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November 21, 2018 5:23 pm  #1


Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

I know newspapers are struggling and I would hate to see them disappear. (Where would local radio talk shows get any of their topics from if newspapers stopped publishing?)
 
Yet I’m very leery of the government giving any money in any way to a news organization, which might then feel beholden to that government to support them.(Can you say "the CBC?")

Which is why I’m a bit alarmed by steps introduced on Wednesday by the federal Liberals in a so-called “economic statement.”
 
In a still-to-be-determined scheme, which you can bet will be overly complicated because that’s what governments are good at, they’ll be giving journalistic outlets some $600 million in financial incentives over the next five years to help them survive. Full details won’t be known until the next budget is officially presented.
 
But this brings with it a lot of troubling questions for me. For one, who gets counted as a “journalist?” Will it apply equally to say, the Toronto Star or the Toronto Sun and Rebel Media? If not, who gets to draw that line? (The feds say it will be a panel of journalists that will decide, not the government, but somehow that does little to reassure me.)
 
Will it be just newspapers or will TV and radio newsrooms get a piece of this action?  And won’t this put pressure on already struggling media organizations to avoid criticizing a government that’s already shown it more than deserves that criticism, for fear of losing out on the freebie?
 
There’s an awful lot of unavailable info on this so far, with more to come. But as much as I support the news media overall – having spent all of my professional career in it – I’m very suspicious of the government doling out any money to a supposedly unbiased press that could then have a stake in what said press will or won’t be tempted to report.
 
I know a lot of these organizations are struggling to survive and I hate the clichés “slippery slope” and "biting the hand that feeds you," but if they ever applied, I’m afraid both might be exactly perfect here.

Independent journalism means just that. I wonder if it can still be that when someone else is handing you a lot of money?

Canadian Press: Morneau's update bolsters struggling media with $600 million in tax measures

 

November 21, 2018 7:45 pm  #2


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

RA can i mail you (via canada post) your very own tinfoil hat?

 

November 21, 2018 7:56 pm  #3


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

Canada Post? Not that it would get here on time but they're all in on it, I tells ya, all of them!  

     Thread Starter
 

November 21, 2018 8:39 pm  #4


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

splunge wrote:

RA can i mail you (via canada post) your very own tinfoil hat?

SOWNY Radio.
http://i67.tinypic.com/2i8ulqw.jpg



 
 

November 21, 2018 8:44 pm  #5


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

Hey! Where did you get my picture? 

     Thread Starter
 

November 21, 2018 8:51 pm  #6


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

it is good to know that SOME people on the interwebs still have a sense of humour! 

 

November 22, 2018 9:20 am  #7


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

This is a giant step in a very wrong direction.

Government-appointed panels adjudicating which media organization is worthy of handouts. What could go wrong?

RadioActive wrote:

I know newspapers are struggling and I would hate to see them disappear. (Where would local radio talk shows get any of their topics from if newspapers stopped publishing?)
 
Yet I’m very leery of the government giving any money in any way to a news organization, which might then feel beholden to that government to support them.(Can you say "the CBC?")

Which is why I’m a bit alarmed by steps introduced on Wednesday by the federal Liberals in a so-called “economic statement.”
 
In a still-to-be-determined scheme, which you can bet will be overly complicated because that’s what governments are good at, they’ll be giving journalistic outlets some $600 million in financial incentives over the next five years to help them survive. Full details won’t be known until the next budget is officially presented.
 
But this brings with it a lot of troubling questions for me. For one, who gets counted as a “journalist?” Will it apply equally to say, the Toronto Star or the Toronto Sun and Rebel Media? If not, who gets to draw that line? (The feds say it will be a panel of journalists that will decide, not the government, but somehow that does little to reassure me.)
 
Will it be just newspapers or will TV and radio newsrooms get a piece of this action?  And won’t this put pressure on already struggling media organizations to avoid criticizing a government that’s already shown it more than deserves that criticism, for fear of losing out on the freebie?
 
