Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CBC reporter attacks CTF for owning a car

Chris Rand at the CBC wanted to take a shot at the Canadian Taxpayer Federation. He really did, you can sense a certain desperation to find something to take them to task with. The CTF was submitting a petition calling for an end to pensions for convicted criminals. Mr. Rand did not want to talk about the issue or take a stand on it. He wanted to talk about Derek Fildebrandt’s car.

Mr. Fildebrandt is the Research Director for the CTF and he owns a 1997 BMW. This car, according to the update in Mr. Rand’s post, was salvaged for $500 and has 250 000 km on it. For Mr Rand this represents “a certain cachet of new wealth and privilege in Canada.”

At first I thought that Mr. Rand should send an apology to Mr. Fildebrandt but then I realized that this was the highest compliment. If the best that the opponents of the CTF can do is complain about a 13 year old BMW, doesn’t that say something good about the CTF?

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on April 27, 2010 in Canadian Politics, Media | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Revisiting wafergate: the political scandal that wasn't

Streeter-web Last spring, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff stood in front of Canadians and issued an ultimatum to Prime Minister Stephen Harper: unless the government passed meaningful Employment Insurance (EI) reforms, the Liberals would force election-weary Canadians back to the polls. Of course the Conservatives never passed any EI reforms and Ignatieff never defeated the government.

This did not, however, stop Ignatieff and his cronies from trying to discredit the prime minister through some underhanded political moves. On July 8, 2009, Canada was rocked by a political scandal. Harper was caught on camera at a Catholic funeral taking a communion wafer, but the camera did not capture whether or not he put it in his mouth. The circus freak-show that people lovingly refer to as the mainstream media quickly jumped on the bandwagon of what would come to be known as Wafergate.

“IT'S A SCANDAL,” screamed a headline in Saint John's Telegraph-Journal. “At least one anonymous priest alleged Harper insulted Catholics by putting the host in his pocket,” said CBC reporter Rosemary Barton who proceeded to show the video to streeters and record their phony outrage for the 10 P.M. newscast.

That's right, she quoted an anonymous priest. Now there are some situations when it is legitimate for journalists to rely on anonymous sources. Woodward and Bernstein famously relied upon an anonymous source who they referred to as “Deep Throat” during their investigation, which uncovered the Watergate scandal. However, Rosemary Barton is no Woodward and Stephen Harper is not Richard Nixon. There are many issues with using anonymous sources, especially if the journalist doesn't investigate the claims that are being made.

“In recent years, as the number of news outlets has grown and news sources have become more sophisticated in the art of press manipulation, confidentiality has shifted from a tool journalists used to coax reluctant whistleblowers into confiding vital information to something quite different—a condition press-savvy sources imposed on journalists before they would even speak to them,” wrote Kovach and Rosenstiel in their book on journalism ethics.

In this case, it turns out the anonymous priest may not have existed at all. It appears as though the CBC used the same source as the Telegraph-Journal, which issued the following apology almost a month later:

“The story stated that a senior Roman Catholic priest in New Brunswick had demanded that the Prime Minister's Office explain what happened to the communion wafer which was handed to Prime Minister Harper during the celebration of communion at the funeral mass.… There was no credible support for these statements of fact at the time this article was published, nor is the Telegraph-Journal aware of any credible support for these statements now.”

Regardless of whether or not the anonymous priest actually exists, it is clear that the CBC completely disregarded the journalistic principle of originality, which suggests that journalists should actually verify the information they receive to see if it's true or not. You know, the kind of thing you might see in a job description for a detective, or maybe even a reporter. Journalists who do not follow this principle will often find themselves printing stories that aren't exactly true and a journalist's first loyalty should be to the truth.

“The people who got it right were those who did their own work, who were careful about it, who followed the basic standards of sourcing and got their information from multiple sources. The people who worried about what was 'out there,' to use the horrible phrase that justifies so many journalistic sins, the people who worried about getting beaten, rather than just trying to do it as well as they could as quickly as they could, they messed up,” said New York Times reporter Michael Oreskes about the media circus surrounding the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

This is the trap the CBC and a number of other Canadian media outlets fell into. Instead of verifying the original newspaper report, they ran with the story and treated it as though it were an actual political scandal. “Now while the paper ran an apology there was no apology from the CBC or anyone else for treating the story as NEWS, not as a sideshow, not as a carnival, not as a oddity on the Internet, but as NEWS, like it really happened, like it was really truthful,” said Charles Adler on his nationally-syndicated talk radio show.

As it turns out, Wafergate wasn't a scandal at all, which brings us back to Ignatieff and his cronies. According to CTV News reporter Robert Fife, it is likely that Liberal Party insiders gave the story to the Telegraph-Journal, which is owned by prominent Liberal supporters. The paper's editor—who later lost her job over the whole affair—published the story without bothering to verify its authenticity. Other media outlets, like the CBC, made the same mistake by not verifying the original newspaper report.

“If the CBC and others want to continue to masquerade as agents of truth… if they want to pretend they are journalists why not practice Journalism 101, check out the facts as the newspaper laid them out. Confirm the story or drop it or say it's in one newspaper, one very liberal friendly newspaper. But if you simply adopt the story as truth because it conforms with your religiously held belief that the Prime Minister is an unknowing, uncaring, unfeeling, insensitive, anti-Catholic scoundrel, well then I suppose you would do what you did. And what you did wasn't honest, ethical, truthful, or useful,” said Adler.

Luckily, not everyone took this story so seriously. The National Post ran a front-page editorial cartoon depicting the prime minister saying “No Thanks, I've Eaten,” as the priest is handing him the wafer. Yet, for the other media outlets, there may be more to this story than a simple case of sloppy journalism. It is widely believed that the Telegraph-Journal ran the story as a partisan attack against the prime minister, since its owners are outspoken Liberal supporters. As for the CBC, the organization is well known for its anti-conservative bias.

In 2000, the CBC destroyed any hope Stockwell Day had of gaining ground in the election by broadcasting a well-timed piece that portrayed him as a scary right-wing religious zealot. This might not be so bad if the CBC didn't accept federal tax dollars to fund its shoddy journalism and partisan political attacks, but that's another ethical issue entirely.

Jesse Kline is a student journalist at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism.

Photograph courtesy CBC News

[Cross-posted at jesse.kline.ca]

Posted by Jesse Kline on March 10, 2010 in Media | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The laissez-faire approach to the death of newspapers

NewspaperIt's that time of year again. Buses and trains servicing the country's institutes of higher learning are now standing room only. Campuses have been brought back to life as students fill the halls and lounge on the grass in a desperate attempt to soak up the last rays of sunshine before they are forced to face the realities of another harsh Canadian winter.

And so I found myself sitting in my first journalism class of the new semester, tense with questions of what the coming year will bring. What is the professor like? What kind of workload will I face? The professor wasted little time introducing himself and the course. This week's assignment: read a collection of articles compiled by NYU Journalism professor Jay Rosen.

The articles were all written in March 2009 by a variety of reporters, technology specialists, and media types. The theme of the articles quickly became apparent: newspapers are dying and no one knows how to make money in journalism anymore. Way to go, as if I don't have enough to worry about, I'm now being forced to read about how my chosen profession is in the midst of its death throes. There's already a high rate of suicide among students. Forcing them to spend hours reading about the futility of their chosen career would not seem to be helping the situation.

Nevertheless, there are troubling times ahead in the field of journalism. The fact is that the old business model doesn't work anymore and no one knows what will replace it. There seems to be a general consensus that, despite the mainstream media's many flaws, the fourth estate is essential to democracy. The media is the watchdog of government and without them, corruption will flourish. There is also consensus that the classic business model for newspapers, which are subsidized mainly by advertising, does not work anymore.

The main problem is that advertisers have many more options nowadays. At one time, major markets had one or two newspapers and a handful of television stations. It is no longer uncommon for cable and satellite providers to offer upwards of 500 channels at relatively inexpensive rates. Newspapers no longer hold a monopoly over local markets. The Internet offers advertisers targeted audiences and cheap prices. Moreover, newspapers give their online content away for free. Even if one of them wanted to start charging for their content, they could not compete with the rest of them.

