Crawl Across the Ocean

Friday, March 31, 2006

So Much Nonsense, So Little Time

Okanagan-Shuswap MP Colin Mayes writes in a letter to a bunch of Western newspapers (he has now retracted) that
"boy, would the public get accurate and true information if a few reporters were hauled away to jail!"

Alas, Mayes writes, it wound never work
"because the media would cry 'censorship' and 'authoritarian state'"

In the comments section on the Globe and Mail article on Mayes, Conservative supporters come out in droves to argue in roughly equal numbers that a) he is right on the money or b) by writing an article about it, the Globe just proves his point, because he was just joking.

It could be just me, but when people in the government start making jokes about how it would be better if the media was locked away when they criticize the governmentpublish inaccurate and untrue information, I just don't find it all that funny.

Here are some of the top few headlines if you go to Amnesty International and search for 'journalists':

"Argentinas journalists face death threats and harassment - The Wire"

"Yemen: Harassment of journalists must stop"

"FRY: Conviction of journalists: A scandalous blow to freedom of expression in Serbia"

"Haiti: Update of the Jean Dominque investigation and the situation of journalists"

"Ethiopia: Five years on - repression of journalists unrelenting"

"Belarus: "As long as there are journalists, there will be prison cells"

All funny stories, I'm sure.

In lighter news, I generally avoid religious topics for the most part, but this study, which attempted to track the influence of prayer on recovery from operations, cracked me up.
"[researchers] found that intercessory prayer had no effect on recovery from surgery without complications. The study also found that patients who knew they were receiving intercessory prayer fared worse."

Hey, it's called 'faith' for a reason!

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bloggers?

Finally, Russell Smith writes a column in the Globe entitled, 'Demeaning the Discourse, How Bloggers Lower The Tone'.

I'd talk about the comments that this column drew at the Globe website, but for some reason the Globe doesn't allow comments on this particular column. True, the Globe doesn't always allow comments on every column but you'd figure this one was crying out for an open forum for responses.

The Canadian Cynic suggests writing a short polite note to Review Editor Andrew Gorham asking him to make the Smith column freely available and allow comments. After all, as Smith says in his column,
"The best of the blogs are of course all about conversation, and the Internet itself could be a great facilitator in classless, borderless discussion."

Note: Post updated to fix email link to Gorham.


  • Declan:

    Your link to Gorham is broken. His email address appears to be


    By Blogger CC, at 5:06 PM  

  • Thanks (I thought I fixed it, but must not have republished), it's OK now.

    By Blogger Declan, at 5:24 PM  

  • Hey, cut the Conservatives some slack - they're only hostile toward the media because the media have been hostile toward them! Media access is a privilege, not an essential component of 'open government'::

    [Harper] knows that he owes journalists no thanks whatever for his election...

    So what hope, he will have reasoned, did he now have of securing their unbiased coverage once he had formed a government? The answer is none whatever.

    I have to say, though, that troubling as I find our new goverment's hostility to the media, it doesn't bother me nearly as much as ordinary citizens' impassioned defence of it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 AM  

  • er, that'd be ordinary citizens' impassioned defense of the government's hostility to the media, of course.

    By Blogger Moebius Stripper, at 11:10 AM  

  • I'm not so sure that Smith is wrong; most blogs do "lower the tone", a fact easily demonstrated by surveying the CanConv site. Most of the blame goes to the right side of the spectrum, but that is a deliberate strategy. Right blogs provide fodder for the right wing hard copy press; the blogs then amplify what they read. "Echo chamber" is a well-established and effective way of propagandizing. It has nearly stifled debate in the U.S.; it is coming here too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:44 PM  

  • MS - I agree. I think that in the end it comes back to the people and what they are willing to support / vote for.

    Richard - yes, I chose to simply mock the globe for it's cowardice rather than taking on the question of whether or not bloggers do lower the tone because that is a complicated topic. I do agree that sometimes blogs are used to stretch the limits of acceptable discourse, as Atrios mentioned the other day.

    I may post something in more detail with regards to that question, depending on availability of time, and whether I can come up with anything worthwhile (in my opinion) to say.

    By Blogger Declan, at 8:36 PM  

  • Something else is really bothering me about this: calling for reporters to be jailed for making false (or even merely controversial) statements is loathesome enough as it is, but it's even more offensive when the person making the call enjoys even more protection than the rest of us from same.

    By Blogger Moebius Stripper, at 6:54 AM  

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