In spite of the fact the Harper Government fast tracked Bill C-51, the Parliamentary Committee won’t re-convene until next week. When you consider the Harper Government’s vow to have this legislation rushed through so it can be passed by the end of the month, this is a dramatic demonstration of how little scrutiny the Harper Government is willing to accord Bill C-51.
The same can’t be said for the rest of us, because Bill C-51 is actually getting a great deal of scrutiny outside the Parliament Buildings.
There are a lot of terrible things in this draft legislation, but as a writer I am especially concerned about it’s assault on Free Speech. Ordinarily I only blog about Canadian Politics sporadically, but this week I hope to post daily. I began Monday with David Weber warns Bill C-51 will lead to a Police State #RejectTerror #StopBillC51 and yesterday I posted about the film I’ll be seeing tomorrow night, The Secret Trial 5 ~ Screening Tour. Today I want to talk a little about how the news media has let us all down.
The Watchdog Press Is Dead
For a long time I’ve known the mainstream “news media” we trust to keep us abreast of the things have dropped the ball. Even though we are most definitely in the information age, newspapers, radio and tv news are not telling us what we we need to know if we are to be thee informed citizenry of a free country. Because the mainstream news media is not a public service, but the property of corporate entities. Lou Grant was fictional, and in today’s world, Woodward and Bernstein wouldn’t have brought down a presidency, they would have landed in Guantanamo Bay.
In Canada the largest commercial advertiser, the single biggest consumer of advertising in the country is the Canadian Government.
So it is understandable that newspapers and tv networks don’t want to alienate their biggest client. Then too, these media outlets are at the mercy of corporate advertisers — who have their own agenda. With a big enough bankroll of advertising dollars might make it possible to influence news programming and/or editorial styles. In addition to the substantial influences exerted both by business and government, the main stream media also happen to be owned by corporate entities with their own agendas. So it isn’t surprising that the “news” what we see on mainstream television, hear on mainstream radio and read in mainstream newspapers comes wrapped in bias. And since these mainstream outlets compete for advertising dollars, the “news” must entertain to try to attract the largest audience.
Our silver bullet to ward off government control of our news media was supposed to be Canada’s independent arms-length national broadcaster, the CBC. Unfortunately CBC has not proven itself immune from government intervention. On the Harper Government’s watch I understand the CBC Board of Directors is dominated by Conservatives. Making things even worse, the Canadian government’s failure to fully fund what should be a public service has made the CBC vulnerable to advertisers in the same way the “commercial” news media is. So although there are occasional blips of CBC independence, it isn’t really surprising CBC has failed to defend itself or stand up to the powerful forces arrayed against it.
All of which means that even the biggest Canadian news junkies are not actually very informed by the mainstream media.
The Internet is providing alternatives to the mainstream, but even though we are seeing the rise of citizen journalism with both reportage and opinions via blogs and podcasts and social media, even though alternative news outlets like websites like Rabble, the Tyee, Media Co-Op, Canadaland, Huffington Post Canada, Yahoo News etc. are growing their audiences, they are still overshadowed by the powerful mainstream media dinosaurs who still walk the land.
Comer vs Bank of Canada
All of this explains why most Canadians, like me, have never heard of Comer. The first I heard of this very important issue was when a young man got up on the stage at Kitchener City Hall and said a few words to the crowd about how Canadians Sued The Bank Of Canada & Won. Mainstream Media & Government Blacks Out Story
As someone who feels mathematically challenged I am still trying to get my mind around what this means, but at minimum it is something that Canadians should be hearing about. You can find out more at the COMER website.
Even though the mainstream media has apparently chosen (or been told) to ignore this issue, there has been new media coverage. I am certainly no economist, but there does seem to be information out there. So far I have just scratched the surface, so I have not read much of the information available; nor have I watched all the videos in the playlist. It will take time to get a handle on this.