The good news is that there are many creative ideas about how to fund good journalism and how news outlets might make money in the future. The problem is that there is no magic bullet. Journalism, in the near future, will probably use a variety of models to sustain itself. We must, however, remember that news is a business like any other. In order for journalism to thrive, people have to be able to make money off it.

This is also a problem that cannot be solved by government intervention, despite what the political left will tell you. If the media is supposed to keep government honest and if money buys influence, then any government involvement in the industry would be counterproductive. This is a problem that can only be solved by the market and the nature of markets ensures that a viable business model will eventually emerge.

Let's take the worst case scenario where no one is able to find a viable business model before most of our major papers go out of business. Sure we might still have television and radio news broadcasts, but they do not provide the level of in-depth coverage and investigative reporting that have been traditionally provided by newspapers. Furthermore, local television stations are also facing financial hardship. Losing our metro dailies and TV stations would create a void in local news coverage. This situation would most certainly be bleak.

Yet, just because people don't pay for news at the moment, does not mean there is no market for it. I stopped getting the newspaper for a number of reasons. First, I rarely have time to read very much of it and I don't want a stack of unread papers piling up in my bathroom. Second, I can get all the information I need on the Internet at no additional cost. The Internet changed everything because scarcity is not much of an issue in a digital environment. A company can produce a limited number of newspapers in a given day, but a virtually unlimited number of people can consume the same stories online.

This does not mean that people no longer place a value in news. If all the free articles on the Internet were to suddenly disappear, I would certainly pay to gain access to them. I would also pay for a newspaper delivered to me electronically on e-paper. In other words, if the supply of news is reduced by a significant amount, market processes will ensure that there will be money to be made in the news business once again. There is no lack of demand for information and knowledge about the world around us.

Getting back to our worst case scenario, while things may get bad for awhile, the issue will work itself out as long as we don't see significant government intervention in the industry. Again, government intervention would give it undue influence with organizations that are supposed to keep it honest. It would also mean that the government would pick winners and losers, which would stifle the entrepreneurship and ingenuity that is needed to design and implement the business models that will work in the future.

So, am I worried about the future of journalism? No. Am I worried about getting a job after I graduate? I'm terrified.

[Cross-posted at jesse.kline.ca]

Posted by Jesse Kline on September 16, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, September 14, 2009

TVO's Jesse Brown: "All publicly funded content should be in the public domain"

Jesse Brown, host of TVO's Search Engine podcast has a guest post up at Boing Boing. In it he makes an "unpopular" case:

A few years ago I hosted a mini-series for CBC Radio called The Contrarians, a show about "unpopular ideas that just might be right". Each week I'd take a controversial opinion and try it on for size. Sometimes the show was serious, sometimes it was silly- I rarely agreed with the positions I took, but operated on the principle that no idea is so radical or offensive that we should be forbidden to contemplate it (if only to learn why we should discard it). The CBC brass was incredibly supportive of the project and I was given license to explore a lot of unorthodox subject matter. Topics included:

  • Multiculturalism doesn't work (we just eat each other's sandwiches).
  • Feminism isn't dead, it's just finished (take a bow, ladies- you won!).
  • It's a myth- Canadians aren't funny.
  • Copyright should be abolished.

I'd love to link to these shows now, but I can't. They were never posted online or offered as podcasts. I tried posting them on my personal website, and was instructed to take them down by CBC management. I was told I was violating their copyright. Every now and then I'll get an email from a teacher or listener requesting an episode of The Contrarians, and I have to explain that I'd be breaking the law to send one.

Let's put aside my personal frustration at having my work locked away. The real question here is, since CBC content is funded by the public, shouldn't the public own it? Or at least have access to it? Actually, the CBC archives are just the tip of the iceberg: the overwhelming majority of stuff made for Canadians with Canadians' money is inaccessible to Canadians.

In Canada, movies are supported by Telefilm, TV by the Canadian Television Fund, books and art by The Canada Council for the Arts, and so on. But most of this stuff isn't distributed very well or for very long, and you can only get your hands on a fraction of it.

So I want to put forth one more contrarian position: I think that any publicly funded content should (within, say, 5 years of its creation) be released to the public domain.


Sounds logical to me. Of course, I'm not convinced that ideas are property that can be owned nor that the government should be even funding media and the arts, but crown copyrights limiting our access to content provided supposedly "for our own good" through money taken from us through coercive taxes--that's just downright silly. The beneficiaries are certainly not the consumers or taxpayers, and the normal argument that copyrights are necessary to incentivise content creation doesn't apply here as in the private sector.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on September 14, 2009 in Media, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Roadkill Radio focus tonight to be on families

Join me and guest co-host Ron Gray tonight for an inside view of the politics of the family tonight on Roadkill Radio. Larry Jacobs, Managing Director for the World Congress Families, will give us a wrap-up of this year’s conference held in Amsterdam.

Next, our old friend Kevin Libin, founding editor of the Western Standardwill talk about the on-going problems that happen when government wants to “protect children” and fails miserably.  Check out this link to Kevin’s recent article, "Ministry of Crises," in the National Post.

Then former premier Bill Vander Zalm will update us on the rising and determined opposition to the HST in B.C.  Check out this site for all the info.

It all happens tonight, 7:30-9:30 p.m. PDT at www.roadkillradio.com.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 25, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Anti-HST movement is featured on Roadkill Radio tonight

Be sure to tune into RoadKill Radio at www.roadkillradio.com from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific tonight for another provocative edition of the Internet's hardest-hitting and fastest-moving two-hours of live news and commentary.

Terry O’Neill and guest co-host Ron Gray will begin by interviewing the brilliant Ottawa-based writer John Robson who, in a recent column for CanWest, longed for Winston Churchill-like leadership, and not appeasement, in the face of "Islamist threats and abuse." In fact, he approvingly quotes from Bruce Bawer's book "Surrender," which accuses Western academic, cultural and political elites of grovelling in the face of this menace.


We'll then welcome political activist Chris Delaney into the studio, to talk about his plans to organize a political protest rally on September 19th in Vancouver against B.C.'s decision to adopt the Harmonized Sales Tax. The rally, which was announced last week, will feature former premier Bill Vander Zalm, who is calling on British Columbians to organize a "Citizen's Initiative" to rescind the HST decision. Vander Zalm himself will be joining us by phone.

And this just in: NDP leader Carole James will also be at the rally. Meantime, former NDP strategist Bill Tieleman, http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/, tells his readers today that he has 80,000 on his Facebook protest group opposing the HST.

One more thing: the Conservative Party of B.C., to which Delaney is closely associated, is staging its AGM in Chilliwack the week after the rally. Could the anti-HST anger in B.C. be the spark that finally brings the B.C. Tories to life?

And finally, we’ll talk with Rod Taylor, deputy leader of the Christian Heritage Party, about the recent defections to the CHP by members of the Social Credit and CAP parties. And we’re sure to have something to say about last weekend’s NDP convention, too.


All this and our Roadkill Radio Warrior of the Week too!


Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 18, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Did the earth just move?

No one seems to have noticed, but when the National Post published its story yesterday, about the new, image-free book on the "Danish cartoons," it illustrated the story with a reproduction of one of the cartoons. See for yourself: bottom right corner, page a12, August 14 issue. The Post failed to publish any of the cartoons four years ago, of course, when doing so would have invited widespread criticism from proper thinkers, politically correct leaders and, of course, most Muslims.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 15, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mid-summer's fun on Roadkill Radio

Log onto Roadkill Radio and join Terry O’Neill and guest co-host Ron Gray tonight from

7:30-9:30 p.m. Pacific for another newsy and provocation edition of Roadkill Radio. We’ll begin by discussing the alarming outbreak of anti-child literature and journalism in recent weeks—everything from the cover story of Maclean’s to a full page-three feature in the National Post. All this at a time when Canada's birthrate is already plunging! What’s behind the move to de-stigmatize childlessness among married couples and, moreover, to encourage them not to have children? We’ll find out by talking with David Quist, executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

Next up, we’ll present another installment of Tales from Van-Kooker. Political blogger Jonathon Narvey will help us explore the thinking behind city council’s recent decision to try to overturn more than 1,000 bylaw-infraction tickets handed out by city police in the notorious Downtown Eastside.

