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The #Compassion #Project, Only #Compassion #Defeats #Dehumanization

Different from empathy and sympathy compassion is the strength to be willing to try and ease someone's suffering, to help them ho...

Friday, October 14, 2016

A #Free #Press: Should the #Fourth #Estate be an #Independent #Branch of #Government?

If a free press engaged in journalistic investigation in pursuit of the public’s right to know is a vital part of modern democracy, then shouldn’t it be like the Judiciary, an independent branch of government with constitutionally guaranteed funding from the people rather than unpredictable corporate investors and advertising revenue?

The media items that I post are not endorsements of the source so much as the nuggets I’ve found inside the dung pile. A lot come from CBC, particularly the show Ideas because it tends to explore the topics (just about anything) with suspension of disbelief, an open mind, and a critical eye. CBC radio comes close to what I propose. It tries to bite every hand that feeds it.  It smells rot, or thinks it does. 

The Legislative branch shouldn’t be able to silence or leash it with cutbacks and a need for ads.  Independence is supposed to help protect the Judiciary from political influence, campaign debts, and personal bias. A judge is supposed to represent, interpret, and protect, the rule of law.  An official media could absorb the functions of ombudsmen and auditors, departmental and general.  The market can keep the salacious sensationalism for ratings and ad revenue.  It’s hard to speak truth to power when it owns you. 

Of course it can go wrong and be corrupted, just like everything else. That’s why we have checks and balances and rule of law. 

I think our democracies need another firm leg to stand on. They’re toppling under the weight of profit. Also, a squared building with three cornerstones is an unsound construction.

It may also be worth considering also including the scientific research departments in order to create an overall Investigative Branch acting as evidence-based judges of information, verified for use by citizens and the rest of government without partisanship.

I was also thinking about the problem of the power of lobbyists and the former politicians who often become them. Interest groups, social as well as industrial, need money to have a continual presence in order to have a voice heard through the noise. someone in the capital able to negotiate the system and get things done. We could establish a department or office of Lobbying with civil servants similar to public defenders or ombudsmen, separate from the Investigative Branch. Available to all, interests would get a public lobbyist instead of hiring a private one, a buffer between them and the politicians that ensures equality of influence, funding, and potential success. Any other form of lobbying or direct contact between politicians and interests would be prohibited, except through the same official channels available to all citizens. 

Just a thought.


Monday November 14, 2016

The uncertain future of journalism and why it matters

Listen to Full Episode 53:58

Whether it's radio, television, print or online, anyone who works in journalism can feel the ground shifting under their feet. The business model of news has been radically disrupted by the Internet age, and yet, the mandate of journalism remains the same: to uncover and report the truth and hold power to account. In this month's edition of The Enright Files, Michael Enright explores the mandate of journalism and how to maintain the integrity and craft even while it faces an uncertain future.

Guests in this episode: 
  • Walter Robinson, former head of the investigative unit at the Boston Globe, which became the subject of the Academy Award-winning film, Spotlight.
  • James Compton, associate professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University in London, Ontario.
  • David Carr, the late media columnist for The New York Times.

Everything is always in process
Only compassion defeats dehumanization.