Tag: Palmer.Vaughn

Real news reshaped, redefined and side tracked

Because many traditional news sources have been sidetracked by political, commercial and personal interests, acquiring accurate information is now more time-consuming. People with other priorities are vulnerable to lies of commission and lies of omission. Postmedia’s obfuscating political reporters are experienced practitioners of new style journalism.

Shilling for dollars

I made reference to BC Legislative Press Gallery members producing commissioned articles. These are public relations pieces intended to serve particular needs of government or entities doing business with government. It is the kind of output that will ultimately be replaced by automated journalism. Mike Smyth’s recent Province column provides an example… Were Smyth not shilling for private producers, he could be a champion of reducing power consumption through increased energy efficiency. However, there are no industry or environmental groups in BC with sufficient funds to push conservation as a serious alternative to generating more power, whether by hydro, wind, solar, tidal, geothermal or any other technology.

Careless or captured?

Despite deep cynicism about journalists backing BC Liberals, I had long held respect for the writing of Vaughn Palmer. My reservoir of appreciation has now run dry. He has been bright, skilled and articulate, usually worth reading throughout 35+ years with the Vancouver Sun. Now, I don’t know. Is he distracted, overburdened, grown careless or captured by his subjects?

"Prudent management of your tax dollars"

The 2009 BC Liberal platform makes broad promises and one of them provides the title for this piece. Their platform offers this additional reassurance:
“. . . expenditures, backed up by a detailed business plan for every ministry. But our record shows that we have the competent team and credible plan to get it right.” Does that give you confidence tax dollars will be managed prudently? Perhaps we should examine BC Liberal announcements for one ongoing mega-project, BC Place Stadium.

Holding pundits accountable

One of the brighter contributors on my Twitter feed is Reema Faris. She is a PHD candidate at SFU, a former West Vancouver school trustee and member of a family that has long given extraordinary support to the arts in Canada. Reema’s social media contributions are invariably astute, logical and worthy of attention. With permission, here are threads she published in response to insubstantial punditry found in Postmedia’s Vancouver pages.

Hit piece journalism

By slanting news or withholding information, media affect what a large segment of the public knows or does not know about public affairs. If groups profit improperly through actions of government, rewards can be immense but, if the looters control media, they can act in the shadows. The checks and balances within a democracy are distorted if media becomes a subsidiary of vested interests. Accurate public discourse is discouraged or impossible.

Ingrates, eh?

Palmer: “You managed to find $80 million for the ferries this week. Did Kevin Falcon turn over the couch cushions or something, and find some money? Where did this money come from?”
Truth?
There was no extra money.

Throw him some work

…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, 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.

Talking about BC issues

Ian Jessop asked me about Premier Clark giving $150,000 in public funds to assist her brother’s associate in Haida Gwaii. It’s a subject that has been well covered by fellow bloggers Laila Yuile and Merv Adey. However, with the exception of Mark Hume at the Globe and Mail, it’s been of little interest to mainstream media, particularly the “Incurious Bastards”¹ of the BC press gallery. It may be a rewarding career move for a political pundit to serve plutocrats instead of readership but that’s a conscious choice that doesn’t offend some who once thought of themselves as journalists. Shannon Rupp, writing at The Tyee recently, delivered a pointed analysis of the 21st century press in our country: I think it’s fair to say that many if not most so-called newspapers are misnamed: they deliver less and less news (as defined by journalists) while filling their pages with ”content” — a word that could mean anything from listicles to infotainment to advertising written to masquerade as a news story. In short, most newspapers have morphed into marketing platforms.

Twitter bits

The final item may present a clue to the current state of British Columbia’s energy market. It’s hard to believe we came to this only through the sheer stupidity of our policy makers.

News from the echo chamber

Columnist Vaughn Palmer reports concerns expressed by Moody’s Investors Service about growing BC Hydro debt. The agency stated the obvious, which is that numerous capital projects are adding billions to the public utility’s debt and higher electricity rates or contributions from government are necessary. Palmer repeats Moody’s judgement that Hydro’s financial metrics “are among the weakest of Canadian provincial utilities.” However, the Vancouver Sun pundit provides an inaccurate explanation of why the situation exists…