AbeBooks.com. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.
Feed on

Why is it that the mainstream media ignore the down and dirty part of the environment?

Yes, they do stuff on global warming and it’s good that they do but when it comes to local issues, apart from where Vancouver sends its garbage, they’re nowhere to be found.

Consider the fish farm issue. This from an earlier blog on this site:

The 2003 memo – recently made public via the Cohen Commission on collapsing Fraser sockeye stocks – contains some truly shocking passages for their candour and for how clearly they vindicate those who have been critical of DFO’s salmon farm science. Written by a respected DFO scientist, Dr. Brent Hargreaves, the memo severely attacks the credibility of a colleague, key salmon farm apologist Dr. Dick Beamish, whose science Hargreaves labels as “shoddy” and “unethical”, among other pejoratives. Here are a couple of choice passages:

“The research on sea lice that has been conducted by Beamish has been strongly and widely criticized in both the scientific community and the public media…I think to a large degree it was the inadequacies of Beamish’s research and conclusions that led to the lack of public confidence in DFO science…

…I also do not want to be directly associated, either professionally or personally, with either Beamish or his research…He always does exactly as he pleases, regardless of the (often negative) impacts on DFO staff and research programs.”

My question – why did Postmedia (Canwest in drag) have no space for this story? After all, the Campbell government based its entire disastrous policy on fish farms on Beamish’s rubbish!

The facts on the Campbell/Clark energy policy are no longer in dispute. These environmental catastrophes, built and operated by big private sector companies, produce power that BC Hydro is forced to take but for the most part can’t use and must either sell at a huge loss or use it instead of the must cheaper power they can produce themselves. BC Hydro would be, if in the private sector, in bankruptcy protection or even bankruptcy itself. Anyone who tries to balance the household budget understands this; so does the Clark government as did Campbell before but they’re too scared to admit it. Premier Clark hopes that it will go away but I can assure her that it won’t!

This is not a story requiring Postmedia coverage?

The Rupert Murdoch/News of the World scandal should make us all question our newspapers, especially Postmedia and the David Black papers. I don’t for a moment believe that either of these groups is hacking into private computers. I assure you that this is not my issue here. What the scandal does is alert us to the probably deliberate lack of coverage of environmental catastrophes, thus raising the clear question, WHY?

As the story goes, when a man gives his wife flowers for no reason, there’s a reason. And there’s a reason here.

I freely admit my bias – I don’t like the Postmedia papers and didn’t like them when they were Canwest or Pacific Press and before. But I tell you that there’s no malice here – just decades of demanding that they report what’s happening in our province fairly as news and critically as editors. I’m a lifetime British Columbian – damned near an octogenarian – so this goes back a long, long time.

There have been good years such as when the late Marjorie Nichols, the late Jack Wasserman, Allan Fotheringham, Jim Hume held the government’s feet to the fire – especially the government that I was in. In doing that, they were true journalists and we all, government and the public, were better informed, thus better for it.

Today’s columnists know that if they get down and dirty on some subjects they don’t get printed. This isn’t some idle comment – I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t have grounds to. And I understand that these folks have families to raise, mortgages to pay and kids to educate. I learned about this myself as I saw what happened to broadcasters if the clientele that feed their station doesn’t like what’s being said about them. In my opinion, that’s why columnists were fearless and stubborn about attacking the NDP (which they were right to do) – there were no major advertisers angry at a pillorying of the hated “socialists”.

Today, if one wants to see the present government held to account one reads the Globe and Mail (I never thought I’d live long enough to have that coming from my pen!)

The Globe and Mail is still pretty tepid in its role as critic but I see their BC section with Mark Hume, Gary Mason, Justine Hunter and others delving into subjects – not with the thoroughness that, say, Vaughn Palmer with the NDP fast Ferry program – but they at least open the subject to daylight where Postmedia fears to tread.

I don’t flatter myself by thinking that Postmedia and Black won’t cover anything I’m on – that may be coincidence even though the coincidences are many. However I am reminded of the story of the courtroom in the Southern US where smoking was permitted. The lawyer for the plaintiff continually puffed on a cigar even though the judge asked him several times, politely, to desist.

At the end of the case the judge found for the defendant whereupon the lawyer for the plaintiff complained that the judge shouldn’t have decided for the other side just because he, the plaintiff’s lawyer smoked a cigar.

The judged replied, “counsellor, that’s not why I decided against you”.

“Well, Your Honour,” said the losing lawyer, “that’s a better reason than any you gave in your reasons for judgement!”

The Vancouver Sun bleats that it is “Seriously Westcoast”, which is classic George Orwell’s “Newspeak” and has all the credibility of an ad singing the praises of cigarette smoking.

The public has two options as I see it  – read the Sun because of Rex Morgan MD and the Province for Luann and get critical examination of issues from blogs they trust. There’s a danger, of course, that this leads to only getting information that supports your views but in working through the papers searching for the comics and sports pages one can’t help reading the government line if only by osmosis.

As we say with the Common Sense Canadian (TheCanadian.org), we must fill the content gap of the mainstream press by being our own media.

Leave a Reply