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The Globe and Mail continues habit of ignoring public opinion

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Image: Flickr/Peter

Ottawa Globe reporter Campbell Clark penned an article on August 18 that is a textbook example of how the mainstream media ignores and marginalizes the public in key debates that are clearly in the public interest.

Here's what practically all established media do now: they ignore public protest and opinion on key issues, and later, when doing a half-baked analysis of issues, say there's no response or concern from the public.

Clark wrote: "The long-awaited text of the Canada-European Union trade agreement was leaked, to deafening silence. Industry groups and political parties yawned and blinked and didn't find much to say."

Apparently the public opposition to CETA merit even a mention.

This kind of journalism totally ignores the huge public campaign led by the Council of Canadians, as well as dozens of other campaigns. 

I guess Maude Barlow's comment is not worth considering: "Throughout the process, this agreement and its devastating impacts have been kept locked away from legislators and the public, shielded from a democratic process. Finally, it comes to light, probably because people in Germany are fed up with the secrecy and fed up with being taken hostage by companies."

Here's what the Corporate Europe Observatory says: "If the CETA is signed and ratified with ISDS intact, Canadian and European democracy will suffer while corporations gain new tools to frustrate any number of policies designed to protect the environment, public health, public services, resource conservation and, crucially, to make our social-economies more sustainable and equitable."

The pro-business community had been citing polls that say a majority of Canadians favour a Canada-EU deal, but a more in-depth poll says that 80 per cent of Canadians agreed "that the federal government should have to hold public hearings across Canada on the Canada-Europe trade deal before it can sign and ratify the deal."

Later in the article, Clark further totally downplays public opposition to trade agreements in general: "free trade is now widely accepted, so opposition beyond a relatively small minority depends on whether the trading partner is a little scary to Canadians. South Korea isn't. Neither is the EU."

The Globe's selective reporting on the CETA deal is just one example of how mainstream journalists marginalize many sectors in society, including women, environmentalists, labour, immigrants -- just about anything that doesn't go along with the corporate way of viewing how things should be.

For instance, in the case of The Globe and Mail, years ago the paper had a labour beat reporter who reported in-depth on developments within the movement. Now the Globe's coverage, similar to coverage in most mainstream media, involves coverage of how labour is causing strikes. Moreover, the stories seldom mention that unions are fighting to hold onto benefits that corporations want to take away from them.

By the way, one of the main issues covered in the story is whether Harper will be able to complete the trade deal so he can add to his legacy. Hmmm, I think a lot of Canadians have a few things to say about Harper's real legacy.

The Globe story can be read here.

Image: Flickr/Peter

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