Why I Quit My Job by Kai Nagata

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ikosmos ikosmos's picture
Why I Quit My Job by Kai Nagata

Kai Nagata, who had an important media job over at CTV in Quebec City, has quit his job and outlines what it was like, why he quit, and so on. It's an interesting read on his blog and reveals the sort of things about corporate/capitalist media that we on the political left have known all along.

But it's helpful to read such things from a variety of sources.

Why I Quit My Job by Kai Nagata

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Quote:
Until Thursday, I was CTV's Quebec City Bureau Chief, based at the National Assembly, mostly covering politics ...
TV news is a curious medium. You don't always know whose interests are being served - or ignored. Although bounded by certain federal regulations, most of what you see in a newscast is actually defined by an internal code - an editorial tradition handed down from one generation to the next - but the key is, it's self-enforced. ...

That's worth highlighting.  Often, critical analysis about media is attacked in a kind of fake debunking by attributing conspiratorial views to the critics.

Quote:
... information is a commodity, and private TV networks are supposed to make money. All stations, publicly funded or not, want to maintain or expand their viewership. This is what I'll call the elephant in the room.
Consider Fox News. What the Murdoch model demonstrated was that facts and truth could be replaced by ideology, with viewership and revenue going up. Simply put, you can tell less truth and make more money....

Not a "conspiracy" but simply cold, hard cash. Or is that a conspiracy as well? lol.

Quote:
Jon Stewart talks about a "right-wing narrative of victimization," and what it has accomplished in Canada is the near-paralysis of progressive voices in broadcasting....

A good point here is that there's not enough of a fightback in the MSM in this country as there is in the US. Admitedly, defending the Democrats against the Republican neaderthals seems like defending one bigot from another. Anyway, it's worth discussing.

Quote:
Right now, there's a war going on against science in Canada. In order to satisfy a small but powerful political base, the PMO is engaged in a not-so-clandestine operation to dismantle and silence the many credible opponents to the Harper doctrine. Why kill the census? Literally in order to make decisions in the dark, without the relevant data. Hence the prisons. Why de-fund scientific research? Because whole branches of the natural sciences are premised on things like evolution, a theory the minister responsible made it clear he doesn't understand - and likely doesn't believe in. Why settle for weak platitudes on climate change? Because despite global scientific consensus, elements of the Conservative base don't believe human activity could warm the planet. Centuries of rational thought and academic tradition, dating back to the Renaissance, is being thrown out the window in favour of an ideology that doesn't reflect reality....

Absolutely. The right hates science and that can get lots of traction. From teachers. From scientists. From those whose jobs depend on science and whose opinions Canadians respect.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture
Kanada2America

Well I'll give credit to Kai Nagata for standing up and speaking out. But I also know he's thrown away any opportunity to stay engaged in telling those stories. The white Canadian mafia doesn't forgive easily.

I made this point a while back on rabble: that there is no spectrum of msm voices against extreme views taken by many. I was pretty much told well, how dare you say that about our wonderful diverse country (paraphrasing).

Back when I was in my twenties, there were no Nagata's or any other kind of non-white minority even remotely connected to the msm in this country. Hence my views on US tv vs Canadian tv. I think Kai Nagata is ahead of his time though, but I suspect he'll end up overseas and probably in the US. That's where media are diverse compared to Canada. Just like he says in his article.

Loretta

Maybe he'll become the Cdn equivalent of those in the US media opposing the right - I wonder where we can make room for that here, even if it's not him that does it.

Farmpunk

He completely lost me when he said he may get into agriculture in the future as a better option to TV News.  

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

So? Sent him a note and warn him about how difficult such things really are based on your own experience. Do it.

Farmpunk

Maybe.  But I probably won't.

It's clear the dude needs to figure some shit out on his own, away from the glare.  No amount of advice is going to substitute for experience.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Don't you agree that farming is a more useful and potentially fulfilling vocation than TV news reporter, Farmpunk?

Todrick of Chat...

Farming is a dying art form and science, an overwhelming majority of today's youth would never enter into the farming profession.

Farming is demeaned to be a position for the uneducated and extremely poor.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And you could take that as an affirmation of how deeply alienated Nagata feels about his former workplace that he'd prefer such a life to remaining in the MSM.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Urban farming (in places like Cuba, e.g.)  may become part of the difference between societies that are able to adapt to the environmental crises, peak oil, and so on, and those societies that will not adapt.

National Farmers Union of Canada

Kanada2America

He's a bright guy. Mature well beyond his years. The typical tv personality his age is obsessed with on-camera appearances of one sort or another. TV is a very lowbrow shallow medium. That's what he's realized. But I still think he could have waited it out until some alternative presented itself.

Rabble? Maybe he could find a home with this organization?

Most people in the business go one turn even worse. They get tired of the industry and resort to becoming PR hacks and media wranglers whose basic job is dodging any effort at getting to the truth. Bain of a real journalist's existence. Deflectors basically.