Finally, we’ll conduct an in-depth interview with Dr. Walter Block, the former chief economist for the Fraser Institute, current Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Chair in Economics and Professor of Economics at Loyala University New Orleans, Senior Fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and self-described “libertarian/anarcho-capitalist philosopher.” The subject: Libertarianism: Is it conservatism’s future? This is one you’ll not want to miss!

All this plus: an update into our Freedom-of-Information efforts with the federal Human Rights Commission, and we'll name our Roadkill Radio Warrior of the Week too. Join us tonight at 7:30 p.m. Pacific.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 11, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

As long as Global TV is warning us about "health care scares"...

Global TV news, as you may recall from my post yesterday, is concerned that opponents of the "Obamacare" plans to adopt socialized medicine in the United States are "not telling Americans"  all that they need to know in their ads.  Anchor Kevin Newman warned about a "health care scare" that could threaten to change "the focus [of the debate] from their system to ours".

God forbid that Americans would want to look northward and find out whether socialized medicine works in practice before trying it themselves. God forbid that Canadians should themselves ask whether our medicare system works. But that's just me I guess.

Any story addressing what really happens in Canadian medicare will probably depend on anecdotal reporting.  Enter conservative internet humourist Steven Crowder.  Mr Crowder was born in Detroit, but grew up in Montreal (as you can tell by his ability to pose questions in French).  For his latest video, he decided to return to Quebec and see what would happen if he claimed a non-urgent medical problem or wanted a medical test, filming surreptitiously what happened to him. His video includes casual interviews with Canadians underwhelmed with the treatment their relatives received. In the days since the video's release, Mr. Crowder has been interviewed about his video for U.S. news programs and it's not too hard to guess that Mr. Crowder's video might go viral soon. (Mr. Crowder is also replying to some critics of his video in a post of his own.)

My observation is this--if Global TV is so worried that Americans will be wrongly frightened about the problems of Canadian medicare, what about doing a story, with hidden cameras, about how long it takes to get medical care and treatments in a typical Canadian town? What about looking at a case mentioned in one of these "health care scare" ads and refuting its claims directly?

I'm sure that if Mr. Crowder can pull off his video with a couple friends and a handheld video camera that an entire Canadian TV network can manage to do a similar story. If said network is already doing stories about Americans being allegedly misled about Canadian medicare in TV ads, this would be a great way to refute any mistruths that are out there, right?

How about it, Global TV?

Posted by Rick Hiebert on July 22, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (9)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Global TV for Obamacare

Poor Americans.  They are actually getting both sides of the debate while considering whether they should adopt the “Obamacare” national socialized medicare system proposals floating around Washington.

Especially telling, one gathers, are ads by lobby groups opposed to the  change. And if tonight’s “Global National”  TV news broadcast is any indication, one has to wonder if reporters and editors at one of Canada’s most viewed suppertime broadcasts would like to wade into the debate on the President’s side.

Readers may look at the broadcast for themselves. It’s located here –just cue up the July 21 broadcast which is online already.

The teaser for the story before the commercial break refers to Canadian Shona Holmes, who appears in an ad for Obamacare opponent and lobby group Patients United Now. News anchor Kevin Newman, shortly before the 9:42 left in the broadcast mark, cites “a health care scare” and asks about the ad “but what is it she’s NOT telling Americans.” (Hmm, you might think, maybe the lady is lying or something…)

Mr. Newman introduces the story, by reporter Paul Johnson, ending with the observation “…special interests [in the U.S.] are proving effective again in changing the focus from their system to ours…” (Cue ominous music?)

You can’t fault Americans who like, and don’t like, the proposals for looking to Canada for evidence for what they believe. It only makes sense that they would want to look at a country with socialized medicine which has the most similar culture, population and economy to the United States that they could possibly find…such as Canada. It’s smart to look at Canadian examples, studies and statistics in this area. Unless you are working for Global TV on this particular news story. The ad which is the main subject of the story is not refuted in a general way.

Paul Johnson’s story begins by citing Shona Holmes in a 6 second clip from the ad: “If I relied on Canada’s health care system, I’d be dead by now.”  They then show a clip from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell on Canadian medical wait times. Mr. Johnson then talks to Amy Menefee of Patients United Now (which made the ad) and finds the–shocking!–admission that they are citing accounts from people who are unhappy with the ads instead of “sending a team inflitrating into Canada”.

Due to patient confidentiality regulations, most pro-Obamacare ads will have to cite ancedotal testimonials from people in Canada who are happy with their care. However, I suspect that I will be waiting a month of Sundays for a similar Global TV story warning against the other side of “special interests” doing the same thing.

Where is the Canadian medicare advocate or supporter complaining about the ad, for “the other side” of the question, you might ask?  Nowhere to be seen in this TV story. It’s faster for Global TV to just editorialize. (Certainly journalists do have a point of view, but the trick is to quote experts that you agree with. Just asserting opinions to be fact makes you sound like the bad old days of Radio Moscow.)

Back to Shona Holmes. Reporter Johnson adds: “Shona *did* get her operation, but she got it in Arizona. She did it the *American* way–she borrowed money from friends and got a second mortgage on her house.” 

This is the shocking revelation promised by anchor Kevin Newman? I guess that Holmes was supposed to wait for an operation in Canada and possibly die while on the waiting list, in order to prove her point that Canada’s medicare system is flawed and overburdened.

Doesn’t the fact that she had to go to the U.S. for her needed operation tend to show that the ads made by the opponents of Obamacare might be, uh, correct?

Global TV probably got these extra details from Shona Holmes, or from supporters of Canada’s medicare system.  Given that Global TV is already stating as fact that Shona Holmes is “not telling Americans” the whole truth, wouldn’t the next step be for Global TV to follow up and send reporters and cameras to the hospital and health authorities where Holmes lives and compare when she would have recieved the operation in Canada, using factual information from officials, to when she did get the operation in the United States.

Proof that Holmes would have recieved the operation in a timely manner would refute efforts in the United States to change “the focus from their [medicare] system to ours.” Did Global TV even try to find it? I suspect not, as comments intended to undercut someone’s anecdotes of problems with Canadian medicare are simpler to offer and take less work.

The TV news story offers no proof–citing the specific example of Shona Holmes–that she would have received her needed operation more quickly in Canada than in the U.S. or that she would not have died on the waiting list. If you, as a TV reporter, imply that a speciific example cited in an ad is false, refuting it is something you really need to do.

If you can.

And if you can’t, well, what you find, should (in fairness to Shona Holmes) also be broadcast on the news too. If that were to happen, though, Global TV would not be able to complain if Patients United Now used what Global would find out  in future TV ads against Obamacare. I’d suggest that that would not be a bad thing.

Update: Although Holmes was told by Canadian doctors that she had a presumably fatal "brain tumor", doctors at the Mayo Clinic found that the "tumor" that she had was going to make her blind.

This provides difficulty for the Global TV reporters. If, and I emphasize if, the Mayo Clinic's diagnosis is correct, that implies that the Canadian socialized medicare system was incompetent in finding a presumably fatal brain tumor. And wouldn't it sound ghoulish for Global TV to report something like "She said she was going to die in the ad, but she was *only* going to go blind" ?

Reporting the details might make Global TV viewers think, "Hey, I'd say that the focus should be on the Canadian system with things like that happening. Why do we have to wait for an ad from an American lobby group to hear about cases like these?" 

Posted by Rick Hiebert on July 21, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On the road with another Roadkill Radio tonight

Don’t forget to set your computer’s “dial” to www.roadkillradio.com tonight from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Pacific for another chapter in the Roadkill Radio saga. Joining Kari Simpson and me tonight will be Jim Enos of the Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council, who will blow the whistle on the latest anti-male indoctrination plans in the public school system in Ontario.

Next up will be American Steve Wohlberg, author of Exposing Harry Potter and Witchcraft, who will talk about the latest Harry Potter film and an underground Potter-based “morality” movement called “What Would Dumbledore Do?” (A take off on What Would Jesus Do?).


