As someone who has a journalist background, I find that the lack of news reporting around the social media backlash on the new anti-terror bill by our major broadcasters very interesting, and very unsettling. Unfortunately, there has been some hint this kind of thing was going to happen with evidence of big media conspiring on a separate issue in the fall of last year.
A few years ago then Justice Minister Vic Towes introduced something called “lawful access” legislation. This legislation would allow the government access to your information without a warrant. Social media was ripe with protest. A twitter hashtag #tellviceverything was used to protest the introduction of lawful access. Canadians from all sides took to twitter, to tell then Minister Towes everything about their lives. Big media caught on very quickly and reported on it extensively.
Last week, similar legislation was passed through in the form of the anti-terror law. All you need to be is suspected of being a terrorist or unlawful protestor to be scooped up in law enforcement’s surveillance dragnet. Apparently the government also thinks this applies to anyone politically criticizing Israeli politics too, threatening to throw those protesting Jewish politics in jail for hate crimes (not a joke).
After the passing of the new anti-terror law last week, social media anger is being directed not at the Conservative party, but the Liberal party for supporting the bill. Unlike the #tellviceverything protest, the big media companies CBC, CTV, and Global have all been silent on this issue, opting to cover a Liberal platform announcement the day after the vote with virtually no mention of Liberal members burning their membership cards and protesting on social media. The protest on social media around the Liberal support of the new anti-terror bill continued throughout the weekend and continues. Still political talk shows would rather show speeches from Elizabeth May trying to be funny and failing during a press gallery dinner.
Back a few months ago, I filed a complaint with the Broadcast Standards Council (BSC), and with the CRTC regarding CBC, CTV, and Global misleading Canadians on a point in copyright law around attack ads. You probably remember this as media portraying the Conservatives as “stealing” news content. The reason why I choose to file those complaints was because the media not only got the facts wrong on a matter of law (which they still have yet to correct), but I had a gut feeling these organizations were conspiring to protect the Liberal party from political attacks which is illegal in Canada! These media companies threatened to file suit against the Conservatives for using news media to attack the Liberal leader. They also threatened not to air the ads. That threat was quickly dropped as Canada’s copyright law experts came out criticizing media for misleading the public on what is called “fair use”. Fair use means that anyone can use any media content to criticize a political leader, or use as educational material without financially compensating the copyright owner. It’s not stealing, however CBC’s Rick Mercer still thinks it is:
The night after this aired, and after the copyright law experts criticized media for misleading the public on a matter of law, York University saw it fit to provide Mercer with an honorary law degree.
Congratulations to Dr. Rick Mercer on being awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at York University today. pic.twitter.com/m5ToeQPz8I
— Armand La Barge (@ArmandLaBarge) October 16, 2014
I guess we can’t count on our academic institutions to be free of bias either.
I’ve had contact with the BSC, and with the CRTC and CBC’s Ombudsman regarding my complaints over the past few months. The BSC has yet to rule, however the CBC’s Ombudsman seemingly can’t find any of the reports (even though I gave the time and date) showing that CBC lead with a story that mislead Canadians on law in a national news broadcast. I have not heard back from the CRTC on this issue since the Ombudsman seemingly misplaced those news reports. Since the date of my complaints, the CBC was outed in trying to cover up inaction of Q Radio host Jian Ghomeshi’s abusive behavior, and Bell Media President Kevin Crull got ousted for, you guest it, interfering with news coverage.
It seems like when or even if the election rit drops in the fall (the Duffy trial may end up postponing election to save Harper #CPC mindset not mine), it looks as though our big media companies have already decided which political party they want to win, and it isn’t the Conservatives, NDP, or Greens with a long paper trail that keeps growing by the day.
That being said I am getting rid of my cable at the end of this month. I only subscribe to cable to watch the news and political talk shows. The non-reporting of the social media reaction to the anti-terror bill and Liberal member backlash and the now obvious bias in coverage, has essentially devalued these programs and I feel they are no longer a source for independent political news.