Green Island Letters

Original article: Journalistic safeguards at CBC News, Jennifer McGuire, CBC News, Nov 16, 2012

Sometimes they really sound like they believe in real journalism, and believe they are actually practicing it, doing a great job for Canadians - this is just too contrary to 'observed reality' to believe, but you just cannot be 100% certain - it is easy enough to figure that a lot of people at the bottom and middle levels really believe what they are doing is 'real' journalism, but those at the upper levels *must* know they are doing propaganda and gatekeeping in service of the new world feudalism being implemented around us - part of their job would be keeping an eye on the younger staff to make sure they didn't start trying to turn on lights or peek behind curtains that were to be kept closed. So sometimes I write a little note pointing out some problems with the idea that our country is currently being well-served by great journalists bursting with integrity, hoping to reach some of these younger up-and-comers before they are too deep into Mordor to get themselves out. They never answer, for some reason (and have not this time, some 10 days later as I get around to getting it on the website for more people not to read ..).

Really ...??

Dear Ms McGuire, et al en passant

(CC to a few in the mainstream Canadian media who take several opportunities every year to tell us what wonderful dedicated people you all are, and how well served Canadians are by you all, etc etc. - from certain perspectives, that seems at best a very debatable proposition ...)

RE: Journalistic safeguards at CBC News, Jennifer McGuire, CBC News, Nov 16, 2012

One notes with some disagreement your claims of high-quality 'journalistic safeguards' at the CBC in this article, in which you seem unaware of a couple of glaring problems the last few years that any 'real' journalist dedicated to the cause of bringing the best representation of what is going on in our world and society these days to those they are supposed to serve, the Canadian public, would, it seems to me, surely never stand for, that would indicate the aforementioned 'safeguards' are a bit less efficacious than you are making them out to be, actually being notable much more in their state of being missing than in their application.

(A) War propaganda is not journalism (and as we are not even at war, there is approximately zero of the justification you might otherwise claim for it)

One would note, for the first rather glaring example of what is *not* 'journalism' in any sense of the word, the undeniable propaganda approach you (with all of the Cdn mainstream media) have had concerning various countries in the world which the US has decided needed a 'regime change' over the last few years, going back to Milosevic in Yugolsavia in 1999, through a couple of Iraq operations, on to Libya last year and now Syria - your approach in all of these exhortations-to-regime-change emanating from Washington and their puppets such as NATO has been completely one-sided, flagrant demonisation and propaganda against the leader-of-the-day-to-be-demonised. This may have been marginally justifiable or understandable the first time, with Milosovic, as one would tend to accept 'secret intelligence' from one's allies and trust their integrity - but then a year or two later, after the country was bombed practically back into the stone age, and we learned there were no mass graves at all, which was the major justification for getting the western public onside with the bombing, any 'real' journalistic organisation working for the people rather than as a propaganda service for 'the state' would have been asking some serious questions about how they let themselves get so terribly deceived. And then a couple of years later, when the 'get rid of Saddam that monster!! His Iraqi soldiers are throwing babies out of incubators the unspeakable devils!!!!' stories started to emanate from Washington et al, any *real* journalist or journalistic organisation would have been showing a bit of resistance to once again being the passive secretariat for a Washington regime obviously bent on war sending around 'intel' justifying their plans, and asking some hard questions and talking to some other people with other information about the situation - but not, apparently, the CBC (or other Cdn MSM, as always) - and of course as it later turned out, hard questions would have been very much in order, as the entire incubator babies story that was the catalytic event outraging people enough to accept the US actions later turned out to be not just the words of some fanatic in Kuwait wanting to get help against Saddam, but actually a planned PR exercise from that same American government (aka outright lies), and there had never been any such atrocities at all!!! (I don't suppose I need to get into the next Saddam demonisation, the (as it later turned out, oddly) completely false WMD accusations, based on which the country was bombed and destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people killed ... again advanced with exhortations and embellishment by the mainstream media, urging the citizens on to war, rah rah de rah ..)

And so it goes - last year with Gadhaffi, and now this year with Assad, we are getting all of these stories about 'look at this atrocity!!, and that one, he's killing his own people, and using babies for shields - that inhuman monster HAS to go!!!' stories from, oddly enough, the same US sources as gave you the 'mass graves' stories, and the incubator stories, and the WMD stories - and, again for some odd reason if you are really such competent and dedicated journalists, I am not seeing a SINGLE story or reference to these past cases of intentional lies spread around by the US military machine in the pursuit of their geopolitical goals which the media, including the CBC, passed on as if gospel truth, and not a SINGLE indication from your highly vaunted 'journalistic safeguards' that any such questions are even being considered, let alone talked about or presented to the public as reasons to be a bit cautious with such demonisations - how is it you are so positive that the atrocities claimed against Assad are true? Why aren't you trying to present the stories about what is happening in the middle east impartially, rather than leading the 'get rid of these people!!!' bandwagon?? Where is the 'panel discussion' with some people opposed to the US regime change operations about past lies in pursuit of their goals, and why we should believe the latest claims of atrocities based on 'anonymous cell phone tips from people wishing to remove Assad' - hardly disinterested spectators??? - what you are all doing would be the expected behaviour of a state broadcaster acting as the propaganda arm of the regime, but an independent media working supposedly 'for the people', one of whose main jobs is keeping an eye on power and making sure it is held accountable for its actions and words, would be turning a much more critical eye on all of these latest accusations of 'atrocities', being presented in what should be the full light of past accusations and claims which all later turned out to be lies and propanda.

