Tag Archives: media

Media Madness & Politics

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It’s falling apart, but as the Rupert Murdoch media empire goes supernova, expect it to take a LOT of people with it.

First, start with the 10 questions that no one in Britain will ask Rupert Murdoch this afternoon.  This is because it seems like ALL of the British establishment is tainted with a disease known as “media madness” that has been rampaging their corridors for decades.

Which begs the question:  does Rupert Murdoch really give a shit about an inquiry?

Probably not.

‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’, some dude in a desert once said.  It’s more true today than ever.

Taint.  It’s an ugly word.

The disease runs deep and the cure is not going to be pretty.

To appreciate what I’m talking about, we have to go back.

It all begins with commercial media getting more crass and useless since the dawn of the age of television.  Yes … that far back.  One might argue that the symptoms go back even further into the early days of print (example:  William Randolph Hearst), but the level of magnitude and collusion really hit stride in the 1960s when TVs quickly became a way of our lives.

Example:  John F. Kennedy won the 1960 Presidential election because he knew (or at least someone did) that TV would expose how unattractive Richard Nixon was.

The taint begins en masse.  Mass production became a no-brainer in the early days of mass communication because we all trusted the advertising that came with media because we all trusted the people within the media.

Flip forward to today.

Rupert Murdoch has his fingers in many pies.

And these are just the media companies.  We need to know (but will never know the truth) about things like the relationship between media and the police and the politicians that they’re protecting.  Or exposing.  How close are these relationships and what’s the true meaning of this for all of ‘lay people’ who just want to get on with our lives?

In Canada, our ‘mainstream media’ has become very tainted by the same symptoms:  supporting those that throw our money at them.  The taint continues.  For the last half decade, it’s been the Conservatives, but the Liberals are equally tainted.

They nosh and rub elbows with the media elite in order to get buy-in from the editorial staff.

The reward:  billions in ad spend.  The taint runs deep.

Time and time again, the federal government tends to be one of the biggest buyers of media.  Canada’s ‘Economic Action Plan’ diverted nearly $500 million in advertising dollars to the big media companies in the past few years and it probably won’t stop any time soon.

With this kind of close relationship, Canada may be in a similar media minefield as Murdoch and the folks in Britain.

For example, who ‘exposed’ the story about Jack Layton supposedly getting a ‘massage’ just days before the election date?  Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has the stones to really find the answer to this question, including myself.  The cost is too high and the secrets too close.

However, there’s no doubt here:  as Murdoch media madness evolves into something bigger and uglier, the citizens of the world need to ask why we let ourselves get into this mess.

More importantly, how do we get out of it?

News of the World Whistle Blower Found Dead

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In an astounding update to the News of the World scandal, Sean Hoare – the man who blew open the phone hacking scandal related to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire – has been found dead.

The ‘media’ – the so called truth tellers that we should stop trusting – have quickly put out stories that it’s purely coincidental and accidental.

Good.  I believe that.

By the way, did anyone ever see ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ where a reporter for the Guardian gets gunned down because he was talking about ‘Blackbriar’ on his cell phone?

Canadian Progressive Media Alternatives

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I’m not so sure that the landing of the Huffington Post in Canada is the remedy we ‘progressives’ in this country need.  Last year, Arianna sold out to AOL, making it part of the mainstream.

I’m sure the Canadian version will be equally tame and ‘available’ to the priests of conservatism in this country.  Ultimately, who ever buys ads on the media, owns the media and Stephen Harper has the deepest pockets right now.

Progressives really MUST think in terms of media and the influence that the right has on everyday citizens.  We have to build an effective alternative media network that is financially viable, influential and that ultimately blocks the Conservatives out of the daily reading of all Canadians.

There’s the growing concept of ‘citizen media’, but we need an alternative to the alternative, something that is grass-roots based and respects the opinions of everyone and not just another site or aggregator of broadcasters that could care less about the ideas of … everyone.

We must also avoid linking to and creating content for mainstream media.  It’s essential that we shut them off.  We’re their power base.  Without US, they’re useless.  As a reminder, ‘they’ are Bell, Rogers, Quebecor, Shaw, Cogeco, Canwest in Canada and AOL, Fox, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS etc in the US.  Online versions of ‘them’ are Google, Yahoo, MSN, Facebook, Twitter,

But I’m soap-boxing.  Once I get my act together, what I’ll do is start a stump on Wikipedia that provides the same list.

Anyways, until this kind of open media network is built and financially viable, we still have alternatives to the mainstream (albeit ones that are deep-seated in the traditions of talk-down editorial as opposed to speak-up from the masses):

And even more options in North America and the rest of the world:

Think tanks, advocacy groups and social institutions (mostly US):

And then there’s consumption.  What sites or companies, co-ops and other organizations do you shop from that make you feel good?  Are they local?  Fair-trade?  Organic?  All of the above?

