It’s bad enough for much of the media to be reliant upon taxpayer funding. Running veiled propaganda from Communist China takes it to a whole other level.
There was once a time when most Canadians saw the establishment media as the arbiter of truth.
After all, there wasn’t really such a thing as ‘alternative media’ for a long-time, and when people had only a few news channels to consume it was easy to put faith in those few institutions that purported to push for the truth.
Old-school journalists also had – in some cases – an adversarial mindset towards the government, always on the lookout for dishonesty from those in power.
The media once truly viewed itself as an important institution that was meant to serve the public by holding the government accountable.
In the past, that made sense.
Before the digital era, the ability to get a message to lots of people required a heavy initial capital investment, and immense physical and financial resources going forward.
Governments possessed that, while the vast majority of people did not.
The growth of the establishment media represented a pooling of resources, giving the public a way to pushback against government propaganda, and level the playing field in the information battlespace.
To survive and thrive, much of the media had to retain a connection with the public, and that meant being seen as a counterbalance to the government.
As mentioned above however, the digital age has changed things.
Now, almost anyone can share their opinions, build an audience, and use the internet to have access to a wide array of documents, government statements, and differing viewpoints.
Rather than being reliant upon centralized institutions that serve as arbiters of truth, each of us has the potential to do that for ourselves.
In short, each of us has the ability to become the media.
Like any era in which large shifts take place, those who stand to lose out will try to push back.
And, since centralized governments and centralized media institutions both feel they have much to lose from the decentralization of the media, they are trying to stop it.
Governments would rather deal with a few media institutions than with a wholly decentralized media environment.
Centralized media institutions would rather have stable funding and audiences than have to compete in a total free market of ideas, opinion, and journalism.
Thus, the interests of the centralized state and the establishment media are aligned.
This is why we see all the media bailouts, legislation like Bill C-10, and a noticeable narrative shift in much of the media towards a pro-government, pro-authority stance.
This is also why we see such rapid growth of independent media in Canada.
The more the establishment abandons their role and becomes an extension of the government, the more there will be an audience for media figures and organizations that have an adversarial approach to the government, or at least are willing to challenge and question the government.
Declining credibility, declining revenue
The more the establishment media loses credibility, the more they struggle.
Some financial impact was inevitable regardless, since the digital age would have always ushered in an era of more decentralized media.
However, the way the establishment press is responding to their financial difficulties has led them into a trap:
The more they try to consolidate their financial position, the more they lose credibility, which then weakens their financial position, driving even more desperate attempts to make money.
And that brings us to ‘China Watch,’ the massive full-page inserts put into the Globe & Mail and Toronto Star:
“A window into the ethics of Canada’s two largest newspapers.”
Full page China ads now appearing in both the @globeandmail and the @torontostar #cdnpoli #cdnmedia
— Norman Spector (@nspector4) November 20, 2021
The inserts – which are meant to appear to be news content – are in fact propaganda paid for by Communist China.
Included on one of the pages is a ‘Call for Canada to rethink approach.’
In effect these are two Canadian newspapers accepting money from Communist China to run deceptive ads that include calls for Canada to take a more pro CCP approach, along with pushing other messages the Chinese Communist Party wants to spread.
Keep in mind, this is very different from a small ad appearing in a newspaper or website. Ads are usually obvious, and that makes it easy for people to get their intellectual guard up when evaluating them. Further, ads don’t usually take up entire pages.
But in the case of ‘China Watch,’ not only are the ads massive, but they are meant to look as if they are special insert from the Globe & Mail and Toronto Star themselves, meaning the objective from the perspective of China is to push their messaging in a covert manner.
Now, governments – especially Communist governments – pushing propaganda is no surprise.
But, for two Canadian newspapers to take that money, especially given the actions being committed by the CCP at the present time, is deeply disturbing.
This is why the establishment media continues to lose credibility:
They hold themselves up as some sort of moral arbiter, and then they take money from the CCP to run propaganda.
And the sad thing is that the Globe & Mail in particular is undermining some of their own reports. Robert Fife and Steven Chase had done great reporting on various issues, but when the newspaper they work for runs the ‘China Watch’ propaganda page alongside legitimate content, it will cause many to question everything they read in it.
The more this goes on, the more Canadians are waking up to the fact that much of the establishment media has been reduced to an angry and desperate group of organizations trying to hold on to their money and power at all costs, willing to take money from the CCP, force taxpayers to fund them through bailouts, and turn their backs on the value of free speech if it means the government will keep the money flowing.
Once again, we are seeing why Canada needs independent media now more than ever before.