Saturday, October 24, 2015

Corporate Media or the alternative, Government media?

There was an election in Canada the other day, in case you hadn't noticed.  The Liberals won.  Not quite the landslide that the left wing US media (but I repeat myself) claimed.  Harper won by a larger percentage of the popular vote in the last election, at which point not one media outlet claimed that Harper had won in a landslide.  However, not really my point.

There is a lot of grumbling about "corporate media" from the left and sometimes from the right.  Legitimate criticisms, many of them but let's consider the alternative.

The primary media outlet in Canada is The CBC.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  (Yes, it is always said with a capital The.)  The CBC, as is also the case with most media outlets in the United States, is predictably leftist.  We have leftist media in the US as well.  NBC, ABC, and CNN are predictably leftist.  If you are skeptical just watch the coverage of Republican presidents and congresses versus that of Democrat? 

The difference is that the CBC is taxpayer funded to the tune of over a billion dollars a year.  Again, this might not be a problem if elections weren't subject to influence by the media.  During the last Harper government the CBC budget was cut by about 10%.  Just for comparison, the defense budget was cut by more than 10%.  Any leftist leanings aside, this did not endear the Conservatives to the folks at the CBC.  During the election campaign Justin Trudeau, head of the Liberal Party, promised to increase the CBC budget by $150 billion, more than the cuts implemented by the Harper government.  The CBC did everything in their power to ensure a Liberal win, even playing up minor scandals by members of the Conservative party while ignoring far more egregious incidents by Liberal members. 

When Harper announced that he would be admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees to Canada (the same number that President Obama is admitting to the US, a much larger country), the CBC ignored the story, while covering Liberal claims that the Harper government was indifferent to the suffering of the same refugees.

It is a problem when any major media outlet gets to control the outcome of an election, but when the taxpayers fund that control, there is a problem with the subversion of democracy.  Every Canadian is taxed to pay for the political views of approximately 38% of the electorate.  I would hope that most people interested in individual liberty would be concerned about a system where politicians who promise increased payments to media outlets get positive coverage by those same media outlets, especially when that media outlet is the largest in the country.

I'll take corporate media any day.  At the least someone can start a competing outlet, and at best individuals don't have to pay for views with which they disagree.

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