Finally, instead of a usual five-minute “Tales from Van-Kooker,” we’ll devote an entire half-hour to the ongoing kookiness in Vancouver. We’ll talk with political activist and Vancouver-watcher Bob Ransford about the hyper-green agenda of the city’s left-wing council. Led by Mayor Gregor Robertson, council is slowing down traffic with bike lanes, but it’s in the fast lane when it comes to “progressive” reforms.

As always, we’ll take your emails at [email protected]. And if you miss the show tonight, you can always check out our free archives.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on July 14, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Is there anything Obama doesn't know?

I'm guessing that you didn't know that Barack Obama was an expert on structural engineering in addition to being President of the United States.

At least you'd wonder that after reading The Province newspaper, in a story today on a local company that makes waterproof concrete.

The story, "Concrete praise from Obama",  begins:

Kari Yuers might have wished Barack Obama's endorsement had been more concrete, but when the U.S. president praises your technology, you don't complain.

Especially considering the Vancouver company you run is one of the North American enterprises not yet owned by the U.S. government.

In discussing clean energy last week, Obama cited new forms of concrete that are waterproofed from within.

"That can mean that bridges and roads and buildings can last 20 or 30 years longer than using conventional concrete," he told a press conference.

 I might differ from the Province editors here. Wouldn't the "lede" be that a local company is making a unique product sold around the world? The company was always newsworthy even before Obama noticed what they happened to make.

What about the timeliness of Obama's remarks? Well, the story goes on to say that the Shaw Tower project in downtown Vancouver, only completed in the past few years, uses the company's special concrete. "News pegs" are not impossible to find.

Somehow I think that the advantages of the waterproof concrete would sound more credible coming from the company that built the Shaw Tower, say, than from President Obama. If he had commended the company specifically, or the B.C. firm was the only company that made it, that would be different...but that's apparently not that case.

I wonder if the newspaper's editor's remain in a bit of an Obama-induced swoon. That may be the case, unless, of course, the president already has a doctorate in engineering that he neglected to mention to everyone.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on July 7, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lively discussion upcoming on Roadkill Radio

Listen live tonight to Roadkill Radio, as Kari Simpson and I are "on the air" once again with a great lineup of opinion, insight and news.

We'll start by interviewing Dr. Scott Lively, a pastor, lawyer, human-rights advocate and author of the book Redeeming the Rainbow. Controversial? Only if you consider an expose about the gay-rights movement to be so.

Next, we'll talk with the great conservative columnist Don Feder, who is now spokesman for World Congress of Families V, which is being held in Amsterdam Aug 10-12. Listen and discover why this year's meeting is so important to everyone with conservative values.

And finally, we'll talk with blogger Hugh MacIntyre about last weekend's Ontario conservative leadership race and about the deteriorating state of the province.

All this and Roadkill Radio's Warrior of the Week too. Listen live from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific at www.roadkillradio.com, or log on and listen to the archived show later.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 30, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And a snazzy new logo too!

RoadKillRadioSlogan3Kari Simpson and I are "on the road" and on the air again tonight, 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific, live at www.roadkillradio.com with another newsy and provocative show.

We'll start with a pre-Father's Day interview with Prof. Paul Nathanson of McGill University, who has co-authored a pair of books about a subject that can be summarized in one phrase: "the war on men." The titles of the books explain further: Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture, and Legalizing Misandry: From public shame to Systemic Discrimination against Men.

We'll then welcome to our studio Doris Darvasi of Real Women B.C., who will talk about four important legal challenges that Real Women is fighting--and the organization's need for funding.

Finally, Chris Delaney, deputy leader of the Conservative Party of B.C. will join us in the studio, to review the last provincial election, assess the new Campbell Cabinet, and comment on the Wildrose Alliance party in Alberta.

All this and our Roadkill Radio Warrior of the Week and another installment of Tales From Van-Kooker too.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 16, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Real and relevant on Roadkill Radio

RoadKill Radio is back at it again tonight with another show packed with hard-hitting opinion and important news. We'll start at 7:30 p.m. Pacific by revisiting a subject we discussed last week: Alberta's Bill 44. The Legislature has now passed the bill, thereby enshrining parental rights in the province's Human Rights legislation. Last week's guest, Link Byfield, opposed the bill, but this week's guest, Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director for Canada Family Action Coalition, says there's a real need to protect parental rights, especially in the shadow of B.C.'s “Corren” agreement.

Then, co-host Kari Simpson and I will be talking to a true RoadKill Warrior, Matt Todd. Todd ran as a candidate for Council in White Rock, B.C. last fall and tangoed with long time White Rock Councilor James Coleridge. Coleridge won but played dirty during the election campaign and got caught. Todd took it court and now Coleridge has now lost his seat on council.

For the final segment, in response to many calls and emails Simpson gets about her defamation case against Rafe Mair, we decided that she should update the RoadKill Radio audience on her case. This real life judicial soap-opera impacts everyone and goes to the core values of our civil society and the rule of law.

Log on and listen live tonight at www.roadkillradio.com, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Pacific.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 2, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Family focus tonight on Roadkill Radio

RoadkillRadio is back at it again tonight with another show packed with hard-hitting opinion and important news. Kari Simpson and I be interviewing Coquitlam pollster Glen Robbins, whose commentary during B.C. election night two weeks ago was so perceptive. We’ll then be chatting with Winnipeg’s Rebecca Walberg, of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, about new research on family breakdown.

Next, we’ll talk with Edmonton’s Link Byfield, an Alberta Senator-in-Waiting, Wildrose Alliance candidate and head of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy. Our topic: the Alberta government’s plan to give parents the right to take their children out of classes that deal explicitly with religion, sexuality and sexual orientation. Listen and you’ll find out why Byfield sides with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in opposing what, to outsiders at least, appears to be family-friendly legislation of the sort Byfield would traditionally support.

All this and Roadkill Radio’s Warrior of the Week, plus another installment in Tales from Van-Kooker. It all happens tonight, 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific time at www.roadkillradio.com. Listen live or access the archived show later.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 26, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If global warming doesn't get you, the swine flu will

A few months ago, CBC reporter Duncan McCue gave a talk at the University of British Columbia, where he showed a news story about an environmentally friendly hair salon. He explained that it was part of the CBC's One Million Acts of Green campaign, where they challenge Canadians to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I said that I had a problem with a news organization, especially a government funded news organization, picking up a social cause, trying to get people to change the way they live, and then reporting on themselves as if it were actual news. I was apparently the only one there who thought this was objectionable.

More recently, there has been a lot of talk about how the media has handled the swine flu story. For weeks we were told that this was the beginning of the next great pandemic. Now, however, it seems as though cooler heads have prevailed. The story has been pushed off the front pages and people have begun to realize that the outbreak is actually quite mild so far. We have seen similar bouts of media hysteria in the past in regards to everything from bird flu to global warming. Not to be outdone, the CBC has managed to combine these two issues in a piece that is sure to cause fear and uncertainty in at least a few people. Watch out for the next major threat to human survival: killer microorganisms that are thriving thanks to global warming.

I'm sure glad my tax dollars pay for quality pieces of journalism like that. So why does the CBC have such an overt bias? The Fraser Institute's Fred McMahon has an interesting piece that uses public choice theory to explain how public broadcasters operate. From the article:

Public choice theory predicts a disturbing interaction between public broadcasters and government. Public broadcasters have many incentives to favour powerful government, government market intervention, and much government spending. After all, a public broadcaster’s existence is predicated on all these things.

The theory predicts that state owned media will have a bias toward big government because its very existence relies on government funding. Likewise, publicly funded media organizations will tend to have a prejudice against the United States because it does not provide much financial support for public broadcasting. These accusations of a left-wing bias and anti-American sentiments are frequently levelled against the CBC and, much of the time, the CBC's bias is quite apparent. While I don't have a problem with biased media in general, I do have a problem with my tax dollars funding such a biased organization.

Posted by Jesse Kline on May 13, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (13)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roadkill rumbles down election road

We're back.


