A lot of people complain that the Canadian media is held in too few hands. I’ve written about this myself- for example in Vancouver the city’s two major newspapers, the Vancouver Sun & Province (or, as I call them the SunVince) are held by the same company, Postmedia. To compound the problem, they also own the National Post, one of the country’s two major national newspapers. In most countries this would not be legal…
What people don’t talk about often is Canada’s lack of credible alternative on-line media. As it stands, there are only two major outlets, rabble.ca & mediacoop.ca. A big problem with these two is that they are anything but independent- both are supported through the unions, and both provide a very slanted left-wing point of view.
Rabble is often called the attack dog of the radical left. It was started by Judy Rebick, one of Canada’s most notorious Marxists, and is as almost as often used as a weapon against people who don’t respect the left as it is to convey news. Media Co-Op is quite similar- but with a more anarchist slant. Both of these organizations give strong support to the Black Bloc vandals who brought us incidents like the violence at the G20 and the 2010 Olympics.
The Kevin Annett case is another example how these media outlets are failing us. RabbleOp (I’ll call them that for short) gave very enthusiastic coverage to Annett- both without questioning his outlandish claims. Krystalline Kraus at Rabble promoted Annett’s events, and Megan Kinch interviewed Annett while he was waving around what he claimed to be children’s bones and she didn’t even mention how in appropriate that was!
Why did they cover Annett so enthusiastically? My guess is because he fulfilled their desire to raise discontent within aboriginal communities. The only other explanation could be that both organizations are institutionally stupid- but, I’d put my money on the former.
And this is the key of the problem with Canada’s alternative media- alternative media does not equate to independent thought. RabbleOp is as ideologically bent than Pravda was back in the days of the Soviet Union. In fact, today, Pravda is more reliable than either of these publications.
It’s become apparent that Canada desperately needs an independent online media outlet. The big question is how can this be funded? As RabbleOp shows us, publications need to be careful of where they take their money from. Crowdsourcing funding is a possibility, but it is not necessarily reliable for long-term operations. Another option is to start a foundation, but it could only be successful if funding was provided with strict rules that content is not influenced by the donor’s wishes.
However it would be funded, I think the best way to ensure an independent publication without a political slant would be to write a strong mission statement and well-balanced editorial board. RabbleOp’s editorial is shoddy and imbalanced one could say they are polluted by too many lefties. A truly independent publication’s board would include people from left, right and centre.
The editorial policy could be influenced by successful tools like scientific method. It is better to find time-proven techniques than to try and rebuild the wheel. The key here is that it needs to be designed in a way that filters as much political slant as is humanly possible.
I’ll be thinking about this a lot in the next few weeks, and have recruited a few other people to help build a framework. If anyone would like to join in this task, or if you have some suggestions, please let me know. Either publish your thoughts on the comments in this article, or feel free to email me at: [email protected].
Perhaps, together, we can do something different and build a truly independent publication. Canada needs an alternative to the SunVince’s & RabbleOps we are currently trapped with…