Throw him some work

Excepting the June 16, 2016 piece by Dr. Harry Swain – former federal Deputy Minister and Chair of the Site C Joint Review panel – Vancouver Sun has been reluctant to run any commentary that doesn’t endorse BC Liberal energy policies. Postmedia editors appear to have less regard for ethical journalism than financial expediency. Honest reporting and opinion matters little; editorial support for the company’s business partners takes precedence  over all.

kleptocracySo, despite evidence that the BC Government’s LNG campaign was unscrupulously conceived and promulgated, Postmedia continued to play its role, treating Liberal promises of pending  prosperity as legitimate. Similarly, while BC Hydro is plundered in private power schemes of fraud that victimize BC taxpayers, corporate media has been largely mute. Site C is an unneeded $10 billion project that will create power at twice the price of alternatives. But that is only one of countless examples of political corruption in British Columbia.

We have a provincial government proven to be dishonest and incompetent and media that aims to share in the spoils.

The remaining material was first published here October 16, 2015. The subject has had too little attention.

Regular readers know my complaints about corporate media found-ins taking payments from parties affected by coverage. People taking the cash don’t feel need to explain or excuse and indulgent colleagues seldom raise the conflict issue.

Vancouver Sun political pundit Vaughn Palmer might believe the practice does not influence reporting, but Premier Clark’s Executive Director of Communications and Issues Management has a different view, revealed by Leslie Campbell in When spin doctors make policy, published by Victoria magazine Focus Online:

After a year and a half of waiting, Focus received records that show in some detail how the provincial Liberals came up with a pivotal element of their winning 2013 election strategy: an LNG industry that would create 100,000 jobs, bring $100 billion to provincial coffers, and underpin the “BC Prosperity Fund.” When juxtaposed against Adrian Dix’s promise to keep Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline from becoming a reality, enough easily-influenced voters in BC opted for Christy’s Clark more economically pleasing vision of the future. But it was phoney baloney, conjured up in a three-week period in a “rush assignment” given to Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance Doug Foster by Clark’s newly-hired communications director Ben Chin.

Chin was formerly a CBC TV news anchor in Ontario and after running for the provincial Liberals there—and losing—he became VP of Communications with the Ontario Power Authority. In that job he infamously advised an OPA official—who was troubled by critical media reports—to “throw him some work” to get a particular journalist onside. “It would be a good score,” Chin said.

The entire piece by Ms. Campbell reinforces what we’ve known for some time. BC’s entire LNG policy was a collection of lies developed as an election ploy that worked for Liberals in 2013 and may work again in 2017.

To seem plausible again in 2017 to “easily-influenced voters” requires continued assistance of corporate media participants. That will be rewarding for the helpful. Both the Finance Ministry and Liberal business friends are used to throwing out lucrative rewards.

For an example, READ Rafe Mair’s LNG shill, Province blogger practices shabby journalism, Common Sense Canadian, October 2015.

Cash for Coverage: Bribery of Journalists Around the World, A Report to the Centre for International Media Assistance.

Cash for news coverage: It’s what Rosental Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas, calls “the dark part of journalism” – and it happens every day somewhere in the world.

Nearly everyone agrees that it is an enormous and extremely serious problem for the profession. But Alves is among those who believe that journalists’ groups have not done enough about it.

“It’s not an issue that’s much covered,” he said. “We have been so much engaged in defending journalists, that we become shy sometimes in uncovering or exposing this side of our craft.”

Not only do journalists accept bribes and media houses accept paid material disguised as news stories, but all too often, reporters and editors are the instigators, extorting money either for publishing favorable stories–or for not publishing damaging ones.

With all the organized efforts to support media development and defend press freedom around the world, there has been remarkably little done in any concerted way to reduce the problem of corrupt journalism…


Categories: Journalism, LNG

Tagged as: ,

7 replies »

  1. I've heard radio interviews on CBC, where it's pretty clear that it's not live and the other person is just responding to a canned list of questions (which may actually be verbalized AFTER the answers)… but it never occurred to me that TV news would do this, as Rafe shows.

    Once we know that Meena Mann isn't actually conducting the interview, her facial expressions become all the more ridiculous.

    Lesson for the day: if it isn't live, be even more suspicious of the message.


  2. “Throw him some work”… as in Jas Johal, who went from hard-hitting reporter to LNG shill?

    I like to think that Jas had at least an urge to expose the offer of an LNG job as an attempt to silence him — but if he had done so, he'd likely have been out of a reporter's job.


  3. At least Jas Johal left for the full time world of flackery. It is the people who continue to pretend to be journalists after selling themselves to special interests that are unethical.


  4. “To seem plausible one more to “easily-influenced voters” requires continued assistance of corporate media participants.”

    It also requires the cooperation of an opposition who, in this province continue to be MIA.



  5. A good example was the Oct. 1 edition of the Comox Valley Record with a propaganda section titled “Our Future”. It was a Black Press special spewing the Cons sewage but trying to look impartial. But what would you expect from Black Press ( a rather appropriate name I thought), once you see Tom Fletcher's smiling face on the opinion page you know you are looking at bird cage liner.


  6. I suspect that he was already “on-side” when he screamed at Adrian Dix, unless that disgraceful episode was just “the casting couch” on the way to his new gig. He made his bones and then they opened up the books for him, lol.

    All we have left now is you, Norm, and a very few other brave, ethical torchbearers like Mackin, Mair and Yuile. A tiny, mostly volunteer cadre against an overfunded, conscienceless confederacy of dunces.


  7. Granted the media plays a big role in presenting news and thus influencing how voting goes in a provincial election. However, if people are stupid enough to vote against their own interests, they get what they deserve.

    People know LNG did [not] materialize as advertised by press and politicians. There were no jobs and there isn’t any money rolling into the provincial coffers. There is lots of money rolling into the B.C. Lieberal party coffers but not those of the province or the voter’s wallets.

    Its time people voted for what was real and what was good for them. People might want to vote in favour of their children’s education; having family doctors; being able to buy their own homes in their own province; being able to rent a home without fear it will be sold out from under them; not having to pay high tolls to get to work; extra taxes via MSP; B.C. Hydro; ICBC.

    If people continue to vote for Christy and her B.C. Lieberals and find they have no decent education for their kids, family doctors, no decent housing, then they get what they deserve. It is what they wanted.


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