February 21, 2017

Which ‘news’ is ‘real’ and which is ‘fake’?

By admin

I came across this article about how it’s unlikely that the Washington Post – supposed 1960s bastion of investigative reporting – will ever report on Jeff Bezos and his relationship with the CIA.

That’s because that would take money off the table.

In a market economy, there’s no doubt in my mind that the profit motive is important, but how does it affect ‘news’ and more importantly, the credibility of that news source?

We’ve endured decades of garbage from the likes of PostMedia, Rebel Media and many traditional outlets (who hasn’t yelled at their radio while some moron throws thought grenades out across his microphone) and others that simply want to fan the flames.  And when the flames go out, they light them up again.

Let’s pivot to England and see that the Guardian is reporting on Bill Gates’ statement that ‘Tens of millions could be killed by eco-terrorism’.  This is a shocking and alarmist article, but doesn’t seem to be getting much press, well, anywhere.

Unfortunately, a Google search only yields Business Insider and Breitbart (but only on an unrelated topic).

When someone I would consider to be a world leader makes a pretty shocking statement like that, why is no one covering it?

We get more press about McDonald’s going to all day breakfast sandwiches (which in my view is the extreme version of fake news being spewed by the likes of ‘credible’ institutions like the CBC) than we do about something like this.

I know so many people are wrestling with this, especially when the ‘Leader of the Free World’ declares that everyone is fake news, but only because they’re questioning his sanity.

In an interesting twist, I too was accused of basically being a Kellyanne Conway clone because I don’t trust the media, but I bring it back to how things got twisted by the Canadian Conservatives when talking about the census.  I refused to do the census because it was being managed and handled by Lockheed-Martin.  My words were spun in a way that I was now a frothing at the mouth libertarian that didn’t want government in my life.

This was a lie at my expense.  More importantly, my belief system was manipulated into this awful and disgusting Frankenstein-like abortion of intent that I was permanently pushed away from the Conservative Party of Canada.

(Likewise now for the Liberals who have pushed me away from voting for them ever again because they stole my vote under the promise of electoral reform).

I see this today with the media and don’t have a solution for understanding how badly our information is being manipulated against us in order to create a story that suits a handful of old white men determined to f*ck the world royally for their own gain.

All I can do is try to summarize and see if that helps us at least set the stage for creating or stimulating ‘real’ conversation about critically important issues:

  1. News is vital to a functioning democracy.   Without it, we have some kind of ‘ism’ (Fascism, Socialism, Communism, take your pick).
  2. The vast majority of news is suspect because it’s driven by the profit-motive.  Full disclosure might solve that problem.
  3. The vast majority of ‘public’ news is susceptible to interference by third-parties and propaganda. Again, full disclosure might help, but it’s unlikely.
  4. People need motivation (usually financial, but fear is another good reason) to properly research stories.
  5. Stories need an audience.
  6. Audience exists for at least two reasons:  desire for truth and desire for entertainment.
  7. People are dropping paid subscriptions – and the life-blood of news investigation – in favour of secondary and alternative sources.  Advertisers are disappearing. For-profit companies are losing money hand over fist.

When you piece together the central issues, it’s easy to see how people can easily be herded towards what they want to hear, which is what is happening in all camps, including the Trump base.

What’s the solution? Here are some basic ideas:

In Canada, we spend about a billion per year on the CBC.  A lot of it goes into garbage like Schitt’s Creek and dozens of other Cancon projects.

  1. Let’s start by properly allocating public funds for proper public investigation and stop with the entertainment side of the business.
  2. Let’s create a free source of news that all Canadians – including for-profit news companies – can access, read, report on and interpret for the benefit of all Canadians.
  3. Let’s stop the CBC from posting stories that have been paid for by private companies and PR experts.
  4. Let’s instead put some of the funds that are spent on companies like Canada News Wire and give out investigative research grants to people that successfully pitch and win the money.
  5. And let’s make sure that we continue to work in a transparent environment so that we can understand who’s behind the story.

Let’s own the news.  It’s our right.  It’s our obligation.