Quixotic journalism

By  •  Politics

Art meets journalism: CBC Radio’s The Current ran a documentary about Ontario independent candidate David Page, part of a series on “The Supercommitted” candidates. It’s called “A Quixotic Candidate” — no doubt because Page’s quest to be elected is Quixotic indeed. I happened to catch it and, weary of the frenzy and ideological spite of North American politics, was struck not merely by the well-crafted profile of Page, but by the depth of the ideas presented in the documentary.

The piece can be heard by clicking on “Listen to Part Three” at the Current’s web site for Oct. 9. Such programs are rare, virtually nonexistent on private radio, and remain a solid argument for public broadcasting.

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“The” issue versus “those” issues

In the final weeks of the campaign, the economy is settling
in as federal election 2008’s ballot box issue. But in our rush to define “the”
issue, what happens to those other issues? The week’s Big Issue offers a little
variety of voice on what matters:

trade talks nearly invisible
– A trade deal is brewing that rivals NAFTA,
but no one’s talking about it. Why?

Why education is
election issue number one
– Student Arati Sharma argues that Canada’s
future well-being depends on whether or not Canadians have access to higher learning.

Vote with media in
– Steve Anderson believes media issues should be front and centre. Deborah
Jones says ‘fat chance’ – and invites you to comment back if you disagree.

(Ian Britton photo)

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MSM wins! Long live the MSM

By  •  Politics

“The news tornado of September has been a boon to the downtrodden traditional media,” reported Ian Brown in a Globe and Mail piece about web sites of big mainstream media scoring record audiences…. 
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Canada-Europe trade talks nearly invisible

By  •  Politics

What’s the biggest social, political and economic issue in Canada right now? Social conservativism vs liberalism? Tax cuts? Bank regulations? Climate change? Plagiarism?

None of the above, not in my opinion. I think the biggest story is a Canada-Europe trade deal…
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Vote with media in mind

By  •  Politics

Steve Anderson, national coordinator of the Campaign For Democratic Media and the Coalition, wants Canadians to consider the media during the general election campaign.

Anderson writes in British Columbia’s online magazine The Tyee: “With online media taking an increasingly important role in the media ecology, Canada is on the brink of a major restructuring of its media and communications system. The government and MPs elected on Oct. 14th will play a decisive role in developing not only the kinds of media available, but also in how Canadians communicate with one another.

“Those of us who care about the role of media in society should take a more active role in this election and inform citizens across Canada about exactly what kind of media system they are voting for.”

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Right to Know – Not!

It’s Right to Know Week
in Canada,
but few journalists are celebrating. In the midst of an election, public
servants aren’t talking to the public, and the prime minister’s ‘no reporter
zone’ is enjoying some added muscle from the RCMP. Here’s a round-up of this week’s news that (in some circles) wasn’t fit to print:      

 We’re chopped
liver – is the RCMP the chopping block?

 Election tightens
media policies

 Defence officials

(image by 65 Pontiac)

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Local coverage of elections uneven

With the election now in full swing, a survey of community online newspapers across Canada shows some outlets choose to highlight community-based stories with little (and sometimes no) coverage of the federal election while others provide exciting examples of what can be done, even with meager resources.

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We’re chopped liver — is the RCMP the chopping block?

By  •  Politics

Is it within the RCMP’s mandate to stop the media from doing its job?

That’s the question asked in a Canadian Press feature, with a news hook about Tory candidate Dona Cadman being whisked away from reporters. The story reported that police manhandled one reporter to stop her following Cadman.

“Mounties protecting Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a campaign event in Surrey, B.C., were used Tuesday evening to stop reporters from approaching a high-profile Tory candidate,” said the story. “Keep them out,” Harper aide Ray Novak shouted at the RCMP security detail as journalists approached Dona Cadman….CTV’s Rosemary Thompson was literally yanked aside by one Mountie as she approached the retreating group – which did not include the prime minister.”

“Many on Parliament Hill believe the PMO’s use of RCMP security to thwart reporters has increased under a Harper government that is obsessed with communications control,” wrote CP reporter Bruce Cheadle. He included background on previous cases where the RCMP crossed the line — including “the most infamous case of RCMP deploying its resources for essentially communications reasons came under the watch of former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien at the 1997 APEC summit in Vancouver.”

Another question: How does the RCMP brass expect to improve its terrible relations with media — and arguably increasing public distrust — if the force behaves as any politician’s handmaiden?

A previous Townhall post is here.

Continue Reading We’re chopped liver — is the RCMP the chopping block?

We’re chopped liver

By  •  Politics

Kory Teneycke, spokesman for Tory leader Stephen Harper, on the non-role of journalists: it is not a candidates’ priority to speak to media — but rather to get elected.

Teneycke was quoted in the Globe and Mail in a story about how party officials whisked away B.C. Tory candidate Dona Cadman after a speech, away from waiting reporters. (“Cadman has said the party offered her dying husband, the late independent MP Chuck Cadman, a $1-million insurance policy for his vote in a crucial 2005 confidence vote,” noted the Globe.)

Here’s Teneycke’s quote:

“Local candidates’ priority is campaigning in their local ridings and not talking to the national media.” Added the Globe: when it was pointed out that local reporters were present, he said he
has not said it was their priority to speak to local media, either.

This does not bode well for the future — of our democracy, never mind voters trying to make up their minds by becoming informed.
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