Sunday, January 3, 2010


It's come to James Travers' opinion that Stephen Harper and his procedural whittling away of Canadian parliamentary purpose is leading Canada down a potentially dangerous path.
What should be a bold, even controversial opinion will be shuttered aside by the Conservative shouting brigade as mere left-wing blather from the media again. Others who may agree with the column will holster their opinions, worried that it may cause ripples in the offices that they tread near. The price of integrity and honest observation are apparently too steep these days. You won't be surprised to know that I agree with Mr. Travers' assessment and don't expect too many eyes to be opened by it.
Harper's contempt for the workings and workers of parliament are obvious; its evident in his gag-orders, his hidden caucus meetings, his turning statement period into partisan slander time, his instituting instructions to defile and debase committee hearings. When he sent out minions to call a potential coalition by the opposition as 'illegal' -- completely opposite to his view just a few years earlier -- the media by and large repeated it and didn't challenged it.
Unfortunately, a vast majority of the journalists and the string pullers of their industry don't feel they should take ownership of what they tell. Instead, too many editors will be glad to hide behind the journalist shingle, that of being unbiased and unwavering to what occurs outside their windows. But there was a time when papers (before television) and their editors proudly displayed their colours and firm opinions -- the best would proudly state that their points but would also listen and occasionally agree with their rivals' views. Now, journalism for all intense purposes is the equivalent to that of the ancient money traders, who cared not for what or for whom was the result of their convenient ignorance.
One can look south to see what happens in the worse case of both instances. A large portion of the U.S. media parked their position as questioner and sifter of facts when George W. and his ilk chose to turn a terrible terrorist act into a mobilizer for an illegal war. Too many members joined in the rally cry and failed to ask why.
When it came to re-electing the GWB team, the media however stayed behind the fray and allowed the Republicans' smear campaign of a war hero to go untested; by repeating it and giving it credence through reflection, the news media validated the lies thrown at John Kerry.
I don't assume that Canada's mainstream media is acting in the quite same reckless manner, however its hard not to see similarities. In the way that so many daily newspapers and TV news shows layer gossip and food features ahead of what is going on in parliament, what our reported lawmakers are doing to our parliament, it appears that many are onside with Harper's plan.
Like many of their counterparts down south, the commitment to the standards of the business are no longer applicable. The media never is wrong unless it impacts the bottom line. Other errors are just part of 20-20 hindsight.
But don't let their ambivalence and high opinions of their profession fool you. By choosing to play down Harper's contempt for our system of government and eventually the systems that we've created to bring justice and compassion to our citizens, the members of the compliant press are enablers of the worst kind.
At least, they are feeding the disconnect.

1 comment:

Frankly Canadian said...

Couldn't have said it better.