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THE BIG TABOO! The issue the other parties
don’t dare talk about

Free The Media, May 2001;, November 2000
You guessed it, or maybe you didn’t. The big taboo! The issue the other parties dare not talk about! It’s the media, silly - the growing concentration of mass-media ownership in just a few hands, almost all of the same narrow political stripe.

Conrad Black’s gobbling up of newspapers in Canada, and moulding them to his own ideological bias, was bad enough - more extreme concentration than anywhere else in the western world. Now Black has sold most of his major dailies here to Izzy Asper and his company CanWest, the owner of BCTV, CHEK and the Global television network. This takes concentration to an even more destructive level: massive “cross-ownership.” BCE, meanwhile, has bought the CTV television network and the Globe and Mail.

In the end it’s these media owners who have the power, not the Liberals or any other political party. The media “set the frame” - the perspective through which issues are examined and the news is filtered - and this influences in turn how people vote and what political parties say, or don’t say, as they try to be elected.

In other words, we don’t live in a full-fledged democracy any longer. We live in a “managed democracy” - a kind of new feudalism in which a few media conglomerates manage what news we receive and how we look at it. And the Liberals have done nothing as this concentration of ownership has grown worse, very much worse. They’ve simply turned their backs on the public. The Alliance won’t talk about the issue, either. They don’t want the media concentration to be questioned, because most media owners are right-wing just like themselves. But what about the Canadian public and their right to know, and especially their right to hear diverse points of view?

No issue is as important as this one for Canadians, not health care, education, jobs, or the economy, for the media determine how we all see those issues and everything else that affects us. Media ownership determines what kind of democracy we have, or whether we have a genuine democracy at all.

For the Liberals and the Alliance, it’s a big taboo. Thou shalt not talk about it. We, for our part, are indeed going to talk about it.
Copyright © Herschel Hardin 2005
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