Don’t forget to log on to RoadkillRadio.com tonight from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific for another provocative and entertaining public-affairs show featuring Kari Simpson and me. Our faithful audience will remember that we ran out of time last week so, as promised, first up for discussion (after observing a moment of silence for the Canucks, of course) will be the topic of child apprehension. You will hear a taped recording of a meeting (held on April 29, 2009) featuring Simpson, social workers and the parents (of three children) who are being investigated for abuse.

We’ll then switch gears and drive into the B.C. election, the results of which should be starting to be tabulated as we’re “on the air.” Joining us in-studio will be pollster Glen Robbins from Robbins Sce Research and our own, politically in-the-know commentator Ron Gray, former national leader of the Christian Heritage Party. Also joining us will be former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm. As well, we’ll talk by phone with Chris Delaney of the B.C. Conservative Party, who very well might pull off the upset of the year in Penticton.

Don’t forget to call us at (604) 525-4167 or send emails to [email protected].

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 12, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Spanking Maclean's

Barbara Kay's examination-evisceration today of Maclean's recent cover story on intolerance is a masterwork of analysis. The National Post columnist is brilliant, fearless and a helluva good writer to boot.

Maclean's boss Ken Whyte should be feeling mighty uncomforable this morning. He should also be asking how and why a magazine that publishes Mark Steyn could have allowed itself to also publish such tripe.

At the same time, he might want to look at another sloppy and insulting story along the same lines, to be found on page 28 of this week's magazine, headlined "Campus Radicals: The far right is gaining a foothold in U.S. universities." The piece, by Rachel Mendleson, relies solely on left-wing activist groups for commentary and analysis, and conflates neo-Nazis with nativisits with all right wingers. Give me an effing break!

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 6, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Rumble with Roadkill Radio tonight

Let’s get ready to rumble on Roadkill Radio. Kari Simpson and I will be on the Internet air once again from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific time tonight with a show packed with content. We’ll start by examining the upcoming B.C. referendum on the Single Transferable Vote. Our guest will be Bill Tielman, an astute political commentator, long-time NDP supporter and head of the NO-STV campaign.


Next up, Yvonne Douma, executive director of Signal Hill, will join us to talk about the exciting work this new life-issues educational group is doing, and also to promote next week’s  Focus on Life Gala, whose featured speaker will be Preston Manning.


We’ll then move into several developments related to the attack on B.C. Liberal candidate Marc Dalton for his decade-old statement about his moral opposition to the advancement of homosexual rights. B.C. Catholic editor Paul Schratz will talk to us about his insightful editorial on the subject. And we’ll hear plenty from Kari about her press release on the issue.


And speaking of Kari’s activism, she’ll also update us on her BC Human Rights Tribunal complaint. And, oh yes, we’ll no doubt talk about my big op-ed in yesterday’s National Post.


All this and Roadkill Radio’s Warrior of the Week, too!

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 5, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dolphin checks in on the print 'flu'

CanWest Global (née Southam) is, as most of you will know, tottering on the rim of the toilet. Seems like that curse I threw CanWest's way in 2003 when those spineless (expletive deleted) fired me for upsetting the Indian industry is having its effect.

With CanWest's share price down to around 25 cents (from $20 in 2000), a debt-load of $4 billion dollars, and the creditors unlikely to extend the latest deadline for repayment beyond May 5, it looks like curtains for the house that Southam built. Good on Conrad Black for unloading that turkey on Izzy Asper when it was just an egg for $3.2 billion. Conrad's bloviations in Saturday's National Post notwithstanding ("...the great newspaper trademarks and some of the long-ingrained habits of newspaper reading, should prove to be durable..."), it is obvious that he read the writing on the wall that the late Izzy missed. Izzy's sons and heirs, who bought Alliance Atlantis' specialty TV channels (Showcase, History. Food Network and a few others) for $2.7 billion at the peak of the market in early 2007, unwittingly multiplied the misery.

One is only left to wonder which of the pieces of the doomed corporation will be picked up and by whom? Too bad that the Post will probably be one of the unprofitable pieces no one wants. It was nice to have at least one conservative newspaper for those whose lips don't move when they read...

To read the rest of my latest posting, please go to www.dolphin.com.

Posted by Ric Dolphin on April 30, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The last Post?

The National Post's weekend crew will be taking the summer off starting June 1, a cost-cutting decision that will deprive readers of their Monday editions.

Let's see: one edition of six means subscribers will be getting 16.6% fewer papers than they paid for. Will there be a 16.6% refund of their summer payments? Not likely, given parent CanWest's $3.9-billion debt.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 29, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (10)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Revving up Roadkill Radio

Tonight on Roadkill Radio, Kari Simpson and I will be speaking from 7:30-8 p.m. Pacific with Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director of the Canada Family Action Coalition, about human trafficking and modern-day slavery in Canada. Listen and find out how the subject is related to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

From 8-8:30 p.m. Donna Vandekerkhove, a Lower Mainland candidate for the upstart B.C. Refederation Party, which is running two dozen candidates in the upcoming B.C. provincial election, will be joining us in studio. Donna’s suddenly become a media darling, as she will be joining Kari and me fresh from an interview with CBC.

And from 8:30-9:30 p.m. we'll also be speaking in studio with Campaign Life Coalition’s John Hof about his recently released survey of candidates running in the provincial election. As well, we’ll touch on the upcoming March for Life in Victoria, to which organizers are hoping to attract 5,000 participants. (By the way, I will be MC-ing the rally at the end of the march.)

All that, and our regular features: RoadkillRadio Warrior of the Week and Tales from Van-KooK-er. Listen live at www.roadkillradio.com or catch us later on the archive.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 28, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Free speech, 3rd parties & fathers' rights on RKR

It'll be a no-pap zone on RoadkillRadio tonight, which returns once again (at www.roadkillradio.com, naturally) from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Pacific time.

Kari Simpson and I will start our show with controversial lawyer Doug Christie (and how many thousands of times have those two words preceded his name?), who will be in studio to talk about free speech, specifically his recent victory in the Ahenakew case.

Next up will be an interview with Chris Delaney, the former Unity Party leader who is now running for the B.C. Conservative Party. (Loyal listeners will recall that RKR broke the news last Tuesday that Delaney would be running for the resurgent B.C. Conservatives.) Coincidentally, the B.C. Tories released their full campaign platform today, in advance of the May 12 general election in B.C.

And, finally, we'll discuss fathers' rights and the rights of children with Vancouver lawyer Carey Linde.

All in all, it promises to be a great show. Listen and watch live tonight or click on the archives to hear the show later.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 21, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RoadkillRadio rides to the rescue

RoadkillRadio.com returns to the 'Net tonight with another live, two-hour show, 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific time.

Kari Simpson and I will be interviewing activist Doug Stead about child pornography, and will explore whether Canada is doing enough to protect children. Also on tap tonight is a discussion about the just-launched B.C. election campaign. Is Campbell's reported lead in the polls solid or shakey? We'll wrap spend most of the second hour with parents-rights activist Ron Gray, who will describe the upcoming--and politically loaded--Day of Silence campaign in public schools, and what Gray's parents' group is doing to oppose it.

Listen live at www.roadkillradio.com or listen in later by clicking on the archive.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 14, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creating controversy on Roadkill Radio

Kari Simpson and I are back behind the microphones again tonight, with our fifth episode of Roadkill Radio. You can catch the webcast live from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific at www.roadkillradio.com, or listen to the archived show at your convenience.

Tonight's lineup includes an interview with Walt Ruloff, executive producer of the Ben Stein-hosted documentary Expelled, which chronicles conflicts between Darwinism and intelligence design (aka, evolution vs. creationism). I watched the movie recently and found it to be a powerful piece of propaganda--an assessment that takes into account the many detailed critiques of the movie that I have read. It'll be interesting to see how Ruloff, a B.C. resident, answers some of those questions.

We'll also be talking to Alberta human-rights-commission victim Rev. Stephen Boissoin, whose Kafkaesque case is a recounted in Ezra Levant's new book, Shakedown, which has received so much publicity this week in the National Post and Maclean's. Not to be left out of the fun, Kari and I will be interviewing Ezra next week.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 31, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cap the Corp.

