All The News






Traditional news outlets have gone a long way down the path to irrelevance, and the economic consequences are showing in a dire fashion, as outlined in today’s post from Norm Farrell over at ( I stopped reading almost all traditional newspapers over a decade ago, and visit the front pages of sites on the web only to get a flavour of what’s being pasted up on their pages. They continue to spew the same line of corporate back-slapping, advocacy for corrupt sycophant politicians, a stubborn refusal to seek a broad spectrum of opinion, and, often, a tendency to be very select in their use of factual information. Good investigative journalism seems to have become almost exclusively, despite Keith Baldric’s cries of “foul!” and “Nay Nay!”, the bailiwick of a cadre of dedicated citizen journalists who pump out some pretty remarkable work on a series of blogging sites across the province, the country and the world. In a comment on Farrell’s latest post, Rafe Mair, a former Socred cabinet minister and general loudmouth whose image has gone from goat to god in the last decade because of his advocacy for ecological sense and a better degree of economic justice, suggests that newshounds need to morph into scanners, casting a wide net to get an accurate sense of where things are headed in any given domain. Some of the content will be available without payment, but you can bet that most bloggers of all stripes will have their hand out to catch any spear cash that might accidentally fall out of your digital pocket.

One of the recent twists in the saga of the transformation of information and its delivery is the appeal on the part of traditional news organizations for support from the public purse, lest the public be misinformed about the course of events by sourcing unvetted material from the Internet without the guiding hand of these same organizations who can best be characterized by Mark Twain’s quip about being uninformed if you don’t read newspapers and misinformed if you do. The same applies to pretty much everything in broadcast media as well. In essence, outfits like Torstar and Postmedia are victims of their own free market game.¬†Funny how these folks are such admirers of a free market until they come out on the losing end, at which point they come to think of themselves as cultural icons worthy of public support. There should be an enormous hue and cry should the least little nickel of public funds find its way into the corrupt coffers of the aforementioned Journalist Masqueraders, a phenomenon that seems unlikely with the general level of apathy and ignorance that characterizes much of our population, and with the jolly abandon with which the elected governments hand over wads of your cash and mine to people who already have too much and can’t really even win at their own rigged game.

I find that I now probably spend more on news than I did back in the days of newspapers, even though many of the contributions are voluntary and intermittent, and I’m actually quite pleased to do so. There are expenses involved in investigative journalism, including hosting and other Web services, FOI requests and just keeping body and soul together in the case of those people who don’t have the luxury of a well-paid day job. It gives me some satisfaction to share some of my meagre resources with those who do such a vital public service and the neat thing is that I get to make the choice. I don’t feel too badly about supporting only those whose material supports a clearer vision of society, economy and ecology: those on the other side of the argument generally have access to ample support. I don’t want to live in an echo chamber, but it’ll be a frosty Friday in hell before before I hand any money over to the Fraser Institute crowd.

Do become a scanner. Substitute a read-around from a selection of the sites that grace the front page of In-Sights, and continue to follow links from those links. Bookmark those that seem promising and revisit them regularly. Should you come to appreciate a site, make a contribution to ensure that the author is feeling the support. As well, leave comments, questions and suggestions. Finally, as soon as you sense that you have the necessary background knowledge, start acting on it in whatever way you can (Oh, rats! that sounds a lot like activism. It is, and it’s good.) This is much more engaging and exciting than reality television or fantasizing about your favourite actor/actress, musician or other personality.

Now I’m going off to make a contribution to In-Sights because Norm made me think and got me up out of my torpor to write about something that’s been bothering me.