Judging by the sheer volume of information coming our way, the Canadian news media are the very picture of health. But quantity isn’t indicative of quality, and the age of clickbait could put the final nail in the coffin of the nation’s legacy media. So who cares? Well, as online upstarts fill only a tiny proportion of the resulting void, the size, influence and market share of the taxpayer-subsidized CBC continue to grow – and some want it to grow further still. Could that possibly be good for diversity of news and views? Lydia Miljan lays out what ails the Canadian media business model, charts the deterioration of journalistic quality, points to the bright spots and makes the case for two practical and achievable federal policies that could allow our media sector to save itself.
The Liberal Party of Canada hit a rough patch in the early 2000s, falling not just out of power but all the way to third place, and for a time it looked one of the most historically successful political organizations in the democratic world was finally out of gas. But a year after its big comeback under Justin Trudeau, writes Lydia Miljan, Liberal hegemony looks as strong and durable as ever, and it’s back to the drawing board for the Conservative and New Democrat opposition parties.
You could hardly be the daughter of a refugee from Communism without being predisposed to free market conservatism. So it was for Lydia Miljan, but what really cemented her right-wing political convictions was the classes she took from the classical liberal scholars who comprised the “Calgary School” at the University of Calgary, and the people and ideas she encountered later at the Michael Walker-led Fraser Institute. Now teaching at a southern Ontario university, Miljan is passing on those ideas to a new generation.
Have the media been part of a dumbing down of political discourse for several decades? Lydia Miljan thinks so. We have access to more information than ever before, but it’s still difficult to obtain detailed critical analysis of all political party platforms and policies. The media focus on the horse race during election campaigns at the expense of serious policy discussion. Left-of-centre parties receive much less scrutiny than right-of-centre parties do. Are we living in an age of missing information?