For decades, Canadians were the butt of many cruel jokes about how pathetic and effeminate their nation was, with a vague notion that they were the indolent, slightly retarded younger sibling of the successful USA, smoking weed in their underwear and playing video games whilst the older brother was pulling double shifts at work.
In 2015, Canadians thought long and hard about how to deal with this unfair criticism and came to the collective conclusion that the best plan of attack would be to elect a former ski instructor, gap year backpacker and professional trustafarian, Justin Trudeau, as their leader.
As a consequence, they’ve deservedly got legislation such as this gem;
Actually, that should probably read “Canadian government further nationalises journalism” as they already annually spunk half a billion Canadian dollars (about $75.43 US and a couple of Tim Horton donuts) on the CBC. One supposes an addition $120m a year isn’t going to be that noticeable, therefore.
Anyone with the mildest knowledge of history and just the slightest tendency toward cynicism will find the language used to announce this “innovation” (yes, that’s how one likely recipient of taxpayer largesse described it) has creepy echoes from a previous time;
An independent panel comprised of members of the news and journalism industry will flesh out the application of the moves announced in Wednesday’s fall economic statement. In particular, the group will decide which journalism jobs and which news organizations are eligible for the new funding.
Independently deciding who amongst them will receive free money? Yes, that sounds fine, I’m sure.
Oh, and it’s not an across the board subsidy then? Not every news outlet and journalist will benefit?
The government said the package will aim to help “trusted” news organizations, but will leave it to the media industry to define the application of the new initiatives.
Trust is a difficult thing to define, isn’t it? It’s almost easier to define the conditions where one doesn’t have it. After all, as the man said, “there’s only two men I trust in this world; I’m one and you ain’t the other one“.
As with so many issues facing us on a daily basis, it is a dangerous mistake to assume a single cause. The legislation has an underlying assumption that there is only one major cause to the economic decline of the traditional media sector; that digital media has broken the business model.
That may well be a major contributing factor but what hasn’t been considered is that there may be another cause of similar importance. Amusingly, there’s a clue in the press release; Canadians are no longer prepared to pay for traditional media because the speed of delivery and far wider choice of digital sources has opened their eyes to quite how biased and limited the traditional media has been. They’ve lost trust, in other words.
So now they have the worst of both worlds; Canadians are going to pay for journalism they don’t want to read……forever.
Yes; ask yourself, under what circumstances will a Canadian government ever be able to announce a closing of this funding source once it has been embedded for a couple of years?
The independent media will wail and moan from the highest steeples and undermine any political party that so much as hints that the time has come to stop subsidising journalism that nobody reads.