Black and white and dying all over

Just when you thought a bad idea couldn’t get worse, it did. In the 2018 federal budget, $50 million was designated to hire professional journalists to buttress local news coverage. On its face, the concept might appeal to some; use public money to tell the public what’s going on around the corner. But, can you really have a free press if it’s bought and paid for by Ottawa? Not by my definition.

Now, how does Ottawa foul things up even more? Why by creating a sketchy committee to advise who should enjoy the tax measures proposed in the 2019 budget. Lo and behold, the names announced today by Pablo Rodriguez, minister of Canadian heritage and multiculturalism, include every unionized beseecher and lollygagging lobby group for journalists that asked for help in the first place.

Multiculturalism has been a honey pot since the days of Stanley Haidasz, the first minister of state for multiculturalism, appointed in 1972 by Trudeau the Elder. Among this latest group cutting up the cash are Unifor, the National Ethnic Press, and the Canadian Association of Journalists.

No one is more unhappy than I am with the current state of journalism. Newspapers of long-standing have been replaced by social media outbursts. Magazines of record have been subsumed by memes. I no longer advise young people to consider going into journalism. There is little possibility of working your way up from the Nelson (B.C.) Daily to the Vancouver Sun, or radio station CJOB in Winnipeg to an on-air role with CTV. Or being discovered, like a nineteen-year-old Peter Mansbridge, making flight announcements at an airport.

So, what’s a government to do? Leave the media alone. Some practitioners will last longer than others. But all are doomed. With or without largesse.

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