The Mainstream Press, Falsehood, and Loyalty to Stephen Harper.

The Mainstream Press, Falsehood, and Loyalty to Stephen Harper.
by Robin Mathews

January 22, 2012

People in the world of the Internet and other “Social Media” insist the Mainstream Press and Media make up part of the large, private, corporate, capitalist elite that is destroying democracy.
The process the Mainstream Press uses to spread “disinformation”, “smear”, and half truth goes along with the practice of withholding facts, shutting the doors on those with other views, and selecting carefully what will be reported.  All that is in favour of big Corporations as the rightful governors of Canadians.
My own experience in the B.C. Supreme Court gave me the opportunity to see those processes in action.  Mainstream Press and Media (hereafter, MSM) would not report that the “journalist accreditation” system is corrupt.  It uses MSM journalists (made in fact court officers) under a judge. Those journalists then are supposed to remove themselves from that role, report on trials and criticize the conduct of judges where necessary.  The system is corrupt because MSM journalists are in a flagrant, obvious conflict of interest.
In four years of pre-trial and trial conducted in the BC Rail Scandal (Basi, Virk, and Basi) matter, not one MSM reporter criticized the actions of a judge – ever. Not one. Surprise!
Not one MSM journalist would report the wrongful appointment of the Special Prosecutor (which nullified the legitimacy of the Basi, Virk, and Basi process).  Nor would any report that the presiding judge, Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie, refused to act when fully cognizant of the illegitimate situation, and so was delinquent.
And, today, the Postmedia paper, the Vancouver Sun, gives another example of MSM conduct.  Harvey Enchin is given three-quarters of a page to assault “anti-oilsands groups”.  [Aren’t they properly called “the anti-tarsands groups”?] Will the Sun provide three quarters of a page to the opposition for a reply?
Harvey Enchin - Vancouver Sun
Historians and journalists and others who communicate to the public are permitted their biases and prejudices, of course.  Those people, however, are asked to give the facts.  Then, how they interpret the facts, and from them, is their choice.  But they are not to violate fact.
And so Mr. Enchin’s sub-headline to the effect that the “companies they [environmental groups] are trying to vilify spend millions on  school bursaries, donate generously to charities and invest heavily in the environment” might just  be seen as obvious, cover-up, and fawning propaganda.
It’s not a lie.  And surely if one were to track the history of – say -tobacco companies, one would discover they spent “millions on school bursaries…and…and…and”.  That would not change by one iota the fact that tobacco is a major killer.  Nor do ‘the good things’ the tarsands corporations may be doing change the facts. They are engaged in environmental calamity.
Putting on his economist’s hat, Harvey Enchin tries to rap the knuckles of the dummies .  They are claiming, he says, as part of their argument, that many of the tarsands corporations “are wholly or partly owned by foreign entities”.  Which, Mr. Enchin wants them to know, is not the same as [the negative activity] of “foreign direct investment in Canada”.
That sleight-of-hand by Mr. Enchin isn’t a falsehood.  But it’s getting close to being one.  First.  Some of the foreign tarsands corporations have engaged in foreign direct investment in Canada by takeovers of Canadian enterprises and their expansion.  Secondly. Since the economic task force inquiries of the 1950s, we know that the foreign entities on the ground can be devilishly destructive of Canadian enterprise.
And that is because they sit here, make profit, pay pennies in taxes to Canada, and use the accrued profits made in Canada (off the backs of Canadian workers and Canadian resources) to BUY MORE of the Canadian economy. Let’s not try to convince Canadians those immense multi-national corporations want the good of the Canadian people. Even Mr. Enchin doesn’t go that far in his fantasy.
Mr. Enchin’s smoke and mirrors might be intended to confuse ordinary people who haven’t spent time examining what is called “economic imperialism and its operation”.
Then he leaps into what I believe is a falsehood.  Building a ‘palava’ about the 99% and the 1%, Mr. Enchin asserts that the anti-tarsands group makes a false claim.  They want money taken away from the 1% by taxes (or other social requirements) on behalf of the 99%. Their belief that  “would bring societal [he means ‘social’] benefits”, Mr. Enchin writes “ – is untrue”.
