What an insult! Apparently our courteous neighbors to the north are so fearful of developing a political media culture as horrifying as the U.S.A., they have rejected a proposal to allow “the dissemination of false or misleading news,” according to Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. So we hapless Americans have no choice but to have Justin Bieber foisted upon us, but the moment anyone suggests Canadian broadcasters should develop a system of competitive and ideologically-driven 24-7 cable news networks – where audiences can get drastically differing versions of current events depending upon their personal biases in a perpetual race to the obfuscating bottom – Canadians said, “thanks, but no thanks”? Don’t they know how good it can be? What else would Jon Stewart talk about?
The story’s a bit confusing. In Canada reporting “false or misleading news” is prohibited, but over the last few weeks the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has been considering weakening the rule, ” to apply only in cases when broadcasters know the information they are sharing is untrue and when it ‘endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.’”
But the CRTC’s call for public input on the proposal resulted in a tidal wave of angry responses from Canadians who said they feared such a move would open the door to Fox TV-style news and reduce their ability to determine what is true and what is false.
Another story notes the debate to weaken the rule comes at a time when the former communications director for conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing to launch an opinion-driven TV news network in the vein of FOX News.
“We all know our Prime Minister well enough to say we don’t have to be in the realm of conspiracy theory here,” [MP Charlie] Angus said at a news conference on Monday. “We can draw our conclusions and they are pretty clear.”
“It seems astounding that the CRTC would consider such a move at a time when we see the growing backlash in the United States to the poisoned levels of political discourse in the American media.”
On the liberal Huffington Post website, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. writes that the decision indicates, “Harper’s attempts to make lying legal on Canadian television is a stark admission that right wing political ideology can only dominate national debate through dishonest propaganda.”
Now, hopefully, I can find a story about this Canadian media decision on a conservative news site, and then parse the differences between the two perspectives in a vain attempt to glean some factual information and context regarding this complex issue. How could anyone not love this system?
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