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So much for sitting quiet.  New format = new direction.

There is a specific reason why I posted the Bill Moyers interview on the front page of The Strand.  The mainstream press, for the most part, has been co-opted and ruined by people like the Murdochs. They are now being hauled on the carpet for their misdeeds, yet we know that this sort of thing has gone on in all levels of the media, whether it is a worldwide media empire or a small town newspaper.

Moyers pointed out The Guardian, a UK newspaper as as example of good journalistic practices.  It is a newspaper that operates as the result of a family trust.  It is not beholden to a conglomerate or a CEO with a political agenda. Unfortunately, it is a rare exception. The Murdoch empire includes newspapers and networks, including the very right-leaning FOX News.

So, how does this have anything to do with us here in Fort Erie?  Even the Fort Erie Times and the Niagara Falls Review are part of a large consortium, controlled ultimately by a CEO with a political agenda.  Such an agenda ultimately trickles down to the local level, leaving reporters and editors with certain parameters and lines that they cannot cross.  It can be very subtle and hardly noticeable by the public, but it is there n0netheless.  The most blatant and embarrassing example of this is the avoidance of coverage of the far-reaching scandal by FOX News and other Murdoch-owned media.  The Daily Show offered a scathing report on the the non-coverage of the issue on Murdoch-owned media.

Here are a couple of local examples of media improprieties, in my opinion. First, the hiring of Martha Lockwood by the Fort Erie Times when she was a sitting councillor. Presumably, her duties were to sell advertising for the newspaper, but it is wildly inappropriate for a newspaper to hire a local politician for any job, let alone a job that puts that pol in direct contact with potential advertisers.  Any suspicions I harbored about her possible influence on editorial policy were confirmed when she left her job at the Times shortly after her resounding defeat in the October municipal elections.  Of course, readers of The Strand know that I have often pointed out her other possible conflict of interest: the running of a booth at the public beach at Bay Beach, under the license of the snack bar operator who she championed to get the contract at the town-owned beach.  As a parting shot to the public, in a letter to the editor of The Times, Lockwood chided Ann Marie Noyes for requesting recounts in the five vote difference in the mayoral election, yet, just months later,  Lockwood requested an audit of the campaign expenses of a duly elected councillor as part of a larger effort to embarrass and deter four elected councillors who campaigned for town reform and against the Molinaro Development  for public waterfront lands.

The next is but a continuation of a disgruntled former newspaper editor’s wish to be a player in the great grand scheme of local politics. Mike Cloutier has long been a camp follower for the old guard.  He has been supported in his efforts by the mayor and other politicians from the Conservative Party. He has positioned himself to be available to write on their behalf and he has been rewarded with contracts and support from the likes of the PBA who has hired him to write two books.  He has recently received a generous grant from the government with the help of his supporters in various levels of government.  In return, he has engaged in hatchet jobs on those who oppose his benefactors.  And, in case there were any doubts about his loyalties, he recently requested audits for two candidates in last year’s municipal election.  He tried to bring up, what was in his opinion an irregularity from the 2006 campaign, as his basis for an audit of the candidate in 2010.  He lost on that.  Again, it is highly inappropriate for a member of the media to get directly involved in a political issue. And the audits are extremely political. And wrong – all of them.

So, some elements of the Murdoch Doctrine has shown up in our local press.  And some tactics for which the Murdoch Empire is under investigation for is hacking, something that has also taken place in this community by some who are opposed to others. A local restauranteur brags that he has audio and video of conversations in his building from hidden cameras.  Cyberstalking and harassment have been much in evidence of late, prompting a couple of editorials and many remarks in social media.

Some will no doubt call me out for my writings. I must remind them that I am an on-line newsblog, totally self-funded and entirely voluntary for anyone to see.  I do not pretend neutrality, nor do I have any influence or have any local politicians in my pocket.  If people agree with my opinion, they do so on their own.

And like Groucho Marx, I don’t want to join any club that would have me as a member.


Written by crystalbeachstrand

July 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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