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General

Just so we’re clear: Here’s my disclosure on income splitting

Posted October 20, 2014 by David Akin

If you are reading this blog and you scroll down the column on the right side, you will see a section titled “Disclosure and Fine Print”. I believe it is important for journalists to be upfront with their readers and viewers about potential blind spots or potential conflicts of interest. In my experience — working […]

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Activism

Join Ricochet: A new take on independent media.

Posted October 21, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Have you joined yet? No? So, you’re good with corporate media spinning things for you, against your personal, community, national and ecological interests? Oh. Ok. :) Ricochet is an audacious response to a difficult context. Independent and in the public interest, Ricochet will provide a space dedicated to investigative journalism and high-profile opinion. Published in […]

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Allan's Perspective

Any Ebola yours, is an Ebola mine!

Posted October 28, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Dear Readers: Since your ever faithful reporter comments on matters great and small in the world of religion, we also get a lot of letters trying to set us straight on some issues, and clarifying others! One of the most disturbing pieces of mail we have received in quite some time came from a far […]

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General

Hedonists of power

Posted October 27, 2014 by Norm Farrell
Chris Hedges wrote many words for the New York Times; some of them wrong. He participated in false reporting that helped orchestrate invasion of Iraq by the coalition of the dragged kicking and screaming. He recognized error though and became an articulate critic of his nation’s aggression. The NYT, which preferred the Bush administration’s version of truth, condemned Hedges and encouraged his departure.

He is sometimes controversial but always thought provoking. His latest column at Truthdig is a good one that should be read completely: The Myth of the Free Press. An excerpt:

“The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy.

“They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses. The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. They are, as John Ralston Saul writes, hedonists of power.”

To me, Saul’s words were prominent. He is a prolific Canadian writer and thinker but also known for six years he spent at Rideau Hall with his wife, Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson. The quote is from Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the Westand when Saul refers to hedonists of power, he includes more than corporate media fellow travelers. This is an abstract:

Trending toward the end of egalitarianism. Source

“…Modern men of power come in many apparently different forms. But certain characteristics link them. First, a great difficulty in coming to terms with the democratic process. The talents of the technocrat do not suit public debate or an open relationship with the people. …They set enormous value upon secrecy. Intentionally or otherwise, their methods induce fear among those who must deal regularly with them. Almost without exception they are bullies.

“…The technocrats suffer from character defects which have to do with their inability to maintain any links between reason, common sense and morality. They believe themselves to be the inheritors of the Age of Reason and therefore do not understand why their talents fail to produce the intended results.

“Their abstract view of the machinery of human society prevents them from understanding the natural flow of events and from remembering when they themselves have erred and why. That is to say they don’t seem to understand the historical process. Instead they seem actually to believe that their definitions of the world will become both real and permanent simply because they are the result of applied logic. When these formulae refuse to stick, the technocratic mind, rather than deal with failure, simply wipes the slate clean and writes a new definition. They are, in that sense, slaves of dogma.

“…Their talents have become the modern definition of intelligence. It is an extremely narrow definition and it eliminates a large part of both the human experience and the human character. Suffice it to say that under the current definition of intelligence, Socrates, Byron, Jefferson, Washington, Churchill, Dickens, Joseph Conrad, John A. Macdonald and Georges Clemenceau would have been unintelligent or eccentric or romantic or unreliable.

“The technocrats are hedonists of power. Their obsession with structures and their inability or unwillingness to link these to the public good make this power an abstract force — a force that works, more often than not, at cross-purposes to the real needs of a painfully real world.

Merging the comments of Hedges and Saul provides a timely warning to Canadians. Bullies in the halls of power provide or withhold access and information, the stock in trade of journalists. With a natural preference for reward over punishment, most reporters become courtiers and push colleagues to adopt the same role. Those who choose the more difficult course and dare to shame the comfortable sycophants may become journalistic lepers. Chris Hedges provides American examples but we may have Canadian ones in present days. One is Andrew Mitrovia, another might be Michael Harris, author of Party of One. Here in the west coast minor leagues, it is bloggers who draw the ire of media lickspittles.

If the intent of the rxn of the Hill tribe is to get me to shut up, go away or otherwise be quiet, I can assure you it’s not going to happen
— Andrew Mitrovica (@AndrewMitrovica) October 27, 2014

This is how it works: RCMP issues press release. Takes no questions about the many changes & inconsistencies in it’s story. Media repeats it
— Andrew Mitrovica (@AndrewMitrovica) October 27, 2014

As I said, I’m deeply gratified that this column has resonated with so many readers. http://t.co/ry4QGWRPQg
— Andrew Mitrovica (@AndrewMitrovica) October 27, 2014

As always, a damningly on point @HarrisAuthor here: http://t.co/Z97sDboqoL A thoughtful bookend to my column. Please read and share.
— Andrew Mitrovica (@AndrewMitrovica) October 27, 2014

I’m considered a “bitter, failed hack” by Andrew McDougall, John Ivison, Bruce Anderson & Terry Milewski. There u have it. The Hill defined
— Andrew Mitrovica (@AndrewMitrovica) October 27, 2014

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Feminism

The Election-Eve Racist, Sexist Attack on Olivia Chow

Posted October 27, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

If this cartoon were published, say, 2 weeks before the election, it would have been debated as a tool of racist, sexist propaganda and yet another blemish on corporate media. Her support would likely have grown after such a brutally immature attack. But because politics is a dirty, disgusting, sociopathic game, it was published the […]

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General

Zombie Journalists

Posted October 27, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

If you’re wondering what’s contributing to less accountability and more soft fascist, totalitarian government behaviour… Leaked memo confirms that Globe and Mail wants journalists to write advertorials http://canadalandshow.com/article/leaked-memo-confirms-globe-and-mail-wants-journalists-write-advertorials August 28, 2011 Agreeing with Ezra Levant? (6)June 26, 2010 More Despinning the Spin and Chill Around Israel (0)May 7, 2014 Occupy, For Democracy (4)January 21, 2014 […]

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Culture

The CBC Respects Dignity Better than Corporate Media

Posted October 24, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Corporate media, being owned by corporations, needs to maximize shareholder wealth. That means news is a loss leader. News is about generating sensationalism, excitement or hysteria. News is about generating ratings to charge more for advertising to maximize shareholder wealth. Thus, when the CBC characteristically doesn’t sensationalize something, it’s noted around the world. CBC is […]

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Activism

Climate Change Science Deniers, Ignorance and Media’s False Balance

Posted October 22, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Climate change deniers are science deniers. That makes them either stupid, or so incredibly biased/conflicted that they are willing to ignore science and dodge accusations of their own stupidity to accomplish some other goal. In BC we are producing oil, gas and coal and stunningly stupid rates, only to go up in the future. Our […]

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General

Comforted by false reality

Posted September 23, 2014 by Norm Farrell

A New York Times article, The Surprisingly Large Cost of Telling Small Lies, quotes a successful English business person about the need to confront truths, even uncomfortable ones,”…telling lies is the No. 1 reason entrepreneurs fail. Not because tel…

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