Democracy is underpinned by governing through informed consent of the masses. A strong and independent media is a nation's window into the affairs of the nation. Currently too many westerners cannot tell an opinion piece (like this one) from true investigative journalism. Attention spans are too short for long investigative pieces, and forget taking 2 minutes to check a source!
The problem is that, by monochromatically portraying Fidel Castro simply as a brutal dictator -- full stop -- the western media has had to do pretzel-twists to explain away the reality of why so many people in Cuba, Latin America and, indeed, much of the developing world do see him as an heroic, larger than life figure, whose passing is a cause for sadness while his legacy is reason for celebration.
The first common bias that affects journalists is availability bias: the tendency to judge the likelihood of an outcome (a disease or an election) based on what most easily comes to mind. So, for instance, Obama's historical win over the last two elections might be fresh in a young journalist's mind. So too can the diagnosis of asthma in a child -- if the physician previously saw eight cases of the same.
For people who are still wondering "how did this happen," do not waste precious time trying to figure out the voters. Look no further than your TV and at your local newspaper. There was news to be reported, but the media was more interested in a soap opera. They were the real drivers of the "clown car" this year.
The media on both sides of the political aisle may well be painting a picture of what they want to see happen, not what is an accurate prediction of what could happen. And because we all willingly are consuming and sharing media as we always have been, we are confident in our own views of the likely outcome.
When I explained to a journalist standing next to me on the red carpet, about to interview such-and-such star at a premiere, that I was a freelancer covering the event on my own dime, he was a bit dumbfounded. "Ah, so you're a backdoor journalist, then," he concluded. As much as the label bothered me, he was right.
For the most part, media outlets have given Mr. Trump a free ride. Trump's outrageous statements and positions have not only failed to disqualify him from the race, they have actually increased his profile and popularity. Instead of forcefully challenging Trump on each and every one of his lies and exaggerations, the media have simply winked and given him a pass.
There was a time, not so long ago, in Canada when we depended on the editorial decisions of a few at the hub of a few daily newspapers and a couple of television stations, notably the CBC and its rival CTV. Rapidly, these sources are becoming like rotary landline telephones. Sure there are people who use them, but with each obituary, they become fewer.
Having just returned from Rio in a regular airplane seat and not in a body bag, I am pleased to say that we had a fabulous time and are the proud parents of a rugby sevens medal holder. Yes, Rio has problems of major proportions -- including a soaring murder rate and grinding poverty. But let's look at the positive side.
Society doesn't just pressure Aniston, this is the case for millennial women, specifically South Asian millennial women, like myself. A handful of my female friends and I fit into the following category: we're in our 30s, independent, outgoing, have careers, side interests and side hustles, but we can't seem to find a life partner that will truly be our ride or die.
In the past I've explained the psychological, sociological, cultural, political and evolutionary basis for human behaviour but, given recent events, I no longer believe that that's enough. My students, in the face of revent world events, want to know one thing in particular: they want to know why it's so hard for people to get along with other people.
"Most, if not all, mainstream feminism only represents a certain kind of person. Of course, we're talking about white, middle class, able-bodied, cisgender women." Too often, says Kai, marginalized communities such as trans folks aren't given a platform to talk about the issues, like sexual violence, that impact them.
As the leading elected official, the prime minister erred significantly, and his subsequent apologies contain a hint of his awareness of how Parliament was belittled through his action. And when NDP members sought to keep the Opposition Whip from proceeding down the aisle with his government counterpart, they too played their own erring part in the twisted plot.
Times of tragic loss understandably affect large amounts of people and it is dangerous to trivialize their losses by making sweeping and grandiose "gotcha" statements, as though the fires in Fort McMurray are the linchpin for or against climate change, the present government, or whichever other dots may find themselves ripe for loose connection.