More and more the news media primarily in the mainstream media are not doing their jobs. They’re not reporting the real news. They’ve been more into spinning or presenting “fake news.” Rather than being scrutineers, they seem to be in bed with the politicians these days. Graham Thompson from the Edmonton Journal recently put out a great piece about how in Alberta here journalists are spinning the news in order to get a job with the government. If you click on the link, he explains in a video very simply what’s going on.
Forgive me if today’s column is a bit too much inside baseball.
It’s about press secretaries and how Alberta’s NDP government has gone on something of a hiring spree for spin doctors since winning the 2015 election.
My colleague Stuart Thomson wrote an interesting feature on the topic last Saturday, pointing out that a whack of the new press secretaries hired by the government are former journalists. There are almost a dozen.
You might not care. But you should.
Journalists are jumping to the government not because they suddenly have an urge to spin the news rather than report it, but because they need a job.
The number of journalists covering news has dropped alarmingly the past few years, not just at the Alberta legislature, but everywhere.
Because of declining revenue, news organizations are laying off workers or enticing them to retire early. That means fewer reporters covering stories, fewer cameras at news conferences, fewer journalists investigating issues.
And then there’s the whole optics thing.
I worry that people who think the Alberta media are too soft on the government will think the news media is little more than a farm team for the government.
No wonder we’re not getting truthful reporting. No wonder why we’re getting fake news. I think you’re seeing this many other jurisdictions not just in Alberta. Most journalists seem to lean left and are propaganda arms of governments of the left. I see this happening federally as well. I think some journalists there are auditioning for a seat in the Senate. This is not good for government. It’s not good for democracy as a whole. We need a truthful media with diverse views and opinions.
We need to hold our journalists to account and demand they report the news, all sides of the issues and not tailor their stories in order to get a cushy job in the government. Call them out. Quit watching and listening to the mainstream media. Quit subscribing to their newspapers. There are alternatives out there. The Rebel Media is a good example. They will delve into stories that the other media refuse to or just ignore. Plus none of them are not vying for a position in government. They are equal opportunists. They are not afraid to scrutinize any politician no matter what political stripe.
Update: Micheal Den Tandt from The National Post has just joined the PMO. Cosy relationship between journalists and government? I would say so.