Posts Tagged “MSM”

08w01:1 What he learned working for Dateline NBC

by timothy. 0 Comments

This article by John Hockenberry is one of the best things I’ve come across in a long time. It seems to reflect how Chomsky’s critique of mainstream media 20 years ago is now becoming mainstream itself. – Timothy

“You Don’t Understand Our Audience” | John Hockenberry
“One might have thought that the television industry, with its history of rapid adaptation to technological change, would have become a center of innovation for the next radical transformation in communication. It did not. Nor did the ability to transmit pictures, voices, and stories from around the world to living rooms in the U.S. heartland produce a nation that is more sophisticated about global affairs. Instead, the United States is arguably more isolated and less educated about the world than it was a half-century ago. In a time of such broad technological change, how can this possibly be the case? […] Humor in commercials was hip–subtle, even, in its use of obscure pop-cultural references–but if there were any jokes at all in news stories, they were telegraphed, blunt visual gags, usually involving weathermen. That disjunction remains: at the precise moment that Apple cast John Hodgman and Justin Long as dead-on avatars of the PC and the Mac, news anchors on networks that ran those ads were introducing people to multibillion-dollar phenomena like MySpace and Facebook with the cringingly naïve attitude of “What will those nerds think of next?”

07w46:4 Public Interest

by timothy. 1 Comment

From today’s Mediascout, by Rishi Hargovan:

The Globe fronts and the Star goes inside with a court ruling that could substantially increase freedom of the press in Canada. In a unanimous, precedent-setting ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal established “benefiting the public interest” as a defence against defamation charges. The ruling, which only applies in Ontario, introduces a principle that will help the media report controversial allegations when it is in the public interest to do so. Currently, journalists and media outlets often censor themselves, hesitating to publish material they honestly believe to be true solely because they fear a lawsuit. No matter how strong the story, litigation is costly and it is difficult to prove such facts to the standards of the courts—where there is zero room for error. Now the standard would be that journalists would have not have to prove that they were right, only that they were acting responsibly. The Globe quotes Justice Robert Sharpe: “…[W]here a media defendant can show that it acted in accordance with the standards of responsible journalism in publishing a story that the public was entitled to hear, it has a defence, even if it got some of its facts wrong.”

Adopted in other major common law countries around the world, the ruling marks the first time a Canadian court has taken this approach and increases the likelihood courts in other Canadian jurisdictions will follow suit. The impact will likely be a greater propensity to publish and air controversial stories of public import, the Globe’s lawyer Peter Jacobsen told the paper. In a peculiar twist, the Star reports, the paper involved in this specific case, the Citizen, cannot take advantage of the new defence. The legal system’s emphasis on finality in proceedings would make it unfair to re-open the trial and let the paper go back and use the defence. The court, however, did not go as far media organizations would have liked. The media had argued in court for defamation to require evidence of malice to be proven—a difficult element to prove.

Also, from the CNW Group:

Attention News Editors:
Another Prime Minister, The Hon. Stephen Harper is noted in default in a Libel action, as well as the Hon. Tony Clement, Governor General Michaelle Jean, Morris Rosenberg, the Deputy Minister of Health, three of his staff and others BELLEVILLE, ON, Nov. 14 /CNW Telbec/ – Trueman Tuck and his company, Freedom of Choice in Health Care Inc., sued the above noted parties November 15, 2006 for $1,050,000 and the Department of Justice lawyers handling the matter failed to file a defense.

Citizens of Canada are getting used to this type of above the Rule of Law arrogance by the Prime Ministers of Canada.

Trueman Tuck filed the lawsuit to stop what he alleges are false allegations of e-coli contamination of a product that Trueman Tuck and his company sell. Trueman Tuck alleges that the criminal investigative federal officials working in the Health Canada Inspectorate regularly create bogus allegations of harm that have no probable scientific cause.

Trueman Tuck also criticized the Conservative Government, including the Prime Minister for their total failure since taking office to investigate the well documented cases of malicious, unlawful and out of jurisdiction attacks on dietary food supplement small family businesses by the local officials of Health Canada and the total failure of the Managers, Director Generals, ADMs, DMs and responsible Ministers to investigate and intervene.

