rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

On the mainstream media's shameful failure to cover #IdleNoMore

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Artwork designed by Dwayne Bird.

Change the conversation, support rabble.ca today.

As someone who works in alternative media, my expectations are rock-bottom low for media coverage of protests and dissent in general. 

I've come to expect little or no coverage of social justice movements by Canada's mainstream media. Movement spokespeople rarely get on TV to make their own case. Rather, the safe talking heads parse the protests and advise viewers that there's nothing to get too worked up about. 

The standard response to activism in the streets is: 'nothing to see here, folks, please move along.' 

That said, I'm still shocked by the silence from the mainstream media on the 'Idle No More' Indigenous rights protests this week.

The real kicker for me, and what prompted this post, was CBC's 'The National' -- the flagship news program for this country's "public broadcaster." 

I watched the full news portion of the broadcast last night. Here are the stories that were reported on, in order: South Africa (Nelson Mandela's illness) Egypt, Syria, Wisconsin, something about the new World Trade Centre tower, Rush's admission to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, a story about the theft of corn in Quebec, and a little profile about the benefits of meditation for health. And -- of course! -- there was a story about The Hobbit, and specifically about whether this film's 3-D format would leave viewers dizzy. 

There was no coverage, not even a passing reference, to the more than a dozen rallies across the country the day before, or to the fact that Attawapiskat's Chief Theresa Spence -- who had been at the centre of an international media sensation a year ago focused on poverty and poor housing -- had started an indefinite hunger strike in coordination with a Canada-wide movement for Indigenous rights. (There was also no reporting on the ongoing Federal Court "robocalls" case -- very little 'national' about this edition of 'The National.')

Whatever your politics, the Idle No More rallies and the diverse expressions of discontent from First Nations across the land is a significant news story for Canada.

There's just no excuse for The National's failure to cover the protests and the hunger strike and the broader story. 

The CBC should be called out on this. They need to hear about it, as do all the other media. Organizers working on Idle No More actions and anyone else concerned about this should not just let this neglect stand unquestioned. 

Remember that there are many reporters, producers and hosts working in the mainstream outlets who do want to tell the stories of Idle No More and related issues. The higher-ups need to know that people want, or rather demand, to have these stories covered. 

And remember that Tahrir Square was full of protesters for many days before Anderson Cooper and CNN got there, and that for the first couple of weeks the young people who camped out for Occupy Wall Street were ignored. Social media and networks helped force these stories into the mainstream media and into mass consciousness.

I hope we'll see things play out similarly with Idle No More. In the meantime, we'll keep doing our very best to help fill the gaps and tell these vital stories. 

Artwork designed by Dwayne Bird.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.