Recently, a former Quebec journalist argued that Canada's mainstream broadcasters were hypocritical for seeming to lend a sympathetic ear to those opposing the proposed Charter of Values. "Not a kippa, hijab, cross or turban in sight. Religious symbols are, quite simply, not part of the TV news uniform; never have been," wrote Micheal Dean in the Globe and Mail. And while he's right in that there are few Canadian journalists sporting symbols of their faith, the premise for his argument needs to be turned on its head. Rather than justify the Parti Québécois's bid to limit freedom of religion in its public institutions, the media's lack of representation of diverse communities must be called out for what it is: a letdown for democracy.
The Canadian media has missed, or, rather, sidestepped the opportunity to truly learn the lessons Madiba taught the world. Politicians and establishment hacks invariably give empty words. The juxtaposition of Canada's multicultural crown and the apartheid-like pyramid of pundits is a cross Canadians will have to bear. But, there are a few notable (positive) exceptions in the coverage of Mandela's death.
Bloggers' contributions can be extremely important to a news story. But before their information can be used it has to be checked by professionals. Only then, only if the information proves to be correct, can it be trusted and used. But times are tough. Newsrooms around the nation are being cut to the bone. Does that mean citizen bloggers who charge nothing are moving in, taking jobs away from the salaried professionals?
Want to know one quick way to tell how different Canada is from the U.S.? It won't take long. Just watch a few TV commercials. They speak volumes. These days, it seems impossible to sell anything on U.S. TV networks without the use of explosions, interpersonal violence, gratuitous sex, car wrecks, or gunplay. It's almost a flip image of Canadian TV, where you see elements sadly lacking on American spots: humour, whimsy, subtlety, cleverness, intelligence. If you want a microcosm of what's wrong with the U.S. -- and what's right with Canada -- you couldn't find a better place to look than by watching their TV commercials.
Bell is pursuing an outdated business model that reduces customer choice, forces subscribers to pay for content they don't want, and banks millions in taxpayer-funded subsidies. It seems that Bell's priority is getting as much money out of Canadians as possible, without any consideration of what citizens actually want.
I've had a wee bit of a media boner for George Stroumboulopoulos since his early days on MuchMusic, schooling young Canadians on all the kickass alternatives to pop and mainstream music. I've chatted with him briefly at events over the years and he's always obliging and engaging, no matter how busy he is or how many other admirers are waiting in the wings to talk to him. Which is why I thought I'd publish a list of reasons to love Strombo.
As a supporter of diversity in (news) media, and sometime collaborator with Sun News Network, it pains me to write this, but I don't think that the CRTC should give in to this application for mandatory carriage. If it wants to have a shot at greater viewership, Sun News will have to look closely at what it means to be conservative in Canada, and then adapt its style accordingly.
Long story short, Tampa's crawling with Canadians at the moment, all of whom are seeking to justify their orange juice per diems with ever-more dazzling examples of skilled foreign correspondency at the Republican National Convention. What our progressive friends in the press can't seem to agree on, however, is precisely how these slack-jawed troglodytes matter to Canada.
Huffington Post's big western Canadian debut this week. After all, for anyone interested in the emergence of real, substantial alternatives -- in both reporting and editorializing -- to the stagnant status quo of the western establishment press, it's hard to deny that the web's where it's at. The political backdrop accompanying this western release could not bode more auspicious either, considering the substantial partisan evolution both British Columbia and Alberta are undergoing at the moment.
Innoversity is a not-for-profit organization that has spent the past 13 years struggling with some success "to create opportunities for cultural minority, Aboriginal and disabled Canadians to actively engage with, and be reflected within, key social sectors and institutions." That's institution-speak for fighting racism and all the other isms that still stain our society, particularly our media.
In a recent article, Rex Murphy characterized affirmative action as "an inequity in itself," "hollow" and "false." I, on the other hand, think that the CBC commentator's call for a more open debate on affirmative action is important. Affirmative action is to our society what the CBC is to television and radio broadcasting in Canada.
Is Stephen Harper quietly working to "re-brand" Canada? Is his government emphasizing the military, the monarchy and select episodes of Canadian history in order to create a competing brand of right-wing Canadian nationalism and divert attention from the great symbols of Liberal patriotism, like medicare and Lester Pearson? The pundit class thinks so.