Archive for the 'Media' Category

Aug 20 2011

My CBC is Getting Smoked in the Comments

Published by under Media

In an effort to engage their audience, the CBC asks them to “Tell us what the CBC means to you.”

And proceeds to get shellacked in the comments. It’s a self-inflicted social media smack-down. A typical example of the 57 overwhelmingly critical responses thus far:

My CBC is my Pravda as the CBC is clearly a propaganda vehicle designed to filter information in line with the Bilderberg group mandate using Peter Mansbridge who is a member. Unbiased criticism of government federal or provincial will not be found coming from “my” CBC. Neither will any criticism of the policies of the Bank of Canada be found here either.

I have come to the conclusion that keeping Canadians informed has never been the purpose of the CBC with it’s so called journalists, but rather to keep Canadians disinformed. Therefore, I feel the CBC has been very successful in that regard.

Oh my dear lord, this is funny. Most CBC employees fans will try to portray this as a petty and mischievous campaign by the competition and those with an ideological grudge. Fair enough. No doubt, there is some of that going on. And when most of the commenters suggest de-funding the CBC, it’s not like the people running the network are going to be able to work with that feedback (ie. “Our viewers think we shouldn’t get any more public money. I guess all we can do is close up shop. Private sector, you win.”). But they might at least investigate whether the perception of overly PC and left-wing bias among their commentators has some merit and needs to get corrected (an assessment I heartily agree with, BTW).

Those defenders should also at least ask the question: why aren’t more people coming out to say nice things about their favorite media network?

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Nov 02 2010

Adbusters. Where Dishonest Meets Vile

Some of you may have heard about the latest issue of Adbusters, which sports a weird photo essay contrasting the “striking similarities” of the wartime Warsaw Ghetto and the modern Gaza Strip.

I wrote about this in the Vancouver Sun’s Community of Interest in Adbusters Gets It Wrong. An excerpt:

If the Adbusters photo essay were merely offensive, that wouldn’t be a problem. It’s simply dishonest, sloppy journalism that easily lends itself to the odious Jew-Nazi comparison so common to our university campuses and increasingly, dinner table conversation. If Shoppers’ Drugmart and other shopkeepers choose not to display this sort of material on their shelves, that’s not an infringement of Lasn’s free speech. It just means that in the marketplace of ideas, fewer people want what he’s selling. And that’s a good thing.

A similar take in The Propagandist in Follow Up To The Adbusters Warsaw Ghetto-Gaza Photo Essay

And if Kalle Lasn is reading this, well, you already know what you can do.

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Aug 17 2010

God Ordered This Census, You Say?

You’ve got to be kidding. First, just about every hard-boiled secular (or at least non-Christian) political opponent of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already implied he’s some kind of nefarious theocrat with a hidden evangelical agenda that’s sort of modeled on Iran’s Islamic Republic.

But what’s the latest criticism of Steve-O? The PM is ignoring the will of God by making the census voluntary.

Our government is wrong-headed in its policy direction because it refuses to be influenced by cherry-picked verses from the Old Testament? What?

You can’t make this stuff up. Thanks, Globe and Mail.

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Jan 01 2010

The Biggest Canadian Story of 2009 That Never Was

Perhaps the Canadian opposition parties ought to be thanking PM Stephen Harper for putting a temporary kibosh on any Afghan detainee investigation, which was most likely going to reveal… nothing at all.

Canadian reporter Matthew Fisher on the detainees (as transcribed at Terry Glavin’s blog):

“It is preposterous… People trying to compare this to Somalia . . . the cavalier use of the term war crimes. . . we are not even within a million miles of reaching any of these points. It is a tremendous slur to ever invoke words like these. These are words that were used, and with reason, for the holocaust, for the genocide in Cambodia, for the horrible things that happened with tens of thousands of people being slaughtered in Rwanda. . .

“I’ve spoken at great length to the Red Cross – I believe I’m the only Canadian journalist who has – in Kabul, with someone who has had a lot to do with this file. He said the Red Cross has no issues with Canada, or any other country for that matter, at this time.

“This person was also highly critical of the whistleblower Richard Colvin, who has been lionized in Canada, because he violated every rule that every government has with the Red Cross, which is to allow it to do its work freely, and to protect prisoners. It never discusses its affairs publicly, period, and they are extremely distressed, and they believe that Colvin harmed the prisoners and put them at risk by going public with these things.”

Further Reading
Afstan: The odd view of our media about their sources
The Media Story On Afghanistan And The Real World

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Dec 20 2009

When a Dictator Isn’t a Dictator

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is accused of acting like a dictator. The real issue is why an experienced editorialist can’t act like a professional.

It is a well-understood principle in most editorial and blogging circles that when you compare your opponent to Hitler, you’ve automatically lost the argument. Reductio ad Hitlerum arguments say far more about the one making the accusation than the target of the attack.

This rule also applies to an only slightly lesser extent when one compares their opponent to a dictator, particularly in a country like Canada. Let’s face it, when you use the word “dictator”, the face that most often comes to mind is Austria’s most notorious firebrand. Unless you’re talking about Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, labeling someone a dictator, or more cautiously using the phrase “acting like a dictator”, is not just wrong — it’s stupid.

So it’s disappointing when I see this sort of accusation leveled against our Prime Minister in a publication like the Toronto Star. Haroon Siddiqui’s clownish piece, Harper acting like an elected dictator, is a perfect example of the genre.

Not to delve too deeply into this muck, but one would at least expect such an outlandish assertion to be backed up by some sort of, well, evidence. An excerpt of Siddiqui’s piece:

Stephen Harper is centralizing power in the PMO on an unprecedented scale; defying Parliament (by refusing to comply with a Commons vote demanding the files on Afghan prisoner abuse); derailing public inquiries (by a parliamentary committee and the Military Police Complaints Commission); muzzling/firing civil servants; demonizing critics; and dragging the military into the line of partisan political fire.

Let’s see. Harper has “centralized” power within the PMO. So what? The PMO doesn’t make laws. The House of Commons does. The Conservatives are still hamstrung by their minority status. It makes little difference whether Harper keeps a firm leash on his closest cronies, so long as their leader and party must answer to the people in parliament.

Harper has not defied parliament on the Afghan file. He has defied a select number of MPs who are doing all they can to sap the morale of our citizenry and military for short-term partisan gain. There’s no question which political parties have actually tried to bring our soldiers into disrepute; apparently for the high crime of turning over our captured common enemy combatants to our Afghan allies to deal with before they’ve reached a civilized enough state where terrorists’ rights take precedence over those of their victims.

As for muzzling civil servants, Harper has done no such thing. Bureaucrats have always been subject to privacy rules and confidentiality considerations determined by their elected masters. This is hardly something unique to the Conservatives. And civil servants certainly don’t have any right to lifetime job security.

Extreme language and partisan rhetoric have ruined public discourse. I expect more from an editorialist in one of our nation’s most well-read newspapers.

Is this really how Canadian PM Stephen Harper starts his day?

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