Mainstream media has lost our trust in the age of COVID-19

Major news outlets have opted to focus on our more primal emotions to keep us tuned into their programs

Mainstream media has lost our trust in the age of COVID-19Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, tells us, “Trust is the glue of life. … It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Yet trust seems to be in short supply today. Many people don’t trust the mainstream media, the government, large corporations or the medical profession. Their trust is…

Systemic racism is embedded in our economy

We pass laws for unjust taxes, reward unscrupulous businesses and hold money back from our children

Systemic racism is embedded in our economyIn a 2016 interview, CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge confronted children’s advocate Dr. Cindy Blackstock with this statement regarding public funding for Indigenous programs: “Billions of dollars have been spent in trying to come to grips with the situation that so many Indigenous Canadians face. And of those billions, it’s on the record that some of…

Why respectful debate makes society better

Many of us have become very defensive about expressing our views

Why respectful debate makes society betterA 2018 episode of Channel 4 News from the United Kingdom has become rather infamous. Canadian psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson is interviewed by Cathy Newman about his book 12 Rules of Life, feminism and gender identity. Peterson has become very popular among those on the extreme right of the political spectrum. He has also…

The hidebound habits of the journalistic mind

'Reporting' today is simply a note-perfect parrot-squawk of State-approved storylines

The hidebound habits of the journalistic mindAn editor-in-chief infamous for, shall we say, whimsy once decreed no opening sentence of any news story could exceed 21 words. The impromptu commandment unleashed a newsroom tizzy equivalent to what might have erupted if an exotic dancer had walked in bearing a burlap bag full of ferrets and released them during her performance. The…

Believe it or not! First-rate journalists still exists in Canada

In the midst of institutional confusion and ineptness, individual journalists are still holding the powerful to account

Believe it or not! First-rate journalists still exists in CanadaHonesty demands acknowledgement. In recent weeks I’ve written sharp criticism of journalistic performance on a variety of issues. It’s true that at the institutional level, corporate providers of the ceaseless information that floods our waking hours too often resemble a pooch begging for table scraps while running in ever diminishing circles going yip-yip-yip. It would…

Lazy journalism becoming a mouthpiece for the State’s narrative

There is a growing comfort in institutional journalism to follow rather than question

Lazy journalism becoming a mouthpiece for the State’s narrativeWarning lights should always flash before our eyes whenever journalists mix raw numbers and percolating percentages in the same paragraph. Numbers clearly state actuality. Percentages are the ups and downs of context. Regardless of the axiom attributed to Stalin that one death is a tragedy and a million is a statistic, if two people die,…

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliation

Vacuous electoral promises and virtue-signalling schemes won’t deliver the outcomes Indigenous Canadians need

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliationCanada has consistently failed to make progress commensurate with the many lofty pronouncements and expectations on the Indigenous file. It’s a national shame that most Indigenous Canadians on reservations live far below acceptable socio-economic standards. Money isn’t the problem. By 2022, the federal budget allocations to Indigenous will have doubled since 2016 to nearly $25…

When a spy agency cozies up to the media, who do we trust?

Carl Berstein once exposed the existence of a network of CIA-recruited journalists working around the world for the U.S.

When a spy agency cozies up to the media, who do we trust?A few years after he broke the Watergate story, Carl Bernstein quit the Washington Post and spent six months looking at the relationship between the CIA and the press. The result was a 25,000-word cover story in the Oct. 20, 1977, edition of Rolling Stone called The CIA and the Media. The article, still online…

Don’t turn news conferences into Hollywood productions

The camera doesn’t doesn’t lie. The stuffed characters behind the head of government in COVID news conferences are always on

Don’t turn news conferences into Hollywood productionsWho are those people standing behind the newsmaker at press conferences? I see them in the hallways of legislatures when the party leader is making an announcement. I see them in a studio behind the head of government during a COVID-19 news conference. “Oh,” you say, “they’re showing that governing is a team effort and…

Why can’t politicians manage press conferences?

Isn’t it time politicians learned to simulate a real-life encounter with people who have questions?

