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GRAFTON: Liberal media bias has created a new conservative counter-culture

Ken Grafton writes that there’s a reason that half of Canadians and Americans don’t trust the media.

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Although arguably based in the beatnik culture of the 1950’s, the counter-culture came into its’ own during the turbulent 1960’s. It described the “New Left”, a youth-centric movement which grew out of dissatisfaction with established conservative values and traditions of the previous generation. The message was spread through music, art, “underground” publications and FM radio. It was visible nightly on television screens which carried images of anti-war and civil rights protests into homes around the world, depicting long-haired students and hippies taking their voices to the streets. 

Those “summer of love” college-age baby-boomers grew up, but carried their “flower-power” beliefs with them as they entered the work force and began to influence mainstream culture and politics. 

Over time, the counter-culture of the 60’s merged into the modern liberalism of today, and became the new mainstream.

One of the sectors influenced heavily by the leftist doctrine of the 60’s was the news media.

This has led to a liberal ecosystem wherein conservative or libertarian views are largely marginalized to fringe extremist right-wing sources, a mirror image of the underground sources of the “New Left” fifty years ago. 

Conservativism and libertarianism have become the new counter-culture, and it has few voices in mainstream journalism. Challenging the prevailing narrative on any liberal “Hadrian-wall” subject – diversity, feminism, immigration, racial bias in policing, racism, LGBTQ rights – is effectively prohibited in most mainstream media.

According to Media Bias/Fact Check, seven of the top ten newspapers (70 per cent) in the US show left-of-center political bias, while seven of the top nine news networks (78 per cent) show left or left-of-centre bias.

Even in the traditionally conservative bastion of financial journalism there is liberal bias today. A 2018 study “Meet the Press: Survey Evidence on Financial Journalists as Information Intermediaries” found that 58.47 per cent of financial journalists self-identified as being left-of-centre, while another 37.12 per cent were moderate. Only a miniscule 4.4 percent said that they were right-of-centre.

According to a June 2020 article in American Thinker, a long-term study entitled “The American Journalist in the Digital Age” found that in 1971 Republicans represented 25.7 per cent of all journalists, Democrats, 35.5 percent, and Independents, 32.5 percent. By 2014, only 7.1 percent of journalists identified as Republican, and Democrats outnumbered them four to one.

In Canada, media bias is somewhat more balanced; although the CBC, Global News, the Toronto Star, MacLean’s, National Observer, National Newswatch, Huffington Post and iPolitics all demonstrate left-leaning bias – according to Media Bias/Fact Check

The phenomenon of Donald Trump as President of the United States has exacerbated liberal media bias more than any previous issue in recent history, as it has highlighted a divided America.  

Veteran news anchor Ted Koppel says that the press has abandoned objectivity and is now pursuing a political vendetta. 

“I’m terribly concerned that when you talk about the New York Times these days, when you talk about the Washington Post these days, we’re not talking about the New York Times of fifty years ago, we are not talking about the Washington Post of fifty years ago. We’re talking about organizations that I believe have in fact decided, as organizations, that Donald J. Trump is bad for the United States.”   

Former 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan is speaking out against media bias. 

“You now have a press corps that’s working hand in hand with propaganda organizations with a political agenda… too many journalists today are political operatives. They’ve forgotten how to be journalists, they’ve forgotten what we’re supposed to be as journalists, and they’ve become political operatives. They have a predetermined outcome for all of their reporting. They want the removal of this president. They don’t think that he should ever have been elected, they don’t like anything about him… it’s called ‘resisting the normalization of Donald Trump’. It’s a Media Matters mission statement. Media Matters for America put this out… that they will resist the normalization of Donald Trump.”

Brit Hume, Senior Political Analyst for Fox News, sees a connection between anti-Trump bias in news reporting and coverage of Watergate by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the Washington Post. According to Hume, the outcome of Watergate, a corrupt president brought down by two young reporters, became a high-water mark for generations of future journalists. Within a liberally biased media, Trump serves as a surrogate for Nixon.

