A one-hour special with Jen Gerson - Canadian journalist, co-founder of The Line and contributing columnist to The Globe and Mail newspaper
Once again thank you for this posting.
20 years ago, I was a CBC addict, a Globe & Mail reader, and a passionate consumer of information. I lost confidence, as I started to see more & more incidents where the reporting was simply untrue. At first this was simply sensationalizing stories by deliberate conflating of issues. (So a picture of the homeless shelter was shown when the story being covered had nothing to do with the homeless). I then would see stories where in depth reporting would be done on say "Fifth Estate", then immediately contradicted in the news cast. This was followed by distraction reporting, where a solicitous reporting would be done to distract people from a story that made a powerful entity look bad. (Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction & events in Iraq).
It then got to the point, where MSM would report things that I knew to be untrue because it fit their narrative. (Ukraine would be case & point, where events that were reported in 2014 such as the Odessa Union Hall Fire are denied in 2022)
It has only gotten worse since then.
It should come as no surprise Canadian media is collapsing as we are a boring colonized country where the news and opinion is heavily censored. My news and opinion sources are outside the country, especially with the world crisis which our media does not report on and is not qualified to cover. For news, like everything else, we become cross border shoppers.
Where there is no sovereignty there is no freedom of the press, or integrity.
As a colony we are living another countries existence and become part of it.
Canadian media is pining for the old days when news paper barons could rake in fortunes on advertising, those days are gone and Google and Face book are not to be blamed. News and journalism should never be about making profits it should be about honest reporting and integrity.
The collapse of the Canadian media coincides with the collapse of the Western media- both have whored themselves to the gods of war and endless lies and propaganda.
Our government is actually a colonial satrap and until that changes nothing else will. As the world is in rapid change, only the nimble will survive. There will be more casualties to come.
As usual, the Liberals are patching tires when the whole car needs a major overhaul.
For years I've read National Post and CBC to keep up on what is happening in Canada (where I live). I'd wade through the stolid institutionalism of the post, and the rabid wokery of the CBC in order to keep myself updated. Recently deleted both apps from my phone and am a happier and less angry person. Win win.
I find it disappointing that a person who wants to be considered a communicator and a wordsmith uses gratuitous profanity to get their point across. I find it unprofessional, taking away from the important issues being discussed.
Love your journalism and have a lot of time for Jen. I was surprised by Jen’s need to use the “F” word. I understand it has become a “must” word in movies etc, but just don’t see the value from someone like Jen
Woke is working as expected. Because it denies and rejects merit-based criteria for human selection and promotion and replaces it with victim group identity, the quality of work declines. And when the quality of work declines fewer people will pay for it.
There are two remedies. One - reject woke and get back to merit only selection and promotion criteria. Two - force the government to pay for the lower quality news and information that these once respected institutions delivered.
The latter is the favored remedy of the left and in general is the socialist-Marxist-brained solution for everything that they, the socialist-Marxist-brained, people want for everything. You have to wonder if the collapse of the news media is by design.
In the end, unless a government rescue, going woke results in going broke.
Great episode with 2 of my favs in Canadian journalism. It would be great if you could do a panel podcast Tara! Have Paul Wells part of it if possible. Very proud subscriber (to both you and The Line)! ❤️🇨🇦📰🎧
This was an awesome interview. Learned a lot about the interrelated Canadian media ecosystem. On another note, I'm fully skeptical of a CBC mandate change. You will still have a polity of progressive, woke, slavishly Trudeau loving people running and working in the place. Objective local newsgathering is in the rearview mirror.
Now that was a good listen. Couldn’t categorize Jens’ political leanings, swears like a trucker, displays humility for the job, and no hint of ‘snide intellectual person’ syndrome. Fantastic.
That said, its hard not to miss the ingrained socialist Canadian thinking displayed on the topic. A stereotypical American capitalist would say: awesome, zombie debt-laden media moguls to the right, ideological state-funded propaganda to the left, my plan is to capture the market share and dominate. Instead the view here is from the perspective of socialist mother-earth, hoping all her media children will find their place and live together in profitable harmony, and bless, maybe the independents can even carve out a living too. Praise be Justin.
