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Can Journalistic Integrity, Or Journalistic Standards Of Excellence Be Used To Describe Canadian Political News Coverage?


c557919c9244d4cb9576e67236544003What is up Canada? Can journalistic integrity, or journalistic standards of excellence be used to describe Canadian political news reporting? I ask because it never ceases to amaze me how little it takes to manipulate and thwart the integrity, ethics and the effective functioning of the Canadian press and other news agencies, when it comes to their reporting of politically charged issues and trying to get news agencies to follow a politically charged story to its end.  I do not mean a story’s monetary making end, but seeing a story resolved and all questions that were of interest at its begining being answered. What was once fearless coverage and digging out of the facts and a relentless search for the truth to the bitter end, that has seen journalists willing to go to jail to uphold freedom of speech, expression and the right for Canadians to know what is going on in my opinion seems to have been pushed into the background and replaced by the fight to be the news agency with the best gimmick and providing the most provocative, insulting telling of the news found anywhere. Canadian news agencies do this in my opinion do this in an effort to entertain the most people, gain and keep the largest audience and sell the most ads for the highest possible cost. Unfortunately the side effects are in my opinion:

  • No follow through on important stories.
  • No focussing on stories because of  negative public opinion.
  • No reporting on stories, because of pressure, or threats from advertisers, or a withdrawing of government funding and advertising if applicable.
  •  Reporters giving the audience more of their personal opinion instead of just reporting the facts and allowing the audience the opportunity to make up their own minds on any given story.

Through greed the big news agencies in Canada have reduced the life expectancy of what was at one time considered to be a newsworthy story to a couple of weeks, there is little if any follow-up and sometimes the important dull story is ignored all together.  As Canadians we have gotten used to not knowing what  the ending is to news stories  and do not even feel like we are missing anything anymore. We have stopped asking what happened next and have grown accustomed to supplying our own ending with, using rumors, our assumptions and guesses to replace truth and facts.

How did the story of the refugees aboard the MV Sun Sea end, has it ended and where can you find the answer in Canadian news coverage?

  • 452 refugees (men , women and children) seeking asylum in Canada upon reaching our shores  end up thrown in jail for their efforts and are the cause of Canada’s whole immigration system being altered by the Conservative Party of Canada and soon after they are imprisoned their personal story vanishes from the news. From this point on all Canadians are told in the news is how the laws are being changed to protect the refugees and Canadians from those who would abuse the generous Canadian immigration system with government spin and propaganda. Eventually there was nothing in the Canadian news  about the 492 human beings imprisoned in jail over 4 years ago in a Canadian prison by the Conservative Party of Canada, their, releases, or deportations if any, or whether or not the process has been fair.   The big news agencies to me are no longer informing Canadians about what is going on that is important to Canadians, but rather following a story as long as it can be converted into cash dollars.

Unfortunately news agencies would consider the reporting on the scandals involving politicians personal life more important for Canadians to know about than what laws are being changed, enacted or repealed. Did you know about the story below. If not, ask yourself why not?

  • Bill C-304, introduced by Conservative back bencher Brian Storseth, repeals Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which bans hate speech transmitted over the Internet or by telephone getting passed its 3rd reading in the House of Commons and going to the senate was not considered important enough to even report.  Isn’t the fact that this bill takes away the authority of the country’s human rights commissions to investigate online hate speech and request that violating websites be taken down seem as relevant to Canadians as Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, no matter what side of the issue they are on?  If the answer is yes than how could this  Conservative private members’ bill  only receive nest to no media attention, and even less commentary, while the Rob Ford story dominated the news and is still being referred to almost every day somewhere in the news?

More and more the news has become just another tool in the tool box of both  politicians and their political parties. No sooner do politicians or political parties say publicly what they would like to see happen with a political hot potato then presto the story disappears from the mainstream news and what happened in the story below becomes a recurring theme. This story was dropped  without a single protest in the news, no screaming for the freedom of the press on this one, no just compliance with the government’s request, as though Canada’s  national security depended on it. All of a sudden no more information from news agencies about allegations of harassment and sexual involving federal MPs from different political parties like:

  • What has happened if anything concerning the allegations of sexual misconduct made by?
  • Who were the 2 female NDP  MPs who refused to be identified but saw no problem giving very graphic detailed   interviews to anyone who would listen, against 2 male Liberal Party of Canada MPs who identities were on the front pages of every newspaper and on the lips of every television news panel and host in Canada and around the world?
  • The government wanted the story to be handled in private, the results hidden from Canadians, but was that the job of the news agencies to ensure?
  • How Canadian news agencies allow for the reporting of only half of an alleged story based on an interview with female accusers refusing to be identified while repeatedly naming the accused males and than just drop the story?

This is what I mean when I say that the Canadian news agencies have  become just another tool in the tool box of our politicians rather than the seekers and providers of current events important to Canadians as they unfold and continuing with that story until everything important in it has been reported and all questions have been answered.

Unfortunately the Canadian news agencies are even worse in their coverage of international politics committing the same mistakes covering international news as they do domestic; for example:

  •   Boko Haram kidnaps 300 little girls from school in Nigeria and the story dies inside of two weeks. The same Boko Haram  burns a town to the ground and is suspected of killing up to 2000 in one day and the story is all but ignored.   All over the Canadian news channels one commentator after another commented on how what was happening in Nigeria was being ignored, because of what had happened in France, to Charlie Hebdo.  Repeatedly there is a news bit saying that  what happened in Nigeria and the story shifts to minute by minute of the story as it unfolds in France and the reporters were not even apologetic.  This showed me that they believed that Canadians would want to know more about the France tragedy then the Nigerian and that there was more to be gained with reporting the story unfolding in France, rather than focussing on both equally.

I no longer have faith in Canadian news when it comes to politics, because it has become the instrument of government spin, rhetoric and propaganda.  With political reporters vying for jobs on television shows as paid political panelists, encouraged to give their personal opinions rather than sticking to the facts of a story, I find that they all try to out do one another slinging mud  on the politician / political party with whom they do not share the same views  and become spokespersons for the  politician/political party with whom they do.  I think responsible news coverage is a simple relaying all of the facts of a story and following it through to its end.  I believe that there is no room in a news story for a reporters personal opinion and innuendo. If the news is going to become like any other television show done for ratings and generated cash potential and news paper news articles are going to become little more than a reporters musing than these reports should be given to Canadians with a disclaimer that reads, “We are calling this news coverage, but be warned some or all of the content you are reading or hearing may or not be just the opinion of the reporter.” “We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information you are getting, because we are more interested in keeping you entertained than whether or not you are getting the truth, because being entertained is what we think keeps you tuning in every day and you tuning in every day is what generates advertising dollars.”

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