“Freedom” is subjective when we’re all subjects

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  • Show Comments
    1. “Free Press”?! …. Even our mainstream news-media support Big Fossil Fuel’s interests! Most notably, Canadian media conglomerate Postmedia is on record allying itself with Canada’s fossil fuel industry, including the mass extraction and export of bitumen, the world’s dirtiest and most consequentially polluting crude oil.

      Also, a then-publisher of Postmedia’s National Post said: “From its inception, the National Post has been one of the country’s leading voices on the importance of energy to Canada’s business competitiveness internationally and our economic well-being in general. We will work with [Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers] to amplify our energy mandate and to be a part of the solution to keep Canada competitive in the global marketplace. The National Post will undertake to leverage all means editorially, technically and creatively to further this critical conversation.” [Source: “Mair on Media’s ‘Unholiest of Alliances’ With Energy Industry”, Nov.14 2017, The Tyee].

      Additionally, a few years ago, Postmedia had acquired a lobbying firm with close ties to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in order to participate in his government’s $30 million PR “war room” in promoting the industry’s interests. Furthermore, in May of 2021, Postmedia refused to run paid ads by Leadnow, a social and environmental justice organization, that exposed the Royal Bank of Canada as the largest financer of the nation’s fossil fuel extraction.

      Seriously, how can allying itself with such an environmental monstrosity possibly be considered ethical journalism?! Unless, of course, it has become so systematic thus normalized — i.e. the ethical (and sometimes even the moral) standard has been further lowered — that those who are aware of it, notably politicians and political writers, don’t bother publicly discussing it.

      Still, other concerned people would’ve worded it even stronger: “I would argue that what little ethical and moral foundation the country has is deeply threatened by the crumbling discipline of a fossil-fuel-based economy and the politics it spawns. Nothing requires government supervision in so many areas (and nothing has anything like the influence on government) as this industry. It follows that no other industry remotely requires the amount and kind of honest, wary media surveillance this one does,” the late Rafe Mair aptly wrote in his 2017 book Politically Incorrect, in which he forensically dissects democracy’s decline in Canada and suggests how it may be helped.

      “What has the media, especially but hardly exclusively the print media, done in response to this immense challenge? It’s joined fortunes with the petroleum industry. And a very large part of it has done so in print and in public. The facts are that the rest of the media have not raised a peep of protest at this unholiest of alliances and that governments contentedly and smugly pretend all that favourable coverage they get proves their efficiency — not that the fix is in and they’re part of that fix. Let me just comment that the difference from 1972 to 2017 in the media’s dealing with governments and politics takes the breath away!” …

      Maybe there’s an informal/unspoken agreement amongst the largest mainstream news-media: ‘Don’t dump on me, and I won’t dump on you.’

      Maybe mainstream journalism has largely become a profession that’s motivated more by a buck and a byline — i.e. a regular company paycheck and a frequently published name with stories — than a genuine strive to challenge the powers-that-be in order to truly comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable in an increasingly unjust global existence.

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