Megalomedia - Wake up to your news

Monday, May 09, 2005

Cynics of the world, unite!

Wow, a guy doesn't get around to reposting his daily rant and people get testy. Thanks to everyone who posted or wrote to me about that, I guess people really are reading this bad boy. WARNING: Self-promotion ahead. Media rants follow. As I mentioned last week, I was in Montreal discussing some possibly exciting developments for this site and media watchdoggery in general. I'm pleased to announce that I have joined forces with the fine folks at Media Scout (see link to the right, or go to www.mediascout.ca). Starting sometime this week, I'll be writing the daily e-mail briefing for them once or twice a week. This is insanely exciting. If you haven't been to their site and signed up for the daily e-mail, I urge you to do so now. Media Scout is the premier media watchdog in this country, something that we've been sorely lacking for too long. I'm really proud to have been invited to take part. In addition to joining their team, I also pitched the idea of the Actionline to them and got an enthusiastic response. The details have yet to be hammered out, but I would expect you to be hearing about a much larger, much more sophisticated Actionline in the next few weeks or months. All this to say that I'm really stoked about where this is all headed. I started doing Megalomedia as a way of sharing my rants with friends, but I soon decided that I'd like to do this for a living. Media Scout is a step towards that goal. Canada doesn't have anyone like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) to act as a watchdog for the media, yet our media is arguably more concentrated and corporate than theirs. It's time to stop being complacent and start doing something about it. What does this mean for Megalomedia? Well, I intend to keep on blogging, as the kids say. The Media Scout gig will be once or twice a week and the Actionline stuff won't be whipped up in a day like the first one was. Ideally, this will all just mean more traffic to the site and more debate in the comments section. Speaking of that, I should get down to business. Darfur in the press, Joe's still not happy Argh. I should be glad that the genocide in Darfur is starting to get some coverage and that Canada is actually deploying soldiers there. And I am. But man, could we PLEASE get some context in our reportage? The Globe's Bill Curry reported on Bill Graham's attempts to convince people that the mission in Darfur wasn't based solely on trying to win support from recently-independent MP David Kilgour. Frankly, I believe him. But in trying to stretch the story and give some background, Curry quickly outlines the other Canadian contingents in or headed for the country. 'A' for effort, but given that the Globe never reported on the Canadian deployment to Southern Sudan, it is a bit of a stretch to assume everyone will understand what you mean by "Canada has already committed 31 soldiers to act as advisers to the UN Standing High Readiness Brigade in Khartoum. . . " or that the UN brigade he refers to is mandated to monitor the peace agreement in Southern Sudan, not Darfur. The Post runs a similarly frustrating editorial, in which they decry the lack of action on Sudan and say the Canadian contribution isn't enough to make a difference. It's cute to see the suddenly pretend to care about Africa. And I'm sure it's purely coincidental that it comes at a time when the Conservatives are looking to mount an election campaign that will undoubtedly criticize the Liberals' committment to the military. If the Post is so concerned about Darfur, why has it taken this long to do any substantive reporting on the crisis? TERROR! FEAR! OBEY! TERROR! The Post leads with the spine-chilling headline "Influx of terrorists" and warns us all that a government report revealed that "a number of 'jihadist returnees' have arrived back in Canada from other countries and some may intend on committing acts of terrorism." That's pretty much the extent of the new information. It goes on to quote the report giving the same info as the lead, then devolves into rehashed tidbits about Ahmed Ressam (the "alleged" Millennium Bomber!) and Fateh Kamel (the "alleged" former leader of a Canadian extremist cell), among others. Let's extrapolate that lead, shall we? A "number" of these guys have come back to Canada, and "some" may want to blow shit up. From that we can assume that not all of the aforementioned number want to blow shit up, just a few. And given that 2 is a number, one could argue that only one jihadist returnee is kicking around planning to blow shit up. One would probably be wrong, but since the report didn't offer any numbers to refute one, one is going to sit confidently at one's desk and drink some V8 Low Sodium. The amazing thing is that there was a CP story today about a CSIS report on the rise in Islamic extremism in Africa that contains much more troubling information, but the Post took a pass. In case you live in some sort of hell where the Post is your only source of news, here it is. Why would the Post pass up on a much better story with more new information that would serve the fear-mongering agenda they love so much? Perhaps it's the implication in the CP story that poverty plays a role in driving people to extremist groups. See, that's what Chretien and a few others tried to tell people a few years back, and the Post was indignant. The idea that poverty caused terrorism was nonsense! Oh, and they would have had to actually report on Africa, and who wants to do that? AIDS, poverty, civil wars. . . that shit's a downer. Okay, this is getting long enough. I wanted to talk about a few more things, but this post is already a beast. Go sign up for Media Scout and be part of the revolution.

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