Canadian Media Goes From Loaded Questions To Shooting Blanks
A suggestion for the first question to the federal leaders in the upcoming election debate:
“Seeing as the unions representing most of us here tonight are vowing to destroy one party present— and that a number of our media colleagues are taking hundreds of millions in direct slush money from the present government— why should Canadians have any faith in us asking honest questions for the next two hours?”
It certainly makes as much sense as watching the hair-and-teeth reps of our compromised media outlets pretend they have a shred of credibility left. The entire panel will represent media that have either taken direct Trudeau Bucks or are represented by that aging Marxist Jerry Dias, president of Unifor.
To say nothing of the media outlets that are taking baksheesh from a federal government bailout fund established by the prime minister in the last year of a tainted mandate. These would be the outlets that hired climate czarina Catherine McKenna’s campaign manager— and defeated Liberal candidate— Elizabeth Metcalfe to lobby her Liberal chums on their behalf. It’s Venezuela without the snappy uniforms.
Naturally no panelist or party leader will try to approach this conflicted elephant. As opposed to America, where some may actually touch the third rail of media reality, few in Canada outside Maxime Bernier have the temerity to suggest anything other than the Laurentian Party consensus.
That’s the media narrative cryogenically frozen since the ascension of Pierre Trudeau in the 1960s, the triumph of style over substance with a dollop of sycophantry for the democratic socialist poseurs of the world’s old order. The fact that this panel will not feature real journalists like Robert Fife of the Globe & Mail or Christie Blatchford of the National Post is the tipoff that everyone will get a good behaviour badge for their questioning.
We should be appalled. But we are not. Because, as I described in Usual Suspects in May, Trudeau doesn’t need to bribe the media into silence. They’ll mute themselves for free.
“It goes without saying that previous generations of journalists such as Norman DePoe, Bruce Hutchison and Blair Fraser would rather swear off Scotch than take bribes from government. And many of those guys liked Scotch very, very much. The liberty and independence of the fourth estate has often been under siege in Canada. Many have staked careers and lives on the independence of the people who cover elected officials.
Yet it appears that its own neutering will be done in the broad daylight with the enthusiastic approval of newspaper owners, television chains and digital operators who— having botched their own business model— want to live on as vassals of the cosa nostra in Ottawa. They think that, unlike the Don, the government will never knock on their door to collect the bill.
You may say that portraying government as Mafia is a tad harsh. If you believe this you have never had the joy of a CRA audit or been visited by a 20 percent hike in your property taxes without commensurate new services. As the galloping public pension obligations to its own unionized employees begin eating up larger and larger segments of the budgets politicians like Trudeau will be no less zealous than the Don in collecting to keep Government Inc.® flourishing.
Trudeau saw how this coercion could be a boon to him in the previous federal election when he held out a $1.5 B cookie to CBC should he get elected. That incentive to the public broadcaster passed with so little worry— and such powderpuff CBC coverage— that he clearly was convinced: Hey, let’s bribe everyone and see how that goes?
That this plan is going forward seems to be confirmed by Trudeau’s potential successor, Tory leader Andrew Scheer, who is complaining, not about the sheer corruption represented by the bailout, but about the composition of the advisory panel. In typical Scheer fashion, he thinks this is a bold take.
Of course, it was always going to be a close call whether bribing the media or its own self-censorship was going to end the business as we know it. Coming generations emerging from J Schools have no institutional memory of the fights to hold government accountable. As Jonathan Kay tweeted, their self obsession with virtue posturing is already a fatal blow to the public’s need to know.
“The people I see coming out of all liberal arts programs, but especially anything connected to creative writing, poetry, etc, are so soaked in social-justice cults that they're incapable of writing anything interesting.”
In the war between bribery and self obsession place your bets on the Liberals. That’s what Trudeau is doing now. And it’s an extinction event for media in this nation.”
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also a best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand: How Salary Caps Are Killing Pro Sports And Why The Free Market Could Save Them. His website brucedowbigginbooks.ca is now available.