A new study by the Media Research Centre shows that negative press coverage of Trump has increased from 91 per cent in 2016, to 95 per cent in August. Since Trump just won over 47 percent of the popular vote, the imbalance in reporting is clear. 

In Canada, the up-and-coming challengers face entrenched government privileges for the established players. Without being granted the same licensing level as CTV, Global or CBC, Sun News Network stood no chance. 

More currently, massive new cash bailouts for the legacy print media make the existing players de facto employees of the federal government. And since most of the existing major players in Canada already lean left, this creates a permanent competitive disadvantage for challengers in the market, like the Western Standard

“Objectivity has been a fundamental journalistic principal for over a century. The contemporary debate by some over objectivity vs. “moral clarity” questions whether journalists should rather promote a partisan perspective – usually meaning liberal perspective – rather than simply report the facts. The jury is out.”

Ken Grafton is the Ottawa Bureau Chief of the Western Standard

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Allen

    December 8, 2020 at 8:41 am

    This new form of radical Leftism does not allow other streams of thought to flourish. If this ‘counter-culture’ those of us with traditional, small government values has any hope of success, it’s not going to be a pretty fight.

  2. Cytotoxic

    December 7, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    “A new study by the Media Research Centre shows that negative press coverage of Trump has increased from 91 per cent in 2016, to 95 per cent in August. Since Trump just won over 47 percent of the popular vote, the imbalance in reporting is clear. ”

    That’s…that’s not how it works. That’s a total non-sequitor. The facts don’t care about popularity, and the fact is Trump is a wildly unfit human being who has been a total disaster as president.

    “Without being granted the same licensing level as CTV, Global or CBC, Sun News Network stood no chance. ”

    Oh FO and cry me a river. SNN was awful, end of story. There’s one and only one overriding reason for the bias in media: the political right is terrible at reporting and anything else news related except for the folks at the National Post. This GD article could’ve been written a quarter century ago. In the meantime the right had a golden opportunity to create something good. Aside from the National Post it’s created garbage in the form of a massive misinformation ecosystem comprising talk radio, The Rebel, etc. It’s clear that the people who turn to these ‘alternatives’ do so because they can’t trust the mainstream media-to validate them and otherwise tell them what they want to hear.

  3. Cytotoxic

    December 7, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    “A new study by the Media Research Centre shows that negative press coverage of Trump has increased from 91 per cent in 2016, to 95 per cent in August. Since Trump just won over 47 percent of the popular vote, the imbalance in reporting is clear. ”

    That’s…that’s not how it works. That’s a total non-sequitor. The facts don’t care about popularity, and the fact is Trump is a wildly unfit human being who has been a total disaster as president.

    “Without being granted the same licensing level as CTV, Global or CBC, Sun News Network stood no chance. ”

    Oh FO and cry me a river. SNN was awful, end of story. There’s one and only one overriding reason for the bias in media: the political is terrible at reporting and anything else news related except for the folks at the National Post. This GD article could’ve been written a quarter century ago. In the meantime the right had a golden opportunity to create something good. Aside from the National Post it’s created garbage in the form of a massive misinformation ecosystem comprising talk radio, The Rebel, etc. It’s clear that the people who turn to these ‘alternatives’ do so because they can’t trust the mainstream media-to validate them and otherwise tell them what they want to hear.

  4. Charles Martell III

    December 7, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    In Canada the Media has become exactly what we used to call the Soviet Union mouthpeices . . . Pravda & Izvestia.

    The CBC was unwatchable back in the 80s . . . when I tuned them out.
    But today Global, CTV, the Print Media, even some of the weekly offerings are leftist Echo Chambers.

    Something that also started happening in the late 70s . . . was the Alphabet People gravitating to the Media, Teaching Profession, & Politics to push their Agenda.
    Today they are inflicting the insane Genders Dogma on society and “Grooming” our Children in grade schools.

