BC Media Fail British Columbians

BC’s media has shown exactly why that new Sun TV News channel to cover Canadian events, issues and news with an edge is so badly needed.

““There’ll be a range of opinion. It’ll be different, it’ll be less politically correct. If you’re wondering what the presentation of what kind of news stories we’ll be interested in, and a flavour of the commentary that we’ll have, pick up the Sun newspaper, you’ll probably have a pretty good indication,” said Kory Tenycke, front man for the proposed channel when it was annouced a few days ago..

Now, we don’t yet know if the new venture will truly be as awful as Fox News in the U.S., as some have suggested, or just a lot more cheeky, spirited and politically incorrect.  If it’s the latter, I’d say Hooray!

“We’re taking on smug, condescending, often irrelevant journalism. We’re taking on political correctness. We will not be a state broadcaster offering boring news by bureaucrats, for elites, and paid for by taxpayers. We’ll be unapologetically patriotic,” Teneycke explained.

And NOTHING showed the need for what Teneycke and Sun News Channel promises than the emarrasing and terrible job done by BC’s old boys’ media “eastablishment” during the visit to BCV this week by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. 

The BC media played dead; the BC media let their listeners, viewers, readers down; the BC media let their province down; the BC media let the West down; the BC media delivered a message to the people, parties, politicians, and power brokers back East that it’s o.k. to turn your back on the West, treat the West with disdain, give us second class treatment … and the media will play along like puppies.  No dobermans here!

I am referring of course to Ignatieff’s decision, along with the rest of the Liberal caucus, to support a New Brunswick NDP private member’s Bill C-232 that would require ALL new Supreme Court Justices to be bilingual … not just good enough to order a poutine at an Ottawa chip stand, but fluent enough to hear legal arguments “without the use of an interpreter”.   Simultaneous translation we’ve had since Confederation would be no longer good enough.

No great problem for New Brunswick or Quebec judges interested in Supreme Court appointment, prestige and power, because surrounded by a sea of 375 million English speaking North Americans, most can speak/undersand  English.  But in Western Canada and B.C. such a preposterous proposal would ensure that only very few judges here would qualify for top court appointment.

The Bloc Quebecois loved it! And they, along with Liberal support, pushed this anti-Western NDP proposal through the Commons: only the Conservatives opposed it, but with a minority government, could not stop it

The Bill  passed the Commons, and is now before the Senate … the last hope for sanity and  justice for the West and BC to prevail … before the parting Governor General Michaelle Jean gets to sign it into law. 

I warned about this horrible insult to BC and the West in July 2009: the BC media  ignored it; The Saskatoon Star Phoenix went after Ignatieff on this in April: The National Post raised the alarm; even the Toronto Star shone its searchlight on the issue.

And the Alberta government has filed a legal challenge of the proposed law!

“A bill currently before Canada’s Senate represents a serious risk to the interests of western Canadians, to the proper function of the Supreme Court, and to the integrity of the justice system,”  argues  Alberta’s Minister of Justice Alison Redford.
This week, Ignatieff came to BC.
And for two days, the BC media pretty well let him set his own agenda: with a vow that, if  he becomes Prime Minister (LOL!) , he would ban offshore oil tanker traffic; and, he announced he will soon visit China to promote trade. 
Ho hum!  
But from what I saw on t.v., read in the newspapers, or heard on the radio… the BC media gave Ignatieff a free pass on his complete betrayal of BC and Western Canadians.  They had him right here.  They should have raked him over the coals; they should have sent a loud message back East; they should have represented the voices and the interests of British Columbians.   
They did  nothing.   Actually worse: they just let Ignatieff pursue his own agenda … and they gave him a platform to do it.
I remember how different the BC media was during the Golden Age.  It’s not that long ago that we would have relished his visit, put his feet to the fire and applied a lot of heat.  And the public would have appreciated it … and loved us for it.  Now?  No wonder so many have so little respect for the media.
What a disgrace!      
It’s too early to tell exactly what form the new Sun TV channel will take, or whether it will have a real BC/Western presence in its coverage or just give us more Central Canada crud.  And I’m sure the big networks/media will oppose it, saying it’s not needed, can’t be supported financially, and argue they are already doing a great job for Canadians.
Given the current sad state of media and news management in B.C. … the new channel sure deserves a try. Maybe it will wake up the BC media.
Harv Oberfeld
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14 Responses to BC Media Fail British Columbians

  1. Steve says:

    Jack Webster must be spinning in his grave.

