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Power and Betrayal in the Canadian Media

Power and Betrayal in the Canadian Media: Updated Edition

Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: 2
Pages: 262
  • Book Info
    Power and Betrayal in the Canadian Media
    Book Description:

    Power and Betrayal in the Canadian Mediais a sweeping exploration of the Canadian media system and the impact it has on Canadian society, politics and culture.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0287-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Dedication
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. ONE Putting the Media Under the Spotlight
    (pp. 1-28)

    The main argument in this book is that the Canadian media system is in the midst of a profound crisis. The media in Canada have been recently shaken by a number of cataclysmic developments — developments that have shifted the geological plates on which the media have rested comfortably for decades. A vast technological revolution, perhaps the most sweeping since Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, is changing the very nature of mass communications, and almost all national cultures — Canada’s included — are being ceaselessly bombarded by powerful international forces. The publicly financed Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), long the backbone of the...

  6. TWO Media, Citizens, and Democracy
    (pp. 29-60)

    The premise of democratic government, the basis of the democratic ideal, is that power rests with the people. This is the essential foundation on which the Canadian governmental system rests. Populist politicians such as Reform Party leader Preston Manning express their continuing faith in “the common sense of the common people.” Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan would pay homage to the collective wisdom embodied in the concept of “We the people” — the famous first phrase of the preamble to the American constitution. The notion at the heart of the democratic ideal is that “the people” have an intrinsic sense of...

  7. THREE Convergence and the High Waves of Media Change
    (pp. 61-92)

    Virtually all of the world’s media institutions are being shaken by tumultuous changes. Some observers have likened these changes to a tsunami – the Japanese term for a giant wave that can reach ten stories high and descends with such crushing force that it shatters everything in its path. The tsunami that media pundits are referring to has two very different aspects to it, or rather there are at least two waves crashing on the barrier reefs at the same time. The first phenomenon is convergence. Convergence refers to the fact that technologies, corporations, and cultures are merging at a rapid...

  8. FOUR Fragmentation Bombs: The New Media and the Erosion of Public Life
    (pp. 93-116)

    The threat to national communities, and to the preservation of public spaces, also comes from another wave of media change – one that in some respects is the very opposite of convergence. Breakthroughs in cable technology brought by digitalization and the advent of VCRs, satellites and the World Wide Web are splintering the audience into tiny fragments. Convergence is only one end of the pendulum, only one seat on the media teeter-totter. The other is fragmentation. Where the media landscape of 15 or 20 years ago was dominated by highly centralized vehicles of communication, and the ability to bring huge audiences...

  9. FIVE Chilled to the Bone: The Crisis of Public Broadcasting
    (pp. 117-140)

    In a country that spans a quarter of the world’s time zones and has a population thinly spread across the waistband of a continent, broadcasting is nothing less than the central public place, the village square, of Canadian life. The publicly financed Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has been not only the major chronicler of Canadian life but one of its defining features. Its influence can be compared to the other great nation-building exercises of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries — the National Program of 1879, which fastened the West to Central Canada through tariffs, immigration and railways; the welfare and medicare...

  10. SIX The Worst Assignment: Reporting National Unity
    (pp. 141-170)

    Public broadcasting organizations were created to insulate national societies from the power of multinational media conglomerates and the imperatives that drive commercial broadcasters. Public broadcasters are designed to be the alternate media — the guarantee that a society will have a place within the broadcasting community where its problems and prospects can be fully explored. But public broadcasters are often put in difficult, if not impossible, situations. There are constraints — red lines — beyond which public broadcasters cannot go, that sometimes impair their ability to cover stories in the depth and with the perseverance that they would like.

    Perhaps the most dangerous...

  11. SEVEN Bringing You Hollywood: Private Broadcasters and the Public Interest
    (pp. 171-198)

    In a famous description of the television business, the renegade American journalist and pop hero, Hunter S. Thompson, wrote: “The TV business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs.”¹ When Thompson wrote this piece of “wisdom,” there were very few women in television’s executive suites — one can presume that they too now die like dogs. What Thompson was portraying was a cutthroat world in which only the most loathsome creatures — the most hardened, cynical and cunning operators — emerge on top of the heap. Those...

  12. EIGHT The Winds of Right-Wing Change in Canadian Journalism
    (pp. 199-218)

    At first glance right-wing forces appear to be in defeat and disarray on the battlefield of Canadian politics. There have been numerous attempts by Preston Manning and by leading right-wing thinkers and activists to bring unity to conservative forces by merging the Reform and Progressive Conservative parties. The stark reality facing conservatives is that a continued fracturing of the right-wing vote is likely to ensure the Liberal Party remains in power in Ottawa indefinitely. But despite these efforts, the chasm has not been easy to bridge. Building a “big tent” party capable of providing shelter to people with a wide...

  13. NINE Confronting the Future
    (pp. 219-226)

    My intention in writing this book was to ask questions about the kind of media universe in which we are living. My aim, however, was not just to stir the pot but to warn of the tsunami that is beginning to gather force and threatens to bury us in its crashing waves. The central concern inPower and Betrayalis the extent to which citizens are increasingly deprived of the vital information they need to make decisions about their communities and their lives. Despite surface appearances, our media worlds are growing smaller rather than larger. They are becoming less open...

  14. UPDATE 2001: Media Conglomerates, the CBC, and Canadian Democracy
    (pp. 227-240)

    Writing about the modern mass media is a little like writing with invisible ink. Change now occurs so rapidly and at such breakneck speed that the media world of the late 1990s now seems like a distant and blurry memory. The forces of change described in the first printing ofPower & Betrayal in the Canadian Mediahave if anything become even more powerful, more deeply etched into the media landscape, than at the time the book was originally published. The convergence revolution has accelerated to the point where it has become a guiding principle, almost a new religion, for...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 241-262)