Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another Failure of the Press

I had an experience yesterday that served only to deepen my cynicism about the mainstream press (The Toronto Star being the sole exception). I called The Hamilton Spectator's Stephanie Crozier to suggest that her story about Friday's protest at the constituency office of my Conservative M.P., David Sweet, had overlooked an important element, the fact that a No Trespass sign had been erected at the entrance to the strip mall housing Mr. Sweet's office.

She told me that she didn't see how that was newsworthy. I tried to point out to her that it was a violation of our fundamental rights as citizens of a democracy, and that the kind of gated community mentality represented by the sign was perhaps also indicative of a deeper problem with what is happening in this country under Harper.

Her response was that the interdiction seemed reasonable, given that the owner's property had allegedly suffered some damage to plants some time ago. She had not pressed him on whether this damage had been caused by an individual or a group. As well, she had spoken to Sweet's office manager, who had stayed behind a locked constituency door during the protest, despite the fact that it was supposed to be open to constituents. Again, she saw this as perfectly reasonable.

While she was pleasant and cordial enough in our telephone discussion, I got the distinct impression as we ended our conversation that she had pegged me as some sort of crank.

Why am I even bothering to write about this? Is my ego so fragile that I cannot accept that my view did not hold sway over her? Not at all. It's just that when one remembers that a free press used to be regarded as a mainstay in protecting our democracy, it is yet another reminder of how debased our fragile democracy has become, and that the press has done little to mitigate that slide.

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