But no hard questions do you have meeting these latest highly questionable (and very much denied and opposed in many places) accusations, just more interviews with 'experts' adding to them, and nothing from anyone denying them. And on and on with related things - your current completely one-sided demonisation of Iran, as well as Syria, and now and then 'drive by slanders' of Russia and China, is blatant demonisation, and it is a complete mystery how you could be aware of this, and yet claim you operate with high 'journalistic standards'. Where are the stories from your "journalists" or 'experts' who happen to disagree with what the US is up to, and the stories they pass around trying to get public support (lots out there, we just don't hear them on the CBC) saying "Wait a minute, wait a minute - there are several examples in the past of you people telling us stories about 'monster' leaders that later turned out to be completely fictitious - why should we believe you this time?' - and etc. Real journalists understand the difference between "news" and propaganda - and what you have been doing the last few years vis a vis these things has nothing to do with 'journalism' or 'high journalistic standards', and everything to do with propaganda.

(B) Selling snake oil, whilst gatekeeping information about a real cure, is not 'journalism' On another equally important front, it is more than a bit difficult to accept your claim about '..shifting resources to investigative units that will provide Canadians with the kind of information they may not be getting elsewhere..' Here, I would direct your attention to the most important thing going on in our country and world that nobody at all in the mainstream media seems to be investigating independently, the ongoing 'financial crisis' affecting most of the world in one way or another, including Canada. Your 'investigative reporting' seems confined to repeating talking points from either the government or banks, both of whom obviously have some interest in presenting things a certain way, and interviewing people selling things, and then having your own commentators repeat the claims with embelishments and speculations and dire warnings, doesn't normally qualify as 'investigative' reporting, which usually starts from a position of trying to find out things the sellers would rather you didn't find out. Doesn't seem to be much danger of that here.

The story about what is going on financially is a bit detailed and layered as it has been ongoing since the 70s (or 1700s if you really want to get into it), but it's not 'rocket science' as they say, and nothing a real investigative journalist, especially with the resources of the CBC behind her or him, couldn't handle easily enough, and learn some very interesting, and troubling, things about our 'national debt' and the dismantling of 'our' country that is being done in the name of this 'debt'. The entry point would be something simple like - Where does money come from, the money that led to the debt that is causing all this grief in the world today? And the answer quite quickly leads here - 'money' is simply credit, and it is essentially created out of thin air, just a big accounting system. Some very easy poking around leads to the somewhat startling fact that private, commercial banks create something like 97% of this money, or credit, here in Canada, simply by punching numbers into a computer - and they do this, create as much money-credit as they wish, with no effective oversight from our 'democratic' government. Money/loans/credit upon which, of course, they then charge interest. Next question - why, in a democracy, would we allow a private business cartel (banks), whose objective, like every other major corporation, is maxing their profits, and let everyone else look out for themselves, be in control of this very important creation of money-credit function in our society? Surely something as important as creating and overseeing the money supply of a country should be the sole purview of the democratically elected government, working in the interests of all the people, and not a private business cartel, whose primary objective is not a stable economy but maxing investor profit??? And the equally important question must be lurking somewhere inter alia here - if money is created simply as 'credit' out of thin air, what is the justification for charging 'interest' on it, interest that is the root cause of all of our problems, interest which has created the great bulk of the government debt, which need not have been incurred at all? Obviously it's a great golden-egg-laying goose deal for a private business cartel to create money out of thin air and even be allowed to charge interest on it - but why would a *democratic* government allow such a practice?

(Pre-emptive alert: When you put questions of this kind to "leading economists" or banking people or government finance people and suchlike, they'll immediately chuckle somewhat patronisingly and pontificate on how 'we all know governments creating money is inflationary!' - end of story - or perhaps "Politicians are venal creatures, and if allowed to control money they just create massive amounts of it to buy votes, causing destructive inflation, etc etc - much better to let responsible businesses oversee the creation of our money! Think no more of it, my innocent child!.' and like things.

At which point the tame or inexperienced not-quite-journalist walks off, and writes a little story mocking those who have been calling for 'Monetary Reform" (google, lots of stuff) the last few years, and, apparently, moves on to really significant national news calling for top notch investigative digging like germs in hotel rooms or allegations about rental car companies charging customers for damage they didn't really do.