    The reaction to the CCP Virus is completely driven by our China Luving marxist Media . . .
    In BC 5 million were shut down because 23 people under 65 died of the Virus in 10 months . . .
    80% of the deaths are in Seniors Homes & Horgan & Dr. Bonnie still haven’t figured it out !

  5. godot

    December 7, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    “In Canada media bias is somewhat more balanced; … ” How can you get it so wrong Ken? And you the Ottawa Bureau Chief for the Western Standard. Rebel News, True North, are perpetually hounded by the Liberal government in an attempt to shut them down. In the USA there is OAN and Newsmax, two conservative TV news channels. In Canada, the TV news is completely dominated by the left.

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Energy

KAY: Green extremists ignore indigenous voices that don’t fall in line

Barbara Kay’s debut column with the Western Standard.

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In mid-November, a handful of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in BC spearheaded yet another attempt — thwarted by the RCMP — to scuttle Coastal GasLink’s $6.6 billion natural gas pipeline. The half-completed pipeline will run 670 km from Dawson Creek in northeast BC to Kitimat on the west coast, there to be processed in an $18-billion terminal financed by LNG Canada’s joint partnership, then exported as low-emission liquified gas to replace high-emission coal-based energy in client Asian countries.

In their latest act of mischief earlier this month, the scofflaws blockaded a workers’ camp, trapping up to 500 workers without food or water before the blockage was dismantled; they stole or vandalized heavy machinery, and they caused destruction to forestry roads sufficient to bring the movement of police and industry personnel to a halt. 

It certainly doesn’t help matters when prominent voices on the left egg on the activists. Longtime political gadfly David Suzuki was roundly criticized when he opined, at an Extinction Rebellion event, that “there are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on.” This was a shockingly imprudent impulse. Most of Canada’s energy and transportation hubs run through native lands that cannot be adequately policed against sabotage. (He has since apologized, but the unfiltered instinct to say it remains “problematic,” a word frequently trotted out by progressives when critiquing the manifold perceived sins of conservatives.)

It also doesn’t help when our political and cultural elites continually harp on Canadians’ inherent shame as collective genocidaires, not to mention endless land acknowledgements that beg the question of why we seem to admit the land was “stolen,” but don’t give it back. 

Instead of inviting reconciliation, our various forms of breast-beating are inspiring revanchism. The mantra one hears with increasing frequency amongst indigenous activists these days, “Land Back,” means exactly what it says. Those chanting it have been encouraged to believe, by non-indigenous allies in government, academic and environmental-activist circles, that their hunting and gathering ancestors understood the concept of land “ownership” as we do today, and that consequently, 3% of the Canadian population deserves legal title to a third of our land mass. 

That is not going to happen, and such lines of thought should be discouraged by everyone with political and cultural influence. The 1997 Supreme Court Delgamuukw ruling made clear that Wet’suwet’en land title is limited, and that the Crown has use of the title land for the public good.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault recently tweeted: “Indigenous peoples have been stewards of this planet since time immemorial. The fight against climate change is not possible without their knowledge and leadership.” But whose leadership exactly? Elected band council leaders who signed on to the pipeline project, or a small group of unelected hereditary chiefs who do not enjoy support from more than a tiny fraction of their people? There is little clarity on this important distinction from government officials.

And whose “knowledge”? The CGL met the highest environmental standards in planning its project. They complied with all provisions set out in eight provincial and federal regulatory environmental Acts. They requested meetings with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en (which represents the hereditary chiefs) to discuss issues related to the project over 40 times, with no response from them. If the hereditary chiefs had “knowledge” it was important for CGL to know, they had ample occasion to share it and chose not to.

None of our climate-obsessed progressive elites ever emphasize what an economic boon and lifeline to independence this pipeline and other eco-responsible projects are to indigenous peoples (a far greater boon than government handouts). While indigenous Canadians make up 3.3% of our general workforce, they represent 7.4% of the country’s oil and gas sector workforce. 

