Media usurping government authority?

The media’s mandate is to provide information to the public

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Media usurping government authority?

The media or government? That’s the choice the people of Canada and the United States must now make. At present the lines of authority between those two entities have been blurred, and that is definitely a situation that endangers our rights and freedoms.

The media’s mandate is to provide information to the public in a balanced and objective way and to entertain us. That is all. They should strive to be as objective and non partisan as possible and to save their opinion for well designated areas such as editorial columns or talk shows that we understand to be fair game for opinionated responses. That’s their job.

It is not their job to set policy, crush dissenting opinion, cut away from public announcements by elected officials, or decide who has or has not won an election before all voting has been tabulated or all irregularities have been dealt with.

What’s more, it is not the media’s job (and in this I include big tech) to dictate our values to us, or silence, or shadow ban, the public’s opinions by the use of manipulative algorithms or to suppress information or viewpoints they may not agree with.

And yet, that is exactly what is happening. So where does this leave us? Unfortunately, in the situation of being a deteriorating democracy in which the mainstream media and big tech are acting like the government run media of a dictatorial state, silencing dissent and telling us what is, in George Orwell’s words, a “double plus good” situation in our “Newspeak” world.

Duly elected government ought to be the only organ of state and the representative voice of the people. Media, the so called “Fourth Estate” has no business setting policy, making governmental decisions, or restricting our Charter right to free expression, which also includes free speech.

A wide range of outlets and opinion venues ought to be part of both the Canadian and American media scene. But instead of we have an overwhelming majority of American news being presented by a small number of media companies (there were many more before) and the Government of Canada policing news and patrolling the internet to monitor both opinion and media presentation. Ironically, they are not questioning the “legacy media” whom they support with hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

So what will it be? Media deciding policy, or government? That appears to be the decision we have to make. Let’s hope we make the right one.

Perry Foster

Duncan

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