Anna Maria Tremonti's CJF Excellence Award acceptance speech: 'Take your journalism back'
June 12 2012, Canadian Journalism Foundation
- This raised a bit too much bile to leave unanswered, so I did:
Maybe the Benedict Arnold award would be more suitable ...
Interesting how Cdn 'journalists' get all excited about giving awards to and lauding themselves - I wonder if Canadians at large feel the same awe of those who provide their 'news' every day? I expect that I am not the only one who has a somewhat different view of how amazingly wonderfully incredible etc our 'media' really are.
Let me just quickly offer a small critique - an 'alternative view' as it were - on how an informed Cdn might assess the performance of our 'journalists', based on their own 'criteria' - "Accuracy, accountability, social responsibility, diversity, originality, independence and .. courage. "
'Accuracy' is related to 'accountability', and 'independence' - the most striking current example of these criteria being not just breached but shattered is in the 'coverage' (propaganda is a word that springs much more quickly to the tongue) of what is happening in Syria. The CBC, hand in hand with all Canadian and western media, seems to have one objective here, convincing their audience that a monster is ruling the country, running around massacring women and children willy-nilly out of sheer evil, and any civilized people would by god be getting in there and stopping that bastard! There is, however, considerable disagreement with that perspective, and considerable information the CBC et al seem disinclined to enter in to the discussion that any truly impartial media organisation would want to provide their audience, it seems to me. Certainly the American gov, and Brits, Cdns etc, seem to be of the opinion, or at least are anxious that others believe, that terrible things are happening in Syria, and are anxious to present an extremely gory story to Cdns and create a universal disapprobation of al-Assad - but is it the job of the Cdn media to be the secretariat for the governments of these countries pushing for yet another 'regime change' of a government they wish removed, a cabal **known** to lie, and lie big and egregiously, in pursuit of such goals? There are certainly reasonably presented alternatives to the propaganda that what is going on in Syria is as presented by the western 'news' sources (i.e. The Houla 'massacre' - Shades of Grey, or Various narratives, many, many others... ) - I am well aware that one should not believe everything that is available on the internet, but on the other hand it's become quite evident over the last couple of decades that believing everything one hears, sees or reads in the mainstream media, presenting press releases from our governments as unquestioned gospel, is not the best way to understand what is happening in our world either.
For a rather obvious example of what our media are *not* doing that they really should be, were they trying to really get to the 'truth' of this story - why have I not heard one single reference or question the last few months, as the Syrian leader is demonized, about the lies about 'mass graves' in Kosova, the lies about Iraqi soldiers throwing babies out of incubators, the lies about Saddam's WMDs, and etc etc etc - there is a lengthy list of these and other lies that the US gov et al have told over the years as they incited the population to support their desired military program of the day - and all of which, at the time, were enthusiastically boosted by the media as if they were unquestioned truths, no dissenting voices allowed, joining the govs etc in inciting western populations to agree to, if not always with great enthusiasm, their governments militarily arranging the desired regime changes, with great civilian death and destruction in every case - and in every case justified and initiated based on intentional lies. If the CBC, or anyone else in the Cdn media, were truly interested in 'accountability' and 'accuracy', not to mention 'integrity', they'd surely be talking about these things, these past lies, before enthusiastically jumping, once again, without question on the demonisation bandwagon, with its endless litany of highly questionable 'reports' of the latest and greatest atrocities involving mothers and children. Rather than yet more 'outraged' relaying of yet the latest 'report' from some 'unnamed source' in the Syrian 'resistance', why aren't some of our intrepid 'journalists', looking out for 'we the people', standing tall and saying something like "Wait a minute, just wait a minute here - does anyone remember a certain Kuwaiti ambassador's daughter crying her poor eyes out as she reported on yet the latest 'outrage' of Iraqi soldiers throwing poor babies out of incubators - which was central in getting western support for Bush's invasion of Iraq - and which later turned out to be a complete and intentional PR stunt - a lie to obtain just that support of the western people for that invasion? Does anyone remember that? And since we have many other similar examples (Powell's speech to the UN later, for example, whose 'facts' that 'we KNOW Saddam has WMD!!!' - later, again turned out to be complete fabrication; 'mass graves' in Kosova? Well - actually, it turns out later after we have done our best to bomb the demon-of-the-day's country back to the stone age, not ...) - although we certainly want to show appropriate concern for any actual atrocities occurring around the world (well, not so much US atrocities, actually - just the 'bad guys', US 'atrocities' are more in the nature of 'alleged' and quickly denied and forgotten rather than trumpeted hourly with outraged voices like the propaganda stuff...) - should we not at least be questioning a little bit this latest barrage of reports of terrible things, rather than urging our audience to once again accept such things as 'facts' as we foment and support insurrection and the brutal killings that such things necessarily involve, and prepare to bomb yet another country, and kill yet more innocent civilians ourselves? Isn't it, people, our job as journalists to be trying to get to the bottom of these things, rather than acting as the propaganda secretariat for the people passing on reports of outrages and urging for the removal of yet another leader, one of the few in the world not yet a puppet to US interests, which just *may* have something to do with why our rulers are so anxious to remove this man and his government, but know that 'we don't like this bastard because he won't do what we want!' will not be a very good selling point for invasion and bombing and killing our own hordes of innocent civilians, mothers and babes most assuredly included in the 'collateral damage' lists, so 'atrocities' will again be used as a selling tool for regime change? Are we as 'journalists' to be once again treated as well-meaning dupes - or will we recall the past and similar lies this time, and this time ask some serious questions when Power demands our obeisance as propagandists?