As for indigenous peoples being “stewards” of the planet: Even if we all agreed that indigenous people are “stewards” of the land, why should we assume that all indigenous people are of the same mind as Steven Guilbeault in his opposition to resource development? There is plenty of diversity amongst stakeholder populations, including amongst the hereditary chiefs. Yet the establishment media rarely draw attention to this diversity, preferring, as befits the modern, culturally self-loathing progressive spirit, to romance the anarchic dissenters.

Majority Wet’suwet’en opinion is pro-resource development, and it is time their voices were heard and respected. I, therefore, recommend a visit to the Canada Action site, where you will find many strong statements such as these below: 

  • “There’s quite a bit of support for this project,” says Bonnie George, Witset First nation, Wet’suwet’en. “But people are afraid to speak up because, in the past few years, people that [have] spoken up were either ostracized…[or] ridiculed, bullied, harassed, threatened, and being called a traitor – a sellout….There’s a small group of members from the Wet’suwet’en Nation that doesn’t support the [CGL] projects.”
  • “Twenty First Nations participated extensively during five years of consultation on the pipeline and have successfully negotiated agreements with [CGL]. This is on the public record,” says Karen Ogen-Toews of the First Nations LNG Alliance.
  • Theresa Tait-Day, a hereditary chief of Wet’suwet’en Nation, says the voices of female hereditary chiefs “are not being heard. “We have been working particularly with LNG and [CGL]. Our people wanted a benefit and they wanted to be able to make a decision on a positive note. However, we’ve experienced lateral violence and coercion since then by the five chiefs who claim to represent the nation” (since then, two chiefs of the five have dropped out of activating)…The protest organizers are conveniently hiding beneath our blanket as indigenous people, while forcing their policy goals at our expense.”
  • The Haisla Nation are associated with the Kitimat terminal project. Speaking for them, Crystal Smith says, “I’ve seen the impacts first hand. I’ve felt the impacts firsthand. The focus for us is the long-term careers. For the first time, we’re funding culture and language programs…This independence is what we want. This is what we need more of in our community. We need to heal our people. No other government…has been able to heal our people the way they need it.”
  • Also for Haisla Nation, former chief councillor Ellis Ross: “Professional protesters and well-funded NGOs have merely seized the opportunity to divide our communities for their own gains…and ultimately will leave us penniless when they suddenly leave.”
  • “This is one of the biggest projects in Canada, who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?” asks Derek Orr, former chief, McLeod lake Indian Band.

Who indeed? Only virtue-signalling enviro-alarmism obsessives, irresponsible disruptors who get a thrill out of “direct action” that sows chaos and disorder, and patronizing Nanny Statists who prefer that indigenous peoples continue to boil their drinking water than admit that responsible capitalism providing work, resources and human dignity is the way forward for Indigenous populations.

Barbra Kay is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

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Energy

Why oil and gas matters to Ontario

Many Canadians may not be aware that the first commercial oil production in North America started in Ontario in 1858.

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By Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan

The headline screamed: “The end of oil age” in the Economist in 2003. Fast forward 18 years and that still doesn’t make sense in many ways. The demand for oil is increasing across the globe. Even U.S. President Joe Biden is now asking OPEC to produce more oil.

You don’t have to go far to fill your gas tank to see the rise in fuel prices in recent months. Who says oil is dead? Just look at the growing global disconnect between supply and demand, where the need for natural gas threatens all sorts of shortages.

Many environmental groups have been calling for divestment from oil and gas, yet, they ignore the realities on the ground. Divestment from oil and gas harms not only the many energy companies that are creating jobs in the economy, but also investors, such as the middle-class and seniors, and other value chain sectors that depend on oil and gas.

Let’s look at Ontario, as a prime example.

Many Canadians may not be aware the first commercial oil production in North America started in Ontario in 1858. Since then, the oil and gas sector has played a significant role in the provincial economy. Though Ontario is not a major producer of oil and gas, there are still some 3,000 oil and gas wells active in the province.