Taxing in relation to “ability to pay”, called “progressive” taxation, was the main way of taxing for decades.  Corporations did well.  Social improvements could be paid for. The rich stayed rich. The rest had the opportunity to live decent lives. Then the corporations moved into government, stripped regulation, stripped away oversight, turned taxation upside down.  We now have ‘regressive’ taxation. The rich are taxed least; the rest are taxed most.
I think it is disingenuous (which is a nice way of saying I think it is a lie) to say taxing the way the environmentalist want would not bring social benefits.  It would.  History is there to prove it.
Then Mr. Enchin asserts what I believe is an outright falsehood. The battle he says, is about the tarsands, not about “the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline”.  Pardon?
Tell that to the communities in British Columbia’s north.  Tell it to the First Nations people scattered across B.C.  Yes, there are people who want the tarsands closed - or cleaned up in a way the Harper government and Big Oil have no intention of cleaning up.
But the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal is its own issue – threatening destruction of rivers and streams, threatening pollution of clean land, and eventuating in almost certain Tanker Catastrophe off the B.C. coast. I suggest Mr. Enchin tries to go round that subject because it is so hot he can’t find a way to throw cold water on it in a way that would fool anybody ... even himself.
Then Mr. Enchin spends paragraphs telling us that we have been an economic colony for going on a hundred years – and so, of course, we should continue.  The “foreign companies” “create high-paying jobs, generate revenue for governments, support local businesses, develop innovative technologies, pay dividends to Canadian shareholders, boost Canada’s economy, sponsor sports and cultural events and train the next generation of skilled workers and managers”.
The simple answer to that (as every country in the world that tries to get out from under the boot of economic imperialism demonstrates) is to take back the resources and the development of the resources and the sale of them when refined here.  Then many MORE of the good things Mr. Enchin lists above happen for the people of the country. Many, many, many more.
When he tells his reader what stunningly positive things the tarsands giants are doing for the environment, then readers may be permitted to retch. They may be permitted to throw up.
Canada has cut loose from the Kyoto Accord.  Canada has refused to ally on the absolutely critical matter of carbon cutback. Large U.S. (and other) corporations have done everything they can to erase the truth about environmental disaster and global heating - to prevent government policies of environmental responsibility.  Mr. Enchin isn’t, of course, lying.  But he is being so selective, engaging so much in what I think might be called “disinformation”, that Canadians reading his article might be seriously misled about the reality of tarsands pollution.
The next falsehood he engages in, as I see it, is his claim that environmental groups are trying to stop the small steps being taken by the big corporations.  Some want no tarsands activity.  That  DOES NOT MEAN that environmental groups “want to stop all” the palliative work corporations are engaging in.  To claim that is getting close to dishonesty.  And we know Mr. Enchin would have nothing to do with dishonesty in his journalistic activity!
Then he does the same thing again. No environmental group wants to find a better way to extract oil from the tarsands, he argues.  Period.  How does Mr. Enchin know that?  He read one presentation given in 2008 by one organization.  I don’t think Mr. Enchin can be so dumb as to make that argument innocently.  Then why does he make it?
The final, grand, insupportable insult Mr. Enchin delivers is his attempt to erase Canadian concern.  “The foreign-funded environmental groups….”  “The “radical” foreign-funded environmental groups….”  Etcetera. The environmental concern, plainly – in his article – comes from U.S. interests. Canadians are involved in a secondary way, or not at all.  “…groups backed by U.S. foundations are trying to undermine Canada’s regulatory process, destroy Canada’s energy industry and do irreparable harm to Canada’s economy”.
That, I believe, is an outright lie. But it comes from – we remember – the MSM.  It’s Postmedia Corporation.  It’s supporting Stephen Harper policy. Stephen Harper policy is Tarsands Corporation policy which, we may be convinced, is Vancouver Sun policy.  Mr. Harvey Enchin works for the Vancouver Sun. What more is there to say…?

Robin Mathews is a writer, poet and Canadian journalist who has been covering political issues across the nation for over five decades now. He lives in Vancouver, B.C.

Contact Robin at: