By James Breckendridge. What if, as discussed in Part One, http://www.jameswbreckenridge.ca/?p=3121 the broadcast Media does not want to re-label as “Pseudo News” or attach a content warning label to what is currently labelled ‘News’; changes needed to provide warning to those watching the broadcast that the material being broadcast does not meet even the most minimal of standards required to inform, reveal or contribute to the understanding of issues?[For Part One simply click here]
Then there should be consequences for misleading the public as to the nature of the material being broadcast.
Take, for example, Global Vancouver’s support of those calling for an inquiry into the in custody death of a woman being held for deportation by Canadian Border Services.
The report aired on Global Vancouver suggested [certainly appeared to suggest] that Canadian Border Services is covering something up because they have made only limited information on what happened available.
Canadian Border Services has stated that they will be releasing more details as soon as the Coroner completes his investigation and that – as is usual with matters under investigation – Border Services cannot comment until the Coroner is finished investigating.
I think it would be very beneficial to any decision on what course of action to follow, to know if the Coroner rules the death suicide.
I am not suggesting that the death be ignored should the woman have died as a result of attempting, ultimately succeeding, suicide. We need to understand what happened and what, if anything, we can REASONABLY do to prevent such a death from happening in the future.
We seemed to have gone inquiry mad as a society, demanding an Inquiry for anything that upsets someone or where someone [or somones] don’t like the answer[s] they are given.
Let us remember that inquiries are not free, that there is no such budget item as ‘Inquiry’, which means the cost of inquiries comes from an item included in the provincial budget – such as healthcare. The more inquiries you have, the less healthcare the government can purchase for citizens.
If a group of people want an inquiry, let them pay for it; if the actions of the media force and inquiry, let those in media whose actions forced/led to the inquiry pay for it. Should something important, something that would have been found only through an inquiry, be found whoever paid for the inquiry can be reimbursed.
Should the inquiry find nothing that would not have been found, or nothing significant and important, then the group of people or the media bear the cost – not the taxpayers.
If media chooses to act irresponsibly by calling reports broadcast ‘News’ when those reports fail to meet even minimal standards required to inform, reveal or contribute to the understanding of issues, when in fact the reports broadcast misinform, obscure or prevent the understanding of issues, there must be consequences. The same way the Supreme Court has said there are consequences of standing up and shouting “FIRE!’” in a crowded theater when there is no fire.
‘News’ has become a profit center for the corporate media conglomerates.
Given the focus on profits, the demonstrated lack of ability to manage operations efficiently, effectively and for the long term health and viability of the business, the abandonment of being good corporate citizens, the lack of understanding of the reality and complexity of the economy and the effect the financial health of the entire society has on the viability of a corporation in a timeframe of 1+ years [a state of affairs that applies to politicians, experts and pundits as well as corporate executives]………
……corporations increase profits by cutting costs. Worse, in market conditions such as exist today, with no easy, almost automatic increases in revenue, a market where there is a need to add value in order to increase revenue, corporations and their current inadequate for the task executives the corporations simply cut more costs.
The broadcast hours filled with content created by the station [or network] are the hours where corporate media conglomerates can maximize their profit, making the ‘News’ department a major contributor to the bottom line.
A change in mission, from informing to maximizing profit, that has had a profound effect on the ability to inform, reveal and contribute to understanding as well as the quality of the material generated by ‘News’ departments, as Media conglomerates fill the hours where the station creates the content as cheaply as possible.
Corporations and their executives have a right to choose to race for the bottom and ignore the long term viability of the corporation if that behavior is acceptable to stockholders.
They do not have the right to mislead the public, to fail to inform the public that ‘News’ is no longer what it once was and that the public needs to search out information from multiple sources in order to be able to make informed decisions about how the government manages the health and viability of the economy; about the costs, outcomes and consequences of decisions on social, societal issues.
As stated, where media will not re-label programming, or attach viewer advisors, where the change in standards and practices will mislead the public as to the public’s ability to make informed decisions and choices based on the programming provided by the Media – financial penalties [incentives] must be used to provide incentive for media to either invest the money to provide ‘News’ that meets at least the minimum standards require for reporting to qualify as ‘News’ OR for media to label or use viewer advisories to ensure people understand the purpose [maximize profit] of the broadcasting they are viewing.
Broadcast media today has demonstrated that as a corporation their profit drive is the same as the corporations that dump toxic waste down storm drains or into creeks to reduce the costs of disposal and maximize profit.
In the same manner that it is necessary to impose punitive fines to encourage those who need to dispose of toxic waste to dispose of it in a manner that does not penalize society, financial incentives need to be imposed on media to encourage media to be responsible, providing either accurate labeling, viewer advisories or programming that meets the standards set out for ‘News’ for programming media labels as ‘News’.
Next: Part 3 – The Conclusion
I’m not going to listen; don’t want to hear it.[For Part One simply click here]