Anyway he's made a statement for his generation. It's gone viral:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2011/07/11/kai-blog-viral.html

Todrick of Chat...

Does anyone know if he is still part of the military?

Todrick of Chat...

Urban farming is very interesting. I am not sure how it would be implemented here in most Canadian cities or if could even happen on a large scale in the short term.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

It's a great idea but it should be pointed out that necessity - from the special period as the Cubans call it - was an important factor; the kind of expensive input agriculture/farming became much more difficult to carry out in that country after their trade with the socialist countries dropped precipitously and things had to change. Things changed. Credit to the Cubans for finding a way forward.

Farmpunk

He's a young person who was making, as he said, good money.  That probably means quite good money.  I don't need to tell anyone the difference between a regular paycheck of that sort and the stagnant income of famers across the country, right?

Unless he gets hooked into a government job related to agriculture, he'll not enjoy the same priviledged position.  If he tries to buy farmland he'll find himself quite deep in debt (unless he's saved enough from that media job to purchase prime land, quota, etc).

He says he doesn't have time, or won't take the time, to progress in the media world.  In ten years he could have been an exec with CTV, most likely, and able to shape prgramming.  He said there really was no overarching editorial control over what he produced every day, other than some unwritten cultural rules within TV newsgathering.  

Would he have the patience to learn the trade of farming?  Organic farming?  If he thinks media was slow to improve, then he's not worked on a seasonal schedule.

Urban farming?  How many people is that going to feed? 

It was an interesting read and I wish him luck in the future.  

And, Catchfire... useful and fufilling?  In years past I've worked almost every day for eight months of a year, for half the poverty line level income.  Give me a camera and a daily minute thirty slot for 70Gs a year and then I'll let you know what's better.

Farmpunk

He's a young person who was making, as he said, good money.  That probably means quite good money.  I don't need to tell anyone the difference between a regular paycheck of that sort and the stagnant income of famers across the country, right?

Unless he gets hooked into a government job related to agriculture, he'll not enjoy the same priviledged position.  If he tries to buy farmland he'll find himself quite deep in debt (unless he's saved enough from that media job to purchase prime land, quota, etc).

He says he doesn't have time, or won't take the time, to progress in the media world.  In ten years he could have been an exec with CTV, most likely, and able to shape prgramming.  He said there really was no overarching editorial control over what he produced every day, other than some unwritten cultural rules within TV newsgathering.  

Would he have the patience to learn the trade of farming?  Organic farming?  If he thinks media was slow to improve, then he's not worked on a seasonal schedule.

Urban farming?  How many people is that going to feed? 

It was an interesting read and I wish him luck in the future.  

And, Catchfire... useful and fufilling?  In years past I've worked almost every day for eight months of a year, for half the poverty line level income.  Give me a camera and a daily minute thirty slot for 70Gs a year and then I'll let you know what's better.

Life, the unive...

Not sure how this veered off into farming, beyond the guys own comments- but uhm- his job is EXACTLY the kind of job a lot of farmers need right now in order to farm.  Sure you can make a few dollars doing the CSA thing when you are young, but wait until the demands of raising a family start.  That income sure starts to seem small.   We've struggled with it all our farming career and it really doesn't seem to be getting much better.

The former Ontario head of the National Farmers Union, Grant Robertson, used to do a cost estimate in his speeches of what it costs to start an average 100 acre farm in Ontario from scratch.   Once he went through all the numbers he would get to about 2/3 to 3/4 of a million dollars.  Land+basic equipment+animals and or seed.  If you wanted to go into dairy or feathers it would easily be over a million.  So he said here's the sales pitch  we give young or new entratent farmers - come take on massive debt where you will be working full-time on the farm and full time off the farm.  You won't really get anything resembling vacation or holidays.  You probably won't be able to take a wage from the farm as most of your income will just go to debt payment.   And then people will ask you why you aren't producing food cheap enough and lecture you about all the things that you should or should not be doing and that will come from people who have only ever mostly driven by a farm.   If you do take a vacation once or buy yourself something nice people will feel compelled to comment on how things can't be so bad and will go on and on about farm subsidies - which you personally will never received.   Interested?  (When he talks about this stuff it is much more compelling and I am not doing it justice0

While I applaud Mr. Nagata- if his true love is farming- he might have done more "good" by toughing it out and used his position to begin to educate people about the reality of today's situation and pushed for more than just the traditional formula report of bad thing happens in farming, government pretends they are giving millions to help and we go onto the latest happening with the Royals or whatever.  Agriculture reporting in the mainstream, with a few rare exceptions, is beyond horrible.   That might have been  niche of reportage he might have carved out for himself.  But I guess we'll never know.  What I find depressing is that there are some really good, young people with farm backgrounds trying to find a place in the MSM- but they are blocked out or asked to focus on urbanized stories about food production.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I applaud the young man for speaking truth to power.  I think if he had stayed in the system for ten years he would be a different person and he knew it.  You can only make compromises for your principles so many times before you lose them in a confused moral haze.

But then his piece confirmed my view of the MSM to a tee.  Full of nice, well intentioned people who have lost their way and instead of doing dynamic journalism have slid down the slope after agreeing to being co opted into doing the job well below their potential or believes.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

It's fascinating that so many people in the "comments" section seemed to find Nagata's actions threatening.  He quit his job...it's not like he kneecapped Lloyd Robertson.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

They look in the mirror and they know, so they lash out.

Aristotleded24
ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Nagata's exposure of the self-enforced censorship of the mass media is confirmed with the disgusting revelations around The News of The World. We have:

George Monbiot wrote:
The scandal radically changes public perceptions of how politics works, the danger corporate power presents to democracy, and the extent to which it has compromised and corrupted the Metropolitan police, who have now been dragged in so deep they are beginning to look like Murdoch's private army. It has electrified a dozy parliament and subjected the least accountable and most corrupt profession in Britain - journalism - to belated public scrutiny.

I would add the inherent danger of corporate power even if  most of us on the left already knew this stuff - it still helps to disseminate the facts as widely as possible.

right wing columnist Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph wrote:
"British political journalism is basically a club to which politicians and journalists both belong," she wrote. "It is this familiarity, this intimacy, this set of shared assumptions ... which is the real corruptor of political life. The self-limiting spectrum of what can and cannot be said ... the self-reinforcing cowardice which takes for granted that certain vested interests are too powerful to be worth confronting. All of these things are constant dangers in the political life of any democracy."

Monbiot wrote:
Most national journalists are embedded .... But this is just part of the problem. Daley stopped short of naming the most persuasive force: the interests of the owner and the corporate class to which he belongs. The proprietor appoints editors in his own image - who impress their views on their staff. Murdoch's editors, like those who work for the other proprietors, insist that they think and act independently.... It's a lie exposed by the concurrence of their views ... The papers cannot announce that their purpose is to ventriloquise the concerns of multimillionaires; they must present themselves as the voice of the people. The Sun, the Mail and the Express claim to represent the interests of the working man and woman. These interests turn out to be identical to those of the men who own the papers.

 

Monbiot: journalists need a Hippocratic oath

 

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Here's more ...

Monbiot wrote:
So the rightwing papers run endless exposures of benefit cheats, yet say scarcely a word about the corporate tax cheats. They savage the trade unions and excoriate the BBC. They lambast the regulations that restrain corporate power. They school us in the extrinsic values - the worship of power, money, image and fame - which advertisers love but which make this a shallower, more selfish country. Most of them deceive their readers about the causes of climate change. These are not the obsessions of working people. They are the obsessions thrust upon them by the multimillionaires who own these papers.

Oh, and this ...

Monbiot wrote:
The BBC, over the last 30 years, became a shadow of the gutsy broadcaster it was, and now treats big business with cringing deference.

Gee. Does that sound familliar? (Hint; there is also a public broadcaster in this country. Sort of.)

Monbiot's "solution" is interesting but clearly what's needed is wider public access to the media, subsidy for a diversity of views, more support for public broadcasters, and so on. But then, what do you expect from a liberal?

 

 

 

outwest

On this morning's Current (CBC Radio), Kai implied that he was speaking only about Canadian television and that "other" media didn't have the same problem of censorship/self-muzzling/vested interests/pandering to the lowest common denominator, etc. 

If he truly believes that mainstream print journalism and radio are much different, he is still very much wet behind the ears. 

 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I heard the interview and he was very clear he was critiquing the media he had been working in not anywhere else where he had not worked.  I doubt after his experience at CTV he has too many illusions but he is trying to be a responsible journalist so he likely felt compelled to remain silent on areas he does not have the knowledge base in.

I loved the NP reporter who was saying hell I worked for years as a reporter in a despotic regime and that is what is really bad not Canada.  It probably helped in her job interview since she obviously understands the concept of manufacturing consent and had already proven capable of doing it for the most brutal of bosses. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Northern Shoveler wrote:

 

I loved the NP reporter who was saying hell I worked for years as a reporter in a despotic regime

well yeah, it must have been despotic, especially in the Conrad Black years....oh, wait, did she mean something ElSE?

 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

She worked at a paper in the middle east for a "real" dictator.

Quote:

As someone who spent more than two years working at a newspaper owned by the Crown Prince in Abu Dhabi, I can say with confidence that Canadian journalists face very few restrictions, other than two very basic rules — don’t make it up and don’t copy any one else.

any one who wants toi read her article can find it on the Nazi Post I refuse to link to that rag.

E.P.Houle

He had quite a reputation of being out spoken at one of the most socially concious high schools in Vancouver, Templeton. I don't understand that gen(my kids) but they certainly have their own way of getting their act together.  It's different than I would have done but I don't see they've any choice if they want to make a difference.