Monday, January 28, 2008

Lies of Omission, Lies of Commission

I know some people are upset about the media mergers occurring in this country, even to the point of paranoia, but I didn't really worry about it too much myself -- after all, it's not like powerful individuals haven't been sticking their fingers into journalistic pies for centuries -- until today.

It was seemingly pretty innocuous. It was the entertainment report on CHUM FM this morning, at 8:45 am or thereabouts, that did it for me. RRM said that there were no alternatives to the State of the Union address being aired tonight on CTV. (Why on earth does a Canadian network carry an American political address full of hot air? The very few Canadian ones aren't enough? Or are they morphing into an American network in Canada in a sneaky through-the-back-door way to become "serious" rival to E!? But I digress) It wasn't just a simple lie of omission as they did last week when they neglected to mention that Global was debuting a new series The Guard (which confused me at the time as I wondered if I'd gotten the day wrong); today, it was an outright direct lie. They went on and on and on about how there were only repeats as an alternative to the State of the Union address, and so tonight would be a good time to go see a movie. I started wondering if they said "repeats" enough times that they hoped everyone would believe them, because, of course, CBC has no repeats tonight. CBC has two brand-spanking-new episodes of two totally different kinds of series, one reality, one drama. Citytv has a new episode of an American show on too. And quite frankly, if all the networks were airing new episodes of their regular series, the must-see tv for Monday night is The Border anyway.

These changes -- omitting reference to other networks' shows -- to the usually fluffy pap report on CHUM FM smacks of the radio station's owner -- CTV -- trying to skew its own ratings. Even worse, Canadian shows employ Canadian actors, Canadian writers, Canadian workers. By, in this small way, trying to reduce their rivals' ratings, they are harming their fellow citizens and fellow workers in the broadcast industry. RRM should be ashamed. Because they are not so incompetent that they do not know these shows are airing and so cannot claim ignorance.

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