Tuesday, May 18, 2010
From the "most overlooked piece of news" file
I happen to agree with the Globe and Mail's Lawrence Martin that recent developments concerning one of Canada's major media chains have ramifications that spread far and wide in this great land of ours:
Liberally-inclined Torstar appeared to be the favourite to win the National Post and the other Canwest papers, all of them in the conservative philosophical corner. The thought of it had the Harper Conservatives climbing the walls. The country’s media landscape was about to change.
But a surprise bid from by a group led by National Post chairman Paul Godfrey saved the day.
Now, Lawrence Martin's take on the purchase is rather short-sighted and partisan in nature. However, in my view, what transpired did help maintain what limited ideological balance there exists in Canada's media.
Could you imagine a Canada where two of its largest paper/media chains were owned by the liberal Torstar? Although Martin suggests it would have driven the Tories crazy, the flip-side of that proposition is that it probably had people like Martin salivating at the thought of even more left-of-center control of our media.
Part of the irony here is that the National Post and Canwest are not nearly as ideologically conservative as people like Martin tend to think. For instance, these media outlets certainly tend not to be socially conservative, a prospect that is the fear of every liberal from Halifax to Vancouver
But Canwest does provide the country's conservatives with a voice. I don't quite see the harm in that. In fact, I think it tends to be good for Canadian democracy when there is at least some semblance of balance in the news that Canadians view, hear, and read on a daily basis.