How Far Will It Go?

czardogs

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How Far Will It Go?
By Roy Whyte
May 08/03

When looking at the television one thing becomes very apparent – everything looks and sounds the same. Sure it is different faces but the messages are all the same. This on the heels of the announcement by our fearless Federal Liberal Government that they may lift the restriction on foreign ownership limits on Canadian media. We will leave that issue for another future article.

Therefore, we are left with fear mongering, jingo, and sound bites with little background and little or no offered solutions. Was it always this way?


Over the past decade Canadian media has become much more like the American media that is beamed across our borders and into our homes. While our media outlets may be a few years behind the flash-bang of CNN, they certainly do a good impression. It has become very hard to distinguish the difference in how our media is offered up to us. If the stories were not different there would be little difference.

There are the obvious reasons for this such as ratings for commercial sales but at what end cost? Has the ratings game outweighed the need for balanced coverage? Market analysts always offer up, “the market place decides the content and format of the daily and nightly news”. Nevertheless, does it?

When was the last time you were asked if you liked your media outlets performance whether that be in print or televised media? Changing the channel or reaching for another newspaper does little good when each is a clone of the other!

CanWest Global Communications Corporation is the predominate player on the Canadian media scene. Like any good near monopoly they offer up these words by Kenneth J. Goldstein – “In other words, the “concentration” that has been claimed by some simply does not exist”. Hmmm, very interesting response to a question posed by the Canadian Heritage Committee.

Question from the Canadian Heritage Committee:
Q – What do recent trends in Canadian media ownership suggest?

A – Kenneth J. Goldstein “They indicate Canadian media are attempting to counter the effects of fragmentation by re-aggregating fragments, in order to maintain economies of scale. As the statistics make clear, however, re-aggregated fragments rarely yield the same market shares that single outlets had in the past.”

Q - Have changes in Canadian media ownership affected editorial independence?

A – “No. Global's broadcasting properties still have their own news directors, who select and plan their newscasts according to their own local or national needs. Again, there is no structural link between cross-media ownership and how editorial matters are handled.”

Well no wonder this person is the Vice President, he spins with the best of them! If you are going to stretch the truth make sure nobody else has the goods on you. Let us look further at the holdings and dealings of CanWest Global.

CanWest Global now owns 15 large daily run city newspapers including the National Post. Adding to that is the ownership of some 120 smaller dailies and weeklies across Canada and the second largest T.V. broadcast news – Global TV.

That fragmentation Goldstein speaks of must certainly mean dissenting views. For CanWest unleashed onto the Canadian masses its decision to require all of its dailies to run editorials from the corporate headquarters! It gets worse, the local journalists and pundits now must NOT stray from the corporate editorials as presented and authorized by the corporate headquarters.

If this trend is to continue, then yes they most certainly succeeded at re-aggregating the fragments of original thought and or dissent.

What can we do my fellow Canadians? Start by turning off the corporate news, and go out and seek those yet to be purchased dailies and weekly publications. Watch public television and surf the net till your fingers are raw. For they cannot control everything… not now anyways.

Background:
http://www.fair.org/extra/0205/canwest.html
http://www.canwestglobal.com/inthemedia01.html
 

Andem

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Mar 24, 2002
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Thats a really good article! I honestly have to say, I didn't know CanWest had so much control and censorship in it's media assets, not that I even really ever thought about it.

What got my attention, however, was the media (both internet, print & television) assets owned by Bell Canada Enterprises. I'm not sure what kind of control BCE is exercising, but I would think it's not a good thing.

Here's some media assets of BCE (or most specifically, Bell GlobeMedia):

-CTV & 21 Affiliate stations (think, that's both your national and local news)
-23 Specialty channels (17 of which are available in tiered cable...... and ofcourse Bell Expressvu!)
-Bell Expressvu (control over programming, blackouts, commercials)
-20 some-odd web sites (mainly news and portals)
-Several production companies
-Several major dialy newspapers

and I'm not sure what kind of daily and weekly publications the globe & mail controls.

We have several major players to look out for, unfortunately. I personally get my news from the Internet and live streaming broadcasts from Europe.
 

LuShes

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Mar 25, 2002
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Agreed, good article. There is way to much american influence in our lives, where we forget what makes canadians distict!

American media pouring into our country, brainwashing us into american thought.

My news I get from friends, internet or once in awhile CNN, yes I am guilty!!!

Banish to me the dungeons my lord for I have sinned!
 

czardogs

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Jul 25, 2002
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Andem said:
Thats a really good article! I honestly have to say, I didn't know CanWest had so much control and censorship in it's media assets, not that I even really ever thought about it.

What got my attention, however, was the media (both internet, print & television) assets owned by Bell Canada Enterprises. I'm not sure what kind of control BCE is exercising, but I would think it's not a good thing.

Here's some media assets of BCE (or most specifically, Bell GlobeMedia):

-CTV & 21 Affiliate stations (think, that's both your national and local news)
-23 Specialty channels (17 of which are available in tiered cable...... and ofcourse Bell Expressvu!)
-Bell Expressvu (control over programming, blackouts, commercials)
-20 some-odd web sites (mainly news and portals)
-Several production companies
-Several major dialy newspapers

and I'm not sure what kind of daily and weekly publications the globe & mail controls.

We have several major players to look out for, unfortunately. I personally get my news from the Internet and live streaming broadcasts from Europe.

Expect these trends to continue and for the future it spells real disaster as the feds are thinking of releasing the limits on foreign ownership! A conglomerate like CBS or NBC can just come up here and buy out CanWest and Bell and even merge them together. Editorial control, content and everything else will be directed from south of the border.

For a nation without it s own media is really no longer a nation in the truest sense. For who are we to believe about events happening across this broad nation?
 

czardogs

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Jul 25, 2002
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LuShes said:
Agreed, good article. There is way to much american influence in our lives, where we forget what makes canadians distict!

American media pouring into our country, brainwashing us into american thought.

My news I get from friends, internet or once in awhile CNN, yes I am guilty!!!

Banish to me the dungeons my lord for I have sinned!

CNN!!??



 

LuShes

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Mar 25, 2002
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czardogs, thanks for the whipping and chopping my head off...

I sure feel the love around this room ;) lol

I will be sure not to tell you any other secrets....*looks around innocently*

TV is just evil anyways. I watch TV maybe once a week. and CNN.com is just hogwash. I just watch CNN TV for the cute broadcasters...kidding!
 
There is no such thing as AMERICAN influence!

There is "target market" influence.

But there is barely an American Culture. Hell, most of our celebrities are Canadian and Australian. :p

I just had to say that.

Oh! And LuShes is Super Sexy...that's why she is LuS(uper)hes(exy).
 

czardogs

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WulF-Krigan said:
There is no such thing as AMERICAN influence!

There is "target market" influence.

But there is barely an American Culture. Hell, most of our celebrities are Canadian and Australian. :p

I just had to say that.

Oh! And LuShes is Super Sexy...that's why she is LuS(uper)hes(exy).

Funny you point out the Canadian entertainers practicing in the US. There was a media spotlight on it the other day and someone had a list of Canadian stars and showed it to various American citizens - hardly one of them even knew that so many were Canadian. One fella got rather mad that Jim Carey was not American - he called the interviewer a liar!! 8O

While the American media outlets do not make their news for us Canadians it certainly does not stop it from crossing our borders. For instance on my cable package I recieve no fewer than NINE news agencies for the six o'clock news. CNN has a permanant block on it in my home though... could one agency be any more one-sided?

Oh yeh! Fox News! There is a waste of space if I have ever seen one. No slam on American media - its just gotten rather quiet since Dubya stole the WhiteHouse.