Protestors and mainstream media
The residents of Bridgeview in North Surrey have been protesting this week against the destruction of houses in their neighborhood to facilitate the construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road. It is expected that heavy machinery will be brought in shortly to demolish the last house that stands in its proposed route. This protest has been going on for the last four days, but a Google news search turns up only one reference to it – in the Tyee.
If you relied on the mainstream media for your news and information, you would have remained in ignorance of this protest. It is simply “not news” as far as the corporate mainstream media are concerned. It is of course being covered by the Livable Region Blog and Gatewaysucks – both of whom are encouraging opponents of the freeway to join the protest. So neither are exactly news media. Both are campaigns for saner transportation planning – just as this blog is.
Now while I understand that news editors have to make hard choices everyday about what to put in the paper, with electronic versions of most papers now mandatory, the pressure on page space has lessened. It is quite possible for lesser items to be skipped in the dead tree version but still appear on line. (The Tyee only exists on line and is adamantly not mainstream.) It is clear to me that the media in this region are failing – and failing badly – and not just because they refuse to report on an issue I care about. The Gateway is a huge government program affecting all three levels 0f government. The story here should surely be that billions of money are being thrown at a program for reasons which no longer make any sense – even if they did originally, which is debatable but really has not been examined very much.
I am not supporting any illegal activity. But I do wonder what it takes to get some attention – and why it is that protests such as this one – the Eagleridge Buffs protest 0r the treesit in Langford got so little attention. I think it is not coincidental that mainstream media in this region is in very few hands – and those hands are also very much identified with the right wing political views that currently dominate national and provincial governments. The press, tv and radio here have been notably easy going on these governments – despite a string of scandals which are far more momentous than the deck and the pocket knife that the press used to bring down a left wing premier. If it wasn’t for journalists such as Bill Tieleman and Rafe Mair shameful issues such as the “railgate” scandal and the P3 power boondoggles would have been ignored completely.
One reason that right wing governments keep getting elected (aside from the failings of the first past the post electoral system) is that most of media – being controlled by big business – will give any government that favours busines interests an easy ride. It is not until you go to other places and look at their media you realise how ill served we are.