I had felt for some time that journalists in the mainstream corporate media were being intimidated by corporate owners and the Harper government from writing about the government’s destructive ideology – neo-liberalism.
In my January 11, 2012 blog, I offered a dinner for two valued at $150 to any journalist who would write in a mainstream Canadian newspaper about Harper’s neo-liberalism policies.
“Canada under Conservatives not what it used to be,” was the title of Baxter’s February 22 2012 article in The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, a paper not normally know for aggressive or in-depth journalism. Marke Slipp of Wolfville, N.S. won $50 for spotting the Baxter article.
Neo-liberalism enriches the already-rich
“Mr. Harper once said we wouldn’t recognize the country when he was through with it,” Baxter wrote in straight-forward prose seldom seen in the mainstream media. “This is only the first year of his majority, and already many of us cannot recognize this mean-spirited, jingoistic and belligerent face of Canada. As for me, I can’t look at the neo-Canada that this Conservative majority is creating without grieving for my country.”
Take that Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Sun, and Ottawa Citizen, etc.!
None of you, and many other newspapers, have the courage – or respect for Canadians – to come forward and write about Harper neo-liberalism.
Interestingly, while there is no term other than “neo-liberal” to describe the policies followed by Harper, right-wing academics and journalists will not even admit that the term has validity in the world of their design.
A few weeks ago I exchanged emails with right-wing political activist Tom Flanagan, Harper’s advisor until 2004. Flanagan is the guy who was accused of offering terminally-ill Liberal Chuck Cadman a $1-million life insurance policy if he would vote against the Liberal’s budget in 2005. In 2010, Flannagan laid out quite specific terms calling for the assassination of Wikileaks director Julian Assange -- later claiming it was a joke.
Surely I could get reliable information from Flanagan, a key Harper mentor.
I asked Flanagan if he knew why the mainstream media never used the term neo-liberal and why journalists never put a name to the ideology practiced by Harper while the New Democrats, for instance, are democratic socialists.
“Neo-liberalism is an academic term used mainly by leftist intellectuals,” wrote Flanagan. “Conservative is the right terms for public discourse in Canada.”
Flanagan tried to cover up the real Harper
This of course is hogwash and Flanagan knows it!
Conservative Prime Ministers John Diefenbaker and Joe Clark implemented conservative policies, but cared about the needs of ordinary Canadians, and never thought of turning the fate of the country over to a bunch of self-serving suits at greedy corporations
Stephen Harper is not a conservative. He is a neo-liberal, and mainstream journalists are dishonest to not describe, in full, the Harper agenda.
Every journalist in the National Press Gallery in Ottawa knows all about the anti-democratic, trickle-down, pro-corporate policies of the Harper government, and yet none of them has the balls – yes, the balls – to step up and write about it.
The corporate mainstream media pokes away a little at Harper but, to a large extent, most daily newspapers, CTV, Global and others, usually lets them off the hook. The Globe and Mail is the most pro-Harper of the daily papers. Globe reporters and columnists – with the exception of Lawrence Martin – constantly promote and protect the Harper Conservatives.
Last week, news broke that phone calls made during last year’s election campaign to both Liberal and NDP voters, falsely telling them that their voting location had been changed. The calls were made by an Edmonton company, Rack Nine, which has frequently worked on Tory campaigns.
While some media carried the story on the front page and went after further details, The Globe’s main story, written by Daniel Leblanc, appeared on the bottom of page 4. Headlined Harper denies knowledge of ‘black ops’ phone calls, the story played down the importance of the illegal calls.
Ibbitson the king of neo-liberal dogma
In a column, John Ibbitson, who brings neo-liberal values to all his writing, further undermined the seriousness of the effort by the Tory agency to stop people from voting.
Compared to the predictable pieces that appear in mainstream papers every day, Joan Baxter’s opinion article about Harper was crisp and refreshing. In December, she wrote on hydraulic fracturing for The Chronicle Herald.
Baxter, who lives in Tatamagouche, N.S., has written four non-fiction books about Africa. In 2001, she won the Evelyn Richardson Prize for her book, A Serious Pair of Shoes – An African Journal.” (Pottersfield Press)
She is scheduled to travel to Sierra Leone this week. “It’s interesting that in Africa, there is constant discussion about neo-liberalism,” Baxter told me. “Not, however, among the cosseted ‘friendly’ leaders who espouse it, of course, or their World Bank Group advisers.”
Interestingly, neo-liberalism – the ideology that has no name in the Canadian mainstream media – is hotly debated in African media!
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JABS AND LEFT HOOKS: In addition to the robocalling scandal, the Conservatives were guilty of other illegal activities and meddling to win votes in last year’s election. Staff right inside Harper’s PMO knowingly went well over the spending limit on advertising in a number of ridings. Meanwhile, Jason Kenny was quietly working with Conservative workers in ethnic ridings, giving the locals permission to “solve” troublesome immigration problems. All three of these shady activities, and who knows what else, could very well have meant the difference for the Harper majority.