Complaints have been made to various federal oversight committees, the Cabinet, the Senate, the Governor-General and the Queen personally without any response.

The Defendants were noted in default and a requisition for default judgment has been filed with the Picton, Ontario Superior Court.

For further information: Trueman Tuck, (613) 771-1797,,

06w23:1 Andrew Mitrovica on the media

by timothy. 0 Comments

Sometimes things happen which seem to show that the MSM is a world unto itself, engaged in exhibitionism rather broadcasting, or god forbid, informing. Take last summer’s CBC strike/lockout, when CBC employees thought the rest of the country cared about their squabbling. (Uh, no it was August, there was better things to do, and other channels to watch). Now, they think Canada’s had it’s own 9/11 (uh, no not yet and let’s hope it stays that way).

Anrdew Mitrovica made excellent points about this on this morning’s Metro Morning (link below). Admittedly, I live in my own little bubble and don’t get out as much as I used to. But it seems clear that the media are blowing this thing way out of proportion, even if I don’t really have first hand accounts about no one caring. So what that some kids were planning to blow up the Peace Tower? I mean really? Isn’t this old and boring and so franco-canadian circa 1970? And big deal that there was mention of beheading the PM? Why is no one is laughing at these ridiculous plans, plans made ridiculous by the very fact that they were caught. If they’d been really serious about being a menace to society, they would not have been.

Which remains an understandable concern about who might be out there. But can it not be said that the grandiose foolishness of these plans reveals their fundamental incompetence to carry them out?

The beheading of the Prime Minister for example – how exactly was that supposed to happen? At what point were the RCMP going to be looking the other way long enough for some spotty boy to do the deed? Please. And yet it’s being turned into something serious as opposed to the stupid fantasies of teenagers. And we should remember this – take away the USA’s war on terror propaganda and rhetoric, the flaccid ideas about a war on freedom and hating our way of life, the fact that these are Muslims, and you just have disillusioned young men who are as dangerous as those that became the IRA, the FLQ, the ETA and on and on …. which is why it’s a good thing they were stopped in their tracks before they did any real damage, but let’s not forget that throughout history teenage boys have always been prone to do stupid things because they found a hero: instead of 43 year old Qayyum Abdul Jamal in 2006, you could read 35 year old Guy Fawkes in 1605. Are we going to behead Jamal and have Jamal dummies burned in effigy for the next four hundred years? Will this become the much sought after June holiday?

Further, when news of this broke on Friday night I remembered something I wrote last July, when London had happened and everyone was supposed to be scared to ride the subway. At the time, our Minister of Public Safety (or whatever the exact title is) Anne McLellan essentially threw her hands into the air and said it was a matter of time before it happened here. Nothing much we could do about it. Let’s have a national discussion to prepare for the day. A defeatist attitude that pissed me off. Why, I questioned, should this be so? Was CSIS incompetent? I’m glad to see that they in fact are not, and that as I wrote those words then they were in fact doing their job quite well.

But, as Andrew Mitrovica reminds us, buying their side of the story without question isn’t a good idea. We know all too well how the US media got most of the American public convinced that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 with their negligence of skepticism. We further know that Gitmo probably houses innocent people, which (hopefully) will one day lead to criminal charges toward those responsible. The media’s exhibitionism and frenzy for an exciting story has convicted these boys before trial, and fed latent bigotry and xenophobia which makes me question whether Canada’s famed tolerance isn’t simply the result of laziness and docility on the part of the bastards to be vocal about it until something like this comes along to make them feel secure in expressing their ignorant points of view.

Anyway, this Goodreads is merely a response to current events. More stuff from the backlog is on the way. – Timothy

Media need to ask tough questions | Andrew Mitrovica
“The headlines were disturbing. ‘Terror Suspects Plotted in Toronto.’ ‘CN Tower Threatened.’ I didn’t pluck these ominous headlines from weekend newspapers blaring word of the police case against 17 alleged ‘terrorists.’ They were written three years ago by scoop-thirsty papers announcing another suspected cabal of terrorists plotting mayhem and murder in Toronto. The news stories accompanying the headlines quoted seemingly unimpeachable documents and conveniently anonymous intelligence sources that provided chilling ‘details’ of the nest of terrorists conspiring in our midst. ”

Credibility Of Charges? | CBC Metro Morning (Toronto)
“Andy Barrie spoke with Andrew Mitrovica, former national security reporter with the Globe and Mail.”

