Saturday, February 7, 2015

Canadaland Does It Again

Jesse Brown' Canadaland, the investigative website whose work allowed The Toronto Star to develop its series uncovering the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, is once again proving its worth in a landscape littered with corporate news media. This time it has discovered, thanks to a tip from a reader, the mysterious removal by Global News of an investigative report into that right-wing cabal known as the Koch brothers and their connections to Canada.
Last Thursday at 11:06am, an article titled "The Koch Stake in Canada" ran on The piece, by veteran investigative reporter Bruce Livesey summarized an upcoming investigative report titled "The Koch Connection," which, the article promised, was set to air two days later, on Saturday January 31 at 7pm. Global News promoted the item with a post on 16x9's Facebook page and a tweet from an official account, which was retweeted by Global's Washington correspondent Jackson Proskow.

By Thursday night, the article had disappeared from, the Facebook post and official tweet were deleted, as was Proskow's retweet.
Fortunately, the original article, but not the promotion video, can be found on Google Cache, and it certainly makes for some interesting reading.

It explains how the Koch brothers have a vested interest in seeing the Keystone XL pipeline become a reality, given their extensive holdings in the Canada's tarsands. It also discusses well-known facts about the brothers, including the vast sums of money they direct to conservative politicians and climate-change denial groups.

As well, and this is perhaps where the investigation might have earned unwanted attention, they
fund the climate-change denying Fraser Institute think tank here in Canada.
The cached document also observes the following:
Multiple generations of Fraser Institute staffers and donors and board members have had links to the federal Conservative Party,” says Rick Smith, executive director of the Broadbent Institute, a liberal think tank. “And you know there’s no doubt that the Fraser Institute’saggressive denial of climate change, the Fraser Institute’s views on tax policy and on immigration – you can see resonating in Harper government policy.”

Yet the Kochs don’t seem to need to spend much money in Canada: after all, the policies of the Harper government on energy, pipelines, climate change and the oil sands dovetailwith their own. In fact, the Harper government has taken measures against the environmental movement that benefit the Kochs directly or indirectly.
So what is the official reason for pulling the exposé?

Canadaland conducted a telephone interview with Ron Waksman, Global News' Senior Director of Online News, Current Affairs, Editorial Standards & Practices, to try to get some answers. According to Waksman, it "was not up to scratch" and "had some holes in it."

Perhaps his most definitive reason was,
Look, when we have an editorial hypothesis, we need facts to back it up, we didn't have the facts to back it up. In my opinion it didn't meet our standards of fairness and balance. It just wasn't up to scratch.
Maddeningly short on specifics, Waksman's 'answers' invite the critical thinker to entertain darker possibilities.

With Canadaland at the helm on this story, I'm sure this isn't the last we will hear about it.

Oh, and one more ort to chew upon: Global News is owned by Calagry-based Shaw Communications, who advertise their services to the oil & gas industries here.


  1. This just a bit disturbing. How much influence do the Koch brothers have over the formulation of Conservative government legislation (e.g. C-38, C-45)? How much do the Koch brothers channel into the coffers of the Conservative party? Is Canada now a country controlled largely by wealthy American oil barons?

    1. The story is indeed disturbing in its implications, Anon. As to whether Canada is now a country controlled largely by wealthy American oil barons, I imagine the current regime in Ottawa would simply say, "What's wrong with that?"

  2. And we think they limit their activities to the United States.

    1. A notion that the corporate media seem in no rush to dispel, Owen.

  3. I suspect that Global got this one in time, Lorne. It's hard to see how this will gain traction. Stories are pulled for inaccuracies from time to time. Some are pulled for fear of legal liability. We can have our suspicions but there's a smoking gun that's still needed.

    1. A good point, Mound, though it is odd that it was pulled at almost the last minute. I suppose we will be able to draw further and more definitive conclusions if no form of this documentary ever sees the light of day.

  4. "We can have our suspicions but there's a smoking gun that's still needed."
    - Mound.

    Seriously Mound? Any smoking gun is probably laying on the bottom of Lake Ontario by now.

  5. Well, Anon, then somebody better go down and find it. If not, I give this story a shelf-life of just a couple of days.

  6. climate change naturally is one thing.. but the man-made green-tryanny agenda? LOl!