Or what about "..social responsibility, diversity, originality, independence and .. courage." ?? Let us briefly turn to perhaps the major story of the last few years, the 'economic meltdown' we have seen all over the world, and the imposition of 'austerity' and etc on pretty much every citizen of our western 'democracies'. The government line is, of course, that due to various factors related primarily to stupid greedy citizens (taking loans they cannot afford, demanding 'social expenditures' of their governments they just cannot afford), 'we' have now run up terrible government as well as personal debts that must now be reckoned with - and the media is faithfully pushing that line day after day, urging citizens to accept the reductions in government services, loss of jobs, longer working lives for less pay, etc etc etc - exactly what (note this, what a coincidence!) those who actually got us into this mess want! One might note that jumping on a bandwagon launched with great fanfare by The Emperor is neither very original, courageous or independent.
The CBC may define 'social responsibility' as urging the peasants to be happy by not opposing their masters and accepting their new much reduced conditions without asking any hard questions about what the hell is (really) going on here, but normally 'social responsibility' means something more along the lines of working for the benefit of all, trying to create and maintain a good society for most of the citizens - and what has been going on for the last few years is heading in exactly the opposite direction - reducing wellbeing, and democracy, across the board for most, as people and 'their' governments become more impoverished and powerless, whilst those at the top, the elite few who control the money and rule our country, become ever more powerful - an agenda the media seem to be all gung-ho for, rather than speaking for the people. There is another way to interpret what is going on with all of this 'austerity' which any media truly responsible to 'the people' rather than 'the rulers', a media capable of independent thought rather than mindlessly acting as the plutocracy secretariat, would be making sure the people understood, as the rulers pushed on with this great gambit - the entire key and core issue nobody is touching, of what actually is 'money', and who is controlling and manipulating it for what purposes? Being the secretariat of these ruling powers as they beat up on the citizens is hardly showing either 'independence' or 'courage' - it's those who stand up to the bullies who have such qualities, and the Canadian media, led by the CBC, is showing neither. The Cdn media, were it truly showing independence and courage as they opposed the rulers and provided the citizens information they might find useful in resisting the programs of the rulers which are so good for the wealthy and so equally bad for the citizens, would be talking to more people who had a different take on the financial calamity, and different ideas about the causes and solutions - ideas which make a great deal of sense, but would mean a very radical shift in who actually runs our country and world were they understood by the citizens at large. There are many such people, not tinhat nutcases, but well learned and articulate people (far more so, really, than the sycophant 'economists' allowed to spread their voodoo on the mainstream media) who have a much better understanding of what is going on here than apparently those in the Cdn media acting as the plutocracy secretariat seem to have about what a great fraud the entire 'austerity' program is and alternatives to the submission to Power the Cdn media is promoting, and were they truly interested in strengthening our country for the people, rather than herding the people submissively into their new debt-chains, they would be talking to such people (names like William Black, Michael Hudson, James Robertson, Max Keiser, Michael Zarlenga and the American Monetary Institute, various people associated with the Canadian Monetary Reform organisation COMER, and many, many others; I have a rundown of my own here - What Happened ).