Why can’t politicians manage press conferences?Head of government: “… and so stay safe.” (Long pause.) Robotic voice: “Our next caller is Scoop Notepad from the Daily Planet.” Scoop: “Hi.” Head of government: “Hi Scoop.” (Pause. Sometimes the greetings are reversed.) Scoop asks a question, head of government responds and then we hear the oddball, robotic voice again. Who is that?…

Media complicit in creating mass killer copycats

It’s time for the media to deny the deranged the notoriety and fame they so perversely seek

Media complicit in creating mass killer copycatsJustice Anne Molloy recently found the man who drove a van down Toronto’s sidewalks, trying to kill as many people as he could, guilty of murdering 10 and attempting to kill 16 others. The judge also took the extraordinary decision to refer to him as “John Doe,” denying him any notoriety he might have expected…

Media’s misguided agendas lead to social unrest

Reporting on the George Floyd and Colten Boushie deaths twisted the facts to meet the agendas of mainstream media

Media’s misguided agendas lead to social unrestDerek Chauvin is the Minneapolis police officer who achieved international notoriety for his role in the death of George Floyd. A video showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, as Floyd pleads that he can’t breathe, has been viewed millions of times around the globe. Floyd’s death sparked months of protests, rioting, looting…

Why we need to make room for alternative lenders

Crackdowns fail to recognize that alternative lenders are the last hope for Canadians shut out of the traditional lending market

Why we need to make room for alternative lendersThe media often portray alternative lenders as slippery, unethical loan sharks who exploit the poor. When targeting the sector and not just a few bad apples, such stories are easy, cheap hit jobs. New Brunswick Sen. Pierrette Ringuette, for example, recently described alternative loans to CBC Marketplace as “an abusive financial process that needs to…

Stuck in a dangerous information echo chamber

When we limit our media consumption to one side of the political spectrum, we get a distorted picture of reality

Stuck in a dangerous information echo chamberEveryone likes positive affirmation. It’s nice knowing that while the rest of the world has gone crazy, your friends have your back. It feels even better when you have thousands of friends agreeing with everything you say. Frankly, that’s the power of social media, where positive affirmation is only a few clicks away. Social media…

Covid-19 news coverage based more on #fearporn than science

Journalists eager to echo doomsday alarms about pandemic case numbers while ignoring the social devastation of lockdown policies

Covid-19 news coverage based more on #fearporn than scienceIt has long been accepted both within and without the world of journalism that negative news trumps developments of a positive nature pretty much every time. Much may have changed in how news is delivered to people but the old cliches – “if it bleeds it leads” and “newspapers don’t report when airplanes land safely”…

CBC trying to shake free of its mandate as a public broadcaster

The RCI controversy shows CBC’s primary purpose is the acquisition – at the expense of private broadcasters – of audiences and money

CBC trying to shake free of its mandate as a public broadcasterAn uprising backed by former prime minister Joe Clark and actor Donald Sutherland is trying to force the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to hit pause on its plans to dismantle Radio Canada International (RCI). If successful, the move to save CBC’s once-vaunted service that took Canada to the world will throw a wrench into the CBC’s…

The media is actively promoting doctor assisted suicide

The use of euphemisms such as "assisted dying" rather than “euthanasia” or “assisted suicide” is putting our most vulnerable at risk

The media is actively promoting doctor assisted suicideBy Andre Schutten and Anna Nienhuis ARPA Canada Action inspires action. This is often positive, as people’s activities motivate others to engage in positive service too. But there are times when action inspires deadly action. As the Senate continues its review of Bill C-7’s dramatic expansion of medical assistance in dying (MAiD), possibly proposing amendments…

Truth, lies and the insidious rise of “misinformation”

In a world where disagreement is misinformation, can debate even exist?

