June 14, 2024
Any chance the media bailout would not be politicized has now vanished
No matter how this is done, no matter how arm's-length the process, it intrudes the government into areas it has no business being in.
No matter how this is done, no matter how arm’s-length the process, it intrudes the government into areas it has no business being in.

On Wednesday the government announced the names of the organizations it had chosen to be represented on the “independent panel” it has struck to advise it how to give money to newspapers, out of the nearly $600 million set aside in the budget for the purpose.

They included the organization that lobbied for the money on behalf of the country’s newspaper publishers, the union representing many of the journalists whose salaries the money would underwrite, plus sundry other unions, publishers and activist groups,

The presence of the journalists’ union, Unifor, on the panel served as a red flag for the Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, given the union’s history of campaigning against the Conservatives and its promise to do so again in the coming election. He demanded Unifor be kicked off the panel.

That prompted an accusation from Unifor that Scheer was engaged in a “Trump-style attack” on the media. The president of the union, Jerry Dias, wrote a column assailing Scheer for putting “the very principles of truth and democracy at risk.” It appeared in one of the newspapers that hopes the government will subsidize it.

The government, for its part, is unapologetic about the choice of its objective allies in the union to help it decide how to hand out the cash. “After all,” said a spokesman for the heritage minister, “who is (better) placed to advocate for the future of journalism than journalists themselves?” He accused the Conservatives of attacking the independence of the media and “the professionalism of journalists.”

Just so we’re clear, then: as if it were not bad enough that the country’s newspapers will be taking money from one of the parties they will be writing about in the next election, we are shaping up to be a central issue in the campaign we are covering.

But no big deal. Doubtless we will continue to bask in the high level of public trust we currently enjoy.


See Also:

(1) Senate votes to hear testimony from Vice-Admiral Mark Norman

(2) Dishonest Trudeau campaign against Scheer must stop

(3) Liberal insiders see Carney as Trudeau successor, Star reports