57 posts categorized "media"

September 30, 2008

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough Riding) Voted Against....

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough Riding) voted against....

...journalists having the right to protect their sources -- a fundamental aspect of freedom of the press

...the mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods (something that benefits big business, but not the consumer)

...a more detailed warning label on alcoholic beverages -- a bill designed to prevent alcohol-related accidents and injuries as well as birth defects

Find out what else Dean Del Mastro voted for and against by checking out his voting record.

Some Much Overdue Political Levity

A roundup of fun political links.

Here's an early-afternoon addition to the justice story, by way of Far and Wide: pay attention to what's on your website -- particularly when the gavels start flying.

September 29, 2008

My Letter to Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

I just sent the following letter to Friends of Canadian Broadcasting:

Dear Friends:

I'm quite dismayed that CBC.ca reversed its initial decision to back columnist Heather Mallick regarding her controversial column about Sarah Palin.

Does this mean that only non-controversial opinions will be welcomed at the CBC?

If so, what's the point of having a CBC?

The CBC is supposed to be the voice of all Canadians -- not just ones whose opinions are endorsed by the far-right.

Could Friends please investigate and report back to its members about what led to the reversal decision, whether there was any external pressure from government funders to go this route, and whether we are likely to see more of this kind of columnist censorship from the CBC in the future?

Thank you.

Ann Douglas

You Don't Even Have to Read Between the Lines: Just Read


I want to reiterate what Impolitical states rather brilliantly at the end of her latest post.

The media are doing anything and everything they can to get the electorate to pay attention, short of writing their stories in 72-point font, pay-attention-dammit, maple-leaf-red block letters.

Here's how she puts it.

"The Canadian Press is writing these things for a reason. The people speaking to them are providing them with the basis for saying so. It is an ongoing huge red flag to us all about the Conservative government's views on free speech and the public's right to know what is going on inside their government."

September 22, 2008

Fatherly Steve Lays Down the Law

If Steve the kindly father is talking this tough to 14 year old boys, you have to wonder what he's going to do when he gets his hands on the email hacker who spoofed him.

September 18, 2008

Lights, Camera, Mounties, Munchkins! Stephen Harper Enlists Mounties to Keep Oz Safe for the Conservative Munchkins

"I have a seven-month-old baby and I'm out of work as of Friday when my job goes to Mexico. We're here to let Harper know there's more going on in this country than tax cuts, and no one is going to tell me I can't."
- 40-year-old Dave Leitch, who was asked by the Mounties to steer clear of the media cameras so he wouldn't interfere with the Prime Minister's carefully choreographed sound byte of the day.

Journalist Greg Weston of the Canadian Press describes this unprecedented use of the Mounties as the Prime Minister's PR flunkies:

"All of the federal leaders have RCMP bodyguards for the election, but none we have ever seen has been forced to do political dirty work like the squad assigned to Harper.

The best bodyguards in the business - and always nice to me -- they are now being forced to use their authority to protect Conservative photo ops.

(Don't blame the officers -they're just following orders, and my bet is most are embarrassed all to hell at having to dirty their hands in political swill.)

By the time the PM was at the microphone for yesterday's announcement, he was surrounded by a cheering crowd of party faithful, every one there by invitation only and required to pass an ID check by a Conservative organizer under the watchful eye of yet another RCMP.

The man getting his Mounties can't be good."

Okokok Of course, this kind of media manipulation (and out-and-out fakery) is business as usual for Stephen Harper. What's unusual is his willingness to be so blatant about his desire to control the media and the message. That begs the question: Is it arrogance or a sense of political imperviousness that has led him to pull back the curtain that once hid the team controlling his so-called wizardly ways.

Now the wizard is out front, barking out orders to the team of Mounties, not caring that the pretense of a magical spell has been broken, that everyone can see that it's all a carefully staged charade: The public has been vanquished from Oz and repopulated with Happy Conservative Munchkins who are ready to applaud whatever their wizard is offering up today. It's a surreal, technicolour dream.

Never mind the black-and-white realities: that the wizard is a control freak who is drunk on the elixir of power. He manipulates the media, recruits the Mounties to run interference between message and members of the public, and keeps the critics out of range. You don't have to travel far from Oz before you arrive in Stepford, don't you know?

* One of the perks of being the guy who happen to know that an election is looming -- and one of the reasons the Conservatives introduced legislation dealing Fixed Date Elections.

September 15, 2008

Follow the Leader


Number of campaign events that Stephen Harper has held so far that have been open to members of the public:


Number of campaign events that St├ęphane Dion has held so far that have been open to members of the public:

(including two town halls)

Source: Harper's Index

Turn the Page: Share This New Liberal Ad With Others

I think this brand new Liberal Party ad has such a powerful message to convey to Canadians that I just posted it to my Facebook page.

I've never done anything like that in my life.

I did it because there's so much at stake in this election. I think some of us have to move beyond our traditional comfort zones and take bold steps in order to ensure that points of view other than that of Stephen Harper are being heard during this election.

  • If you would like to share this video with others, you can double-chick on the video. That will take you through to YouTube, where you will be presented with a number of options as to how you can share the video. You can also find out how to embed the video in your web page or blog.
  • If you'd like to send a friend to the YouTube page where they can watch the video, just email or text your friend this code: 

The Media's Role in Influencing Public Opinion

Far and Wide's post about the way in which some key members of the media abandoned Dion once the Harper attack ads began to air in early 2007 got me thinking about the media's role in influencing public opinion.

I started to do a little digging and I came across this video -- The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News -- featuring Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, and Justin Lewis.

The video talks about how a myth can be shaped by putting the spotlight on one side of an argument or proposition and ignoring any evidence to the contrary. (Doesn't that sound familiar?) It doesn't take long for that "myth" to take on the power of "fact," even though it may be totally untrue.

September 13, 2008

Start Re-Running the News; Truth Trainwreck


The Toronto Sun story I linked to earlier in the week -- the August 15th story that predicted a housing boom for Peterborough once (not if) the Toronto-Peterborough train starts running -- has been yanked from its original URL and republished in another section of the paper (with a September 13th publication date).

Unfortunately, the major factual error that I pointed out in Story Version 1.0 is repeated in Story Version 2.0: Despite what one or more of the four sources quoted in the article may have indicated (Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, Finance Minister and MP for Whitby-Oshawa Jim Flaherty, Peterborough Mayor Paul Ayotte, and/or Paul Dietrich, President, Peterborough Home Builder's Association), the train isn't coming to Peterborough anytime soon.

It hasn't even been approved.

Saying that the trains should be arriving in Peterborough within two years is to totally distort the truth.

So what's happening here?

The journalists I know (and I know hundreds) take their jobs very seriously.

They want to get the facts out to their readers -- in this case, people who are trying to decide where to purchase a home -- and who may want to take into account confirmed plans for rail transportation links out of Toronto.

People representing all parties, both federally and provincially, are hoping that Peterborough will soon be added to that list, but we aren't there yet. Anyone pretending otherwise is trying to score political points at the expense of the truth.

It would be interesting to know how this reporter, Heather M. O'Conner, ended up with such incorrect information about the proposed rail link to Peterborough -- the train that got fast-tracked just before budget time.

Could it be that someone had a vested interest in leading her down the wrong track?

Related: Peterborough Examiner's Take on Campaign: Local and National Del Mastro's $90 Million Idea