Western media manipulation threatens our democracy

I may be looking through rose-coloured glasses but I remember the media of the 1960’s and 70’s as being the source of information and news. Now, however, apart from NPR and public television in the U.S., they all seem to be primarily the source of opinions, even when “news” is allegedly being reported. 

I mean, check out any CP story and it is editorialized — usually leaning towards a progressive or liberal viewpoint. For example, check out this story today. There are six sentences in all about NDP Leader Jack Layton having a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Note that the fifth sentence is editorialized. Subtle but editorialized nonetheless. The article should just have reported what Mr. Layton proposed, nothing more. But, they don’t seem to be able to help themselves.

Of course, a few journalists lean in the other direction and those of us who lean right know where to go — which is why we can hardly wait for SunTV. Not because we want the bias to go in that direction, at least I don’t want that to happen, but in the hopes that both sides of a topic or argument will be heard and debated.  

The problem, however, goes much deeper than even bias or a lack of balance. It is the way the media are actually trying to influence what is happening in our society. Examples are everywhere. Think about the recent mayoralty race in Toronto. Some media sources did their best to destroy Rob Ford’s chance of winning. Why? Because he was conservative leaning. Yet, the people of Toronto saw the manipulation for what it was and voted for him in droves. Had the media coverage been more balanced, and less patronizing, who knows what the outcome would have been.

But, the manipulation is not just anti-conservative. Think south of the border. During 2007, a good year before the November 2008 presidential election, the U.S. liberal media decided that Barack Obama should be president and so went after Hillary Clinton and even her daughter Chelsea in a very negative way. The result was that Clinton lost the Democratic nomination. Simultaneously, the U.S. media went after — and still go after — Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol Palin. But, did the media do the American people any favours? I think not because it is likely that Clinton would have made a far better president than Obama. But, that is not what happened because the media were able to influence public opinion.

In Canada, we have our own examples and they are not all anti-conservative either. Prior to the 2005/06 federal election campaign, it became obvious that the parliamentary press bureau (PPB) wanted to get rid of former PM Paul Martin and we did a lot of reading about him not being able to make decisions — the media referring to him as Mr. Dithers.  In my opinion, Martin actually did the right thing about the sponsorship scandal but was criticized and condemned for it. Remember the analogy the media used during the election campaign when the wheels fell off the sleigh he was riding — that it was indicative of the wheels falling off his campaign?

Also, because of the media’s dismissal of Martin as a serious contender, many conservatives don’t seem to remember how positive that campaign was for Stephen Harper. In fact, I remember being pleasantly surprised. But, therein lies the reason the western media threatens our democracy. As long as we agree with them, we are happy.

Well, as Joanne (Blue Like You) indicated in a comment she left on yesterday’s post (related to one Lorraine left at BLY), we only need to look a little deeper and we will find that the media is likely behind the current anti-conservative/pro-coalition campaign as witnessed this week with the Bev Oda pile-on.  Need proof? Greg Weston is alleged to have said on CBC’s P&P something to the effect that: “It was “good for US” if the Bev Oda affair continued as it would make civil servants upset and THEY are the ones with the brown envelopes.” For his exact words,check out this link and fast forward to the 18:45 mark (H/T Joanne).

 Brown envelopes. Public servants leaking information. That is wrong on so many levels and, no matter what our political affiliation, clearly a threat to democracy. Canadians are not stupid. We know the differences between the various political parties. We can make up our own minds.  We can also see how fickle media support can be.

The crux of the matter is that, given the silence on my television screen these days, some of us have simply turned them all off and that can’t be good for democracy either.

C/P at Jack’s Newswatch.

29 thoughts on “Western media manipulation threatens our democracy

  1. I heard Greg make that statement yesterday and my first thought was, who sent that document in a brown envelope to the media or the liberals.
    I still remember the PM saying, that the civil service and others ruled and would not allow him to change much if elected (paraphrased) The media was aghast but it seems he was telling the truth.
    I pray that Bev does not resign and that the PM does not remover her.
    What timing, the cbc site is undergoing a major upgrading and no comments on stories will be available.

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  2. Sandy, they are desperate to drive us all towards global socialism that the media was taken control of for that sole sake. To promote at every turn the organized socialization of all things human, the media does this job well.

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  3. Agreed! Here is a thought I’ve been musing, Canadian Media would profit if the Conservatives were to get another minority and a few days later a coalition of the Bloc, NDP and Liberals were to bring down the new Government. This would sell news for a long while. Hmmm, would the media actually try and manipulate campaigns to alter an outcome from a majority to a minority? Naaaa, I’m probably just a little paranoid.

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  4. Sandy, you’ve arrived late. It’s been my observation that the Toronto-based “national” media has been liberal since 1968. It was the media who created “Trudeau-mania.”

    The CBC and CTV have been profoundly liberal and Liberal ever since. They gave Chretien a free ride. They chided Paul Martin gently while hurling vitriolic accusations and insinuations at members of the Canadian Alliance.

    The so-called mainstream media has even attacked citizens who object to Liberal institutions and policies. Examples are legion.

    What’s most incredible is that the CBC is subsidized to produce propaganda which is NOT in the best interests of Canadian unity or a Canadian identity.

