they would not. But that is not their mandate is it?

Fox News? Is the name/title lost on all Con's? Apparently it is.

Depth doesn't seem to be their strong point.

sassy said...

I'm not talking about counter spin, I'm speaking of truth. Good idea KNB.

I'm low in the ideas department on this but will watch this space, as other (non trolling) readers will probably have interesting suggestions.

WesternGrit said...

Anon: Fox News? Watch many reports from Global? The take Fox stories and bring them over. The only thing we're missing from that is the idiotic editorialism - which somehow passes for "news".

By the way, Fox News is on the air on Shaw Cable in Calgary/AB. Of course its right at home there...

KNB... I agree that this needs to go beyond the web. We need to do a few things:

1) More Canadian content - not less. As we allow American TV to leach into Canada, it brings with it, it's outlook on politics and the world. Doesn't have to be a news show... It could be drama, or even sports... With the American invasion of press (Time, etc.), TV (Fox News, CNN, etc.) we get a very American perspective on everything. Canadians don't hear the "home" perspective as often. The gloss and glitz of Yank shows also attracts more viewers - in particular the very ADHD-proof shows requiring very little thought - along with copious quantities of sports, mindless "reality" shows, and ridiculous amounts of adverts. It's amazing what some Canadian Cable companies have been getting away with on US channels on High-Def. They don't follow CRTC rules, and for some years actually run US shows without even overlaying Canadian commercials...

2) Media is in the hands of FAR too few people here... We need more independent media, and more "small" media. We need to have laws made against conglomerate ownership of radio and TV stations, and local papers. The print media - newspapers - is particularly important. While TV reaches more people, I think people still view it with a "grain of salt", or so to speak. TV, to many people, is still "entertainment". People tend to treat the newspapers more as "real news". Wider ownership of the press would result in more REAL journalism, as small papers would hire their own staff, and have to compete to produce quality news for a demanding audience. They couldn't just reprint an article by their "national columnist" based in Toronto or Calgary like the CanWest Papers, or Quebecor are known to do...

3) People on the "center" of the spectrum of politics need to capture some of the media... I've often thought of owning a small local paper in a smaller city... That's where it starts...

The only thing we have to fear is the "dumbing down" of everything in society - including the news. If it's not flashy, doesn't include the "local interest" or "human interest" story, or the "lifestyle article", or the flashy ads, or fancy packaging, then it doesn't appeal. I think it all depends on what people are taught to like - in schools, and at home. I love a classic "broadsheet" paper, yet the "tabloid" seems to be the current "champ" - Sun, etc. Since when does the "Sunshine Boy/Girl" become "news"?

People are socialized and taught what to appreciate. We need to do a better job of educating our youth. The common thread the angry right has with the very strange (but it does exist) "working class" right wing is a lack of true intellectual curiosity and "higher thought". Sure there are some "thinkers" in that "wing" of politics, but these tend to be the "behind-the-scenes manipulators", rather than the "masses" themselves... Education must be a key part of any efforts to "de-Fox-ify" Canada.. or wake the raging masses.

RuralSandi said...

FOX news equivalent in Canada - Mike Duffy Live.

Duffy is unreal - he down plays every scandal or negative about Harper. He's gossipy and enjoys watching Liberals stomped on by guest panels.

The US has "Media Matters". They take everything journalists/pundits/politicians say and do the research and show where important info is left out, truth bent a little, etc. I get it off Huffington Post - Media - bottom is a list of Media sites.

We need that here - a group of intelligent journalist types that want the truth out there.

RuralSandi said...

FOX news equivalent in Canada - Mike Duffy Live.

Duffy is unreal - he down plays every scandal or negative about Harper. He's gossipy and enjoys watching Liberals stomped on by guest panels.

The US has "Media Matters". They take everything journalists/pundits/politicians say and do the research and show where important info is left out, truth bent a little, etc. I get it off Huffington Post - Media - bottom is a list of Media sites.

We need that here - a group of intelligent journalist types that want the truth out there.

WesternGrit said...

Good points RuralSandi... We need a "Meet The Press" type show, or one of the PBS-type true news-journalist shows... We have the 5th Estate, which is a lot like 60mins or 20/20 - without the "fluff pieces". We need more true news reporting. I know a lot of journalists, who are actually in different (more creative) fields where they can realize their talents. The Main-stream-media is too conservative, censors everything they do (called "editing"), and MAKES EVERYTHING CONTINGENT ON ADVERTISING AND RATINGS.

One thing a federal government COULD do here, is enact laws that prohibit ANY sponsorship of news or editorial programming. No commercial sponsorship, and ALL stations must provide news without the corporate "shadow". This would help a little. You would still have the partisan editors, "editing". Used to be that editing was for sentence structure, grammar, etc.... who am I fooling - since the dawn of a "for profit" press, there has never been unbiased editing of anything...

knb said...

Excellent points all!

westerngrit to your points,

- More Canadian content indeed. I've given up on television to be honest. I watch political shows and interesting canadian productions, (docs etc.), not much outside of that. It's really astonishing to think of how content has changed in my lifetime.

It is often said that Canadians do not know what their identity is. I see that getting worse, not better. If you are not exposed to your culture how can you express an identity. In that respect, Quebec is light years ahead.

I wasn't aware that CRTC rules were being skirted. Why isn't that being addressed?

- Too few controlling too much is a huge issue with me.

I consume a fair amount of media on the web, but still love starting my day with a coffee and the G&M. I think small town papers are a great idea provided they speak to larger issues.

Perhaps if the Globe had a weekly feature that broke down the spin of the week and provided a link to a website that tracked it. (Not unlike what sandi mentioned in the States.) I don't know if such a job would have wide appeal, but surely there are still inquisitive researchers out there.

I suggest the news is already dumbed down. CTV is ridiculous, both local and national coverage. CBC does a better job of really going into various stories.

Education is indeed critical, but that too is being attacked from the right. Charles McVety's latest pet project is attacking Darwin and the right has long railed that universities are "leftist" organisations.

You are right, we are taught what to appreciate. I have no children, so I have little knowledge of what is being taught these days. Certainly critical thought seems to be missing in many. In fact, I would go so far as to say, that in some people there seems to be disdain for those who do possess an intellectual curiousity. I've always found that odd.

Thanks for your contributions. I suspect I'll be mulling this one around for a while.

knb said...

sandi, Mike Duffy is a joke. Even on the most serious issues, it's a big game to him. Ditto for Taber and Oliver.

While the At Issue panel takes things more seriously, the panel is always anti-Liberal and Mansbridge certainly approaches issues from the right. That said, the panel is generally more thoughtful and while I do not always agree with him, I find Andrew Coyne interesting.

As I said to westerngrit, I like your Media Matters idea.

knb said...

westerngrit, more political shows with substance would be great.

I would love to see Steve Paikin host a serious Sunday show and something like the CBC's The House, televised.

Instead, we get QP hosted by a gossip columnist and an aging journalist that appears to read questions from a script, ignoring previous answers where obvious follow-up is required.

WesternGrit said...

KNB: Thanks... I think we have enough ideas for a bunch of Libloggers to set out and produce our own shows... lol...