Journalists in the mainstream Canadian media are being intimidated from fully describing the soulless ideology practised by the Harper Conservative government — at least this has been my impression for some time now.
Wanting to find out what journalists are really writing about the Tories and neoliberalism, I spent some time this week searching the Internet for any 2011 articles that would link the two.
I felt that, if the mainstream media is involved in an unspoken conspiracy of silence to hide the evil economic philosophy of the Harper government, the public needs to know.
And if this is the case, I also want to publicly expose and embarrass the big media corporations for their censorship of this important information — thus my challenge.
First of all, it was no surprise that several independent and alternative media — such as rabble.ca and Straight Goods — allowed their journalists to describe the Harper Conservatives’ ideology.
Searching two dozen mainstream newspapers, I found many articles describing individual Conservative economic policies, such as budget cutting and reducing the taxes on corporations, but nothing that drew them all together under the economic policy of neoliberalism and explained that these were not one-off policies but a political and economic outlook.
The only use of the unmentionable word — neoliberalism — I could find in our national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, was in a column by freelance journalist Gerald Caplan, but there was no mention of the Harper government. The Vancouver Sun carried a short review of a book by Henry Giroux about the evils of neoliberalism.
That was it!
It is possible that I may have missed my much sought-after story, but I don’t think so.
For the entire year of 2011, I could not find one column or one article by any journalist from Canada’s 24 “leading” papers that identified and described the true ideology practised by the Harper Conservatives.
Of course if I were Stephen Harper, I would want my deepest economic beliefs to be kept secret.
Neoliberalism is a truly evil ideology for at least 80 per cent of Canadians. Among many things, it is robbing us of well-paid jobs, eliminating our pensions, and cheating our children out of a prosperous future. In Europe and the United States, neoliberal policies are destroying the lives of millions of people. It is nearly impossible to imagine but, in Greece, destitute families are abandoning their children.
From what I know, not once did a reporter from the mainstream press step forward at a news conference during the last election campaign and ask, “Mr. Harper, would it be correct to say that your party follows neoliberal policies?”
Hmmm.. I wonder what would have happened to that journalist?
I find it strange — no, disturbing — that the name and description of the political ideology being implemented by our government of seven years is missing from the tens-of-thousands of articles in the mainstream media about the Conservatives.
Clearly, individual journalists cannot be blamed for this. Most daily journalists work in an environment where they are intimidated from suggesting stories having anything to do with Harper neoliberalism or evaluating its impact. This is one of many taboo topics in corporate newsrooms.
The media corporations, not individual journalists, must be held responsible for withholding a full description of the Harper economic agenda.
First of all, newspaper corporations strongly support and benefit from neoliberal policies. Second, it appears that all major media companies in the country, with the exception of The Toronto Star, are on the Harper bandwagon.
Many of the dailies occasionally criticize Harper for one thing or another, but to allow any of their journalists to describe Harper’s neoliberal policies in full would enrage the vindictive Harper. It also would send an alert to a public that does not realize that many of the things they dislike about the Conservatives are part of a bigger bundle.
How serious is this unspoken conspiracy? I believe it is just as scandalous as a group of companies that use the old “wink wink” method to fix consumer prices. If there ever was a need to expand and develop truly independent media in Canada, this is it.
Dippers, socialists, and commie-lovers
Meanwhile, many of the big newspapers never miss an opportunity to describe — or misrepresent — the ideology and policies of the New Democrats.
Last Saturday, a column by NDP-hater Jeffrey Simpson in the print version of The Globe and Mail called the New Democrats “Dippers.” Simpson totally trashed NDP economic ideas while at the same time endorsed key aspects of neoliberalism — without using the unmentionable word.
I digress. Of course the New Democrats are incessantly referred to by corporate media as “socialists”, not “democratic socialists.” And not too far beneath the surface is the hint that the New Democrats have been spawned by communists — despite the fact that, in reality, democratic socialists and communists historically were the worst of enemies.
Newsrooms at corporate media are in a sorry state these days. While dozens of columnists across the country espouse conservative and even, unknowingly, fascist ideas, I know of only three columnists who write from an independent and progressive perspective.
Incidentally, the “lefties in media” list shrank a whole lot recently when The Toronto Star, citing budget pressures, cut Linda McQuaig’s weekly column back to once a month.
Reward for journalist to come forward
It seems to me that our meek mainstream newspaper folks need some encouragement to write about what our national government really stands for.
I want to offer an incentive for mainstream of journalists to begin telling the entire story when it comes to Tory economic policy. So, I hereby offer a prize of Dinner for Two at any restaurant of her/his choice (value $150) to the first mainstream newspaper journalist who writes a full article about the neoliberal policies of the Harper Conservatives.
The contest is “on” effective Saturday, January 14 2012 and will end April 30 2012.
Since I don’t have the resources to check the content of all of these papers, I am offering a “finder’s fee” of $50 to anyone who first spots the article that meets the prize criteria.
Congratulations to the winning journalist and media organization that sees the light and understands the importance of telling the truth when it comes to the Harper Conservative government and its’ agenda!