Friday, November 1, 2013

A Debt Owed To The Media

As fashionable as it is to denigrate the mainstream media for their frequent timidity and conservatism, public knowledge about both Rob Ford's disgraceful performance as Mayor of Toronto and the current Senate scandal embroiling Stephen Harper, impeaching the integrity and honesty of both politicians, would not exist were it not for a diligent media, especially the press.

I have often stated in this blog that I am both proud and pleased to subscribe to The Toronto Star, given the integrity of its work and the fact that many of its investigations have resulted in change at both the local and the national level. These changes have included rigorous restaurant inspections whose results are now publicly posted to its most recent accomplishment, a promise from Minister of Health Rona Ambrose to remediate the situation after The Star brought to light the tragic death of Marit McKenzie, killed by a blood clot caused by an acne medication. At the time, Health Canada said that the drug safety review information was classified due to "confidential business information."

Yesterday, during an interview about her role in exposing the video apparently showing Rob Ford smoking crack, Star reporter Robin Doolittle encouraged people to take out a subscription to a newspaper, the implication being that the work they do is crucial in a democracy, and that work cannot be accomplished without the financial support of engaged readers.

Were it not for the diligent work of CTV reporter Robert Fife, who was instrumental in exposing Senategate, followed up by the efforts by other dedicated reporters, a corrupt and disdainful Prime Minister would be able to spin his tales of fancy without challenge. Instead, Stephen Harper and his cabal face what is likely their greatest crisis, one that may very well reverberate until the next election and could even result in criminal charges.

Watergate may have set the standard for investigative journalism, but the need for curious reporters with a passion for the truth will extend far into the future. No, whether we acknowledge it or not, a healthy press is a linchpin of a healthy democracy, augmented by social media and blogs, no doubt, but never to be replaced by them.

To reiterate Doolittle's message, "Get a newspaper subscription." The health of our political system may very well depend on you.


  1. "To reiterate Doolittle's message, "Get a newspaper subscription." The health of our political system may very well depend on you."

    Lorne, have you turned into a new age paperboy? I cannot afford to pay for one paywall, let alone a plethora of paywalls.

    And if the health of our political systems is based on our ability to pay through these paywalls, then we are in deep shit. In which, I think, we are.

    1. Actually, Anon, my thought was to subscribe to an actual print edition of a paper, simply because I believe it allows for more concentrated reading than online subscriptions. At least in my experience, it is easier to concentrate on the printed word on paper than it is on a computer or tablet.

      In the matter of expense, there is always the option of your library, which likely carries digital editions of many papers. If the choice is between supporting a paper through a subscription and reading a paper at no cost, the latter is still preferable to being in ignorance.