There’s an awful lot of unavailable info on this so far, with more to come. But as much as I support the news media overall – having spent all of my professional career in it – I’m very suspicious of the government doling out any money to a supposedly unbiased press that could then have a stake in what said press will or won’t be tempted to report.
 
I know a lot of these organizations are struggling to survive and I hate the clichés “slippery slope” and "biting the hand that feeds you," but if they ever applied, I’m afraid both might be exactly perfect here.

Independent journalism means just that. I wonder if it can still be that when someone else is handing you a lot of money?

Canadian Press: Morneau's update bolsters struggling media with $600 million in tax measures

 

 

November 22, 2018 12:27 pm  #8


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

do you have a problem when media is beholden to their advertisers? because -- they are. 
what's the difference? 

how do you feel about federal bailouts of other industries (bombardier, chrysler, banks)? 

 

November 22, 2018 12:54 pm  #9


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

centrifugalface wrote:

do you have a problem when media is beholden to their advertisers? because -- they are. 
what's the difference? 

how do you feel about federal bailouts of other industries (bombardier, chrysler, banks)? 

It's different with advertisers, because - outside of withdrawing their business from a station - they have no say about how a newsroom runs (or at least I hope that would be the case) and there are others to replace them if there's a difference in philosophy. And no one votes for an advertiser, gives their tax money to them or is regulated by them. 

Newsrooms are supposed to be independent, outside of influence from a government agency. and even if this latest move turns out to be totally innocent (which will be hard to prove) there will always be a taint of suspicion that perhaps they're covering politics differently because they get a figurative handout from the feds.

John Moore may say wonderful things about Kinetico but if they went away tomorrow (like Omni Jewelcrafters has done) they'll find someone to replace them. Kinetico has no power to make rules about how they have to conduct themselves separate from their ads. And that's the difference.  

And while I understand the idea of "too big to fail," yes, I'm totally against government handouts to huge corporations - especially Bombardier, which has proven itself incompetent over and over and over again yet still seems to get a pass every time. If you went to a company that consistently failed to deliver on time I'm 100% sure you'd go somewhere else. And there likely wouldn't be a second, third or even fourth chance. 

But I don't work in those industries. I have toiled in the media longer than I care to recall. And I don't like even the inference of government influence in what is published or broadcast.

Tellingly, I'm not the only one. Since I wrote this on Wednesday, I've heard pundits all over the radio and in some newspapers expressing similar reservations. But those are the guests, on-air hosts or writers. It will be interesting to see what the owners do when the money is being dangled in front of them.

Adrian Batra of the Toronto Sun has already said her paper won't take a dime from the feds, even if they qualify. But with owner Post Media already in dire financial straits, we'll have to see if that vow comes true.

     Thread Starter
 

November 22, 2018 3:23 pm  #10


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

centrifugalface wrote:

do you have a problem when media is beholden to their advertisers? because -- they are. 

No. He who pays the piper calls the tune. And I am not obliged to pay those advertisers.

centrifugalface wrote:

what's the difference? 

The difference is that citizens are not free to choose to pay or not to pay, be governed or not be governed by the government.

On top of that, the media's role as watchdogs is completely compromised by placing them in a position where they are beholden to those whom they are supposed to be watching.

centrifugalface wrote:

how do you feel about federal bailouts of other industries (bombardier, chrysler, banks)? 

Violated.

 

November 22, 2018 5:35 pm  #11


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

As a tangent to this thread, here's a very interesting column from Thursday's National Post:

A reminder that you can't talk about CBC on CBC

     Thread Starter
 

November 22, 2018 7:42 pm  #12


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

RadioActive wrote:

As a tangent to this thread, here's a very interesting column from Thursday's National Post:

A reminder that you can't talk about CBC on CBC

I read about this on a non-PostMedia site. It reminded me to check CFRB's site once again for the Bullard show from March 23 2016. Alas, it was not yet up.
 

 

November 27, 2018 9:03 pm  #13


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

Congratulations on Prime Minister Trudeau being re-elected in 2019.

The payout should be called a payoff. The press will treat the man and the party that feeds them very well. This should make you nervous RadioActive. This feels wrong and this looks unethical. It's also an embarrassment for any media corporation to take a single penny from taxpayers. Not only money not well spent but this is total corruption at the highest level. Why? Because this entire situation could be used as proof that fake news is real, and members of the media will attempt to defend themselves while taking a handout.

Milton was 100% right.

However, some of you won't see the bias in the upcoming 2019 election. You'll cling to your John Moore'esque schoolboy ignorance and believe the men and women left in the media industry can play the entire election campaign down the middle. Very hard to bite the hand that feeds you.
 

 

November 27, 2018 10:16 pm  #14


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

Well, to make matters even worse, many journalists have Unifor as their union. That entity has already publicly stated they intend to defeat Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives at all costs in the next election and union leadership suggests their members support the Liberals.

So even if you believe they'll bend over backwards to provide fair coverage, how can you trust said reporters to look unbiased when the labour organization they pay dues to is openly backing one side? 

I'm not shilling for the Tories or the Liberals. I just want coverge I can trust. If these handouts start, I'm not sure where I'll find it. Even in the most evenhanded reporting, there will always be that suspicion. 

I know a lot of places are struggling, but selling even the perception of their journalistic independence is too high a price.

     Thread Starter
 

November 28, 2018 8:14 am  #15


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

Chrisphen wrote:

A reminder that you can't talk about CBC on CBC
I read about this on a non-PostMedia site. 
 

Where did you read Chris Selley's National Post column if not in the National Post, Chrisphen (please & thankyew)

G.
 

 

November 28, 2018 10:28 am  #16


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

geo wrote:

Where did you read Chris Selley's National Post column if not in the National Post, Chrisphen (please & thankyew)

G.
 

I didn't read his column. I read about the Corpse Kerfuffle from Canadaland (via BoingBoing). I saw the column's title in the URL from the moused-over link and deduced its content.

Last edited by Chrisphen (November 28, 2018 10:32 am)

 

November 28, 2018 11:27 am  #17


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

Speaking of journalism, here's a gem in today's Report on Business (Globe 'n Mail) on the Oshawa situation:     " . . . the location worked because a cluster of parts suppliers formed that served the Oshawa plant and GM's Ste-Therese factory near Montreal.     The Ste-Therese factory, which made GM Camaros and Thunderbirds etc/etc/etc . . . "        

That plant actually assembled Pontiac Firebirds, not Ford Thunderbirds.     
 

 

November 28, 2018 2:48 pm  #18


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

RadioActive wrote:

Well, to make matters even worse, many journalists have Unifor as their union. That entity has already publicly stated they intend to defeat Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives at all costs in the next election and union leadership suggests their members support the Liberals.

So even if you believe they'll bend over backwards to provide fair coverage, how can you trust said reporters to look unbiased when the labour organization they pay dues to is openly backing one side? 

I'm not shilling for the Tories or the Liberals. I just want coverge I can trust. If these handouts start, I'm not sure where I'll find it. Even in the most evenhanded reporting, there will always be that suspicion. 

I know a lot of places are struggling, but selling even the perception of their journalistic independence is too high a price.

Bingo. This should be front and centre of every media outlet, and every media entity should be giving a firm NO to a payout. This issue has barely made a dent in news media. That is by design, as they are on the take and will push a Trudeau government down the throats of those who paid for it.

 

December 5, 2018 10:35 am  #19


Re: Feds Handing Out Millions To Support Journalism, So Why Am I Nervous?

RadioActive wrote:

It's different with advertisers, because - outside of withdrawing their business from a station -

and since commercial stations require ad money to survive, it follows that this IS effectively: censorship.