Editorials - Sept. 3, 2020
Shop local, market local
Hundreds of Canadian radio and television stations could close as a result of reduced advertising revenue due to COVID-19. A report last week by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) predicts a cumulative revenue shortfall of over $1 billion by 2022.
Independents, A.M. radio and small markets are facing the biggest risk, which means that local, community media in rural areas stand to lose the most with little-to-no coverage on the networks or online news sites to compensate for the loss of their community reporters.
The CAB is advocating for both emergency funding and for the CRTC to establish a “more fair and sustainable future” for local media.
The study suggests that advertisers are pulling back on spending during the pandemic, hastening a decline the industry was already experiencing, but it seems they aren’t pulling back on all advertising. While traditional media and local retailers struggle to make money, internet giants like Amazon and Facebook are reporting record profits.
We can still choose where we shop and how we receive our news. With strong “shop local” campaigns across the country to bolster retail revenue in the post-pandemic economy, perhaps a corollary campaign of “advertise local” will be needed to boost our local media. – DS
Truth in the crosshairs
Federal Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole is now the man taking aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He’s also the man who wants to make Canada great again, or, rather, “Take Canada Back”.
There are numerous reasons not to vote for Trudeau, but O’Toole instead seems to be appealing to right-wing populism, adopting President Donald Trump’s whipping boy, the media, as his own.
O’Toole has pledged to essentially defund the CBC, though he says he will “modernize” the corporation. He plans to end funding to CBC Digital, cut the television division’s funding in half on the way to privatization, but maintain funding for CBC Radio and Radio-Canada. He has also pledged to end the Liberal government’s $600 million “media bailout”, which he says has “undermined” media independence.
In fact, O’Toole has been happy to talk about his beliefs about the CBC, even on the CBC. When he spoke about defunding the CBC on the network, it was cut for time (a poor decision by producers) and O’Toole pounced, resorting to Tweeting links “exposing” the CBC’s “bias” from The Toronto Sun and far-right-leaning alternative news sources like True North, perhaps just a step left from Rebel News, often described as Canada’s Breitbart. (Rebel and True North were both denied accreditation to the 2019 national leaders’ debate in Gatineau, citing their roles in “advocacy”, though they later won a legal challenge to attend.)
This comes after former party leader Andrew Scheer Tweeted, saying media bias against Conservatives has never been more clear, chastising the CBC for ignoring right-wing politics. He offered alternative news sources to Conservatives who no longer want to be “the silent majority”.
With O’Toole already sowing the seeds of distrust between voters and the media, the next federal election could easily mimic what has happened in the United States, with a major party leader pushing partisan half-truths masquerading as unbiased news coverage. – SL
How did it come to this?
We all love those feel-good stories in which someone takes up the mantle of saviour for another person or group of people because the world seems to have forgotten them. Maybe it’s a little girl raising money to fight cancer with a lemonade stand or a little boy donating his birthday presents to less fortunate young people. Those stories move people because they show that, even with small actions, we can be better.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lemonade stand that can stamp out racism or a birthday present that can promote Black Lives Matter, so instead of those feel-good stories, we are watching professional athletes take a knee or not play the games they love to play. Why? Because change isn’t coming fast enough. Racism is rampant and people of colour are being discriminated against daily despite the efforts of those protesting.
While it’s great that these athletes across the major televised sports (basketball, baseball, hockey and football) have taken up the mantle of Black Lives Matter and shared their support, it’s unfortunate it has had to come to this. Those feel good news stories and these protests show us, as a community, how we’re failing. We’re not supporting each other, be it in fighting racism or cancer or ensuring we all have enough.
While these stories may make us feel good that so many are pulling for change, we shouldn’t be looking to athletes to show us what’s right. We should be looking inwards or to our leaders to make these changes.
So while it’s great that the athletes in the NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA are supporting Black Lives Matter, the question is why they should have to. We should all be doing better and not leaving it to the rich and famous to lead the charge. – JDS