There are many ways the oil and gas sector benefits the Ontario economy, in addition to reliable energy supply. Thousand of kilometres of pipelines in Ontario move oil and gas to the U.S., creating many jobs in Ontario. The refining industry also creates employment and contributes to the provincial economy. And many value chain sectors in Ontario supply goods and services to oil and gas companies.

Looking at the most recent (2017) comprehensive data available from Statistics Canada, it turns out the oil and natural gas industry was responsible for adding $7.7 billion in nominal GDP to Ontario’s economy and more than 71,000 jobs. Many of these jobs are indirect, but just as critical to the oil and gas sector. Think of oil and natural gas employment in Ontario as engineers and manufacturers hired to design and build oil and gas operating equipment and facilities, a building in Edmonton or in downtown Toronto, or an investment firm tasked with raising capital for a natural gas company operating in northern Alberta or B.C. Also think of an Alberta oil sands company whose local spending on office furniture results in jobs created in the Ontario firm that produces that furniture. 

In 2017, the oil and gas industry purchased $7.3 billion worth of goods and services in Ontario, including $4.3 billion from Ontario’s manufacturing sector alone. Other “big ticket” purchases include $700 million from the Ontario finance and insurance sector, $600 million from the professional, scientific and technical services sector, and $300 million from transportation and warehousing. Overall, $2.1 billion in salaries and wages were generated as the result of oil and gas industry spending in Ontario. 

Beyond the impact of the oil and gas sector, let’s widen the look at Alberta’s impact on Ontario’s economy. In 2017, Alberta’s population was 11.6% of the national total, while Alberta’s share of purchases from Ontario’s manufacturing sector was 21% of Ontario’s total interprovincial trade in manufacturing. That’s nearly twice Alberta’s share of Canada’s population. In fact, Alberta’s consumers, businesses, and governments were responsible for nearly 24%, or $32.5 billion, of Ontario’s total interprovincial trade in 2017. This was second only to Ontario’s next-door neighbour, Quebec.

Now consider Alberta’s share of Ontario’s interprovincial and export trade and how it compares to selected countries. Alberta’s $32.5 billion in purchases from Ontario in 2017 was behind only the United States ($197 billion), but ahead of the United Kingdom ($14.7 billion), China ($3.4 billion), Mexico ($3.2 billion), and Germany ($1.9 billion), among others. Add up the goods and services purchased by Alberta consumers, businesses, and governments from Ontario firms between 2012 and 2017, and the total value was about $193 billion.

Economies may be locally based, but local businesses and jobs are impacted by investment and trade flows from other places. Whenever someone says oil and gas doesn’t matter to Ontario, tell them to look at the “on the ground” realities. From Bay Street to Yonge Street to Main Street, people living across Ontario benefit from a thriving oil and gas sector.

Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan are with the Canadian Energy Centre, an Alberta government corporation funded by carbon taxes. They are authors of $193 billion and 71,000 jobs: The Impact of Oil and Gas (and Alberta) on Ontario’s Economy.    

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Kenney needs to stop ‘criminal’ searches of doctors’ offices

“Unless criminal charges are laid against those two so-called investigators, the CPSA itself is a criminal organization,” said lawyer Jeff Rath.

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Do not relent on the demand for a criminal investigation and sue their sorry asses off.

Accessing medical files under allegedly false pretenses while a legal challenge is underway is despicable and can’t be legal. 

This kind of medical “fascism” has no place in Canada. 

Investigators for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) went too far with what could be interpreted as either a shut-up tactic or dirt-digging hunt against Jeffrey Rath, a lawyer acting on behalf of several clients involved in litigation against the CPSA.

If the two CPSA investigators who raided a doctor’s office Thursday get away with this shockingly unethical stunt, then no one — vaccinated or unvaccinated — will be safe from these tyrants who think they have the authority to do whatever they want, rights and freedoms and privacy be damned.

This is utterly chilling. Jeff Rath, of Rath & Company, called it “medical fascism.” He’s right. 

