Great moments in Canadian journalism

Rosemary Barton with, apparently, her BFF
Rosemary Barton with, apparently, her BFF, published proudly on her Twitter feed

Dear Diary:

We have emerged from the fetal position and ceased rocking back and forth, back and forth, back and forth . . . . after last week’s orgiastic display of professional and intellectual nihilism by many of the nation’s leading journalists.

The image above is clearly worth 1,000 words regarding Canada’s freshly-polished PM’s visit to Washington and we have already, for the most part, covered that.

But a final couple of thoughts beyond what we have already expressed on what real journalists might have covered beyond the menu at the state dinner hosted by the Obamas.
– Was Keystone discussed at all? Softwood lumber? Syrian refugees?
– What is the economic impact of the new agreement to limit methane emissions and what will its impact be on global emission levels.
– What did the US President think of Canada’s plan to legalize marijuana and will that lead to additional screening of Canadians wishing to enter the USA?

We confess we may have missed it, having chosen instead to watch something more professional – APTN evening news – than incontinent cloyings about how America is gaga over Margaret Junior. Nevertheless the above is what real journalists would have done instead of disseminating information about menus and style, taking selfies and generally prostrating themselves before our Leader in a fashion most reminiscent of North Korea’s state broadcaster. Oh, and either completely ignoring or dismissing as irrelevant the monstrous faux pas the PM executed by toasting the President “on behalf of 36 million Americans”– which we all know would have been the subject of endless ridicule had it involved a conservative politician because it is well-established that Liberals are smart so that’s just a mistake. If a Conservative did such a thing it would simply be revealing the inherent stupidity of the genre. And, for sure, we have never had a smarter PM than the one we have now. Right?

We did take the time to test the further assumed wisdom that all anyone in the USA was talking about last week was Justin. Certainly the Washington Post appeared fully erect but we admit we were a little heart-broken when we checked the American breakfast shows Friday morning. As it turned out – who knew – they were much more interested in the Republican debate although CBS, 18 minutes into its broadcast, did do a full two-minute report on the visit.

Alas, similar to ABC and NBC (we did not check Fox because as we all know they are right-wing kooks and not real journalists) the big news was that the First Daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama, had made a stunning debut at their first state dinner.

At the end of the day, we are satisfied that Canada’s mainstream media has simply engaged in another bout of diminishing its own trustworthiness and, therefore, the next step in its much-anticipated suicide.


Donald Trump is distastefully crude and vulgar. Just so, and despite the occasional “I’d like to punch him in the face,” imprudence, we remain compelled by the manner in which he has given voice to millions abandoned by the elites governing their political institutions.

1968 Democratic convention
1968 Democratic convention

So we are of the view that the incidents of violence that have occurred at recent events are primarily courtesy of his opponents – a large number of whom are journalists, pundits and commentators who through their own irresponsible use of language are every bit as guilty of inspiring misconduct.

Our social media streams are rife with commentary comparing Trump with Hitler, Mussolini et al (oddly, not the beloved Uncle Joe Stalin who we all know was much loved by his proletariat) and media coverage that turns out to be completely bogus. These people know nothing about Hitler. Nor do they know anything of what a proper political knees-up looks like because alas they are too young to remember the Chicago Democratic convention when we and our Baby Boomer colleagues really knew how to throw a party.

Telling people they have a Hitler on their hands frightens them. Fear turns to anger which turns to action which turns to violence swiftly. The very statement is an incitement to violence. No one will, of course, write that.


Speaking of angry and frightened people, the newly-launched Alberta Freedom Party dedicated to that province’s independence now has about 4,000 followers on Facebook. Expect that to pick up steam.

We also note that the federal government’s recent transfer of $250 million to that province – which is suffering from the perfect storm of low commodity prices and a federal government determined to kill Canada’s major source of prosperity – is widely considered to be a matter of humiliation and condescension. Indeed, it was referred to by Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt as a “ quiet, but substantive blow to the dignity of our province and it isn’t worth the cost.”

 To provinces that have fed at the federal trough, this is an unimaginable view. Yet for those that have stood on their own two feet, it is fairly standard and, for the past 60 years, there’s only been one of those.

It will be sad to lose it but given that Calgary’s unemployment rate is now higher than that experienced by Haligonians and Ottawa’s response appears to be one of thinly-concealed delight in returning Canada’s power axis to its natural state, we expect this will all get very interesting indeed in the months ahead.