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emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 07 June 2006 @ 1:59 PM

06w07:1 The Cartoons

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Last week saw a lot of coverage in mainstream media about the protests over some stupid drawings. In the Saturday (11 Feb) Globe and Mail, the editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon argued that they weren’t showing them because they didn’t feel they added anything important to the story, while justifying the occasional photo of bombed bodies on Israeli buses. (In that case I’m thinking of a 2003 front page). He wrote:

‘As one cartoonist said earlier this week, this is not a matter of self-censorship. It is a question of editing. Every day we are faced with similar decisions, particularly in choosing photos. Do we show a naked woman? Do we show a dead baby? Do we show bodies blown apart by a suicide bomber or other samples of the carnage that come our way regularly? Most often the answer is we do not. Only when we feel an offensive photo is absolutely necessary to the understanding of the story do we loosen our restraints.’

‘This point makes no sense, given that a full understanding of protests about drawings should require that one see them for oneself. I could take the mainstream media’s self-righteousness seriously if this were not the age of the internet and Google. You want to see ’em, go ahead and see them. The same goes for pictures of naked women (naked men aren’t offensive?) dead babies, and carnage ( The media has used arguments of self-censorship and editing to draw us a picture of their own obsolesce. I’ve been wondering about how many people have actually seen the images on the net. As that’s part of what Goodreads is about, I almost sent the link a week ago but on the other hand, I didn’t want to be part of the game of offending people. I’ve been wishing this story would just go away like they always do. Remember two years ago when Mel Gibson was supposedly an anti-semite?

Yet I can relate to being offended by images. In 2002 John Paul II came to Toronto for the World Youth Day and I went and saw him give Mass, since I grew up a Catholic and had seen his photograph at my grandmother’s house for as long as I could remember, in addition to it being very popular in the area. There was a feeling of obligation, mixed with nostalgia I suppose. The night before the Mass, I went to an opening at Art System, the Ontario College of Art and Design student run gallery. Their show was about the Pope, and extended to Catholicism in general. As you can imagine, there were plenty of images of priests and popes sodomizing young boys. For one of the few times in my life, I was offended, but I knew where it was coming from (the rebellious young influenced by the scandals in the news) and having grown up in an open and tolerant society, felt no need to staple a placard to a stick and lead a protest, considering it was all just stupid and immature.

Now, one of the arguments with these Muhammed cartoons is that the editors of the newspaper should have known better. These Muslims are rioting and protesting because they feel insulted. I find it all kind of crazy that some people can get all upset over drawings, but as a visual artist I suppose I’m supposed to get all excited by the power of the medium and jump on the iconographic bandwagon, or get on the side of the cartoonists and talk about freedom of expression and denounce this iconoclasm. But I feel I have better things to do. The World has better things to do.

The editors of newspapers in North America would know better than to publish the images I saw from OCAD. They would be able to see how unfair they were. I’m not sure if that’s censorship, as much as it’s a respect for context. I can well imagine the images published elsewhere – in a show catalogue, in some article critiquing or analyzing the Church’s pederast scandals, in some art history book. The show didn’t warrant getting shut down by the cops, which still happens sometimes. There were no protests.

In this case, the cartoons violate Islam’s prohibition against images, and especially the prohibition in depicting the Prophet. Worse, the arguments made against the images by Muslim spokespeople are that they stereotype Muslims as terrorists. The image by Claus Seidel seems aimed to offend by merely representing Muhammed, whereas the image by Erik Sorensen seems to be as juvenile and ignorant as the shit I saw that night at OCAD.

Further, I have a recent example of being offended by an image. And the image in question is that of an ad featuring Ann Coulter and Robert Novak, featured prominently next to the cartoons here. This webpage thus manages to offend not only Muslims, but secular liberals. And, when I ask myself, ‘why do they keep protesting?’ I’m reminded by Coulter, who recently referred to them as ‘ragheads’.

