Crawl Across the Ocean

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Buying Consent

I'm no fan of Norman Spector, but if I had to choose (shudder), I'd take him over a paid shill like Bourque anyday. Still, you're better off finding your own news rather than having it filtered through someone else's agenda - it's not really that hard, what with the internet and all.

I guess most people still use newspapers as their primary filter, although you can never be sure who's setting their agenda either. Witness this movie industry propaganda piece which showed up in the Globe, conveniently timed ahead of the introduction of a bill on intellectual property law here in Canada. Good to see the Globe's commenters taking them to task for their embarassingly one-sided article.

I always wonder how these things come about. Does the industry (or the government, representing industry) have a meeting with the editors where they explain their point of view, while casually remarking that a little favourable coverage wouldn't be amiss? Is it just a personal connection of some sort? I guess it could just be coincidence, but I am doubtful - I've seen this sort of thing too many times. I'm not cynical enough to think that the Globe would be explicitly trading stories for something tangible in return, but it does seem as though there is influence being exerted behind the scenes sometimes.

8 Comments:

  • Good post title!

    By Blogger Simon, at 10:51 AM  

  • Industry PR flacks flood newsrooms with press releases, and maintain close contact with reporters covering the beats that concern them. This relentless chuminess eventually pays off in the form of favourable coverage. In the case of the Globe, a reflexively pro-business newspaper, the pro-corporate storyline was an easy sell.

    By Blogger Tim, at 3:21 PM  

  • Good questions. To better understand how this type of collusion works, I'd recommend asking CBC's producers. They've been shills (publicly funded ones, to boot) for the Liberal Party of Canada for at least a generation.

    By Blogger Albertagael, at 7:25 PM  

  • Simon - thanks.

    Tim - thanks also, that sounds like the voice of an insider! Sorry to hear about your withdrawal from the Pogge collective btw. Glad to see you're not completely gone from blogistan.

    Albertagael - not a particularly constructive response, if you don't mind me saying so.

    By Blogger Declan, at 8:58 PM  

  • I didn't expect that my comment would find favour with you Declan, but my faint use of hyperbole is based on the unassailable truth that the CBC's coverage is biased toward the Liberal Party and its interests.
    I was providing another example of friendly media coverage to a particular set of interests in Canada. I abhor any situation, such as the alleged recent case in the G&M, that undermines the credibility of our free press.

    By Blogger Albertagael, at 9:16 PM  

  • Unassailable truth? Prove it.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 6:16 PM  

  • The CBC's liberal leanings are no secret, and I'm frankly surprised you haven't caught on what appears self-evident to so many. Were you paying attention to its coverage of last year's election? The CBC TV coverage was much more positive toward the Liberal Party and its Candidates than the CPC, and it's several (weak) comedy shows caracitured Harper in a much more negative light than Martin or Layton. They also love the "Albertan is Scary" tome that the Liberals used to great effect in 2004 and to some degree in 2006. If you'd like evidence of this, see here: http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/
    news/culture/
    story.html
    ?id=2f9c9d94-7409-4511-94d6-23b5168be46a&p=1
    I don't have time to build the entire case, but please tell me where I'm wrong.
    Don't you think that a publically funded agency is facing a conflict of interest when it covers elections pitting a Statist Party against a small government party to reduce its funding?

    By Blogger Albertagael, at 10:32 PM  

  • I suppose media outlets owned by large corporations and wealthy men face a conflict of interest in covering elections pitting parties favourable to the interests of large corporations and the wealthy vs. the interests of the lower and middle classes as well then.

    Given the percentage of the media which is private, it seems logical to have a non-private voice to balance things out.

    In fact, it seems possible that the only reason the CBC seems biased left is that it is not biased right like the rest of the privately owned media one typically compares it with.

    A difficult question to answer. I wrote about it in more detail here.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:45 PM  

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