Showing posts with label media and information. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media and information. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Slanted Media Coverage of the Keystone XL

Balance in reporting by major US outlets
The Canadian media is certainly slanted towards the pro tar sands angle.  Just today, an article quoted three MP's and Harper and not one Aboriginal voice or environmental position.  It's almost as if silence has descended on this issue.

Media continued to frame the story as a jobs issue, as a cudgel by which to punish Obama's reluctance to move forward with a nasty Republican power struggle, and as an ethical oil alternative.

Breakdown by medium and message bias
Television often played down environmental risks.  That's a surprise, given that the Concordia disaster played constantly as front page news.  Normally, disasters make good press.  I guess not oil spills.  Protesters were often seen being dragged away, or were called "actors".

Headlines are extremely important in digital culture as this determines whether we pay attention or not.  A continuation of positive headlines made the story seem to be always a "no brainer". 

Of those quoted by the major newspapers, 45% were in favor of the pipeline and 31% were opposed. The New York Times was the most balanced, quoting 35% in favor and 27% opposed. The Wall Street Journal was the least balanced, with 52% in favor and 21% opposed.
I'm sure if you used an aggregator to determine sentiment, one would find that the same lack of balance would be found in social networking sites like Twitter, Blogs and rss feeds.  So we do have the same perceptions repeated in the minds of the readers and media consumers.  Don't forget too that there is a huge media machine pushing the tar sands in the social media.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Canadian Media Supports the Old Boys' Network

Our major papers support the status quo and function as propaganda tools for positive spin.  How else to explain the recent glowing headlines:

  • Stephen Harper in HOC

    Why Canada’s corporate tax cuts rate a collective cheer

Think about it.  Reading this, I would assume we, the working poor, will see the corporate elite pay more in taxes.  No.  Harper's really referring to a Forbes magazine article indicating Canada as attractive to investors because of its inviting low corporate tax rate.  Here's the  evident outrage from a Globe reader:

  from: Changing Canada 7:27 PM on January 3, 2012

The only "collective" cheer that is going to take place is at the Granite Club, or University Club, or any other good old boys club in Canada. The rest of the nation is completely well-understood economic principle to the fact that this is a tax transfer from the poor to the rich. No wonder the good old boys are cheering collectively! Foxes in the roost eating them chickens.

It is the role of the media to deconstruct the message of the elite.  But the only real contrary view comes from the readership, frustrated by the nonsense we are being offered by our key newspapers.  We cannot have a democracy without an open dialogue in our mass media.

 The "Old Boys Network", began with Jean Chretien and helped to insulate political figures from embarrassment.  Favourable stories often lead to more leaks and headlines for reporters.  Or the opposite.  Witness today the spat between The Toronto Star and Rob Ford over a supposed insult.  While Harper's grudge against the CBC curtailed his annual interview with Peter Mansbridge and was instead cast with Gord Martineau at CTV, a much less hardball press.

Over Christmas we had spin after spin of Harper voting results both from Naxos and Macleans attributing positive reception of the Harper agenda.  Using polls is fraught with deception and manipulation, but more on that later.  We are being numbed with fluff informercials of the nature that Harper is writing a hockey book while in fact, the country is being sold out to the Chinese.

The way in which the stories develop is mainly a one version of events with mollifying qualifier words or abstruse constructions that avoid saying the difficult words.  Here are the examples of economic speechifying.

Economists predictably disagree on the economic importance of corporate tax rates, mostly on an ideological basis, but it makes good sense to keep this particular tax as low as possible. These taxes, after all, are a direct cost of doing business – and Canada’s corporate cuts ensure that this country will have a cross-border edge for the next two or three years at least. With a combined federal-state rate of 39.2 per cent, the United States has the second-highest rate in the world (after Japan, with 39.5 per cent).

Yes, our low taxes encourage investment.  Then our Harper government also gave tax incentives, and then the US Caterpillar company cut salaries by 50%.  from $35.00 to $16.00.  Are we not delighted with this strategy?  See:  Net Benefit to Canada

You can call this a one party state, with an information cartel.