Truth, lies and the insidious rise of “misinformation”Before 2016, ‘misinformation’ was just another word in the dictionary. As soon as it became clear that Donald Trump’s straight-shooting presidential campaign was serious, and that he would likely become the Republican nominee, ‘misinformation’ became a strategy. Anything that left Trump’s mouth that media pundits or Democrats considered distasteful, or even just phrased in a…

Strange weather and the words we use to describe it

Some arise from folklore, some carry historical inferences and others are the result of superstition

Strange weather and the words we use to describe itThe media has created some of its own climate words and sometimes uses superlatives somewhat carelessly – worst storm ever, highest rainfall ever, greatest flood ever. And what the heck is a polar vortex? A Washington Post readers’ poll coined the word snowmageddon but it has no meaning in meteorological terms. Yet it’s used by…

Time to combat the COVID-19 narrative of fear

What we need is well-informed, critical and rational thought, combined with a healthy skepticism of politicians and mainstream media

Time to combat the COVID-19 narrative of fearCoronaphobia may not have entered our official vocabulary but it deserves to. Virus fears have affected public policy and our daily lives. The condition is held by a great number of people. It’s understandable why the elderly and immunosuppressed are worried. What is less understandable, and more ironic, is how many coronaphobics are on the…

To protect democracy, we must protect local media

Our 21st-century reliance on tech giants to supply us with information has resulted in fake news, clickbait and polarized societies

To protect democracy, we must protect local mediaIt’s not news to say that our consumption of media has changed dramatically in the 21st century. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look objectively at the impact of these changes and begin thinking about how our media can be improved. For most of the 20th century, the media was controlled by…

Just the facts? Don’t count on fact-checkers

A closer look at almost every fact-checking organization shows a great deal of politics and vested interests involved

Just the facts? Don’t count on fact-checkersFact-checking takes us past the spin and straight to the truth. Or maybe not. A closer look at almost every fact-checking organization shows a great deal of politics and vested interests involved. Years ago, I went to Snopes.com whenever someone sent me an email thread I wasn’t sure about. I even recommended to others that…

A KGB guide to subverting the press to your agenda

The methods of a former KGB operative remain applicable in the modern era, leading to disinformation and outright lies

A KGB guide to subverting the press to your agenda“I cannot but wonder why are people pushing for socialism and communism?” an elderly friend wrote on Facebook. “Are they that misinformed and believing it?” If we concede the answer is “Yes,” the next question is “Why?” The late Yuri Bezmenov, a former KGB operative with the RIA Novosti press agency, had some answers. One…

Combatting the rising tide of hostility

Simple courtesy has taken a giant nosedive

Combatting the rising tide of hostilityFaith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith uses her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the oft-times stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. Her Conflict Coach column appears every…

CBC has outlived its usefulness

The policy rationale for the existence of the CBC no longer meets the reality of the modern age

CBC has outlived its usefulnessThe Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) should go the way of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. (FFMC). In 1969, the federal government passed the Freshwater Fish Marketing Act (FFMA). It created a federal Crown corporation that acted as the sole buyer of freshwater fish caught in western Canada, northern Canada and parts of northern Ontario. The…

In search of an American tax daddy for Canadian media

The federal government is apparently preparing massive regulation of the Internet, pandering to the views of niche lobby groups

In search of an American tax daddy for Canadian mediaThe nation’s cultural policies may soon switch from protecting Canada from foreign influences to depending on them. That’s because Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault seems determined to shift the burden of funding the nation’s cultural industries to foreign companies. The details of the new communications legislation Guilbeault’s been promising remain under wraps. But he’s strongly signalling…

Finding the truth when the media has an agenda

Finding the truth when the media has an agendaDeception and dishonesty aren’t new. When sending his disciples out into the world 2,000 years ago, Jesus gave the following advice: “I am sending you like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” People have always told lies to promote their agendas and to protect their economic interests.…

Mainstream media glosses over Indigenous issues

Media need time and resources to understand the issues and seek a range of views within the Indigenous world

Mainstream media glosses over Indigenous issuesYears ago, I was given a great opportunity to be the lead reporter and edit for a national Indigenous newspaper based in Winnipeg, the Drum/First Perspective. The paper no longer exists but the job changed my life in so many ways. I learned much and encountered many Indigenous people across Canada. I profiled many leading…

5 steps to optimizing your small newspaper website

SEO is incredibly important to the success of any online news outlet

5 steps to optimizing your small newspaper websiteYou have a great online newspaper, but aren’t getting as much traffic as you'd hope. Ensuring that your website has complete visibility to customers should be your number one priority. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO is incredibly important to the success of any online business. Although Google makes dozens of…
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