Mary Woo Sims and I are now into our fourth year of writing our weekly debate column, Face to Face, for the Tri-City News. You might think we'd begin to converge on some of our ideas, but we've never been more sharply divided on just about every subject, from school curriculum to armed intervention. About the only thing we always seem to agree on is our dislike of the BC Liberal government -- but, of course, I think Gordon Campbell and his gang have gone far left, while she continues to think they're not nearly progressive enough.

Anyway, our most recent debate is on funding the CBC. I say let the Corp. stand on its own two feet. Ms. Sims, ever the statist, says taxpayers should be proud to fund the Corp. 'til it hurts

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 30, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Marijuana: Legalization, decriminalization or status quo?

We're at it again tonight. Kari Simpson and I will host Episode 4 of Roadkill Radio this evening from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific. You can tune in and listen/watch at www.roadkillradio.com.

Another strong line-up for tonight's show. We'll start with a look at drugs and gangs, and ask if legalization of marijuana would solve or worsen the problem. Joining Kari and me in-studio will be John Conroy Q.C. John’s expertise is in criminal law and his clients include Marc Emery and the B.C. Compassion Club Society.

Next, we'll look at child pornography, and ask whether Canada is doing enough to fight this noxious plague. Joining us in person will be Doug Stead, a well-known and outspoken advocate for increasing the protection of children.

And, of course, we'll announce our weekly Roadkill Radio Warrior of the Week, and add another installment to our Tales from Van-Kook-er.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 24, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (44)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Roadkill Radio hits third gear

Kari Simpson and I are back "on the air" again tonight from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific with our third Roadkill Radio show, You can listen (and watch) live at www.roadkillradio.com, or check out the archived show later.

Another two great guests tonight. In the first hour, we'll have Allan Garneau, head of the B.C. Homeschool Association. The homeschooling topic is a natural follow-up to our two previous education-issues-laden shows.

We'll be devoting most of the second hour to global warming, the hype and the hysteria. Our guest will be the National Post's great Lorne Gunter, whose columns on global warming should be a must-read for all Canadians.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 17, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Roadkill Radio returns

Kari Simpson and I are "on the air" tonight again with Episode Two of Roadkill Radio, 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific time at www.roadkillradio.com.

We'll start by exploring the impact on B.C. public education of the Corren agreement*, and will interview Ron Gray, erstwhile leader of the Christian Heritage Party and currently heading a small activist group called Parents For Democracy in Education.

Next up will be an in-depth look at polygamy, featuring a discussion with Doris Darvasi of Real Women B.C.

We'll take phone calls and e-mails from listeners. All in all, it should be fun, fascinating and provocative.

*A unique legal agreement between the B.C. government and two homosexual-rights activists, which gives the two men special input into provincial curriculum revisions, and which mandated the creation of a controversial "social justice" course.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 10, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (20)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

CHRC vs. Pankiw: Big Sister wins

The case of the Canadian Human Rights Commission vs. Jim Pankiw did not directly involve the news media, so it didn't get all that much national press. As well, it did not involve a charismatic champion, such as Mark Steyn or Ezra Levant, but rather a bombastic and unpopular member of Parliament, so it attracted little notice.

Nevertheless, for six years, starting when he was still sitting in the House of Commons, Pankiw was persecuted and prosecuted by the CHRT because of the content of some flyers. As I reported in one of my first cover stories for the old Western Standard, and then in the new online magazine last fall, the trumped up case against Pankiw argued that even his use of bold headlines and of red ink constituted discrimination against native Indians.

Well, the case has now sputtered to an end, with the CHRC finding Pankiw innocent. But, really, just like the cases against Steyn and Levant, it would have been better for the kangaroo commission courts to have delivered guilty verdicts, so the cases could then have found their way into real courts and so that more public pressure against censorious human-rights laws might have built.

What we're left with now is a draconian law still being in place, with the threat that it can be used to make life miserable for anyone voicing a politically incorrect opinion. It's a travesty.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 8, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (15)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Roadkill Radio ready to roar

Something tells me this is going to be fun.

Starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. Pacific, I'm co-hosting a two-hour webcast (audio only to start with) at www.roadkillradio.com* with the shy and retiring Kari Simpson, the erstwhile "most dangerous woman in B.C." We hope to make this is weekly date.

We'll dip our toes into the public-affairs waters by updating listeners on Kari's fascinating struggle with Rafe Mair and the Canadian judicial system. Later, we'll be talking with Alanna Campbell, one of the brave University of Calgary students whose freedom of speech is under assault.

Expect to enjoy a good helping of social conservative entrees from Kari and me, but we both have eclectic tastes so just about anything is possible.

*Despite the resemblance of its name to Kate M's award-winning SDA site, Roadkill Radio comes by its moniker honestly: It's a reference to a dismissive comment a judge made about Kari.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 3, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Canwest can't

Sell off some TV stations, shut down some community papers, file for bankruptcy protection, but please don't kill the National Post.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 13, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (11)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What's NBC afraid of?

NBC has decided not to air an ad from the U.S. advocacy group CatholicVote.com during the Super Bowl. The moving and powerful 30-second pro-life spot was produced and shown on Black Entertainment Television in Chicago at the time of Obama's inauguration, and has since gone on to receive three-quarters of million hits on YouTube.

There's nothing offensive about the ad; there are no questionable images; there are only irrefutable assertions and an uplifting message. Judge for yourself. And then ask: Why is NBC afraid of the truth?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on January 29, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (14)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I skipped the Second Coming, and just went to work instead

The Rio Theatre is located in east Vancouver, so it is not surprising that yesterday morning the movie theatre opened to broadcast the inauguration of Barack Obama. It's also not surprising that over 300 people in this left-leaning part of town mostly filled the Rio, according to Ethan Baron's column in today's Province newspaper, to watch as Obama was sworn in

I was a little dismayed--but perhaps should not have been surprised, given the sort of coverage the new President has received in the U.S. press--to read this observation from Mr. Baron. I've added some emphasis:

"....Rapt eyes shone as Obama spoke with stunning eloquence of re-building America. When the president delivered perhaps his most impressive rhetorical offering, telling the world's tyrants, "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist," many in the audience gasped audibly at the sheer power of his language.

I haven't seen a group of people wearing their fervour so completely, and so uniformly, since a guy I used to work with brought me to visit his weird sex cult in California.

But maybe Obama, unlike the cult leader in the purple house, really deserves this worship...."

Maybe not!

Perhaps I am old-fashioned, and yes, this is a column, but is it really appropriate for a newspaper to use this sort of loaded language? I wonder if there was a Province editor who thought to step in and say to Mr. Baron, "Isn't this a bit much?"

Mr. Baron ended his column by adding:

"Obama tells us that America should become a country that acts as a force for good in the world, promoting peace and equality, protecting the environment, helping the downtrodden.

Whether or not he can fully deliver on that agenda is perhaps less important than the fact that so many people agree with it."

Well, not in the minds of American voters, for one. But, perhaps I am old-fashioned there as well.

God help President Obama. With this sort of treatment in the world's media, he'll need all the help he can get.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on January 21, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Excerpt from Ric Dolphin's latest posting...

Back home with our scotches, waiting for the last year of the decade to dawn, my brothers-in-law and I considered how the Zeroes or the Oughts - or whatever this decade will be called - will be remembered. What will define it in people's memories? Probably terrorism and its offshoots: 9/11 and the aftermath, the War on Terror, Homeland Security, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan ... the Great Satan squaring off against the Lions of Islam.

It will doubtlessly be a more definable decade than the 1990s. None of us could figure out the defining characteristic of those final ten years of the 20th century. Most other decades seemed to have had vivid identities - the roaring Twenties, the Dirty Thirties, the wartime Forties, the prosperous, grey-flannel Fifties, the hippy-dippy Sixties, the Me-generation 1970s, the Greedy 1980s. But what were the 1990s? Grant suggested The Internet Decade, but then dismissed the idea because the Internet really didn't become commonplace until the current decade. Ditto cellphones. So although true that the digital communications revolution started in the 1990s, I don't think you can say it defined them. The final decade of the millennium should have something to define it. Maybe its lack of identity defines it. The Lost Decade? I welcome your thoughts.

