Sunday, September 6, 2015

RIP responsible journalism

   It would be one thing if the mainstream Canadian news media merely ignored partisan attempts to cast Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a Frankenstein hybrid of Charles Manson, Al Capone and (your favorite 20th century criminal dictator here).  The fact that the self-proclaimed media "elite" actually promote that nonsense is a bleak commentary on the disturbing state of what now passes for professional journalism in Canada.
   Some background on the relationship between Harper and the media is useful in explaining what is accurately described as "Harper Derangement Syndrome".  His refusal to kowtow to the Ottawa press gallery's every whim has put the PM squarely in the media establishment's crosshairs.  While pissing and moaning like spoiled children about a perceived lack of accountability technically falls under the professional journalistic mandate, deliberately manipulating the news to cast their tormentor in the worst possible light is flat-out propagandist.  The very journalists who tacitly endorse comparisons of Harper to Hitler are themselves practicing their "craft" in the finest traditions of Dr. Goebbels.
   The most telling example of anti-Harper media bias was this week's debacle involving the drowning death of three year old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, whose photographed corpse on a Turkish beach became a worldwide sensation.  Canada's national news media dutifully tucked into a plateful of bullshit served up by New Democratic Party MP Fin Donnelly, who falsely claimed that he hand-delivered a refugee claim from the boy's family to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and that the claim was rejected.  The narrative immediately became that Alexander and Harper had blood on their hands and were responsible for the boy's death.  Even if Donnelly's claims were true, that narrative would have been a stretch, but when they were shown to be factually incorrect, the opposition and their hack journalist allies doubled down.  There were no apologies for getting the story wrong, and rather than seek out Donnelly for an explanation, the overwhelming majority of journalists continued to attempt to discredit Alexander and Harper while ignoring the actual facts of the case.  In the most ghoulish display of partisanship, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's chief adviser, Gerald Butts, actually used the dead child as a prop for fundraising and wasn't called out by media, which tells you everything you need to know about bias in Canadian journalism.

   As distasteful and unprofessional as the Kurdi affair is, none of it comes as a surprise to anyone who has followed the evolution of Canadian journalism.  A generation ago, the trade was still about reporting the facts, and the idea of compromising one's professional integrity by pushing an agenda was anathema. Today, journalism schools are overrun by naive idealists who learn at the knee of loopy leftists like Heather Mallick, Tony Burman and Terry Glavin that twisting the facts to fit a pre-conceived narrative is more important than getting the story right.  That's all well and good if you're writing fiction, but the news isn't fiction,
   At least, it didn't used to be.

4 comments:

  1. You're not offering any more proof or indepth investigation than the journalists you're criticizing. That really was'nt any more than a bird dropping.

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  2. Hi Kelvin. I write a blog, not a treatise, The shabby reporting of the Aylan Kurdi story by the mainstream media has been obvious to anyone who's been paying attention, and is symptomatic of the agenda-driven, activist journalism that is commonplace in 21st century news media. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. - TB

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  3. Unfortunately this piece is as bad, if not worse, than what you are pillorying. You use the example of Fin Donnelly to show media bias. You say the media did not go after Donnelly for "falsely [claiming] that he hand-delivered a refugee claim from the boy's family to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and that the claim was rejected." Here are the verifiable facts everyone can get by just googling a few things:
    1. Donnelly never said he had delivered a refugee claim. He said he had delivered a "letter" from Aylan's aunt outlining the plight of the family in Turkey, and of another brother waiting in Germany. He said they had hoped to hear back from the Minister but nothing happened.
    2. The Minister, Alexander, confirmed that he had received the letter (on Power & Politics the next day) and indicated that he had passed the letter on to his officials.
    3. The letter is available to read online and is basically a plea for help for the family as they were caught in a Catch-22 situation in Turkey. Nothing that Donnelly said was contrary to that and his initial interview is also available online. He never said the application was "rejected". He said that after he delivered the letter that they waited but there was "no action".
    4. Several media outlets, including the SUN chain, started going after Donnelly last week for misrepresenting the situation, when the facts show that he didn't.
    4. In response to the claims that Donnelly had misled folks, he was grilled by Rosemary Barton on P&P yesterday, attempting to get him to admit he had misled the media, even if inadvertently. She did this several times throughout the interview but Donnelly held fast, as, IMO, he was right to do. So much for the media going easy on him...

    The media, again IMO, could go after Harper more on the refugee issue. He keeps "harpering" on we need military action. I agree with him on this, but our military is but a token right now. Facts show that we are doing extremely little, participating in less than 3% of air missions. That is verifiable. He says we are the leader in per capita resettlement. The UNHCR 2014 report says we have dropped from 5th to 10th in total numbers under his regime, and are not even in the top 10 per capita. He talks about spending to help the refugees but the department underspent its budget last year by nearly $108 million at a time when there was increased demand.

    Harper is his own worst enemy with the media. Prior to the election he wouldn't meet them. Now, he takes only 5 questions and no follow up when he avoids answering. The journalists are pre-screened. You talk about Goebbels. The Con's are the practitioners of that school of thought. Anyway, perhaps like the other "journalists" before you who rallied to Harper's defence, Wallin and Duffy, you are hoping for a Senate appointment.

    Link to the letter Donnelly presented:

    http://www.cbc.ca/.../fin-donnelly-ndp-mp-stands-by...

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  4. Brutal honesty is made possible when you write on your own Blog and that is what M. Bird has consistently done. its is a thing that divides very fast. Going against the grain and cutting through political correctness attracts harsh comments but luckily there are a few still left standing who openly share an honest opinion. I may not always have been in agreement but one thing you can say about him is he only ever takes the easy route when its the right one.

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