Three unrelated articles from three Canadian newspapers are riddled with a whole lot of nothing, but seem to be saying something. That is quite a feat, and Canadian journalism has a knack for it.
Andrew Coyne’s column in the National Post is interesting on many levels. It is artful. He seems to be arguing against bailouts, as I have been, and suggests that journalism should look inward, as I have as well.
Until you read it carefully.
The problem, according to Coyne isn’t about the core — but that journalism had clumsy forays into making their products in tune with digital media.
It is a whole lot more problematic than just that. It is more than a cosmetic misstep: the entire profession has never questioned itself, how it conducts itself, how it gathers facts, how it analyzes them, and then disseminates them to the public. It never questions why it never got empirical. It never questioned its own folksy logic. Its entire mindset never kept up with the times. It is a relic of a bygone era because when you have all of the control, you think that’s Truth and not a fixed reality that can change at any time. He is still walking lockstep with the rest of that dead profession.
The second article is this knee-slapper from the Toronto Sun filled with innuendo and sophistry that seems to condemn one of Brown’s accusers without actual proof or logic. She won an award from CTV as a university student. So what? I interned at CTV when I was in j-school. I also won an award from a woman who and her husband worked at the Hamilton Spectator. I have no pull or connections with either organization. I had a column with the Spec — and it amounts to nothing. I didn’t get the scholarship because I knew the woman or her late husband.
I did visit her in the isolated nursing home a few times after I won the award. She had no pull, either, and I never asked or tried to network with her.
So she won an award — so what? Brown was a politician in Barrie for many years — I am certain he schmoozed with those who work at CTV’s Barrie affiliate station — why didn’t the Sun mention that?
And speaking of pull, who is chummy are the staff at the Sun with Brown? Have they disclosed any of it in their hatchet job or in their publication in general?
They really should.
Because they have a glaring confirmation bias because of it.
The Sun did elect to mention that Brown “passed” a lie detector test.
Again, so what?
As I have said before, lie detector tests mean zero.
And when you are the one who hires the lie detector firm, it means even less. So what? You can take the test until you pass — the company that you hired can ask loaded questions to your favour because you are the one paying for it. You also can be a sociopath who can not get rattled, or you can merely be deluded with no sense of reality.
You can pile up an article full of non-facts all you want, but there is nothing in the piece that has any merit. It is pro-Brown propaganda meant to shade and skew, but merely draws attention to its own glaring holes.
It is hyped as an “investigation” with Ryerson University — and for all the puffery, it boils down to common knowledge that is easily accessible: how much jurors get paid according to province (something easily obtainable to an average citizen), and that jury pools come from those who own a house, also not a big reveal.
The article is in response to the Gerald Stanley verdict. A white man shot a young First Nations man and was acquitted because the all-white jury believed the defence theory that the gun accidentally fired.
But the Star’s spin masks the real issue that turned the Stanley verdict into a watershed moment: the town where the trial took place had a First Nations population at about 40%, but it was not as if the pool was exclusively Caucasian. The defence lawyer merely picked off potential jurors based on race until he rigged the racial make-up to be all white.
That was the central problem. This is not to say the system isn’t dysfunctional and archaic, but the central flaw was not who was called to serve jury duty — it was that the accused’s lawyer literally could have a White’s Only decree and the courts could indulge him.
So it doesn’t matter who is in the pool — it is who is allowed to actually serve that is the bigger problem. The Stanley trial was not in Ontario — so the fact that Ontario pays the least than the other provinces also would not have made a difference in the Gerald verdict. Those jurors were paid more and began as a more diverse racial make up from the get-go.
It didn’t matter how much the juror were paid or the skin colour of those responding to the summons — the outcome was the problem, meaning even if the government paid more and had a more diverse pool coming in — the outcome would still be the same.
But that is the problem that felled Canadian journalism — they dance around central and critical issues as they tackle everything else save the thing that must be confronted.
Three different newspapers. Three different articles. Three different subjects with different reporters from different ideological schools.
And all of them make the same error in the same way, informing no one, but skewing perspectives so we cannot even begin to find a solution to any of our problems.