    (Response: And I feel he would be proud of me for standing up and speaking out … even though I have paid the price of being shunned by so many of my former “colleagues.” I haven’t abandoned faith, Jack! h.o)

  2. J.S. says:

    “East is East and West is West, and Never the Twain Shall Meet” — Rudyard Kipling.

    Western Canada has had ascerbic journals, in its volatile relationship towards Central Canada, going back way more than a century: the Calgary Eye Opener, and Western Report magazine, in Alberta, of course, are just two major former examples.

    In B.C. a number of anti-establishment rags has come and gone, the Georgia Strait being a lousy example.

    Now, it’s time to revive this Western Canadian time-honoured tradition, via blogs, an ideal medium allowing us to hurl anti-establishment jabs at our Upper/Lower Canada Betters.

    Too many B.C. news media types are bubble-headed bleach blondes. They trot any old thing out on the “news” and hope their good looks allow them to skid the item around the addled audience before it switches channels to “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

    Dives; that’s what TV news shows in BC are right now. Dives of “I care about my career before my viewers; like yuk,” one Info Bunny might be thinking at any given time. Thinking?! Not !

    Climb out of your dives and into the daylight all you contributors. You’ve nothing to lose. Period! AND, forward your thoughts to your local MP.

    If you need to sit in the sun this summer, then fine. Write at night! It’s good for the soul…

    Night Hawks of the West: Unite!

    (Response: So sad…but some of it so true. News managers have hired too many inexperienced young people, some with almost no real creative story-telling or writing skills. BUT… there are still some very good reporters who “believe” and sometimes I do like what they come up with ..and say so too on here. But I believe the real problem is in news management …. too old, too bored, too boring … just want to put in their time, cash their cheques and not make waves with the establishment or their BIG bosses. And I think the only thing that will get them out of their rut would be a new kid on the block …. kicking their asses. h.o)

  3. What an absolutely brilliant piece Harv!

    I was going to give my own assessment of Iffy’s Western tour, but instead I’m going to feature your piece on my blog and follow from there with my own post.

    Of course the largely LIBERAL dupes in the BC media gave him a break.

    (Response: I’m flattered ..and can hardly wait to see your post! (www.alexgtsakumis.com) h.o.

    Truly brilliant! Kudos!!!

  4. Norm Farrell says:

    “he would ban offshore oil tanker traffic; and, he announced he will soon visit China to promote trade”

    Ha! Where does he think those tankers will be heading as they leave our shores. There is a connection between the need for a west coast oil port and the $10 billion dollars invested so far by the Chinese in Alberta oil sands.

    If this is the finest leader the Liberal could manage, they need to go back to the wilderness to wait until we call.

    (Response: You would think the media would also have raised the issue of his lacklustre performance and ranking In BC…mais non! h.o)

  5. Splendor Sine Occasu says:

    Hello there, Mr. Oberfeld. I do miss you style of reporting, where you asked the hard questions demanded by British Columbians. I too am embarrassed of what happened to our once-great news media, and hope the Sun TV News channel will bring some of that back. It’s too bad that we no longer have that British Columbia perspective in the PPG, instead of those inside-the-beltway types that are there now.

