Saturday, January 09, 2010

Maddow debunking of Giuliani & other media notes



Rachel Maddow thoroughly debunks a Republican talking point uttered by Rudy Giuliani, that seems to be a concerted Republican effort to re-frame recent history. He stated that there were no domestic terror attacks in the U.S. under Bush. So Maddow proceeds to debunk the obvious point that Mr. 9/11 should know. She goes on to demonstrate how Giuliani's present rhetoric criticizing Obama's use of the federal court system to prosecute the Nigerian bombing suspect is at variance with many historical statements he's made on the merits of the federal court system as an appropriate venue for such cases. In other words, she hands him his lunch.

So, that's all very nice, what's that got to do with present day politics in Canada? We have nothing like this in Canada, virtually immediate fact-checking within 24-48 hours on an egregious bit of spin. There's nothing on the national networks like this at all. Would you have liked to see such an itemization done of Harper's spin on prorogation within such a segment?

We just get bits and pieces. There are print columnists who do it here and there, but not every day and on a sustained basis. They're probably doing the comparable thing to what Maddow did above, but in print, and not to the same kind of wide audience. In the blogosphere, there are lots of blogs trying to keep the record straight on what the government is saying, but to limited audience. Talk radio is a bit of a different beast, you don't get the segment like you see above, tight within 7 minutes of analysis. In the mainstream media, there is no one who does comparable work on a national television network, we just don't have it. It would have been nice to see a bit of that with the new CBC show but with the public mandate CBC has, and under this government that's not exactly been charitable in its words and actions, it doesn't seem to be realistic.

On another semi-related media note, the sale of the Canwest block of papers is in the news. The banks may be the initial owners but ultimately the goal is not their perpetual ownership. This is the block up for grabs, a quick reminder of how concentrated this company's ownership of print media has been:
Following court approval Friday, Canwest Limited Partnership’s secured lenders — which together hold $953-million in debt — will solicit offers for the publishing division, which includes the National Post, 10 major city dailies including the Victoria Times Colonist, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver’s The Province, Edmonton Journal, the Calgary Herald, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post, Windsor Star, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal’s The Gazette.

The unit also owns 26 community newspapers, as well as associated online and mobile properties.
So now we'll see what kind of bids roll in and whether or not this block situation will continue into the future. While the creditors are saying now that they'd like to keep it together, reality may intervene:
Several media sources Friday said if CanWest is willing to bend, it will find more buyers for the individual properties.
Who those bidders will be, early indications:
Rumoured bidders for Canwest's newspaper group have included investment company Onex Corp. (TSX:OCX), as well as some of Canada's largest pension funds and leveraged buyout firms.

Paul Godfrey, president and CEO of the National Post, who once led a buyout of the former Toronto Sun Publishing company in the mid-1980s, is also said to be considering a bid.
It would be a good thing to have more of a variety in Canadian print media editorial boards, an issue that's been around in Canada for decades now. Variety would be preferable to the sameness we're likely to see if it is some financial entity that ends up buying the monolith of all the Canwest chain. It would make for better democratic debate. And maybe we could hope for a tiny bit more in the way of Maddow-esque journalism, albeit in a different form?