This a very relevant and recurring theme in our current time and will only become more salient as the federal election nears. Issues like the recent TRC report on the genocidal impacts of Residential schools, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and “ecoterrorism” are all deeply tied up with emerging election discourses, increased military spending, tar sands expansion, reporting on economics etc.. How all these issues fit together, and what people should feel about these connections, is largely a matter of how they are presented in the media. One of the key objectives in these presentations is to increase the control over what is popularly considered to be the “Canadian National Interest”.
Media narratives have particular formulations of “Canadian National Interest” for different audiences, that reinforce dominant themes and legitimize the pursuit of specific corporate-political interests. The ways in which stories are presented – title, images, location in a paper or online media – paint an emotional picture that doesn’t necessarily line up with the content made up of words. These emotional portrayals are repeated constantly, so much so that they become the constant backdrop against which all issues are seen in relation to. Control over media representations as well as content is a primary means used by elitist groups of corporate-political interests to set agendas, and shape dominant culture in ways that reinforces their economic and political power. After all, once they have successfully defined what is “the Canadian National Interest,” it becomes very difficult to argue against that idea in public discourses without seeming to be against the interests of average Canadians.
This control over what really is the “Canadian National Interest” is heavily influenced by the concentration of media ownership in a few media conglomerates (Bell, Shaw, Rogers, Newcap, Quebecor ). The concentration of media ownership is particularly extreme in Canada. A 2013 Huffington Post article reported that Canada worst among G8 countries for diversity of media ownership, and that “81.4 per cent of the value of Canada’s TV distribution (cable and satellite) market is controlled by companies that also create content, such as broadcasters and production companies.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/13/concentration-media-ownership-canada_n_1773117.html). As Noam Chomsky has said over and over again “the elite media that set the agenda that others generally follow-are corporations “selling” privileged audiences to other businesses. It would hardly come as a surprise if the picture of the world they present were to reflect the perspectives and interests of the sellers, the buyers, and the product.”
I’ve always been aware of how Indigenous people are portrayed in the media. Canadians have been taught from an early age that we are to be feared, and we are to be hated.These stereotypes have also been drilled into our own heads, that we are inferior, and in many ways, to hate ourselves.
I stopped reading the Winnipeg Sun 3 years ago, because it reinforced these stereotypes on a daily basis. They pushed the idea that we are all angry, drunk, violent criminals, and thieves. And the headlines were always sensationalized to try and grab the readers attention. The picture that is being painted of us, has not done much to improve the relationships with the rest of the country. This false image of us plays out in many of the interactions that we have with the rest of society.
The one thing that 100 basketballs was able to do…
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