As for the future, we noted that Canada will be hosting both the US and Mexican Presidents in June when, our leader says, they will continue to try to stop the weather from changing. Not only that, according to the Globe and Mail, “indigenous peoples can play a role in the global struggle to slow down the warming planet.”

Clearly this man and these people’s powers are unparalleled. Who knew that, in concert, they were able not only to limit its warming but also to actually slow the planet?

It should come as no surprise then that when the PM says “we could do worse than draw on the cultural teachings and historical knowledge that indigenous communities have about how to create a proper balance with the land” he knows what he’s talking about.

And that, surely, includes traditional methods of sewage disposal, reforestation and the reduction of emissions from the burning of non-renewable resources. Looking forward to it.


Finally, we note that the much loved Premier Kathleen Wynne has formally apologized to francophones for Ontario’s 1912 ban on French in public schools. Thank heavens this was finally done.

No doubt this will play well with the hundreds of thousands of Quebec anglophones who were quietly cleansed from their homeland when their language was banned not only from public schools but also from pretty much every sign in that nation/province/jurisdiction during the pogroms of the 1980s.

One suggestion: While she’s busily engaged in the apology business, maybe she can talk the Iroquois and Mohawk people on a”nation to nation” basis about apologizing to the Huron people for their conquest, their slaughter and the “colonization” of their land in the Beaver Wars and finally admit they are living on “unceded” land.

Now,, back to the fetal position and rocking, rocking . . .

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Martin

The above photo is so wrong on so many levels it is difficult to know where to start. Barton herself must know this and in more sober moments probably does, but what makes a 40 yr old woman act so foolishly in the presence of J Trudeau? It is impossible to think of this photo op with say, Rona Ambrose, Thomas Mulcair, or heaven forbid Stephen Harper.
CBC management will trot out their objectivity standards to ward off the complaints to the Ombudsman, and no doubt will see nothing wrong here. But, do they never get tired of having to make excuses for inappropriate behaviour by on line staff? Objectivity in a major new show host must be apparent. This photo just makes that task so much more difficult.
The complaint that CBC is biased is a constant in certain circles, but the antics of Barton do not help to dispel such a notion. Does management care any more and do they want to be seen as a serious newscaster?

Dewar

I agree with you, Martin. But I fear CBC management will simple not get it. I expect their dominant initial reaction to any complaints or observations such as yours will be: a) well, those angry old conservative fuddy duddies are just so jealous and bitter! and b) well, everybody does selfies and tweets these days and anyone who doesn’t get that is just an angry old fuddy duddy. I do wish Marshall McLuhan were still around to comment on this. And Karl Jung. Taking photos of oneself with the rich and famous is hardly something new. I’ve been in some myself, and I’ve seen other rich and famous types practically wet themselves to get in on pics with others … this is human nature and there’s nothing wrong with it. But in the olden days these pics were framed and put on a wall for some purpose – at home perhaps, to stroke one’s ego or as a fond memento of past glories and achievements; or at the office to impress visitors. I remember visiting a lawyer once, decades ago, who had an autographed pic of Trudeau Sr on his wall. The implied message to visitors: “I’m a player; I have connections”. So what purpose does Rosie’s picture serve? What is its message? Did she even stop for a moment to consider this issue (as a communications profession, one might expect that she would)? Does the CBC have a policy on this (many private corporations do)? Sadly, one fears neither Rosie nor CBC management seem to have given this any thought at all. That’s the conclusion I’m drawing, and the message I’m receiving is: “We’re kids in a candy shop!” and “Look at me – I’m famous ’cause I’m hangin’ with famous people, and bein’ all famous and stuff!”. Blair is right – this is some form of slow suicide. Only, with Trudeau’s help, perhaps one could call it doctor-assisted.

Jack Kent

It’s just appallingly poor judgment and is something management should address. But they won’t. Because they don’t care.

Ward

The media and it’s members know exactly what they are doing. This is not a lapse in judgement.

This is who the media are in canada. Liberal party of Canada syncophants whose job it is to elevate liberals and damage conservatives.

They are nothing more than propagandists. Oh they will now throw in a few criticisms here and there for optics now that the LPC has been guided to a safe majority.

Delbert Doll

Justin’s state Dinner in Washington is his equivalent of Barak Obana’s Nobel Peace Prize.Both were awarded before either had done anything to merit them. Or was ousting Stephen Harper all that Justin had to do to satisfy Obama, after all harper’s decisive stands at World Forums did make Obama look weak and the U.S. leaderless.

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