Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Propaganda: not welcome in Canada

 
propaganda
noun
information, expecially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote 
a particular political cause or point of view.


I was talking to Jennifer, a young co-worker recently.  Jennifer turned 30 last year.  I mentioned something I'd heard on CBC Radio One that morning.  She surprised me by saying, "Yeh, I heard that on the way to work."

"You listen to CBC Radio?" I said.  "Public radio?"

"Sure," she replied, "I love CBC."

I was surprised because she is so young compared to me ... I guess I figured I liked CBC because of my age.  Not so.

Canadians like facts.  Canadians tell me often (and, by and large, I think they mostly agree) that Americans are a good and decent people who are simply badly propagandized. And when Canadians speak of propaganda, they always mention one US network, and one only.

Ten years ago, Fox News won the right, in a Florida federal court, to lie to its viewers. That court decision found that the federal FCC policy against falsification in news reporting was not a "law, rule, or regulation" and lying was not, therefore, prohibited by law, even if it was a violation of FCC policy. When Fox lies; it does so legally.

Whenever you hear the phrase "Some people say ..." on Fox News, you can bet, you're about to hear a lie.  Oops, sorry ... not a lie but, rather, an "unsourced opinion." Listen carefully, because you are about to be fed a new "talking point."

It's called "propaganda," and that's what "news" is all about in the United States today.

But not in Canada.  Three years ago when the government, through the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), tried to rescind the ban on "fake" news sites that broadcast lies, they were forced to back down because of an outcry from a Canadian public who "feared such a move would open the door to Fox TV-style news and reduce their ability to determine what is true and what is false."  [ source ]

Having won a legal right to lie in the United States, Fox should stay there; Most Canadians who want to watch Fox News can do so; most Canadian cable networks carry broadcasts from Fox affiliate stations near the border.  My own cable network carries WUTV, a Fox-affiliate from Buffalo NY.  I sometimes watch Big Bang Theory on that channel.

Fox News isn't in Canada because it is prohibited; Fox News isn't in Canada because Canadians don't want it here.

Or anything that smells like it.