(the media do other things besides propaganda, of course, and there's no doubt that sometimes they tell citizens useful things, and other times 'true but irrelevant in the big sphere' things - but it's all part of the camouflage, helping persuade people to accept the 'big lie' by sticking it in the middle of many true, if not important, things - 'exposing' a politician's sexual misadventures, or a public figure engaging in some other criminal activity, has nothing whatsoever to do with challenging the real power structure, of which Libs and Cons and NDP are all handpuppets - allowing public opinion to be truthfully informed about US imperialism and war crimes (and Canada's participation therein), however, which is behind all of the regime changes, or the great fraud behind the current 'austerity' program, would potentially very much get people angry enough to challenge the power, and it is only these few things that would endanger the plutocracy that must be propagandized, or voices wishing to speak truthfully about them marginalised. The media are also engaged in 'dumbing down' people to create a citizenry less able to understand 'realpolitic', or oppose it meaningfully or vigorously - but such things need a longer essay than this short letter to get into in detail - I simply wish here to point out, beyond argument, that the media are very much less deserving of the great approbation they grant themselves than they would have us believe.)
The point, again, is not whether or not any particular 'journalist' at the CBC or other Cdn media agrees with anything I say here, or the other writers to whom I refer - the point is, is it the job of the media to act as the propaganda secretariat for Power, as they are very obviously doing now, gatekeeping strong, intelligent voices speaking for the people at large, opposing what the Power desires that is so debilitating to 'the people' at large - or to present their audiences with accurate information from all relevant sides of any issue, so the citizen can make informed decisions about such issues? Currently, with these major issues, and others, it is beyond refutation that the Cdn media see their role as propagandists for Power, strongly, relentlessly pushing one side of the story and as fully as possible freezing out or marginalising any dangerous opposing views - and that is not a role most Canadians would choose to honor very much, I suspect, were they to have a better understanding of what is going on here. (I have one clear memory of the last year or two that is quite striking and makes it very obvious what the CBC is doing and who they are propagandizing for - every time any of the CBC hosts arrange an interview with someone complaining about the latest cutback (the appearance of allowing opposing voices must be maintained, but those voices must not be too articulate or talk about things that the rulers are anxious not be talked about..), they have the obviously talking-points question - "Yes, but where is the money coming from? We have a terrible debt, so we need to cut things - if you don't want to cut things - where is the money coming from??" - well, the things I and others talk about explain clearly (a) that the government debts are largely fraudulent and should not be being used as weapons against the people, and (b) insofar as we do need money, where it could and should be coming from in a democratically controlled money supply, and any honest journalists working for the people rather than trying to keep their audience from being aware of such things would be spending a great deal more time asking politicians and economists some very hard and pointed questions about why they are not arranging things for the benefit of the people through a democratic money-accounting system, rather than for the benefit of the people who control the current monetary system - again, it is not the job of the media, at least the government-supported CBC which should be speaking for 'the people' rather than the plutocracy, to be flacking for any side, but to present any relevant arguments fairly, and provide the necessary context, so the people can judge for themselves, which the Cdn media very, very clearly is not doing these days as it seems to see its role as exclusively publicizing and promoting the policies and programs of the NWO, and has not for many years now. Rather than context for complex situations, via ongoing intelligent discussions from people who know such things, or can clearly elucidate differing opinions and perspectives, we get shallow propaganda repeated over and over, and great amounts of diversionary mush and tabloid sensationalism.)
Well, one could go on at great length about what the Cdn media is up to these days as it plays the role of a modern Orwellian Ministry of Truth, creating the narrative day by day the Cdn people are supposed to regard as a 'true' record of what is happening in our country and world but is actually simply the creation of the modern spectacle, keeping Cdns passive 'consumers' of the 24/7 infotainment show that keeps most citizens wandering around in the dark without the information a real media would provide as those who crave unlimited power consolidate their new feudalism - but one is quite aware those in the Cdn media have little interest in people wishing to speak of such things. The points I raise above are beyond any kind of refutation, however, and for all their self-praise and self-promotion, our modern 'journalists' are much more deserving of the Benedict Arnold award for terrible betrayal of their audiences than anything lauding their work "for" the people of Canada, in terms of "accuracy, accountability, social responsibility, diversity, originality, independence and .. courage. "
Take 'our' journalism back indeed - it's going to be absolutely crucial for 'we the people' to find and start listening to some 'real' journalists who understand their duty is to constantly be watching and questioning Power on behalf of average citizens, rather than acting as its propaganda secretariat, if we are to throw off these new usurpers and their corporate propagandists currently masquerading as 'journalists' - and obviously very pleased with their work to date in peacefully shepherding in the New World Order Canada Section, as, no doubt, are their masters.