As for the prospects going into 2009, your guess is as good as mine. The economic predictions are so dire it could happen that the recession helps define the decade, along with the terror stuff. Decade of  Woe?  Regarding the financial meltdown, there is a perverse part of me that says, Bring it on. Let's see what a real Depression is like. Give us the kind of privations with which to bore our grandkids that our grandparents bored us with. Hey, Ma, we cain't afford meat this month. Let's fry up the dawg...

To read more of Dolphin's blog, click here

Posted by Ric Dolphin on January 12, 2009 in Aboriginal Issues, American History, Canadian Politics, Current Affairs, Economic freedom, Humour, Media, Television, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What the msm can't bring itself to say: M-U-S-L-I-M

My google news search for the exact phrase "Muslim terrorists" occurring in a story that also contained the word "Mumbai" resulted in 12,200 hits this morning, of which none on the first few pages was from a mainstream media outlet.

Take out the word "Muslim," however, and you get 763,000 hits. But, surely, the religious background of the terrorists is crucial to understanding the import of the story, not only in relation to Indian affairs (where Muslim-Hindu relations have played a crucial role in the country's history since its founding) but also in relation to international affairs, where, of course, the rise of extremist Muslim terrorism is (or should be) a preeminent concern of liberty-loving individuals and nations.

Typical of the msm's reluctance to do their job by precisely revealing the nature of the terrorists is this Vancouver Sun story. Actually, the story probably isn't typical, because it doesn't even use the word "terrorist," instead opting for "gunmen." The word "terrorist" occurs only in a direct quote. Disgraceful.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on November 27, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bravo to Rogers

The Chinese dissident TV station New Tang Dynasty Television is now on the air in Canada.

Truth be told, I really didn't give Rogers enough credit on the post itself (actually, I never mentioned them), but I want to make up for it here.  It takes a lot to resist the CCP and its lure of "1.3 billion customers" - especially in the Great White North, where the Liberals still insist on doing Beijing's bidding.

Thank you, Rogers.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 13, 2008 in Canadian Politics, International Politics, Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Beware of the MOB

Peter: I agree that this is pure genius.

Money quote:

"For example, we must explain why Harper is evil, cruel, mean, homophobic and a closet Christian bigot for having supported civil unions for homosexuals, but not gay marriages, in Canada, while Obama is enlightened, wise, metrosexual and -- excuse me, I'm tearing up a bit, here -- Christ-like, for having supported civil unions, but not gay marriages, in the U.S."

Posted by Craig Yirush on November 6, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

(Video) Chris Matthews: It's my ‘job’ to make the Obama Presidency a success

Thanks to The Stig in the comments for pointing me to this appalling performance by MSNBC's Chris Matthews:

So Matthews is now openly and officially "in the tank" for Obama. Whatever happened to impartial critical journalism?

I hope the Obama new car smell wears off soon because I don't know how I'm going to be able to watch 4 years of hero worship masquerading as news, nor how American society can function with a media unable to criticize the President.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on November 6, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The American Conservative non-endorsement endorsements: "grim prospects for conservatives"

Thanks for those Slate endorsements Peter. I've been a regular reader of Slate forever and the weekly Slate Political Gabfest podcast is one of my weekend fixtures for below-the-fold US news and cocktail chatter (though I counterbalance it with AFF's Inside Washington Weekly for a libertarian-conservative take). I've grown to love the regular personalities on both.

Slate was a real innovator in online journalism (read this revealing 2004 profile in Seattle Weekly) and one of the first successes in a difficult business sector. Slate provides a lot of smart commentary, but they've always presented themselves as an opinionated magazine, not an objective newspaper. Sure, their perspectives are probably shared by many of their readers, but it certainly helps them gain reader trust and reach a wider audience when they don't hide their biases and even occasionally engage in these acts of full-disclosure. I wasn't surprised at all by the Obamalanche nor by Jack Shafer's vote for Barr–and I certainly wasn't bothered by it. What worries me is all the newsrooms where the results would be much the same, but all the same present themselves as an objective unbiased news source for their audience.

On a somewhat similar note, in the election edition of The American Conservative magazine, as in 2004, they have not endorsed any one candidate. Instead, the editors asked 18 "conservatives, libertarians, and independent thinkers," including many TAC staff and contributors, how they plan to vote for president. The diversity among this group is a stark contrast to the near-unanimity at Slate. Some of the individuals surveyed include Peter Brimelow of VDARE.com, Reid Buckley the son and family historian of William F. Buckley, Crunchy Con Rod Dreher, estranged neoconservative Francis Fukuyama, Joe Sobran, and Lew Rockwell. Here's the tally:

Barack Obama (Democratic): 5
John McCain (Republican): 3
Bob Barr (Libertarian): 2
Chuck Baldwin (Constitution): 2
Ron Paul (write-in): 1
Ward Connerly (write-in): 1
Non-voter: 4

While there's no clear favourite, Barack Obama comes out on top, followed close on the heels by non-voters and John McCain. While there were a couple of enthusiastic Obama supporters, all the McCain voters noted their reluctance and reservations.

When there's this much disagreement (and so much support for an evident socialist) among such a group who hold fairly similar principles and concerns and when even the conservative McCain voters will be holding their noses in the voting booth, if the GOP find themselves on the outs of the Presidency and both houses of Congress, as seems the likely result,  the party would be well advised to do some good hard thinking about what it is exactly they stand for anymore.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 29, 2008 in Media, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who owns you, Michael Coren?

I listened to part of the show today on 1010 CFRB Toronto called Two Bald Guys With Strong Opinions

Today's show was two guys arguing for and against CCTV cameras on public property. It was my first time listening in, and I was driving so I couldn't call in and the phone number was not mentioned. I don't know whether the hosts just pick a side for the sake of the show, or whether Michael Coren was really taking the point of view of the surveillance statist. I'm going to assume he means it.

He put one caller on the spot (who brought up the Patriot Act) by insisting he name one government program that government had actually taken advantage of. The guy choked up, maybe a little nervous. But Michael had, in the previous three minutes, brought up human rights abuses by the HRCs (freedom of speech and expression, after all, is a human right). In light of this, why doesn't Michael name us one government program that hasn't failed or been abused by government in some way? 

It was surprising and sad when Michael characterized libertarians as people who don't fully believe in the rule of law. In reality, all libertarians know that freedom is impossible without the rule of law protecting the rights of individuals. Maybe Michael just doesn't know enough about libertarian political philosophy. Here you go, Michael, why not learn about it from an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand source: Wikipedia. Or an even shorter version from Cato's David Boaz here.

Coren is in favour of the use of CCTV cameras. He's even in favour of using them to catch people for consensual crimes -- he said they should be used to catch drug dealers. In practice, that means users too. His argument is essentially an argument for a surveillance society that will help prop up the failed war on drugs.

I hear they now have loudspeakers on some of these cameras in the UK so that bureaucrats can bark orders at people if they throw a candy wrapper on the ground.

These cameras have been abused already to spy on people inside their own homes. Take a look at this, Michael. How many of these cases go unreported?

The thing that Michael needs to know is that in Canada we love our civil liberties and we don't want one camera per 14 people like in the UK. But adopting other countries' bad ideas is something governments do best. So maybe ours will adopt CCTV cameras with Michael's endorsement.

I heard a guy call in and say "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide." Michael did not disagree. I heard that line from a Mountie who wanted to search my car. He said if I don't allow him to search my car, then that means I have something to hide. It was because of this illogic that I refused the search. The mounties don't have a right to search my car unless they suspect that there's something illegal going on. And refusing a search is not a reason to think that something illegal is going on. It's reason to think that I don't want some stranger looking through my stuff. It's also reason to think that I like freedom from tyranny.

I heard this same newspeak from Michael. He said that CCTV cameras on government property liberate us. That is like saying war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. 

This is the London, England that Michael Coren wants for Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto and so on.

So Michael Coren, who owns you?