So … it’s a good start, but many of you may agree that it’s not comprehensive.  What it all points to is that I’ve been feeling helpless following the election a few weeks ago, but there’s no need for that any more.  We own this country and we deserve to take it back, piece by piece if we have to.

I need some help with this because I think it’s the impetus we all need to gain control of the media landscape of this country.  Do you have links or stories related to progressive media in Canada?  Can you please share your thoughts on who else is doing innovative things here or elsewhere?

Do you have ideas about how we can aggregate all of the above into a truly progressive news feed and source for all Canadians and others who are interested in getting and sharing news without being blocked out or beat up by bossy editors?

Please … really, please … post your thought below.


Mozilla Drumbeat:  https://drumbeat.org/en-US/challenges/unlocking-video/full










MayDay 2011 Aftermath: Let the Distractions and Deflections Begin

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It’s just a couple of days after the election and a lot of mysteries remain:

  • Why was Stephen Harper campaigning on May 2 and why was he not found in breach of Elections Canada laws prohibiting such campaigning?
  • Why did Michael Ignatieff say yesterday that he’s returning to his ‘first love’ (teaching)?  Why the hell did the Liberal Party of Canada appoint someone who’s not committed to politics?
  • Will we be able to investigate just one of the many crimes laid down at the feet of the Conservatives or will these all get swept under the table?
  • Who released the documents about Jack Layton in the 11th hour of the election, putting a small fragment of doubt in the minds of Canadians about the NDP leader?
  • Who placed the illegal robo-calls and who told local voters that the polling stations had been changed?  A serious breach of ethics has occurred and I don’t think Canadians will ever know who’s behind it (but I think we can take a few guesses).
  • Why did polls surge for the NDP and the media start raving about the Orange Crush, only to begin trampling on them in post-election attacks?  Was it a carefully scripted program designed to split the vote, particularly in Ontario?

Instead, we’re obsessing about the age of the NDP candidates and actually lampooning the NDP for being the only party in the country that’s able to attract a young audience – a freakin miracle in this country if you ask me.

WTF is wrong with this country?  WTF is wrong with our media?

I even saw George Strombo taking a poke at how young the NDP caucus is.  All I could think is ‘what an asshole’.

In the post-election aftermath, everyone in the media are showing their true colours as hypocrites because when they bitch endlessly about getting youth to participate in politics and THEY DO (but just not for the Libs or Cons), it’s not acceptable and becomes full fodder for an endless array of daycare and diaper jokes.

Well, all I can suggest is that these folks are the future and those who sit on the sidelines with a bunch of 90-year-old white men will not have one.

Meanwhile, the Cons are probably already using this distraction to work on altering the massive array of lies that they told during the election and we’ll likely see the spin begin within days about why cuts have to be made to the likes of the CBC, health care, the CPP, public pensions and other public programs because we just don’t have the money.

If we do ONE THING over the course of the next 4 years (and onwards) it will be to consolidate our media resources and find ways to break the Con media machine so that the truth can materialize.  If we don’t, welcome to Canada’s new dictatorship.

MayDay 2011: Has Mainstream Media Been Bought?

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Over the last 5 years, with particular emphasis on the last 3, the Conservatives have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads, print publishers and other media considerations in order to promote their Economic Action Plan.  Estimates range in the $120-$150 million per year.

If you’re a watcher of the CBC, you’ll know that they’ve been relatively absent with this network.

In effect, one might argue that the Cons have indirectly paid reporters and news anchors by giving their employers multi-million dollar promotional campaigns to push through their network of viewers.  Of course, I can’t make the accusation directly, but just a couple of years ago, the CTV, Quebecor and Canwest were all going to the federal government to beg for up to $120 million to keep them afloat after the auto crisis.  They got this amount and some in the years to follow.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.  Jane Taber’s reaction sums up my feelings nicely.

It’s possible to imagine that they might retain a moderate sense of objectivity in this campaign (or any other), but it’s more than likely that they simply won’t bite the hand that feeds them.  I’ve yet to see a serious critique of the criminality of the Conservative Party of Canada and the level of corruption that goes right to the top of this party and leadership.  If I’m wrong, show me and I’ll gladly eat my words.

Even the CBC has lacked the appropriate ‘teeth’ required to expose the depths of amoral attitudes that walk the halls of the PMO and other cabinet offices.  Peter Mansbridge had the opportunity last week to nail Harper to the ice, but didn’t take the shot.  We all wanted to know why he was found in contempt of Parliament, but we didn’t get to see him squirm.

But here’s a reminder of what we DO know:  Stephen Harper cannot be trusted because he was found in contempt of Parliament, not because he was filibustered as a result of a lame budget or Liberal ambition.  In fact, the Liberals were languishing in the polls and the last thing they would have wanted was an election that would possibly see them emerge with even fewer seats than in 2008.

There’s SO MUCH riding on this election.  I really don’t believe that it’s an understatement to say that our future is riding on it.  But don’t expect that story from the mainstream media.