“We used to be the filter”


I was listening today to a journalist whom I rather like and do not agree with, Susan Delacourt. It was at a conference on digital governance. (Yes, cynics, I can see your eyes rolling). Susan is a decent sort of leftie, and in this case I use her to illustrate an issue about how the media have changed.

Her source of concern was a demonstration that occurred in Toronto recently where a bunch of Canadians were ranting about Islam, with the fear that some parliamentary motion was going to be the first step in the imposition of sharia law in Ontario.

Her comment on the issue of the media’s lack of control was this:

“We used to be the filter” and she added, sotto voce, “we have to go back to being the filter”. She said that, years ago, the racist rantings of a group of Ontarians upset about Islam, or anything else for that matter,  would simply not receive wider circulation. Now everything is on YouTube. To find the clip above I simply entered “Toronto meeting Islam parliamentary motion”.

The upside of the digital revolution has been the changed media landscape; the downside has been the same. Nothing can be stopped any longer from being published. No locker room talk of 15 years ago can escape it. No  picture of anyone with a dick in their mouth. No careless word, no angry remonstrance. No intemperate remark goes unpublished.  There is no filter any more. You cannot “pull a story”. There is no central control, there is no fixed set of reporters, editors and news outlets. Google has sucked the revenues out of the newspaper business. Reporters are working faster to shorter deadlines for less money, with no time to develop a source, correct an error, or get it right.

As Blair Atholl once remarked, the printing press had a five hundred year run. The 19th century hot linotype machine defined the range and circulation of the news-paper. As an industrial structure it is passing out of existence.

The result has been the diminishment of the status of the reporter, the media outlet, and the editor, as well as the elimination of thousands of newspaper jobs. News gathering is much more do-it-yourself. Citizen empowerment means any bozo can upload something to YouTube, and does.

But the upside has been the lessening of thought and speech controls. People who are pissed off about Islam can say so now. The “facts” of global warming can be disputed. The people against the European Union can reach out to one another. Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Pat Condell, Nigel Farage, Trump: people that the media would like to turn off, not record, not hear from: they cannot be censored any longer.

The interesting thing about today’s comment from Ms. Delacourt was her frank admission that they used to practice censorship and would like to do so again. For better or worse, the days are gone when the bien-pensant media class exercized censorship, try as they might to restore it.

The battle over Trump has been as much about the by-passing of media controls as it has been about Republican versus Democrat. As we have seen, those who hate Trump go ballistic at every mis-statement, such as for example, his reference to “trouble last night in Sweden”, and they miss the main point that everyone else seems able to understand, that Sweden is in dire straits because of too many uncivilized Islamic immigrants. They strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

Moreover, the long-term suppression by the bien-pensants of what they believed people simply should not hear or see, was the cause of the build-up of popular resentment of the media. The job of selection, analysis, and assessment has passed out of the hands of a clerisy into the hands of the people. For better or worse. I say: for the better.

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You make a lot of interesting points. I often lament the changes in media, and while it’s sad for those in the industry, you’re right. There is a lot that happens now that we just wouldn’t have heard about even 10 -15 years ago. It is for the better. It’s happened so fast that it’s taking some getting used to, but it for the better.

Gerry Smith

‘The diminishment of the status of the reporter, the media outlet and the editor.’
All are victims of their own actions.
I’ll give you an innocuous example.
Do you remember when Ignatieff got booed at a minor league hockey playoff game?
The blogosphere broke that story first.
The media ignored it for days.
The paid social media robots fanned out across conservative websites to deny it happened.
Bloggers responded by publishing video proof.
And finally, when they couldn’t ignore the story anymore the media published a back page story about it.
By the way, my wife gets the bulk of her local news through social media not television or print.
These rudimentary news networks have only just begun to coalesce into something more structured and codified.
An etiquette, if you will, that is self policing.
They exist largely without the spin and bias of journalists.


Well yes Delacourt and her pals would much prefer that they were in charge of the filter, the better to keep proles in line and their thinking along correct lines.
Think of the leaked e-mails from E Anglia U and the sobering look at AGW they provided. Left to the print media most of these would never have seen the light of day, and the science could more easily be declared “settled.”
Thanks, but I would much rather take my chances with unfiltered information.

Bill Elder

First off, Dal, I have to fundamentally disagree with you on this notion that there are “decent lefties”. At best they are delusional idiots with a vote (which amounts to giving a child a loaded revolver) and at worst they wage a war against all that is good which we have built to preserve the positive exercise of free will. As an individual I put Delacourt in the first group, an arrogant individual steeped in fallacious ideological dogma who still deludes herself that the heady days of Trudeaupian Canadian sovietization can be resurrected by a genetic political dynasty (not unlike N.Korea). As a professional partisan I relegate her to the second more loathsome group of Lefties. I would advise all young people entering their adulthood to reject leftist dogma and never trust any dogmatist ideologue of any stripe – this is a sure way to sell your birthright of freedom to those who would make the world a gulag for independent thought.

As a lead cheerleader of the Trudeaupian cult of personality hysteria, Delacourt was a part of that first attempted Federalist sovietisation of Canada as an “information filter” (AKA: selective censor/propagandist/partisan cheerleader). By withholding pertinent but inconvenient facts and information, (filtering) the 4th estate undermines democracy by limiting a voter’s ability to cast an informed ballot. In that reality, they act less as “filters” than gatekeepers to power. Fortunately that monopoly on information flow is broken. Thank god.

Digital media as opposed to paleo- Media is like comparing a stark photo of events to a impressionist painting of the sane event – if you want to be entertained and have your aesthetic bone stroked you take the impressionist rendering, if however you are interested in the stark truth of a matter, there is no substitute for the digital snap shot.

With the snarling backlash from the MSM denouncing the onset of the instant omnipresent impact of thousands of witnesses with cameras, uplinks and inet access, the reporter’s ability to “spin” events is gone – the 4th estate has been outed as a 5thcolumn – one which hase propagandized us into electing/accepting regimes which have NOT been in our beat interests.
RIP elitist MSM, long live digital citizen media. And uh Suzie D…..kiss my native son true patriot, tartan-clad butt.

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