The Media’s Distant Relationship With The News

By James Breckenridge. Calling it ‘The News”, doesn’t make it ‘The News”.

Anymore than calling a jackass a thoroughbred and naming it Secretariat makes it a Triple Crown winner.

Although, the jackass is closer to a Triple Crown winner than the Media’s coverage is to being ‘The News’.

To borrow from the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices ‘The News’ requires:

“Our mission is to inform, to reveal, to contribute to the understanding of issues…..”

To illustrate how what Media delivers to the public as ‘The News’, fails to qualify as ‘The News’, let us examine an important issue from the current BC election and the questions media has failed to ask on behalf of the public.

The NDP, in their current “low nastiness” (as Adrian Dix labels the behaviour) anti-Liberal advertisement, have raised the ghost of the HST.

While the failure of the media to ask Adrian Dix and the NDP to substantiate their claims of the HST harming the economy and of jobs lost due to the HST is aggravating, voters are use to politicians throwing around imaginary numbers during election campaigns.

The Liberal’s ‘balanced’ budget allowing the Liberals to claim to be financially prudent; the NDP’s budget raising an ‘extra’ $1.5 Billion allowing Mr. Dix to make campaign promises spending that $1.5 Billion while claiming the NDP are not about wild spending that substantially increases the deficit and the debt.

But in ignoring the harsh reality of the hard, real numbers associated with the HST, the media has not only failed to contribute to the public’s understanding of the matter, but have served to misinform the public.

Since Mr. Dix and the NDP raised the matter of the HST why has the media failed (yet again) to ask Mr. Dix to explain to voters why he feels that it was better to return the $1.6 billion dollars Ottawa paid BC to bring in the HST, rather than use that $1.6 billion to build hospitals and meet other needs BC has?

Why, when campaigning to convince voters to extinguish the HST were Mr. Dix and the NDP so careful to avoid speaking about the necessity to repay Ottawa $1.6 Billion if the HST was extinguished? Given the financial pain and problems associated with repaying Ottawa its $1.6 Billion why did Mr. Dix and the NDP fail to ensure the public clearly understood that extinguishing the HST meant repaying Ottawa the $1.6 Billion and then make their case to the public as to why it was a good idea to extinguish the HST and repay Ottawa its $1.6 Billion? Especially in light of the federal governments statement that if BC extinguished the HST BC would HAVE to repay Ottawa its $1.6 Billion?

Taking into consideration that Mr. Dix and the NDP are seeking to form the next BC government and the poor state of the BC provincial governments finances why has the media never asked Mr. Dix:

Given: The federal government has just finished its long negotiation with the Ontario government to bring in the HST and has offered (take it or leave it) the governments of Quebec and BC $1.6 Billion (each) to bring in the HST. The post winter Olympics economy is no longer booming and BC government faces the need for hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for needed capital expenditures. Quebec said yes to bringing in the HST in exchange for $1.6 Billion.

Facing those circumstances would it not have been irresponsible for Gordon Campbell (any premier) to have said no to Ottawa’s $1.6 billion.

Is Mr. Dix saying that under those circumstances he would have said no to Ottawa’s $1.6 Billion? Would that not have been an irresponsible action? If Mr. Dix is saying it would not have been irresponsible to say NO to that badly needed $1.6 Billion, what is the reasoning behind that claim?

Mr. Dix and the NDP are running around the province blaming the Liberals for the government’s failure to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, a billion + dollars, in new hospital facilities; when it was the actions of the NDP, in convincing the public to extinguish the HST, that are responsible for $1.6 Billion going to Ottawa, rather than going to fund new hospital facilities.

A reality the media apparently feels it unnecessary to question Mr. Dix about in order to provide the public with information necessary to understand and evaluate the issue.

Which is why a jackass is closer to being a Triple Crown winner, than the media’s coverage is to being ‘The News.’

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