    (Response: Thanks ..nice to be remembered like that. I always tried to ask questions “my friends” would pose if they could …instead of long, convoluted boring details that just let politicians rant. So the media in Ottawa, and in B.C. often saw me as too low-brow. (Notice that, despite 38 years and many, many awards for my actual stories, there were no lifetime awards or recognition for me from the media/political/corporate financed establishment! LOL!) But funny thing, more often than not the answers to MY questions were the ones everyone seemed to use on the radio or tv that night! And the “people” seemed to love it. Now many pass my independent … notice no ads … blog around (NEVER quoted in the MSM) and that makes me feel vindicated ..and that’s a lot of fun. h.o)

  6. Crankypants says:

    The way I see it is that the majority of the MSM refuses to do the heavy lifting. They just accept whatever the politician is dealing as news and file their reports. Non-answers to questions can be just as telling, but it seems that in today’s world the politicians set the agenda and the MSM is all too eager to comply.

    As an example, when Blair Leckstrom announced that he was quitting cabinet and the Liberal caucus, nobody bothered asking him why he was still retaining his membership with the BC Liberal Party. He states that he is now an independent MLA, but how independent can he be if he still is a member of the governing party.

    (Response: I have said it before. Too mant people who cover politics have been at if far too long: we need people with spirit and healthy disrespect … not friendship… for the people in power. Maybe that new channel will deliver that. h.o)

  7. It was only a couple of months ago that you commented on signs of hope that one at least one media outlet ( Global ) was showing signs of returning to it’s roots of solid investigative reporting. Has your confidence been squashed again ? Harvey, I truly believe that most of today’s media is waiting for the story to come knocking rather than chasing down a good story. There are lots of interesting stories out there, but rip & read appears to be the norm nowadays. It’s evident when you watch them read a story about how great the BC economy is recovering, and a few minutes later they introduce their business specialist who then paints a different story. Today, I read that BC is leading the Country in economic recovery. Yesterday I read, Ontario is leading the Country.
    All that from the same reporter.

    (Response: Hope springs eternal. As I have consistently said there are still many good reporters among the cheap, untrained, uneducated, poor writers ..but oh so cute and willing to take orders and be pushed around juniors that have come with the do-more-with-less philosophy. And I know there are even a few news managers who still try to do quality work. So when I see somethjing I like, I try to sing their praises and encourage more. I know many read the blog. But sadly, the overall overwhelming reality, esp when it comes to political reporting, BC is in big trouble. And I blame bored and boring complacent establisment -friendly management more than the reporters for the lacklustre and spiritless crud we now get too often. For example ..look how long it took the media to stop making fun of Vander Zalm and the anti HST movement ..remember all the chuckles they used to give it? If they had proper motivation and spirit they should have CHAMPIONED the effort right from the start. Like I did! h.o).

  8. Norm Farrell says:

    H.O., what do you think of Global TV, on their report about the Vancouver School Board budget cuts meeting, featuring a “parent angry with the school board” for their defiance. And the parent was Colin Hansen’s campaign manager Mike Klassen, himself a Liberal flack.

    (Response: Sorry did not see it. But if they identified the person and his or her link to Hansen, I would be happy. And then they should go after Hansen about that. If they didn’t know who it was, that could also be quite innocent. But if they knew and didn;t report it…I’d be upset. h.o)


    How does that happen without being purposely constructed by management?

  9. brian in kelowna says:

    just watched the video from the globalbc feed regarding mike klassen. he was identified as a “parent” only.
    video is under the news hour final banner, school cuts.

    (Response: Why not write them and ask if they didn’t know who he was? Didn’t care? Or just made an error of omission? h.o)

  10. Tony M says:

    Harvey, this is beyond foolish. Expecting judges to be fluent in both official languages is a reasonable expectation and hardly some anti-west bias – surely you’re not suggesting westerners are too stupid to speak more than one language?

    You sound exactly like my father 25 years ago, arguing to me that westerners speak English and don’t need to learn other languages. Dummy that I was, I listened to him. Luckily my kids were smart enough to see through that balderdash. All took French through school. Two now have a third language (German) and one is working on a fourth (Japanese). Good for them.