Posted by Lindy Vopnfjord on October 23, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics, Canadian libertarian politics, Canadian Politics, Freedom of expression, Marijuana reform, Media, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rising talent

Shotgunners know that J.J. McCullough is a deadly editorial cartoonist (see below, for example). But they might not realize McCullough is a recent grad of Simon Fraser University, is opinions editor of the university's student newspaper, The Peak, and is a crack writer as well. Check out this wonderful bit of writing, in defence of male leadership. He blows his opponent out of the water.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 16, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday, October 10, 2008

Giving credit where it's due

Some time back, I took issue with the decision of the CRTC to allow the Communist Chinese television network to air in the Great White North at the behest (if memory serves) of Rogers.

Well, last week, Rogers brought the dissident station New Tang Dynasty Television onto its list of channels.  I honestly didn't expect they would do that.

Mea culpa, Rogers.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 10, 2008 in Media, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, September 25, 2008

NOW!'s Susan G. Cole is on my left-wing “hit list”

I am sure left-wing feminists will be up in arms claiming I am advocating violence against NOW! magazine contributor, Susan G. Cole because of my term “hit list”... 

Susan G. Cole is a wonderful woman with whom I debated this morning on AM640’s John Oakley Show -- Media and the Message.  I just happen to completely disagree with her far-leftist views -- she is one to watch out for in Toronto.

When debating mainstream media (MSM) bias, especially their portrayal of me as a “gun-totin’ redneck” she actually defended the mainstream media’s skewing of facts, saying I was “whining,” and that I should have known better. Thank you Susan, as if I did not know the media was already biased! Nevertheless, the sheer fact that she defended the MSM pretense of being non-biased shows how far the left will go to influence peoples’ minds. At least NOW Magazine admits it advocates a certain view.

On the subject of arts funding, the enlightened socialist was able to claim how every Canadian supports the need of artists for taxpayer dollars. This is the left bully tactic -- to claim to be speaking for all Canadians, that “this” is what Canadians want, and anyone who disagrees is an extremist, un-Canadian, that should be shipped off to the U.S.  She did that mighty vocally.

The “artists” decrying the tiny $45 million cut that the Harper government made are piggies at the trough of taxpayer dollars. These aren’t artists or entrepreneurs. When they receive government money to make “art”, they are employees of the state who are rewarded for filling out government paperwork. The real artists are the ones out there being inventive, to create something for public consumption and want to be rewarded in a free market.

Posted by Chris Reid on September 25, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Monday, September 01, 2008

Far-left fantasist

Heather Mallick careens ever closer to her nervous breakdown. Or maybe this is actually it.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 1, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Classical kiss-off

I'm listening to CBC2 this morning and I'm already hating it. I guess I'm just in the wrong demographic unit.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 1, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Monday, August 25, 2008

The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated: Radio

Less than 24 hours after I declared radio a dying format, StatsCan reports that 2007 radio advertising sales growth is up:

“In 2007, private radio broadcasters' advertising revenue advanced 6.0% to $1.5 billion (current dollars), outpacing advertising market growth as a whole for the third time in five years.”

In 2006, radio advertising grew by 5.3%.

I predicted that IPods and satellite radio would begin to take a bite out of radio advertising sales growth.

I’m happy to be wrong so far.

While I still believe radio is a medium in decline, it could have a longer run if the CRTC allowed shock jocks to produce the kind of edgy content that keeps both fans and critics listening. Western Standard readers may recall a story by Pierre Lemieux about the CRTC crackdown on Quebec City radio station CHOI-FM that led to the firing of shock jock Jeff Fillion.

Fillion has taken his listeners and their advertising dollars online with his radiopirate.com station.

Howard Stern escaped the long arm of the FCC in the U.S. with his move to satellite radio.

In an era where content is king, conventional radio is being handicapped by government censors.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 25, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Video killed the radio star in 1979, but don’t tell that to the living dead

I admire entrepreneurs like Newcap Radio chief executive Robert Steele.

Entrepreneurs like Steele create wealth by cooperating with others to solve problems in the furtherance of human happiness. When they do this well...at least when they do this well in a free market, they get rich, and deservedly so.

Politicians, by contrast, destroy wealth through taxation, misallocation and redistribution. They coerce compliance with collectivist schemes and then masquerade as the solution to the very misery they cause. (Perversely, when politicians do this well...at least when they do this well in a mixed economy, they also get rich. I posted recently about Al Gore’s rent-seeking, $100-million carbon fortune and the massive new pay raises given to senior B.C. bureaucrats in another devastating volley in the real class war.)

Under Steele’s leadership, and with the recent purchase of Ontario-based Haliburton Broadcasting, Newcap Radio now owns 72 radio stations, placing the company behind only Astral Media.

It’s exciting growth for a “small Canadian broadcaster” from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, but adding new stations is not really the same as adding value. How does Steele expect to continue to meet the news and entertainment needs of consumers in a dying medium?

The Buggles declared the radio star dead in 1979, the victim of the multi-dimensional video. And video today has gone through a staggering evolution with IPods delivering customized mobile content. And then there is satellite radio, now consolidated under the Sirius XM Radio brand. With a quality digital sound, no ads and 24-hours of 120-plus channels, satellite radio is a serious threat to its terrestrial ancestor.

All of this is having an impact on radio listenership and advertising sales, but not as drastic an impact as I would have thought.

A 2007 StatsCan report revealed that “Canadians...spent an average of 18.6 hours a week listening to the radio in the fall of 2006, down 2.6% compared to the 19.1 hours reported in 2005 and 9.3% compared to the peak of 20.5 hours in 1999.” This downward trend in listenership has decreased the growth in radio advertising sales, but not radio station profits.

The StatsCan report shows that “Advertising revenue of commercial radio broadcasters increased by 5.3% in 2006 to reach $1.4 billion. This growth rate was slightly lower than the average of 5.7% for the last five years and much lower than the 8.7% reported in 2005. It must be pointed out that 2005 was a particularly lucrative year for the radio industry, which experienced the sharpest increase in its advertising revenue since 1988.” Slowing radio advertising revenue is worse in the US. “The fact that satellite radio started in Canada later than it did south of the border may have some bearing on this situation,” suggests StatsCan.

Declining advertising sales growth has not meant declining profits for radio stations...not yet anyway. “In 2006, commercial radio generated profits before interest and taxes of $284.0 million, a modest increase of 0.4% compared to 2005, and achieved a profit margin of 20.0%, the third highest in the last 40 years after those of 2005 (+21.0%) and 1971 (+20.5%),” according to the same StatsCan report. Consolidation and rationalization made possible through deregulation has allowed radio stations to stay profitable, something worth remembering when the left complains about media consolidation.

Getting a bigger and bigger share of an increasingly shrinking radio advertising market would seem to have the same future as a strategy to consolidate buggy whip manufacturing in the early 1900s. But if companies like Newcap Radio are free to adapt, they will likely find a way to continue to be relevant to consumers. It will be interesting to watch this industry change over the next decade.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 24, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tick, Tick, Tick...

Last night my wife and I were watching another episode of Joss Whedon's Firefly. (By the way, this show is awesome.  Besides the coolness of a sci-fi western, it's full of anti-bureaucracy, pro-freedom themes.  It ran for less than one season on Fox in 2002, but you can watch it free in it's entirety at Hulu.com)  During a commercial we saw this ad.

Cute little kid faces somberly saying, "Tick" one after another led me to believe it was a public service announcement warning parents and children about Deer Ticks, which can be carriers of Lyme disease.  Seemed like a reasonable warning - I live in the country, so I have to check my son for Ticks after he's been in the tall grass.  But alas, this was not an insect removal reminder.  It was an ad for fightglobalwarming.com - reminiscent of and just as disturbing as LBJ's famous 1964 "Daisy" ad.

The ad seemed cheap and exploitative.  I guess guilt and fear were the feelings they were trying to inspire, but it just made me feel weird.  The old, "If you don't do this babies and puppies will die" line always raises suspicion.  When facts won’t do, cart out the children.

The creators of the ad would do the public a far greater service if it went something like: "Tick, tick, tick...check your kids for ticks if they've been outside!"  After all, Lyme disease has harmed more people than manmade global warming ever will.

(Cross-posted at the SFEblog)

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on August 11, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack