Wednesday, July 20, 2011
News of OUR world ...
BC Mary - July 20, 2011
When Rupert Murdoch's News of the World ... suddenly, overnight, exploded onto our news media, that whole huge ugly issue of media accountability became the news of British Columbia's world too. At least, that's how I see it.
The Brits are driving straight at the issue of "how close is too close, between government and the news media?"
Because, to my way of thinking, the news media has an equal duty to serve the public with truth and honesty. The media should not be a compliant part of government; its duty is observe, analyse, verify, investigate, and report. Media's duty (well performed) is of primary value in a democracy and, in my view, the B.C. public is deprived of a responsible media.
The Brits seem to understand this, eh?
Couldn't believe my eyes, when -- in a matter of minutes, almost -- they had a PUBLIC Public Inquiry going full tilt. They invited the most worrying candidates to answer a few questions. They had Rupert Murdoch where we might've had Gordon Campbell. And so on ...
But not in British Columbia. Instead, we have had an 8-year battle to find out how an elected government could overthrow one of the main components of the province -- BC Rail -- and virtually go rogue, with nobody answerable.
Imagine -- The Mother of Parliaments! - almost like clapping their hands and the lights come on -- are instantly in Parliamentary Inquiry mode, in a small room, where everybody gets their chance to ask whatever they want to ask ... even of their Prime Minister. Where the Brits encouraged (ha ha) their Prime Minister NOT to keep on with his (ha ha) journey to South Africa ... So we'll be hearing questions bouncing off the British Prime Minister almost immediately ...
Can you imagine that in British Columbia? No? How come we could never even imagine ourselves asking politely for the sitting premier to attend a small gathering in the BC Legislature to answer, under oath, a few outstanding questions? Let's try. Let's make a visualization of it, come true.
Even in British Columbia, 8 years is plenty, plenty long enough to keep citizens still begging and pleading for a Public Inquiry ... Rupert Murdoch and his son James ... and Rebekah Brooks with the hair ... deja vu? haven't we seen this movie before?
And what does our big flat-footed federal prime minister do for us? Well ...Stephen Harper has given Gordon Campbell one of the highest, most influential diplomatic postings -- he's now representing all of Canada as our High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
Our own, blessed-by-media Gordo is living at Canada House, on Trafalgar Square, in priceless proximity to H.M. the Queen, where almost every trade and government secret is open to him.
-- and maybe he is dropping in on the Mother of Parliaments to watch these British parliamentary hearings? Na. Why should he? He wrote the book on how to bring the media into compliance. What must be going through his mind, as he listens to Big-Time Members of Parliament asking the hard questions, nose-to-nose, at a very small table, broadcast to millions of people who have this notion that the media SHOULD be gathering the news, but that nobody is entitled to break the law.
Here's little bit of BC Rail history. It's a little bit about a provincial accomplishment. The photos alone are evocative, but don't miss the concluding paragraph. This is a special item for the poor sod who came on here to explain that only private, profit-taking enterprisers should do all these things:
BC Rail Tumbler Ridge Branch Line - Northeast Coal Development 1980-1983
Just for fun i got to comparing.
And if you draw exact parallels between the two, it would be Izzy (deceased.) and David (now bankrupt) Asper facing hearings in our legislature. (Denis Skulski is the next best witness should need be.)
Then, i see el Gordo in the role(s) performed by Tony Blair and later Gordon Brown.
The two elite London Bobbies to have fallen so far are akin to Bass and Superintendent Kevin deBruyckere.
Now, i see no immediate match for Ruppee's iradescent Rebekah Brooks. Still, i thought you might want to know that: In 2003, News of the World Editor Rebekah Brooks admitted to a parliamentary committee that they had paid police for information and intended to continue. This has been public knowledge for some time!
Rebekah Brooks "We Have Paid The Police" - NOTW Phone Hacking
You have hit the nail on the head with your most recent post. Sure, the corrupt BC Rail sale is a scandal, but the bigger, over-arching story is the complicity of the media. It would indeed be wonderful to have an inquiry such as is now happening in Britain. But first, someone on the inside needs to have the courage to spill the beans!
I have to have something, albeit small, to keep me believing that justice will be eventually served.
Some very high powered NDP,ers made money off that project.
That's a serious comment you just made.
Can you supply a source? Any evidence? Or is this just a drive-by whack?
Anonymous is just shooting shit and hoping it will stick.
that was a very welcome rejoinder.
Jeez, ain't democracy puzzling?
Well, yes it is. I was SO impressed, this morning, when I read a CBC online editorial about News of the World and saw the excellent comment left there by Ron.
Now--back to this very important ruppee fiasco.
What i see and hear in this high City drama--is a political committee system using some of its quasi-judicial powers to try and drag the stinking truth out into the light of day.
Now, i don't know any of the members on any of several committees that have been looking into this cesspool (which implicates more than just news/corp., and goes back some time, just for the record); however, i did notice that these were not your inner circle politicos. It looks like some sort of rear-guard motion from the outer-party against their inner-party bosses.
And so, i've been wondering how this dynamic was set into motion. For us here, it would be invaluable to find out how they got it started. (Might there yet be hope for parliamentary democracy--?)
Within the prevailing circumstances of the real politik, though, one has to ask why these committees have been allowed to get going at all (?). Surely they are being okay-ed from above. And i would suggest that this factoid just might be the key to finding the kind of help that we need in B.C., too--but, who knows if it will ever come to us here?
Royal Hudson Museum in Squamish.
I suspect in the UK there might be behind-the-scenes manoeuvres by the palace's constitutional staff; the Royal Family are not only ceremonial in nature, their moral clout re constitutional matters is a force majeure in British politics....and OUR backbenchers are bunch of gutless slime, as we all know.....
And, if i may be so bold, i would like to add the name Lord Jacob to that list of titans playing in this in forcible, if hidden, ways.
All of which leads me to think that perhaps we need to run a new "All Red Line", in the reverse direction this time, taking us back to the City, in the hopes of somehow currying their favour for an investigation way out yonder here.
The problem is, however, that those London lords have already had to sign off on the CN, and BCR, dealings in question.
More likely, it'll begin for us when a wave of this scandal crashes upon the shining shores of the United States. Does anyone really believe that fox was not involved, and, above it all--?
What we do after the u.s. media reveals it here,...is, well, up to us when that time comes.
Yes, a self-mandated public inquiry is a theoretical possibility. And, yes--it has been done before in this province, back before the advent of the automobile.
But, i would respectfully contend that we live in a different context now--empirically speaking if nothing else. It will be very difficult to effectively convene a single group of enough members of the public who could genuinely act to suppoena, investigate, and then bring some kind of judgement on those found lacking.
As much as i would like to see that, i also know how hard it would be to make it so.
Instead, i would respectfully suggest that we need a new provincial government. (full stop). And beyond that, we need to all start acting to help them to re-new our system of parliamentary democracy, which would include a decentralizing of power now held in the premier's office, and a serious re-building of an active, inclusive, province-wide system of committees. Amidst those changes, we need to make the sober call for a just accounting, while also bearing in hand by then the patent approval from the Crown to do so.
Anything less is impossible.
Well, as you've noted ad hoc commissions and inquiries are very much a part of BC history, including in colonial times. Two come to mind, I'm trying to remember which dignitary it was involved in the education inquiry/commission of the 1860s which called for universal public education and became persona non grata for it...Howay perhaps, maybe it was Crease, I've forgotten...I could go dig it out maybe....the other notable one was the Yale Convention, which I've mentioned before, which was when all the Canadian political carpetbaggers, I mean, er, free (for us) enterprise types, aka "liberals" as the term was used then, got together and mandated themselves a convention to call for the Colony's union with Canada; their resulting manifesto was widely published and circulated, not surprising since it was de Cosmos, Robson and the other journalists/editors-cum-aspiring-premiers who instigated the whole affair.....and got us a constitutional/railway deal which was promptly ignored by Ottawa and never did get honoured properly.....
But the clincher, oh, the clincher, was the creation of the Mainland Colony itself, which was a pro tem measure, a raw bluff, pulled by Governor Douglas, then only Governor of Vancouver Island and still effective Chief Factor-cum-smal-g-governor of the unincorporated mainland, aka New Caledonia - in order to forestall an American takeover, he dedlcared a colony, without having the power to do so, and invested himself in order to have some stature to bully/cajole the American miners to respect Her Majesty's laws and authority. He was, I might add, a master poker player as well as, 'tis said, the best shot in the colony.....
Somewhere between nonplussed and peeved, the Colonial Secretary had little choice but to go along with it; that was Lord Lytton (of "it was a dark and stormy night" infamy), and in fact he came alongside rather rapidly, once he realized there was no turning back. The British cabinet, on the other hand, didn't like what had happened at all, especially as the new colony kept on wracking up massive debts (thanks to graft and wheedling by colonial officials such as Trutch and Moody - though not Douglas - on infrastructure contracts, either personally or through their allies/proxies, namely such as the Douglas-Lillooet Trail, the Old Cariboo Road from Lillooet to Alexandria, and the Cariboo Road itself, plus the enormous cost of the flop that was the Gold Escort. Didn't help that there were no real gold royalties, that all revenues were made only from excise and similar taxes, such that untold, and often uncounted millions, left the "Gold Colony", as the mainland was known, without leaving anything in the actual colonial coffers. Faced with bankruptcy (time and again), London shoehorned the two colonies together in 1866, then dropped Musgrave into place to cajole/bully the province into Confederation, despite the vast miles of emptiness in between....btw Douglas wanted a chunk of Rupert's Land, comprising what is roughly today's Alberta, as part of the new province but he was ignored....long before there was talk of a railway, he also called for a wagon road to the Selkirk Colony and beyond.....the British, being British, didn't like visionaries very much, particularly mulatto Scotsmen with airs of high office but no "breeding" and who had already shown himself an upstart by declaring a colony without having the power to do so...but Her Majesty had been pleased, even avidly choosing a name for this sorry, soggy place, so they had no choice but to comply with what Douglas had done,
I'll maunder on this more another time; there are various constitutional technicalities that could be exploited, to bypass Trudeau's ending of the constitutional ties to both the British Parliament and the Palace, and the fact that to this day the native peoples consider their relationship to the Crown aka the Queen to be more significant than that to those presuming to act in Her name. There's also the matter of the broken Terms of Union, aka the Carnarvon Terms (Lord Carnarvon having either neogitated them or mandated them, I can't remember), meaning that any powers of Canada that would override BC's direct contact with the Crown could be found null and void.
Worth noting that the US and Alaska governments still argue over land and offshore rights contingent upon Russian imperial documents....but US courts are not the same dog-and-pony show as our own....
All that was by the way of historical/constitutional obscurities/curiosities, though perhaps useful in any legal technicalities before the ICC/World Court if it had to come to that....
In more direct terms, a citizen's inquiry or assembly with a report that was well-written and well-documented enough could be tabled, as it were, on the internet, and thrust before the Palace, Fleet Street, the Commonwealth, and the UN.....it would take public support, ergo a public awakening, unlike anything else since maybe 1983, for it to have any credibility and, alas, we know the state of the self-declared major media and who they are.....the ties between FoxNews and Global/BCTV/Asper etc could all be explored, however.....but IMO the major media are dead, hoisted by their own petards, as in the Murdoch case, and can be taken down by pitchforks and torches, leaving them only as collections of recipes, sports scores and car ads (and obits of record), with no public credibility for news and analysis. This will increase as they all try to recoup lost print revenues by charging for their online editions and online articles.....why pay for something you know is a lie, when the truth can be had for free?
Working title of the book I don't have time or resources to write/research: "Empire of Lies: A History of Corruption in Modern British Columbia and the Role of the Media"...or you could just leave out the "in Modern" and "and the role of the Media"...they are one and the same thing...from the very first publications of de Cosmos and Robson, they have printed lies and self-serving invective in the interests of private capital and hijacked the government of the colonial period, then of the provincial period also....."crossing the floor" between not the opposing sides of the House, but between the House and the Fourth Estate, is standard fare in BC history, from de Cosmos right down to Rafe Mair and Brian Kieran....even Glen Clark working for Jimmy Pattison smacks of the same thing.
"Code of ethics" ROTFL when one considers that as one of the rationales of the major media in excluding non-mainstream "citizen journalists" from both the courtroom and the Press Gallery of the Ledge......I don't want the job, but "one of us" should get credentials from Al-Jazeera, or the Manchester Guardian maybe......actually Kai Nagata probably could use the work, come to think of it....
Time to think outside the box. "The box" being the way we're trained to think that we need their mandate to do anything to get them where they belong.....in jail.
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