Dear rabble readers,
The media were once thought to be no more than the mirror society held up to itself. Today, however, the media act more like the agents of powerful interests.
News is reported from the point of view of private business owners and investors. Mainstream media reflects the existing power structure, and the views of the 1%.
Media coverage shapes what society thinks is important.
At rabble, we know that without independent media, debate is distorted, issues get ignored, and injustices get overlooked. And so I'm writing today to ask if you can contribute whatever you can to keep this publication running strong and into its 20th year! You can do so at: rabble.ca/donate
Traditionally, newspapers claimed neutrality and objectivity as the basic values that drive news and reporting. In commentary on events and issues, newspapers and broadcasters sought to achieve balance by including diverse points of view.
However, the last 30 years have seen a "sell an audience to advertisers" business model dominate and twist journalistic practices. Instead of deciding that revenue would follow properly researched, quality writing, media outlets now produce directly for advertisers. Readers and viewers are the losers in this money-driven media world.
The results of the advertising-driven model have been disappointing. Media outlets are closing. Predatory hedge funds control Postmedia, Canada's leading newspaper chain, demanding extravagant interest payments, met by management through regular cutbacks of editorial resources.
Media ownership (print, radio and television) has become concentrated in fewer hands. As a result, reliable information about political, economic and social trends is harder to find. Media outlets are more likely to exclude points of view other than those held by the advertisers, and pushed by the owners.
Whole sectors of Canadian life are no longer covered by the media. There is virtually no unbiased reporting on labour and social issues. No mainstream media covers the economy as it actually works: people working, and providing services to each other that meet real needs.
Commentary on Canadian affairs representing the point of view of labour and social groups is difficult to find. Coverage of science, technology, higher education and public services in general is dominated by a "what does this mean for business" perspective.
But since 2001, rabble.ca has been on the job working to provide "news for the rest of us." With the advent of the internet, it became possible to challenge the dominance and authority of established media outlets. Our website was one of the first in the world to bring an alternative news perspective online. Can you help keep this reader-funded site up and running?
The rise of social media like Twitter and Facebook allows people to pass on -- to a wide audience -- information which at one time would have been suppressed or underreported. Today, we desperately need solid, reliable, authoritative news, properly edited and presented. Without solid information, evidence-based reasoning becomes impossible, and democracy a sham.
At no time has it been easier to make content available without getting permission from the mainstream news censors. Therefore, we must ensure that good news content continues to be produced and supported. Can you support rabble to keep up this good work?
At rabble.ca we provide a multimedia platform for news, information and comment on public affairs, science, the physical environment and culture.
Each year over a million individuals visit our website: to watch events such as speakers at labour conventions live-streamed on rabbletv; to listen to podcasts on the RPN, our rabble podcast network; to read news from our "in cahoots" partners, feature news stories, columnists and bloggers; or to contribute to babble, our discussion boards. We do all this with 11 part-time employees, and volunteers, on a shoestring budget.
Duncan Cameron is president emeritus of rabble.ca and writes a weekly column on politics and current affairs.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Sollok29
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.