The best explanation for what’s happened over the past week (advanced by Rick Salutin and reported by Simon Tudiver in Maisonneuve’s Mediascout) is that Muslims are pissed off for always being stereotyped and caricatured as terrorists, from these stupid cartoons to Hollywood’s blockbusters. Tudivier’s headline, by the way, ‘Protesting the cartoon professor’ refers to Peter March, who posted the images on the door of his office at Saint Mary’s University. Peter March was a professor of mine in 1998. After Tudivier raises the Salutin article, he adds, ‘Had Professor March offered up such an idea, MediaScout would have applauded his contribution. We should be looking to our academics to elevate the debate, not debase it by merely inciting an angry mob.’ What’s unclear in the reportage about Prof. March was that he teaches philosophy, and I think it’s fair to suggest that, instead of merely trying to incite an angry mob (as he waded into a protest on campus last week), he was trying to engage in Socratic debate.

Which should help remind us that all of these easy explanations cheapen us all, and I’m going to go back to wishing the world had something better to talk about (like poverty, aids, hunger, global warming, etc). The way the religious keep hijacking the agenda of human betterment seems to me the best advertisement for agnostic secularism, which is why I’m rather happy to live in a Canada, where that’s pretty much the way it is, although we end watching the world’s news for entertainment rather than dealing with our own social agenda. A week ago I wanted to send out the link to the Colbert Report video below, under the headline, ‘why I’m glad I’m not American’ but truth be told, inasmuch as it critiques the American economy, it’s true here as well. This type of thing warrants a lot more discussion than drawings, or ‘turncoat politicians’. – Timothy


‘Thank You’ | The Colbert Report

Protesting the Cartoon Professor | Simon Tudvier

The Cartoons

Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy | Wikipedia

Face of Muhammed
A blog about the cartoons

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emailed by Timothy on Monday 13 February 2006 @ 4:37 PM (Permalink)

06w01:2 Irving Layton 1912-2006

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2006 week 1 number 2 (Irving Layton 1912-2006)

Irving Layton has died. And so to commemorate, a poem.
But first, in the world of cultural ignorance, this news (from today’s Globe and Mail):

no one knew who alice was
Kind of reminds me of the time I saw the Halifax Shakespeare by the Sea summer fest listing in 1999. It was in the MT&T brochure designed for tourists. For Titus Andronicus, they’d written, ‘Titus and Ronicus’.

The Cold Green Element (1940)
by Irving Layton

At the end of the garden walk
the wind and its satellite wait for me;
their meaning I will not know
until I go there,
but the black-hatted undertaker

who, passing, saw my heart beating in the grass,
is also going there. Hi, I tell him,
a great squall in the Pacific blew a dead poet
out of the water,
who now hangs from the city’s gates.

Crowds depart daily to see it, and return
with grimaces and incomprehension;
if its limbs twitched in the air
they would sit at its feet
peeling their oranges.

And turning over I embrace like a lover
the trunk of a tree, one of those
for whom the lightning was too much
and grew a brillant
hunchback with a crown of leaves.

The ailments escaped from the labels
of medicine bottles and all fled to the wind;
I’ve seen myself lately in the eyes of old women,
spent streams mourning my manhood,

in whose old pupils the sun became
a bloodsmear on broad catalpa leaves
and hanging from ancient twigs,
my murdered selves
sparked the air like muted collisions

of fruit. A black dog howls down my blood,
a black dog with yellow eyes;
he too by someone’s inadvertence
saw the bloodsmear
on the broad catalpa leaves.

But the furies clear a path for me to the worm
who sang for an hour in the throat of a robin,
and misled by the cries of young boys
I am again
a breathless swimmer in that cold green element.

-That’s all today, bye.


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emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 04 January 2006 @ 10:42 PM

04w43:1 The Jon Stewart News Explosion

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 43 number 1 (The Jon Stewart News Explosion)


TuckerGate: The Video | Anna Marie Cox
A link to video of the Crossfire epsiode in various formats. The IndyMedia clip is complete and a Real Media file but the quality is really low. – Timothy

Stewart Caught in the Crossfire | Dana Stevens
“Boy, I’m telling you. You spend one weekend in the boonies, visiting some crunchy friends with no TV set, and you miss out on the biggest television story in months: something actually happens on a political talk show! Moral of story: never go anywhere, and watch as much TV as possible. But meme time be damned: I just have to say a few words about Jon Stewart’s live freakout on Crossfire last Friday. Well, perhaps not so much ‘freakout’ as ‘searing moment of lucidity.'”