CPSA investigators Dr. Jeff Robinson and Jason MacDonald searched the files of Calgary family practitioner Dr. Dan Botha for patients he granted COVID-19 medical exemptions. 

One of the few files — out of about 10,000 — they suspiciously accessed was Rath’s. 

“We’re in active litigation with these people and they think they can send investors in to access my medical files,” Rath told Western Standard.

“I wonder how a judge would feel if a judge found out these people could go through a judge’s medical file while a hearing with regard to the College’s conduct was before that particular judge.”

You can bet Alberta Health Services (AHS) — which pushes the boundaries of its authority beyond acceptable limits — had its mitts on this. 

Apparently, AHS didn’t let Premier Jason Kenney in on the plot.

“Neither the premier nor the Premier’s Office has any knowledge of the alleged events you describe. You’d need to contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons directly,” said spokesman Christine Myatt.

The investigators searched Botha’s files under the guise of a benign practice review they alleged was part of normal oversight procedures under the Health Professions Act.

Botha told Western Standard’s Melanie Risdon he was handed a one-page letter requesting he provide access to his patient files for the inspectors “under section 53.1 of the Health Professions Act (HPA).” It indicated the inspection was to “ensure the issuance of medical exemptions for vaccination against COVID-19 are in adherence to the provincial vaccination exemption program, medical exemptions for face mask are in adherence to provincial public health orders and the prescribing of Ivermectin is in adherence with CPSA Standards of Practice.”

This raid came from the CPSA, said Rath.

“I’ve sent several letters to the College of Physicians and Surgeons regarding concerns that my clients have with the CPSA basically interfering in doctor/patient relationships in Alberta. They’re telling doctors what they can and can’t prescribe, telling doctors what exceptions they can and can’t write,” said Rath.

“A week or so ago I wrote the College a letter saying how dare you tell doctors what medical exemptions they can’t write or threaten doctors with misconduct because they’ve written medical exemptions.

“The College replied: ‘Oh no, no, no, we’re not the ones coming up with these medical exemption restrictions, that’s coming from AHS.’ I said there’s an inherent conflict of interest in AHS setting out what the criteria are for medical exemptions to the vaccine and then having the College enforce it after the fact.”

On the heels of the raid, Rath fired off a letter demanding Robinson have his medical license suspended and that a criminal investigation be opened against both Robinson and MacDonald.

“As far as I’m concerned, they were illegally accessing my files under false pretenses that they were acting appropriately under the Health Professions Act.”

“Unless criminal charges are laid against those two so-called investigators, the CPSA itself is a criminal organization.”

Sadly, for the CPSA, there’s no dirt to be found in Rath’s medical file.

“There’s nothing in the damn thing anyway. It’s not like my doctor’s doing anything wrong regarding prescriptions. My privacy’s been violated. I feel personally violated. That invasion of my personal privacy is absolutely beyond belief.

“If they’re there — ostensibly conducting a random investigation of a doctor’s practice under the Health Professions Act to make sure that he’s conducting himself professionally with regard to mask exemptions or whatever — what business do they have targeting the medical file of a lawyer acting against the CPSA?”

“I grew up in a public health family. I’m watching what’s happening to the medical profession in this country and the complete lack of ethical conduct by the College of Physicians and Surgeons in this province. I don’t even recognize this to be my province anymore.”

Meanwhile, the family of a two-year-old whose file was seized is considering a lawsuit for the breach of privacy. 

Botha, treating the child with Rett syndrome, has provided a permanent mask exemption.

“Think about the poor mother. You can imagine how that family suffered already and you’ve got agents of the CPSA poking around in her poor little daughter’s medical file to decide if Dr. Botha appropriately granted this little girl a masking exemption. This family’s being terrorized by the College,” said Rath.

Time for the terrorizing to stop. It started with pastors and now has progressed to target little girls and lawyers. 

Who’s next? You?

Sue away.

What say you, Jason Kenney? Time to put a leash on these people.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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