I raised the issue about Global TV carelessly or deliberately (choose one) spicing its national news report about G20 demonstrators with video showing Vancouver Olympics vandals in action because I see it as part of a pattern. Sometimes through carelessness, other times through intention to shape the message, the news is distorted. Neither is tolerable. Democracy depends upon a free and accurate, unbiased press.
In British Columbia, Global TV News and Corus Radio are frequently partisan in favor of BC Liberals, as is the Vancouver Sun editorial board. They have squeezed reporting resources so completely that broadcast staff now read press releases to fill their newscasts. As I write this, Corus radio reported Health Minister Kevin Falcon's self-congratulation about congestion reducing as much as 25% in hospitals because of revised "patient focused funding." The truth is that congestion is less because surgery schedules have been slashed and patient care staff laid off because of financing shortfalls since the last fiscal year.
That reminds me of the 'Yes Minister' episode 'The Compassionate Society' that depicts a hospital with five hundred administrative staff but no doctors, nurses or patients. The series creator recalls that "after inventing this absurdity, we discovered there were six such hospitals (or very large empty wings of hospitals) exactly as we had described them in our episode." Those places too were not congested.
Because broadcasters use exclusive licenses to the airwaves, they have a particular responsibility for fairness and accuracy. That means giving voice to a spectrum of ideas, not simply the single interpretation favored by corporate owners.
As consumers and as citizens, we have a right, perhaps a duty, to hold the news media to account when they fail to meet the standards stated above. We need to use the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council to voice our concerns and, if that is fruitless, demand better oversight from the CRTC.
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