    The requirement that judges know both official languages is as much a bias against westerners as a requirement that physicists understand quantum mechanics is a bias against people who can’t do math. This is a skill we’re talking about, not some genetic flaw. If you don’t have the skillset to do a job, you don’t get the job. How hard is that?

    (Response: You miss the whole point about Canada’s Official Bilingualism polcy. It requitres that all Canadians have the right to service in the official language of their choice. IT DOES NOT AND NEVER DID demand or require that EVERYONE holding a particular job speak both languages,. Until now. I speak Franch and worked very hard to learn it, in Quebec, at a time when most English speaking people did not want to do so. I am happy to speak French … BUT I would never disqualify a brilliant mind ..English or French …from our top court just because they were raised and worked in an area where the other language is almost never spoken. What we would too often get under the law are “lesser” legal minds but people who hapwened to be bilingual. The top court of the land is too important ror that. And simultaneous translation by linguistic experts have worked for more than 100 years. No need to get rid of it now …just to expand political correctness. h.o)

  11. Tony M says:

    That point is fair enough, Harvey. I don’t agree, but it’s a fair point.

    My larger contention was with the argument that this requirement is some kind of anti-west bias. That’s a frankly juvenile argument.

    I’m a westerner through and through. Five generations of my family have farmed in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. I’ve listened to the boohooing about how those mean old easterners have no respect for western Canada. It’s been nonsense as long as I’ve been alive and it’s certainly nonsense now, given how much western conservative values influence the governing Conservatives. (Conservatives in Ontario and Quebec are, in the main, much more liberal in their outlook, as are a good chunk of their populations.)

    So please, let’s have a good argument about bilingualism, both the theory and how it’s practiced. But when it comes to some conspiracy to keep westerners out of the loop, well, as the kids say, someone call the Wahhhhhhhmbulance.

    (Response: Hmmm.. this is complicated. I don’t believe I ever said the law was adopted as a deliberate anti-Western bias My position is simply is that it will disadvantage Western Canadians unfairly and for no justifiable reason. BUT, as you may know, I too lived in Saskatchewan as well as B.C., was born and educated in Quebec, am bilingual, klived in Ottawa and covered Parliament Hill for 8 years. I’m sorry to tell you there IS an actual anti-Western bias in the corridors of power: because of the number of seats proferred by Ontario and Quebec; because the fragilitiy of Quebeckers’ affinity to the country; because of the failure of our own MPs to stand up for BC (the bilingual judges issue a perfect example); because of central-Canada “national” media bias; because of lack of presence of much Western media in Ottawa; because of the tepid way our provincial governments deal with Ottawa …. our issues are on the back burner, if there at all and our influence is well below what it deserves. Liberal strategist Keith Davie once said in talking about the West in Ottawa during elections: “F**k the West; we’ll take the rest”. He wasn’t kidding. h.o)

  12. Norm Farrell says:

    Just a note. Today Mike Klassen was on BCTV News Hour Final commenting as if here were an urban development expert.

    What do we have? Volunteer news reporters from the Liberal party?

  13. AJ says:

    Iran kills two more Canadians in Afghanistan.

  14. kootcoot says:

    I really don’t think a new media outlet that has already claimed to be coming to rescue us from the alleged “liberal” media which is holding us captive is the answer to the right wing corporate grip on the media, especially in BC – Anyone who can call the Asper Empire (whatever it is called now) evil trio of the T-C, Province and Sun with the added “balance of Glow Ball and CeeTeeVee anything to the left of Richard Nixon is either dyslexic or dillusional. I would dare say even Bob Stanfield would consider the excuse for media in British Columbia today to the right of himself when he was leader of the (no longer Progressive) Conservative Party.

    Maybe AGT can get an on air postion as Canada’s own Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh hybrid combo! Nominations are now open for Canada’s own right wing whacko girl ala Michelle Malkin/Ann Coulter – perhaps there is a media future for Helena Guergis of the trembling lower lip – heck Rahim could even be her on-air sidekick!

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