When it comes to the mainstream media, they just can't get enough taxpayer-dollars

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GUEST HOST: David Menzies

When it comes to the media and its now insatiable desire for more and more taxpayer-dollars, the title of a James Bond flick comes to mind: namely, The World Is Not Enough.

‘Twas ever thus that the CBC received more than a billion dollars annually, and my god, where-oh-where does that money go?

But in recent years, the non-CBC mainstream media has been receiving taxpayer bailouts, too. Oh, you weren’t consulted? Well, suck it up, buttercup. The Justin Trudeau Liberals know what’s best for you.

Kinda like Rogers did back in 1994. Remember negative option billing? It was chutzpah on steroids, really. Rogers decided to add a whole bunch of crappy channels to their subscribers. Which would be kinda nice if it was a gift, but it wasn’t. You see, if you didn’t want the channels, it was incumbent upon you to contact Robbers — I mean, Rogers — and cancel those channels, otherwise you’d be billed for content you never asked for and never planned to view. Thus, negative optioning. By the way, that was yet another brilliant idea cooked up by Toronto Mayor John Tory.

But the thing is, what’s happening with the government-funded media properties is far worse. You see, at least Old Man Rogers give you the OPTION of opting out of such negativity. The Trudeau Liberals are much like the nefarious Borg from Star Trek: you know, resistance is futile, self-determination is irrelevant. Sugar Daddy Trudeau will continue to fund media properties with YOUR money whether you like it or not.

You might make an argument that this is what government does. It picks winners and losers in the marketplace, and cuts cheques — again with your money — and bails out those companies it takes a liking to. General Motors, Chrysler, Bombardier, and the list goes on.

The thing is, the idea of government — a.k.a., taxpayers — constantly propping up losers is completely opposite of how a free-market economy should function. The free market subscribes to an economic version of Darwinism — namely, survival of the fittest, evolve or go extinct. There should be no safety net — at least, no safety net paid for by citizens who have absolutely no say in the matter.

But, as bad as it is to bailout manufacturers of automobiles and aerospace equipment, it is immeasurably worse to bailout media companies. That’s because there are several ethical and morality issues at play when the watchdogs of society are paid off by the very entity that it should be holding to account. It is a grotesque conflict of interest, and it is incredible to see that it has become the new normal.

You know, the other day I dusted off my old copy of “Morals and the Media”, sub-titled, “Ethics in Canadian Journalism.” This edition was published in 2006, not really that long ago, and yet I was stunned that this book, through no fault of the author, has been rendered obsolete in 2022 given the current lay of the media land in our great Dominion.

For example, consider the chapter, “The Media and Money”. There’s a sidebar entitled, “Canadian Association of Journalists On Accepting Gifts”,. And it reads:

-- We should not accept or solicit gifts, passes or favours for personal use;

-- We must pay our own way to ensure independence. If another organization pays our expenses to an event that we are writing about, we should say so, so that the reader, viewer or listener can take this into account;

-- We will promptly return unsolicited gifts of more than nominal value. If it is impractical to return the gift, we will give it to an appropriate charity or institution.

Like I said, this 16-year-old book is irreparably obsolete given the way in which journalism is funded by the taxpayer. And yes, I do think that mainstream media outlets being funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year does indeed meet the benchmark of: “a gift of more than nominal value.”

But the media minions are quite content to devolve from society’s watchdogs to Justin Trudeau’s lapdogs. Golly, I’d love to know what Bell Media’s Evan Solomon has to say about journalistic ethics being so brutally comprised these days?

Oopsie! This just in! Yesterday was Solomon’s last day at Bell Media.

You see, Solomon was recently named the new publisher of GZERO Media, a global affairs news site and subsidiary of New York City-based political risk analysis firm, Eurasia Group.

Now that rings a bell. This isn’t the same Eurasia Group that has as its vice chairman Gerald Butts, a.k.a., Justin Trudeau’s favourite boyfriend?

Oh, yes, it is. So, you see, this is what happens when journalists like Evan Solomon are so loyal to Prime Minister Blackface McGroper: they are put on the fast-track for promotion.

For the past seven years at Bell Media, Solomon has proven to be a wonderful little trained seal. And his reward is not a fish but a New York City gig and undoubtedly a salary in the high six figures. Hey, there’s hope for you, Rachel Crymore; but please, keep your blouse on. The Liberals are looking to appoint more operatives in political risk analysis firms; they’re not so much interested in recruiting waitresses for Hooters nor dancers for the Zanzibar.

By the way, speaking of ethics, I should point out that prior to his Bell Media gig, Solomon was a CBCer. But he had to part ways with the public broadcaster in 2015. You see, there was an internal review of his side business of brokering high-end art sales. And that included guests that had appeared on his programs.

Oh, gee. I guess Solomon never read Morals and the Media, certainly not the chapter pertaining to Media and Money. But that’s OK. He’s out of the journalism racket now. He’ll be a good little useful idiot when it comes to advising Justin Trudeau how to censor the industry from which he came. Unbelievable.

But at least there are SOME scribes still around who are calling out the Media Party for its unethical and immoral behaviour.

Consider the superb commentary last week in The Epoch Times penned by Peter Menzies — no relation — entitled, “You Can’t Build a Viable Media Culture on Bailouts and Political Favours”:

“According to advocates for Canada’s Online News Act (Bill C-18), [Rupert Murdoch] the Australian media baron’s shakedown of online web giants Meta and Google has already saved the newspaper industry Down Under. And, once this country passes its legislation, it’s gonna be jobs, jobs, jobs for journos.

Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next—a U.S.-based trade organization/lobby group—flew into Ottawa from Washington, D.C., to appear before the House of Commons Heritage Committee on Sept. 27. There, he dismissed highly respected critics such as Dr. Michael Geist, Canada research chair in internet law at the University of Ottawa, of spreading misinformation, declared the Aussie rules to be a sweeping victory for journalism, left me with the general impression that anyone who disagreed with him was paid for by global web monopolists, and flew home. In terms of lobbying, it was a masterful performance.

All Canada had to do, he assured those listening, was to follow Australia’s Murdoch-inspired model. And, judging by the warm reception he received from Liberal MPs, that’s what Canada intends to do.

Trouble is, while I can find evidence it has helped Murdoch’s market-dominating Australian Newscorp (he also owns the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Dow Jones, Harper Collins, the (UK) Sun, The Times, Sunday Times, etc.), I’m having trouble finding proof these latest subsidies are going to be enough.

After all, the first $119 million-a-year in tax credits that Canada’s newspaper industry managed to squeeze out of taxpayers in 2019 hasn’t created any more jobs. Sure, the pandemic was an issue, but there were additional subsidies for that. And if you don’t want to believe me, take it from Jamie Irving, chair of News Media Canada, the trade group lobbying for online loot.

“The financial pressures facing Canadian news outlets due to the current market failure are only becoming more dire,” he wrote to the Commons finance committee earlier this year. “We are forecasting annual losses as an industry of about $500 million a year.

“It would appear that even if the Canadian news industry lobby—that now includes CBC, Bell Media, and other broadcasters—is able to shake $500 million annually out of Mark Zuckerberg’s and Google’s pockets, the best they can do is break even. So, still no jobs.”

Millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, and in the CBC’s case, more than a billion. That gravy train just hurtles down the track delivering content that less and less of us, the consumers, want to consume.

And look at some of these parent companies. Bell Media is owned by Bell Canada Enterprises, and BCE recorded an income of $2.89 billion last year, which was UP from its income of $2.7 billion in 2020. So, maybe if Bell wants to be a media baron as well as a co-owner of a hockey and basketball team, it should dig into its own bank account to prop up its media properties.

And if those media properties, as opposed to professional sports teams are NOT profitable, then I would suggest Bell has a decision to make; either run the media department as a charity — or it could sell off Bell Media and stick to those businesses — you know, cellphones, Internet service, etc. — where it can actually MAKE money. But for a multi-billion-dollar entity like BCE to come cap in hand to the government and demand taxpayer dollars so that it can continue to broadcast woke garbage that fewer and fewer of us want to consume… I’m sorry, that is sheer unmitigated gall; on both sides — Bell the recipient and the Trudeau Liberals, the sugar daddies.

But here’s the crux of the matter: the credibility of mainstream media journalists has never been lower.

While the likes of Soy Boy Solomon and Rachel Crymore gasp when they are confronted by member of the public chanting “fake news, fake news” right in their sourpuss faces, they are oblivious to the fact that by whoring themselves out to the Justin Trudeau Liberals they have hoisted themselves upon their own petards.

And yes, I have the proverbial proof in the pudding. Check out this story from June headlined: “Canadians' trust in the news media hits a new low”.

According to the Reuters Institute’s 2022 Digital News Report, trust in the Canadian news media has sunk to its lowest point in seven years.

The study, produced by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, has found that trust in the news has dropped 13 per cent since 2016. Only 42 per cent of Canadian respondents trust “most news, most of the time,” a slight drop from last year’s 45 per cent.

It’s possible that government support programs for news media, such as federal tax credits, are linked to the more negative perceptions about the media.

To be sure, these funding programs have allowed the Canadian news media much-needed breathing space to recover financially, in addition to a boost in advertising revenue during the pandemic. But they have also generated criticism and fueled concerns regarding journalistic independence.

Well knock me down with a feather! You mean to tell me that the majority of Canadians:

1. Don’t trust the mainstream media

2. Aren’t willing to support the mainstream media by purchasing subscriptions AND

3. Doubt the validity of journalistic independence and integrity given they are increasingly funded by the federal government?

You don’t say!

And now that the government’s grandiose plans to prop up friendly media outlets isn’t working out all that well, the censorious thugs who comprise the Trudeau Liberals are putting away the carrot and reaching for the stick. Which is to say, for those independent media outlets — such as Rebel News — who refuse to play ball, well then, it’s obviously time to regulate — i.e., censor — the Internet.

As Peter Menzies notes in his column:

The Trudeau government is already well on its way to regulating the internet in order to enrich one class of approved creators at the expense of another. And it’s planning to crack down on speech of which it and certain classes of people disapprove at the expense of others. Now, with the Online News Act, it appears ready to insert the state into the newsrooms of the nation.

Oh sure, such bills need Senate approval. And even if that is achieved, you can expect years of legal challenges ahead as our Dominion becomes more like China and less like, well, Canada Classic.

Our other source of hope is regime change. I can tell you that when I covered several Pierre Poilievre rallies, the one pledge that always generated the loudest and most prolonged standing ovation was Mr. Poilievre’s statement that if elected PM, he will defund the CBC.

This current Liberal government is morally and ethically bankrupt, just like the state-sponsored members of the Media Party who serve this government. For those who cherish freedom as opposed to the basic dictatorship of China that Prime Minister Blackface so admires, we need a new sheriff on Parliament Hill, one that will end the grotesque subsidies to failing media properties and someone who thinks that contrary to popular belief in certain elitist circles that censorship is NOT a good thing…

GUEST: Nicky Billou (Follow Nicky on Instagram @NickyBillou

FINALLY: Your letters!

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