Open mic: With corporate interests in mind

Today’s media deregulation has led to corporate consolidation.

A few weeks back this space related a Stephen Harper quote: “The press is owned by big-L liberals and staffed by small-L liberals,” as advanced by a different writer to assert Conservatives are put upon by media bias favoring the political “left.”

It seems amazing then that among the reasons I – a non-journalist – feel compelled to author this column is to counter balance the right-wing bias which I perceive to actually pervades modern media.

So, especially with the silly season of American presidential politics currently dominating headlines, such a discrepancy warrants examination, lest the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.

The term Conservative is politically rooted in “a preference for the existing order of society and/or traditional values”. The word liberal, meanwhile, derives from Latin for “free.” But in the political sense, Liberalism is now associated with governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.

Given the posturing at both extremes, it is thus rather interesting that freedom seems the principal objective of both philosophies – and the only difference is how to attain it:  for Conservatives (like my 20-year-old business school self), “rules and government” lessen opportunities for personal achievement; for Liberals (like my post backpacking around the world self), “standards and community” foster opportunity by ensuring (reasonably) fair playing fields.

And like my own outlook, social attitudes oscillate, including, for example, the sentiment that government (and organizations such as unions) held too much sway in the ’60s and ’70s. This then led to the Republican Ronald Reagan’s revolution, which lowered taxes on the premise that reducing government interference would increase business activity. Similar thinking pervaded Canadian, British and most other western economies since 1980. But one result among many is the 2008 global financial collapse can be said due largely to too much government non-intervention.

And therein lies the crux of my beliefs about today’s media: deregulation has led to corporate consolidation. The statistics are similar around the world and across media platforms.

But to illustrate, in 1983, 90 percent of American media was owned by 50 companies. By 2011, that number had fallen to six (in 1990, 17.3 per cent of Canadian daily newspapers were independently owned. By 2005, only one per cent were).

Thus, undeniable is the increased likelihood of media bias in favor of corporate interests – and it scarcely need reiteration that for better or worse corporate interests have of late assumed control of the Conservative brand.

Yet, Mr. Harper – as well as nearly every Conservative American politico – regularly and vehemently lambaste the ‘Lame Stream Media,’ as active participants in some vast left-wing conspiracy against both themselves personally and patriotism in general.

I’d argue it is incongruent the extent such ‘Rugged Conservative Individualists’ wilt at the slightest criticism. But the truth is, ‘Liberal media’ is a false flag operation which intimidates centrists to overbalance and overtly partisan Conservative media to operate.

In more definitive terms, talk radio, the Sun newspaper chain, the National Post (one of two national newspapers) and Maclean’s (the only national newsmagazine) slant decisively Right-ward. CTV television is reputed to be right-leaning (many of its anchors have become Conservative politicians), while the new Sun TV network unabashedly emulates the ultra-right path blazed by America’s FOX News.

As such, even for those who will contend my suggesting the CBC and The Globe & Mail newspaper are Centrist rather than leftist (as is the Liberal Party, for that matter,) reveals my predispositions, given the aforementioned list are you still so convinced about which side of the spectrum the media is failing its responsibility to inform the public about?