Jon Stewart, Again in the Crossfire | Lisa de Moraes
“The left and the right on CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ finally have found something they can come together on. Both sides hate ‘Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart. Round 2 of ‘Crossfire’ vs. J on Stewart: On Friday, you’ll recall, the Comedy Central late-night star appeared on CNN’s afternoon screamfest, ostensibly to promote ‘America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction.’ Instead, to the surprise of hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, Stewart blasted the show and the two men personally, calling them ‘partisan hacks’ who ‘have a responsibility to the public discourse’ but ‘fail miserably.’ “

So what did you do on Friday? | Jon Stewart on The Daily Show
Quicktime MOV 3.4 MB

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 19 October 2004 @ 1:26 PM

04w30:1 The Comeau Broadcasting Corporation?

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 30 number 1 (the comeau broadcasting corporation?)
Having learned from experts the value of self-promotion, I feel today’s subject line requires some explanation. It is only that I’ve found two articles on CBC’s site – part of their ‘Arts Features’ page which pick up on a couple of things which I had noticed and commented on in my little blog I call “Commentary” and which encapsulates one of the good reads I sent out last week. It is with some embarrassment that I send out the links to my versions of these subjects, since the CBC’s writers are clearly professional while I am nothing more than a desktop dilettante. Ah well, here you go anyway. – Timothy


Warrior queens and blind critics | Robin Rowland
“Across North America, the film critics have largely scoffed at the premise – Arthur as a Dark Age cavalry commander – and in that they have revealed a collective failure of basic journalism: accurate reporting.”

In advertising, the Scots are hot | Dan Brown
“It’s hard not to notice how many television commercials have Scottish characters in them these days. From the guy who gets perturbed at bar patrons who don’t treat Keith’s beer with respect to the impossibly small spokesman for Kellogg’s to the tight-fisted uncle in the Money Mart spots, the Scots are currently the most overrepresented minority in TV advertising. It’s hard not to notice these characters for one simple reason: they yell a lot. In fact, they behave exactly as non-Scottish people expect the Scottish to behave: they’re quick to anger and slow to spend money. They’re stereotypes, in other words.”

Artorius Rex | Timothy Comeau
“What the reviews of King Arthur are failing to acknowledge – for no other reason than the apparent ignorance of the critics (otherwise I feel they should clarify their criticism with this knowledge) is that any one who has looked into this story knows, it was made up in the late Medieval Era, and further, was made up as Kingly Propaganda. It would be as if the President of the United States, seeking to assert a dictatorship, had someone write a story connecting his bloodline to the throne of England, and somehow made it seem that the Revolutionary War ended in a treaty of peace with a country later renamed Airstrip One. […] We should be aware that the ‘fictionalization’ of history has for most centuries been exactly how that field was conducted. Based on hearsay and rumour, people would write down what they’d heard – and what they heard may have included heavy doses of speculation. An oral history got taken up by Homer and turned into the Illiad; Edward I, wanting to legitimize his reign, took up the oral history of Arthur and began the process that would lead to Malory. Fictional history has for centuries also served as ‘practical history’ that is, what most people are exposed to and use in their lives, to whatever extant that history proves useful. Shakespeare’s History Plays were not going to be cross-referenced and looked into by the 16th Century audiences. They paid their penny and left the theatre knowing more about the past then they had when they’d entered.”

Canada’s Angry Scotsman | Timothy Comeau
“I’m currently a little tired of overhearing aggressive Scotsman on TV. There is currently an angry Scotsman on commercials for Alexander Keith’s, Kellog’s Nutra-Grain Mini-Bites and Money Mart. What’s horrible about them all is that they all seem based on Mike Myers’ ‘If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!’ skit from his SNL days over ten years ago, and expanded upon in his 1993 film, So I Married an Ax Murderer. The angry Scottish father’s rant about his son’s big head is lifted almost verbatim in the Mini-Bites commercial. ”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 20 July 2004 @ 6:22 PM