Fri, 12/19/2014 - 01:26

Posted by Belinda Alzner on November 23, 2012

Sun Media is restructuring in a big way – a 500-jobs-cut kind of big way. Former editorial page editor Rob Granatstein says the cuts have “crushed local newsrooms,” but Toronto Sun editor-in-chief James Wallace disagrees, responding that the cuts to editorial are hardly “gutting,” though they aren’t made without pain. 

 

Click on the images below to get the views from both Rob Granatstein, former Toronto Sun editorial page editor, and James Wallace, current Toronto Sun editor-in-chief, as they pertain to the news earlier this month that Sun Media would be cutting 500 jobs.

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Comments

 

Another story that kind of begs a question I have never seen addressed on J-source, or anywhere else where people calling themselves journalists gather to talk about the state of things here in Canada - namely, what kind of media does a country have, and what can it expect from them, when the financial status of whatever media it is, and profits for investors, come ahead of, eclipse, really, providing either high-quality, fair and impartial reporting, or working within a general national environment which allows a wide range of opinions about what to cover, and how, and do so with reliability and trustability? What should a democratic citizenry, through their government, be doing to ensure that their media is not only free, which doesn't seem to be much of a problem, but responsible to 'the people' rather than entirely moulding itself to the desires and demands and POVs of the people (a) expecting a profit from its operation, and (b) expecting any media they own to promote opinions and policies of the owners, which does seem to be a quite major problem these days?

I am sure the first response, should anyone care enough to even bother, will be to try an endrun around the question, by claiming we really do have 'left' and 'right' and 'balanced-centrist' media outlets, with for example the CBC-Toronto Star, NP-Sun, and Globe, respectively, and thus of course the people are well-served, but any impartial consideration of the situation leads very clearly to the conclusion that while all of these major Cdn media outlets have some 'progressive' elements in terms of 'personal freedoms' in Canada (everybody, with the exception of the odd antediluvian or far-right-nutbar columnist featured for some 'color' and/or 'controversy', supports women's rights, gay rights, dealing fairly with first nations, mocking and attacking smokers and people who are disinclined to wear seat belts, etc etc these days, all those 'social' things that might be called 'politically correct') - and every single one of them is also somewhere between center-right and far right economically and politically, and there is simply nothing coming from a truly 'leftist' (as in 'for the interests of the people' rather than the rightwing 'for the interests of big money and 'investors'') side of the spectrum economically or politically to be found in any Canadian (mainstream) media editorially (pointing to an odd column in the Globe or Star with some minor criticism of the latest 'free trade' or regime change operation proposal is not sufficient to label a paper 'leftist' politically, regardless of the screaming from the rightwing nutcases at every tiny word daring to oppose their 'freedom' to do as they wish without criticism, showing little more than their complete disconnection from reality, as they tend to do with everything they write. But I digress ..).

Indeed, rather than a good collection of spirited journals with honest journalists and quality columnists dedicated to working for the people and fostering open, inclusive, wide-ranging discussion and understanding of important issues through speaking for different segments of our society, sort of working mainly around the center left-center right of the economic-political spectrum, which is where most people live and was the situation at one time in the past, the current situation vis a vis the media in Canada is much more like the Canadian media have morphed into a small number of sub-outlets of a single corporate-state media, with different editions and focal points for different demographics but all with the same underlying philosophy and messages concerning the really important stuff (reduce taxes!!!! austerity rules but that's ok it's good for you!!! hate (demon of the day)!!, etc), whilst featuring different opinions on trivial things, for instance encouraging the proles to believe that the Lib-Con-NDP tweedledee-dum-dumber parties actually respresent different ideas of government, and different visions of what they would do in the country if elected, and that keeping up with the latest teen bands and sports news etc is of far more importance and interest on a daily basis than thinking about what is wrong with our country and system that has led to the current mess. No doubt that thought will be met with considerable indignant protests (again if anyone cares enough to read and respond at all), but I would challenge anyone to point to any differences in ongoing, long-term policy between any governments in Canada the last 30 years, federally or provincially - take away party labels and media hype, and you could not pick the dee from the dum in any jurisdiction, every one without exception preaching 'fiscal austerity' and cutting 'fat' from programs and reducing taxes, every one endorsing the latest "free trade" proposal and the 'war on terror' and regime changes around the world and heavier and heavier intrusions of 'the state' into people's personal lives. And, it is worth noting, virtually none of the things these various branches of this Bay St government have been getting up to the last 30 years has had the approval of any 'majority' of the people, but they all have had the virtually unanimous approval of the ruling Big Business-Money-Investor class in the country, minority though they are, in 'democratic' numbers. (Talking about whether or not it is legitimate or honest to even call this country a 'democracy' any more is something else those calling themselves 'journalists' don't seem overly eager to address either, but that is stuff for a different comment.)

So the question is very valid - when stories like the one above, about yet more cutbacks in one or another of the media outlets Canadians rely on for their news and 'insight commentary', why doesn't anyone get into the deeper questions, the much more important questions, about how well are Canadians served by a media controlled by and serving the financial and political interests of, 'big business', which are very much not the same interests as 'we the people' have concerning most issues of importance in our country and world?

Well, this grows long for a comment, and I have not even gotten to discussion of some of the specific things that show the entire Cdn media, including those presented as 'lefty' media and thus supposedly 'for the people' rather than the accepted rightwing views of most Cdn media, operate from the 'right' of the political spectrum in terms of the most important economic and political matters, very much against the political and economic wishes of most Canadians living in the 'progressive' people-friendly center left. However, I recently wrote a letter in response to another article outlining exactly how the "leftist" CBC is indistinguishable from the acknowledged right wing media, in terms of its actions regarding the important economic and political things they promote, for some more detail about such things, if anyone cares to take up this challenge - http://www.rudemacedon.ca/vgi/letters/121121-mcguire-cbc.html .

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.