An essential rule of innovation is: don’t solve problems other people won’t pay you for. Yet this is how journalists seem to want to reform journalism; by hoping the powers that be can sort their shit out and leave the industry better off for everyone. It’s akin to praying for gravity to back off so you can jump a little higher. Not going to happen. Ideas need to be monetized, not donated to the government for free so they can then impose more state monopoly power. Jesus wake up like, there are 40 million people in the country, there has to be a way to access a significant share of them.
Here’s a few ideas for example:
- I heard subscription journalism has potential for captive bias: then use that tension to auction story topics once or twice per month. Subscribers get their red meat but the bias is made explicit.
- I heard PhD journalists replacing traditional journalists is having major impact. I would go behind a paywall to follow a social experiment that followed wannabe blue collar and PhD journalists through their internship while Matt and Jen critiqued their work. It would be hilarious and engaging.
- I heard independent journalists can’t scale nationally, so network with peers in different provinces and make a national collaboration with fellow independents a part of the offering.
I heard trust in media is rock bottom, so offer some behind the scenes docuseries style content to show how the editorial sausage is made and what constitutes a credible piece of journalism. I’d pay for that certainly. Heck you may even build trust in media along the way.
I heard CBC should offer services for coaching new journalists, so offer bootcamps and coaching programs that do exactly that.
The opening statement said independent journalism won’t make you rich. Maybe not but it certainly will not if the ambition isn’t even there in the first place.
This episode is why I subscribe to Lean Out: an in depth interview that broadens my understanding of an issue or idea. I also subscribe to The Line and am greeted every week with Canadian issues discussed, again, in much more depth than I can find elsewhere by Jen and Matt. I also enjoy reading the additional articles. For me, subscribing to these substacks (is that a word?) is not about agreeing or disagreeing but listening to learn more... perhaps even having a personal bias revealed or better information alter an opinion. Those are the best!
It's easy and alluring to point out problems and criticize and tear down; it's much more difficult to offer real solutions. That's rare and growing ever more so. Real solutions are predicated on a good understanding of what the problems actually are. And so listening to Jen explain her version of using the current media troubles as an opportunity to focus the CBC on clarifying its mandate, condensing its purpose, establishing its independent budget, and using it as an national institution for the sake of enhancing Canadian journalism and offers local, regional, and national news from coast to coast to coast is a challenging but oh so important solution in the face of the current collapse of Canadian media.
Well done to both of you and thank you. You've done your part and so it helps me do mine as an active and informed citizen.
That was very good.
"People have gotten pretty good at sniffing out bullshit." Mike drop.
CBC=Woke, propaganda outlet.
Hate to be the guy to tell you but, this is as good as it gets.
Some possible solutions as we need reliable accurate information to function as a democracy.
I would suggest that all the money that is presently being used to fund media and government communications departments be put into a pot, and that pot divided by the number of Tax Payers in Canada. Each tax payer then when they are filling in their Tax Return designate their portion to a Media Organization. (Kind of like a subscription) By doing this Media would be focused on serving the public, as if they fail to serve the public, on the next tax year their portion of the funding would go to someone else. This would also provide a stable funding base for media organizations.
Obviously there would need to be some criteria. I would suggest that it be simple. Canadian ownership, and Canadian Board of Directions. Transparent financial (AGM & audited statements) and vision statements that stated the bias of the organization so that if I was reading an article from a Catholic newspaper it was obvious.
I listened to this twice. I do that a lot with Lean Out. It's worth it. I have a bit of a complaint though: JG clearly feels it's problem that the CBC is not trusted. That puts the responsibility on the (decreasing number of) listeners. They are not the problem. The problem is that the CBC is not trustworthy.
So appreciate the summary of 'where we are' in Canadian media summarized here in one place. This pulled together many pieces I'd gathered elsewhere. Shared it out and hope a few people listen.
I found this enlightening. Thanks, Tara and Jen.