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  7. Right George, I was at home raising small kids then and probably didn’t notice. But, yes, I have to admit that I remember being enthralled by PET myself because I was actually at the Liberal convention in Ottawa in 1968 (a member of the young Liberals) when he became leader. There’s no denying it was a magical time in politics. Like I said, I have voted Liberal more times than I care to remember. Mind you, I think voting for Mulroney three times may have cancelled out those other times. LOL

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  9. Great post Sandy, and well timed. I think it’s a bit tough to say, “it started here” or there. Western media as a whole has made the shift from reporting the news to creating the news quite some time ago but what is perhaps more important is the conditions leading to this shift. Univeristies have been a liberal hotbed since the 50’s and it this grinder that has given us the current batch of sausage. To blame the media is a bit the water for a flood, if anything is to change we need to address the problem and that is the schools of journalism. To change things is, if it can be changed, will be a generational undertaking and I’m not sure we, as a society, have that much time.

    Like it or not, it is what it is.

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  10. I just hope that SUN TV will be fair and balanced.
    I have big doubts on the ability of David Akin to be fair and balanced.
    I hope I am proven wrong.

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  11. I’m sorry Brian, I am not going to get into posting videos. I’d end up with my site overrun videos proving our points. But, yes, PBS is sometimes disappointing but not near as much as the main networks and 24/7 cable news channels.

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  12. Peter — I spent the last twenty-five years in two university settings as an academic. I taught curriculum, psychology of learning and sociology of education. I was not part of the problem, nor were any of my colleagues — at least that I noticed. Like school boards, the journalism schools reflect what society wants and deems important. So, there is more than enough blame to go around. But, if society starts complaining loud enough and the news sources are hit in the pocket book, because we stop watching or reading, then, change will gradually come about.

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  13. Fair enough, I stand corrected by virtue of not having been there. However, in my simple mind, that would speak to a more dangerous thing, that being that our universities are not houses of learning and independant thought but more of a “follow the trends” institution, much like the fashion industry.

    Egads…what would Aristotle say?

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  14. I think you hit the nail on the head in that journalism has morphed from reporting facts to believing that journalists have a responsibility to remoulding society. This explains, for me at least, their blatant indoctrination instead of reporting the facts. I suggest it has resulted in a growing number of people turning away from MSM and thus the loss of revenue for MSM. Understandable since we aren’t interested in their opinion, especially to pay for it.

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  15. The media teamed up with pollsters is a double whammy to our democracy.

    They are out to influence people who are not normally engaged in politics and move in for the kill during an election period.

    They are totally agenda driven using buzz words and catchy phrases, slick as snake oil salesmen.

    If they can keep it simple they’ll zero in one issue and allow many more important issues to get lost. We all remember the last Ontario election won over one issue.

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  16. Yes, thanks Wilson. Ruth left the “stuffoccurs” link on the other thread. But, for anyone on this thread, its a must read. One of the best and fairest I have read by a “liberal” blogger. It really shows how important it is to look at issues carefully and not always from a partisan stand point. When the Ruby Dhalla episode was underway, I supported her for much the same reason as I do Oda. It goes far beyond the issues. It debases the person.

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  17. The Media consider themselves the unelected, unofficial opposition with the platform to sway the public by constantly presenting their own opinions as facts.

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  18. Many frauds have been committed by using academe as proof of professionalism. Since the advent of the printing press the ‘media’ has be biased along the whims and wishes of the media baron buying the ink and paper. When journalism school started it lent an aura of credence to an otherwise “no whore like an old whore” occupation. Unfortunately that aura of credibility has been used to further the agenda of the media barons whether TV, Radio or Print. Sometimes I think it best to laugh at anyone who proffers his degrees as proof of anything other than the fact he couldn’t decide what to do in the real world.

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  19. Pesonal comments were removed that relate to Ruth’s comment at 7:53pm and Joe’s at 8:11pm. However, I will confirm that Joe is a great guy!

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  20. Sorry if I sidetracked this discussion Sandy but I don’t care for Journalism School for same reason I don’t care for many Bible Colleges. Their teaching of hermeneutics is that there is only one way to interpret a given event or story instead of encouraging careful contemplation and evaluation of all relevant facts of said event or story including the relevant fact that you don’t have all the relevant facts! Had the ‘professional’ journalists ever done a proper evaluation of the Oda story it would have never seen the light of day because it really was and is a non story.

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  21. No problem Joe. I heard on another thread that even the Sun chain is now condemning Oda. That is appalling. None of the them have done due diligence to get the facts on that story or they are ignorant of civics. Moreover, most people will not be following this and similar blogs, so what we are left with is the manipulation we are all condemning here.

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  22. When the mass media in the country are busy constantly skewing the facts to manipulate opinion, is that not a form of subversion?

    What can we do aside from what we’re doing here on the blogs? They know we know what they’re up to but they keep on doing it,they get away with it because they have free rein, their bosses are on the same page.

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  23. Liz J @ 6:11am said
    “When the mass media in the country are busy constantly skewing the facts to manipulate opinion, is that not a form of subversion?”

    It reminds me of the propaganda style hysteria the media created around prorogation last year. All driven by emotion that included words like, “undemocratic” and “not legitimate” where it was perfectly democratic and perfectly legitimate. They were simply put off and rather than saying that, they posed as experts on the the entire event and editorialized instead of researching and reporting facts.

    There has been one thing that has surfaced in all of this, the PPG are not well versed on the intricacies of how government operates. Every person that has actually worked within the system that has commented, has had an almost identical opinion and it agrees with Minister Oda.

    These reporters (subjective) are basing their comments on hearsay,their interpretation of her statements, perhaps a brown envelope or two,insider sources, opp MP’s but it’s consistent one way, it’s all been OPINION. And like the prorogation, a lazy pack mentality.

    It’s WHO hasn’t opined that I find most interesting.

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