The National Observer: PostMedia Pawn?

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After decades of assaulting good government, supporting bad government and everything in between, all the while being owned by American hedge fund managers, Paul Godfrey of PostMedia has been very passionate in his pleas for money from the Canadian government for dollars – advertising, subsidies, grants, whatever; just give me the frickin money! – while his media empire slips into oblivion.

I say good riddance.

Anyways, it seems the National Observer has just joined the chorus of complainers.

For a while, I had some respect to the National Observer.  They covered interesting and important stories with an objective eye.

Now they’re just resorting to America bashing to try to make a buck.  What makes it worse is that they’re repeating the same meme that Paul Godfrey was using to complain about the new Canadian government.

Boo hoo.  Canadian media has had its proverbial head in the sand for the last decade while the Harper regime ripped the guts out of Canada.  Canadian media has done nothing to create Canadian media.  Yes, the National Observer was unique in its criticism of the regime, but resorting to defending PostMedia and others seems like a low blow.

The main reality is advertising is going elsewhere, both at a consumer and business level,” said Bob Cox, publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press (a Post Media subsidiary) and chair of the Canadian Newspaper Association, in an interview. “A lot of those advertising dollars have migrated.”

The government spent $3.6 million, just under 24 per cent of its digital ad budget, on news website ads in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. In the following year, that number dropped to just over $2.1 million, or 15 per cent of the annual budget.

In that same period the government more than doubled its advertising spending on services like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, spending over $4.6 million, more than a third of its ad budget.

And after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was sworn in last November, federal departments steered a number of their marketing campaigns away from Canadian media, choosing instead to spend more than $2.8 million over the next five months on social media advertising.

“If the government of Canada spends on ads on Facebook, they send money directly to Silicon Valley,” said Steve Lowry, founder of Discovery Media House, an advertising consulting firm. “It’s almost like outsourcing, in a way.”

They’re conveniently ignoring the fact that Facebook, Google and many other digital media companies employ thousands of people in a healthy, thriving business of actually delivering results and creating business opportunities.

They’re also ignoring the notion that most ‘Canadian’ ad agencies who book all of these buys are also American subsidiaries and have been for decades.

Let’s ignore these facts and let’s just do what Paul Godfrey tells us to do.

What’s next National Observer?  Should we stop buying iPhones because they’re made in China?  Maybe we should boycott China altogether? How about we just cut Canada’s internet off from the rest of the world to save a few ‘horse and buggy’ jobs?

C’mon National Observer.  You can do better than this.  You still have the opportunity to do something different than traditional media companies.  You could even build your traffic if you show Canada that you ‘get’ digital.

Drop the paywall.  Bring us in.  Be objective.  Don’t quote PostMedia.

Talk to Facebook, Google and others.  They’re now the biggest media companies in the universe.  Make them your partners, not your adversaries.

EARN the dollars being spent by our government.  Don’t expect them like media companies have in the past.

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