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April 19, 2002 — 12 PM

Exercises in Mass Communication

So far I have avoided mentioning the Middle East conflict on attaboy, mostly because I am so weary of the subject from the omnipresent media coverage. To read a newspaper or turn on the TV these days you’d hardly know it if the globe split open and the Southern Hemisphere fell off. Somehow a problem largely created by the British some fifty years ago (the French had their part to play too) has come to symbolize an entire world in conflict. And journalists can’t get enough.

Well if there is one particular aspect of this conflict worth discussion, it’s the fashion in which certain media mold their coverage to suit the interests of a few, while ignoring that holy grail of journalism, objectivity. No, it’s not possible to be completely objective about most complex political struggles, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

In Canada the news media have come under incredibly tight concentration as almost all of the mainstream sources (at least in English) are owned by either Global or Bell Canada. Global has the lion’s share of newspapers, including the primary daily paper in every city but Toronto, and even there they own the competitive National Post. As it happens, the family behind Global, the Asper clan, are heavy Israeli-supporters, and that fact undeniably influences what stories papers like the Post choose to print, and what angle those stories take.

Here in Montreal, the Global-owned Gazette has lately shown its colours by downplaying Palestinian support in the city. Just last week thousands of people walked in protest down Ste-Catherine Street against Israel. The protest received no mention in the Gazette. Then last Wednesday, thousands of others celebrated Israeli independence day with a similar rally. The event garnered front-page coverage.

Well I couldn’t help but notice, and I sent in a letter to the editor yesterday conveying my disappointment. I don’t consider myself to be anything close to a Palestinian supporter, but I also don’t think Israel’s actions are entirely just, nor should they get a free ride. And to their credit, the Gazette published my letter, albeit beside two letters supporting the Israeli cause.


“As it happens, the family behind Global, the Asper clan, are heavy Israeli-supporters, and that fact undeniably influences what stories papers like the Post choose to print, and what angle those stories take.”

Whew! This is about 1/2 a step away from saying that Jews run the media! I mean, you certainly have a right to say whatever you want, but I think perhaps the issue is more the lack of a Palestinian representation in the media in general.

— LM | Apr. 22, 2002 — 12 AM

I’m not attempting to criticize the media in general. I’m criticizing the Canadian media owned by one company which has already proven its willingness to interfere with its editors. The previous editor of the Gazette quit just a few months ago because he didn’t agree with the directives he was getting to publish certain political views and omit others.

The issue is not whether “Jews run the media.” Suggesting that cheaply undermines the discussion. When Conrad Black owned the newspapers that Global owns now, he did not attempt to censor opinions so broadly, even though he also supports the Israeli side.

— Luke | Apr. 22, 2002 — 10 AM

What if the owners of the Post and its editors are correct about Israel exercising its right to self defense, and the Palestinians are only trying to murder Jews as a sign of bravado to the rest of the Muslim world. (If they really wanted peace and a state of their own, they would have it by now and everyone knows that for a fact). The probelm with the news media nowadays, is that it is biased towards the liberal side of the political spectrum, and it is so predictible it is boring! Pro-gay, pro-abortion, pro-Palestinian, you know… It think it is refreshing to read a newspaper that has a different take on things. Kudos to the National Post.

Enrique Clunie | Apr. 27, 2002 — 7 AM

Previously: Sudden Death

Subsequently: What to Wear

April 2002
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