Today’s Globe has not one, not two but three stories on CBC’s recent apology for its blogger Heather Mallick’ comments on Gov. Sarah Palin. There’s something about CBC screwups (as if they’re the only media, MSM or otherwise, to ever screw up) that causes the rest of the media world to turn into a pack of angry, rabid jackals. Enough already; it’s just the point of view of a blogger (and can there be any form of media more obscure than a CBC blogger?) While not immune to reflexive CBC bashing myself (as note, for example, the gratuitous cheap shot in the previous line) we should all try to keep our CBC bias a bit in check. The blog in question passes for fair comment – and fair comment doesn’t mean nice, just that it’s a fair expression of public opinion – and doesn’t require either a CBC apology or a mainstream media piling on. No links; let’s all try to get back to normal.
Interesting take by Prof. Michael Geist on the number of candidates from all federal parties who have resigned/been compelled to resign because of what they blogged or said on the web (didn’t anybody Google these guys?) Anyway, a little philosophical consideration on the brutally high standards said by having our words exist in cyber space for eternity.
Toronto Star, Sept. 29 2008
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case between media and police involving protection of media source. It relates to a brown envelope containing contentious information about Shawinigate (does every scandal, real or perceived, have to end in -gate?) Police want the envelope to investigate who leaked it; the media, recipients of the leak, don’t want to. Anyway, both the Globe and Post covered it today, but both seem blissfully unaware that just because a case goes to the Supreme Court doesn’t mean they will win it. There’s no telling if the Supremes will settle on either the media or police side. Stay tuned for this one; could be a serious precedent on protection of media sources, or at least provide some more clear guidelines than are now in place.
National Post, 26 September 2008
If you missed Global National yesterday, you can click on to Canada.com to read the formal apology CanWest made to Tim Horton’s regarding coverage last year on Tim’s putting up a franchise in Kandahar for the Canadian troops. (I suspect the $100 million lawsuit against CanWest, Standard and others had something to do with it; see the ROB link for that background.) Interesting that neither an Asper or a broadcaster made the on-air apology; it was left to a Senior Vice President to do. Anyway, a lesson here for journalists who make factual errors: it’s a lot cheaper and easier to simply admit to the mistake once a mistake has been made, than spend a fortune on lawyers that results in an even more high profile retraction and apology. Faithful readers can link to regrettheerror.com or read Craig Silverman’s book of the same name, an epic investigation into why reporters make errors, and some very helpful suggestions on how to handle them.
canada.com, September 24 2008
ROB, March 7 2007
CP and some media outlets are decrying what they view as an attempt to keep Afghanistan out of the federal election. It’s pretty usual, however, for civil servants of all types to keep their heads down during a campaign; some provinces, like Saskatchewan, have legislation that dictates what kind of communications can be done during a campaign, in an attempt to ensure sitting governments don’t take advantage of a campaign to flood the airwaves with feel-good ads, at the public expense.
CP, September 20 2008
The World Association of Newspapers is urging Ottawa, and other national governments, to nix an ad deal between Yahoo and Google, citing competition concerns (more accurately, it might take ad money away from newspapers.)
National Post, 16 September 2008
Well, maybe. A recent US study shows that the Daily/Colbert shows have the highest “news” ratings among the coveted 18 – 31 year old demographic in the States. Trouble is, they’re actually comedy shows with a distinct liberal bias, and viewers of the shows apparently have a lower political IQ than users of more traditional (i.e. real) news shows. Scroll down a bit though in this story and you’ll find a more nuanced view, from Canada, that people watch Stewart and Colbert precisely because they are well informed, and want some relief from the deadly seriousness that affects most straight news coverage.
CTV.ca, 14 September 2008