Journalism

Op-ed does not mean ‘opposing editorial’

Definition:

An op-ed (opposite the editorial page) is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper’s editorial board. These are different from editorials, which are usually unsigned and written by editorial board members.

With political controversy raging in British Columbia, might this be an appropriate time for Vancouver’s largest newspaper to feature an independent writer presenting opinion contrary to its editorial board? Is the newspaper brave enough to expose new ideas, at least occasionally?

Well, visiting the Vancouver Sun website today, I pushed past the important stuff at Home Page,  about a storm near Belize, a report on a drug death last June, full coverage about a minor Hollywood celebrity who fears “star-whackers” and sports and various non-political news, except for a bit about a complaint in Ottawa over heating costs. I aimed to look at recent op-eds to see who was filling space at the Sun’s Issues and Ideas page. I found this:

  • The Friday item was commentary on why the Disney company deserves a gold star, written by Fazil Mihlar. “Wait a minute”, I thought. “Isn’t he the ex-Fraser Institute guy who is the Sun editorial pages editor and a regular Sun columnist?”  Hmmm, I thought he already had a platform.
  • Also, there was a dramatic call by the Sun’s religion reporter to silence North American restaurants and retail outlets that blast out increasingly louder music. I know. I know. My grandmother hated that too.
  • Dan Gardner, columnist with Sun sister paper Ottawa Citizen, provided a profile on 85-year old Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, renown Asian scientist. Gardner also weighs in on why the pundits are wrong on Barack Obama.
  • Then we had ex-Liberal politician, and current BC Liberal government consultant on Special Prosecutors, Stephen Owen. I suppose he’s an alternative voice and from his current senior management position at UBC, he is able to tell us why the university is so well run by its senior managers.
  • Don Sandberg advises aboriginals how they should throw off the yoke of oppression and accept outside financial controls and eliminate native leaders from tribal government and get rid of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), which is – gasp – subject only to the will of elected band chiefs.  Sandberg, by the way, is associated with Winnipeg’s Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP) which last year brought us the Friends of Science radio commercials and website promoting a handful of obscure climate change deniers. The FCPP is a minor league Fraser Institute, also substantially supported by oil money, with helping hands from private healthcare providers and other “enlightened” philanthropists.

There was a collection of other short essays: on chimps, on Calgary mayoral politics, on how, despite record high unemployment and falling wages, international trade is rebounding nicely and growth is strong, for somebody, somewhere, particularly for multinational businesses located in tax havens.

Too bad there is nothing going on in BC politics worthy of comment in op-ed pages, particularly comments by people who don’t already have a podium; new voices, not ones representing the same old vested interest. People able to discuss topics like:

  • the failure of journalism to cover an ethical meltdown in government,
  • the politicization of the Supreme Court and the justice system of BC,
  • the foot-dragging on introducing true public accountability to all forms of policing,
  • the looming crisis in school funding,
  • the failures of public-private partnerships,
  • the elimination of open bidding on government mega-contracts,
  • the destruction of equal access to healthcare for all,
  • the change from a system of progressive taxation to one based on user-pay fees,
  • etc., etc.

Categories: Journalism

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2 replies »

  1. Again, Mr. Ferrell, you show that the Vancouver Sun and radio 'NW are not doing their fiduciary job in providing unbiased news, but have become mere mouthpieces for a discredited government.

    The sad fact is, Gordo is mirroring the rise and fall of that funny mustachioed little Austrian that caused great havoc from the 30's to the mid 40's.

    What people forget that Adolph Hitler was elected quite democratically to his position, but when he subverted the courts and the media paid daily homage to him, he skillfully used the 'democratic' process to become dictator.

    Gordon Campbell has used the RULE OF LAW to skillfully deconstruct BC from what it was to a fascist corporatist state, where the wealthy few, control all.

    The man and his minions are pure evil, just like his NAZI predecessors. It shows that evil is innate and unless men and women of good character stand guard, evil spreads its icky goo of deceit and corruption to every nook and cranny of society.

    It is the bloggists, that are standing guard, with their insight and investigation, as the mainstream media have become enmeshed with evil.

    Like

  2. I think the indie media, bloggers and online newsies should form a group, with a national online radio station and web presence. This may form the base to expand. A good marketting team should be able to bring progressive entities to the plate for sponsorship. Just an idea that has been mulling around my bean for a while…Keep up the good work Norman!

    Like

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