Activists not journalists? What a line. The news from big media in Canada has as much bias as news from bloggers.

This article is in response to Can a journalist also be an activist? published in j-Source, a blog by the Canadian Journalism Project sponsored by Ryerson  University.

As a big consumer of news in its many forms, my question w/ activist journalists is how does one recognize the difference between facts and opinion? While I don’t believe pure objectivity in reporting is possible…  J.Chapman

One man’s advocate is another man’s activist and  in another country could be a person committing treason against the state.

“David Onley, a journalist and high-profile advocate for people with disabilities will be installed as Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor at the Ontario Legislature.” wrote the Ottawa Citizen on Sept 5 2007.

CBC Fredericton, keeping Irving interests off the front page

CBC Fredericton, keeping Irving interests off the front page (Picture BOMA New Brunswick)

That is such a bogus argument about “traditional” media having no bias. My dad was CBC News Director for New Brunswick. For decades CBC could not have a local station in New Brunswick because Irving Corp lobbied the Federal government (Liberal and Conservative). The whole province of New Brunswick was controlled by Irving media interests.

The agreement to open CBC Fredericton was that the stories which referred to Irving interests had to be vetted by the CBC Station Manager, who would regularly kill anything about pollution etc. since Irving was a major contributor to New Brunswick’s pollution. My Dad got a reprimand about one story that commented on the Irving pulp mill in St. John, NB.

CBC News is censored by management, politicians and big business

CBC News is censored by management, politicians and big business

It was the same situation in Halifax, where my dad had been Editor-in-Chief of the 6 o’clock TV news. Captain Briggs who ran CBC Halifax had his pet topics and he forbid any news story that went against the “party line”.

Media censorship

CTV and The Globe and Mail are owned and controlled by Bell Canada Enterprises

CTV and The Globe and Mail are owned and controlled by Bell Canada Enterprises

All media in Canada is controlled by a few people. CTV/Bell/Globe and Mail, Transcontinental, CBC, Pierre Péladeau. Anyone working for those organizations knows the rules.  For example CTV will not report on the CBC.

The only likelihood of getting some honest reporting is from people like Tim at The Coast and bloggers. Of course they can get it wrong, and have bias. That’s no different from the Executive Director of every CBC News room who censors the news by controlling assignments and killing stories that are politically incorrect.

“Sorry Bob or Barb, your story got cut. Not enough time in the broadcast.”  How do you keep a CBC reporter in line? Pay them $102,000 a year.

The Supreme Court of Canada gave the same rights to free expression that the big boys have to the new media types. Learn to live with it.

All newspapers have bias. We have come to accept the mainstream bias because it represents the Family Compact – Your In Good Hands With The Harper Government.

What did the Globe and Mail recently announce? They just want readers who are rich. Wow that’s a bias that will slant every story towards low levels of social benefits and low taxes on the rich. That bias should be printed on their masthead.

The Toronto Star was always known to be a Liberal paper so there’s bias but it was not a statement on the editorial page.

What’s CBC’s bias? Telling Canadians how wonderful the CBC is, how “exclusive” their stories are, how lucky we are not to catch “health-scare-of-the-week” and how evil the Sun is.

The National Post has bias and old Conrad Black always had bias but now it has shifted to sympathy for the high-and-mighty-rich who have fallen from grace.

The internet is full of bias but it is pretty clear to the wise reader.

What we don’t need is censorship, by the government or by self-interested media barons. It’s a brave new world.

Originally published in Can a journalist also be an activist?. Edited for grammar and readability.
Oye Times

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