But the actual 'investigative' reporter looking for the 'real' 'news behind the news' understands that people making a good living from a certain way of doing things might not be the most trustworthy sources to rely on concerning criticisms of that system, and digs a bit deeper, again understanding his or her job is to look for things non-disinterested parties might not want to tell him or her. Some fairly obvious responses might suggest themselves to such 'expert' comments with a bit of non-'expert' digging, i.e.:

(1) But we understand that 'money', or more properly 'credit', is just created 'out of thin air', as they say - so if a responsible government decides it needs a few billion dollars - why then, actually, is it inflationary if the government-controlled Bank of Canada creates this money essentially interest-free (any 'interest' levied by the Bank of Canada will, of course, just go from one government account to another), but it is not inflationary if private commercial banks create the same money out of thin air, and loan it to the government at interest? Hmmm, bit of a conundrum, that.

(the researcher following interesting things will quickly come across a relevant quote from Thomas Edison, no fool - "It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30,000,000 in bonds and not $30,000,000 in currency. Both are promises to pay; but one promise fattens the usurer, and the other helps the people. If the currency issued by the Government were no good, then the bonds issued would be no good either. It is a terrible situation when the Government, to increase the national wealth, must go into debt and submit to ruinous interest charges at the hands of men who control the fictitious values of gold." - full comment (and much else of interest for the researcher) here )

Or maybe (2) - we have allowed private banks to control our money since the 1970s, and look at the mess we're in today in the world - private banks have been creating tens and even hundreds of trillions of dollars worldwide for nothing more than rampant speculation, and so borrowers can borrow yet more to pay compounding interest on their previous 'loans', leading to various completely-out-of-touch-with-reality asset-bubbles which burst and cause great hardship, and also causing systemic inflation. Surely that's hardly 'responsible management' of this extremely important aspect of our society (by either the banks or the government which gave them this power)??

Or (3) - And let us recall that our last three (major) Finance Ministers have been Michael Wilson, Paul Martin and now Jim Flaherty - isn't it a bit contradictory to our 'lived reality' to float the notion that these gentlemen would irresponsibly create a lot of money to buy votes, given their fanatical obsession the last 30 years and more with cutting expenses and 'controlling the debt'? (and not forgetting, of course, that they actually *do* have the power to order the Bank of Canada to create as much money as they want - they have all, or their governments have all, simply made a decision to remove themselves from that process, and allow the private banking cartel to control the supply of money, with no real government oversight, or public input into the decision, and allowing these private banks to create money/credit which they have then borrowed, often at great interest - during which time we have seen the government debt increase from some $20 billion to some $500+ billion, and we have paid over a trillion dollars in interest on it in the last 25+ years ... which need not have been paid, had the government been using the Bank of Canada for its needs, as it did from the 1930s until this policy change was made during the 1970s..).

There is considerably more to be learned about this (which may indeed turn out to be conspiracy, but equally surely is fact not theory), and any real investigative reporter, or news organisation, would be doing some serious research and reporting on this issue along the lines suggested above, rather than confronting, often quite aggressively, anyone they interview who complains about funding cutbacks, as we regularly hear on your shows, with questions like, "But where is the money coming from for your suggestions, as we are in such terrible financial straits these days??' - well, Ms McGuire, that's your job, to find these things out - or else to interview the various people in Canada or elsewhere who could tell you where the money could come from, if we weren't allowing private banks, with private investor demands for max profits, to control our money. And the fact that you are NOT doing this - but actually leading the 'we must accept austerity!!' bandwagon - makes one regard your claims to offer Canadians responsible 'investigative' journalism, when what you are doing seems very much more like propaganda and gatekeeping, with no inconsiderable skepticism.

If you are interested, a few places to start research on Monetary Reform, from some people who really have done quite a lot of actual investigation into these things:

COMER (a Canadian institute which has been working on this for 30-40 years, and I do not believe I have ever heard anyone from there on one of your shows - rather odd, if you are really doing 'investigative' journalism and are trying to provide Canadians with information that might help them better understand our country and world, and what their leaders are getting up to)

Some very interesting short films by a Canadian on the debt situation Money as Debt

One of the 'bibles' of monetary reform - Web of Debt

An excellent documentary on the history of money and debt - US-based, but the same ideas apply to us all - The Money Masters

Another serious American organisation doing what they can to help people become aware of this situation - American Monetary Institute

- well, there's a great deal more out there on monetary reform and other things you in the mainstream media choose not to talk about, writings from people who care about our society doing the investigative work that the CBC and rest of the mainstream media are not doing, if you are interested. (my own longer essay talking about what has been going on in Canada the last few decades that touches on the media is here - What Happened )

I must say, it seems to me that there's about a 99%+ chance you are all, at the upper levels there at the CBC and other 'respectable' (mainstream) media, very much aware of what you are doing, very modern, sophisticated propaganda and gatekeeping and spin in the interests of those who are really running our country and need the 'peasants' to believe certain things, or remain ignorant of others, in order to maintain their power, but sometimes some of you seem so sincere in your defence of 'journalism' that I wonder if some of you really mean well and truly believe you are doing a great job, but just haven't quite come to understand what is really going on in the world, and your perhaps innocent role in leading the people into bad places. Thus I write letters like this sometimes, on the off chance I might connect with someone ready to challenge power, rather than be its secretary. To date I'm still pretty much like Diogenes wandering around in the dark in terms of success - but there's always that little ray of hope somewhere off in the distance to keep one going.

Dave Patterson
Ontario, PEI, Thailand
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