Saturday, 9 July 2011


Hi folks. I told you this was not a great time in my life to join another blog, so I haven't been around much, but I absolutely have to point y'all to this excellent article by now ex-CTV Québec City reporter Kai Nagata on why he quit and what he wants to do with his life.

Consider Fox News. What the Murdoch model demonstrated was that facts and truth could be replaced by ideology, with viewership and revenue going up. Simply put, you can tell less truth and make more money. When you have to balance the interests of your shareholders against the interests of the viewers you supposedly serve, the firewall between the boardroom and the newsroom becomes a very important bulwark indeed.


Take newsroom aesthetics as an example. I admit felt a profound discomfort working in an industry that so casually sexualizes its workforce. Every hiring decision is scrutinized using a skewed, unspoken ratio of talent to attractiveness, where attractiveness often compensates for a glaring lack of other qualifications. The insecurity, self doubt, and body-image issues endured by otherwise confident, intelligent journalists would break your heart. And clearly there’s a double standard, a split along gender lines.


Jon Stewart talks about a “right-wing narrative of victimization,” and what it has accomplished in Canada is the near-paralysis of progressive voices in broadcasting. In the States, even Fox News anchor Chris Wallace admitted there is an adversarial struggle afoot – that, in his view, networks like NBC have a “liberal” bias and Fox is there to tell “the other side of the story.” Well, Canada now has its Fox News. Krista Erickson, Brian Lilley, and Ezra Levant each do a wonderful send-up of the TV anchor character. The stodgy, neutral, unbiased broadcaster trope is played for jokes before the Sun News team gleefully rips into its targets. But Canada has no Jon Stewart to unravel their ideology and act as a counterweight. Our satirists are toothless and boring, with the notable exception of Jean-René Dufort.


Right now, there’s a war going on against science in Canada. In order to satisfy a small but powerful political base, the PMO is engaged in a not-so-clandestine operation to dismantle and silence the many credible opponents to the Harper doctrine. Why kill the census? Literally in order to make decisions in the dark, without the relevant data. Hence the prisons. Why de-fund scientific research?


I thought if I paid my dues and worked my way up through the ranks, I could maybe reach a position of enough influence and credibility that I could say what I truly feel. I’ve realized there’s no time to wait.

I have to resist the temptation to quote the entire thing. And I relate to it both politically and personally. I've made a similar choice recently and am in the process of tearing down a life I could mostly have kept in some manner if I wanted to, although I haven't been nearly as bold or as drastic as Nagata in going about it, and I'm probably a lot more likely to land on my feet. And Nagata's critique is applicable well beyond just journalism.

(h/t Warren Kinsella)


Beijing York said...

He raises so many excellent points but the most frightening for me is the media's hand in supporting Harper's anti-science agenda.

Jymn said...

It's refreshing to read what so few are writing about - the conservative domination of our news and the lack of opposing voices.

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