Since the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communication published its final report on the Canadian news media last month, many of you wrote to me asking me when I would ''weigh in.'' To be honest, I thought there would be little point in adding anything to what the Star's editorial board had to say -- three editorials, no less! -- since I agreed with virtually every word of it produced. So I decided to take a step back and see how the media covered the media report, figuring it would produce much more interesting grist for my mill.
I was not disappointed. Which is to say, they acted just as I had expected them to act.
So, without further ado, here's some of today's treeware column on the subject, as published in the Business section. I've tossed in a couple of links.
On June 21, the day the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communication published its final report on the Canadian news media, there were two pertinent stories in the papers.
One got front-page headlines across the country, was the target of countless columns and editorials, was screamed over the airwaves, debated on hotline shows and in the blogosphere and was the focus of the committee's news conference that day.
The other? It was buried in the business pages.
The former was CBC-TV's decision to bounce its flagship newscast, The National, one hour later throughout the summer to accommodate a simulcast of ABC's The One: Making a Music Star. Pundits are still bloviating about it, even though it's going to affect only Tuesday nights, and only in certain time zones.
The latter story was Sun Media Corp's announcement that it would be cutting 120 positions across its newspaper chain, shutting down its research libraries everywhere except Toronto, slashing its political coverage, dumping local lifestyle and entertainment writers for one big merged and converged happy journalistic family in Toronto.
Now I ask you: If you're reporting on, or commenting on, a Senate study of media concentration, which story would you find more relevant? An American simulcast on CBC-TV, or the radical consolidation of Canada's second-biggest newspaper chain?
And yet, in all those thundering editorials and news stories about the Senate report, most of which dismissed its findings while chastising CBC, not a single one referred to the bloodbath that had just happened at the Sun papers.
Which tells you all you need to know about Canada's giant media corporations.
It's also a perfect illustration of why the Senate Committee began studying them three years ago when there were alarming signs that concentration was stifling opinion in this country...
The column says it all, except for one thing: When the corporate media claim that there are lots of news alternatives available via Google and Yahoo, they're talking out of both sides of their ... hats. It won't be long before they take serious steps to prevent the search engines to stop ripping them off from using their material.