Mainstream media is on its way out, but don’t expect it to go quietly. We live in a time where the press, which has for centuries served as the “fourth estate” is being threatened by an emerging and evolving “fifth estate” made up of alternative media sources and content producers.
For a while this body of independent outlets and individuals was ignored and even ridiculed by the press, but now we are seeing a shifting in tactics towards the offensive.
The real issue at hand here is the fact that the fourth estate, which was once romantically seen as a renegade institution willing to expose the powers that be has now become too comfortable, too familiar with, and too reliant on the very establishment it was tasked with policing.
Once journalism was not a very respectable undertaking, it was largely seen as a nonintellectual and almost criminal enterprise by members of the political and intellectual establishment.
For example, 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said that journalists are “like dogs, when ever anything moves they begin to bark,” and 17th century French poet Jean de La Fontaine claimed that “every journalist owes tribute to the evil one.”
The political upheavals that came out of the Revolutionary Era and further developments in printing technology ensured that media and journalism would become a staple institution of every democratic and liberal country, but the path forward was not a stable or secure one.
Journalists should be the first to know that this sort of illiberal behaviour is not conducive to an environment where freedom of the press is cherished and upheld. Yet we live in a strange world.
Now it is the press themselves who have taken up the mantle of censorship, calls to violence and attempts to discredit a new class of truth seekers.
After all, when existentially threatened, the dying animal lashes out at even those coming to its aid.
Today the mainstream media is a reactionary force much like the opponents of the printing press. Instead of trashing political pamphleteers and publishers, today they trash bloggers and Youtubers, however the arguments against an alternative medium for disseminating information remain largely the same.
Upon the proliferation of the Gutenberg press, people had all sorts of reactions, some were positive while others were nearing the apocalyptic. One common claim was that the new medium would put scribes (read: mainstream journalists) out of business.
The 15th century abbot Johannes Trithemius, took it upon himself to handwrite a tract called “In Defence of Scribes” in which he lamented that the invention of the printing press would ultimately reduce the quality and meaning of the work.
“Printed books will never equal scribed books, especially because the spelling and ornamentation of some printed books is often neglected. Copying requires greater diligence,” said Trithemius.
Another 17th century critic of the printing press, Adrien Baillet wrote in “Jugemens des savans sur les principaux ouvrages des auteurs” that the quantity and spread of new sources of information would lead to a dramatic breakdown in society.
“We have reason to fear that the multitude of books that is increasing every day in a prodigious manner will put the centuries to come into as difficult a state as that in which barbarity had put the earlier ones after the fall of the Roman Empire,” wrote Baillet.
Similar claims are being echoed by the establishment with regard to the rise of the fifth estate, or alternative media sources.
Like Trithemius, policy makers and mainstream journalists alike are responding to the emerging threat by saying “alternative news will never equal mainstream reporting “, or “due process and fact-checking is often neglected”. Of course, these claims are rarely ever supported by evidence and are applied as blanket insults to a vast number of outlets varying in quality and diligence.
Similarly, the Baillet argument that the proliferation in sources of information will lead to some catastrophic outcome seems to be a favourite justification for those whose grasp on the truth is threatened by the appearance of new media outlets. The overblown paranoia around “fake news” and “election interference” are merely a reiteration of this irrational and reactionary fear.
According to detractors, if we don’t curb the rise of competing media narratives, our democratic system will collapse, or we will be invaded by Russians, or god forbid perhaps Donald Trump will be elected. I suspect we have all heard some variation of these doomsday sayings.
Ultimately though this is all a distraction. The relationship between the fifth estate and the fourth estate doesn’t have to be antagonistic. Realistically both serve the same function: speaking truth to power. The only difference however is that the mainstream media has now become a servant of that very same power.
Of course, there has always been internecine conflict between competing publishers and news organizations but there has never before been the kind of scrutiny which alternative media organizations pay to mainstream outlets.
I think we have now come to a point where we must ask ourselves, as a people, who will investigate the investigators?
Liberal Transport Minister Marc Garneau is “very concerned” by the anti-pipeline protestors who have blocked the tracks between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, according to CBC News.
These protests have crippled Canada’s infrastructure, particularly due to the fact that the protestors are blocking one of the busiest intersections of the countries transport network.
The protestors have blocked the tracks in Bellville, Ontario, which serves as the epicentre for all routes between Canada’s two largest cities and the capital of the nation. All passenger trains and freight trains have been blocked.
CN has chosen to shut down all train travel until the dispute is resolved, despite the fact that the train company received an injunction to remove the protestors from the tracks.
These protests have effectively shut down all passenger travel between these cities, and are having a significant impact on the transport of food and commercial goods. The effect on the economy if this blockade continues will be severe.
These protests have been ongoing since Thursday when demonstrators began to gather at the tracks. Since then, the protests have only gained more traction and attracted more demonstrators to the scene.
The demonstrators say that they are standing in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en chiefs. However, the northern B.C.First Nation officially supports the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
So far, Via Rail has had to cancel 157 trips in the Toronto-to-Montreal corridor: 24,500 passengers have been affected.
Most Ontarians are not for the government raising teachers’ salaries by 2 percent according to a poll formulated by The Star. Most people, however, do agree with the education unions on things like the number of students in a classroom and e-learning.
The opt-in poll was made by Campaign Research and included 1,536 people. It ran from Feb 6 to 9.
Nick Kouvalis, the principal strategist at Campaign Research said that most people “do not want to give the teachers a more than 1 percent raise,” and added, “but teachers should be encouraged that the public is still with them during these rotating strikes.”
The poll shows that 45 percent of people disagree with the teachers’ request of a 2 percent salary increase—opposing the 1 percent cap set in place by the government. Only 35 percent of people agree with teachers while 13 percent do not support either side and 8 percent are unsure.
Just 12 percent of people believe that teachers should not receive any pay increase while 32 percent support a 1 percent increase. Another 9 percent of the public believe that the teachers should receive an increase of more than 2 percent.
The public does not disagree with teachers on all issues though. While the government wants 2 of the 30 classes required by high school students to be taken online, teachers believe that the 30 classes should all be taken in the school classroom. The poll shows that 52 percent of the public agree with teachers on this issue while 28 percent disagree.
The public also agrees with teachers that the number of students per classroom should not be raised. The government wants to raise the amount of students per class to raise from 22.5 to 25. The poll finds that 52 percent of the public also agrees with teachers on this subject while 36 percent agree with Ontario’s government.
A cruise ship that has been stuck at sea after there were passengers discovered to have coronavirus is getting a little help from an adult website to entertain them while they’re quarantined: some skin flicks.
Approximately 7,300 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess and World Dream cruise have been stranded and docked Hong Kong and Japan as a direct result of the coronavirus epidemic.
251 Canadians are docked in Japan after it was announced on Sunday, that six more people tested positive for the virus. The cruise ship now has a total of 70 cases onboard with the remaining passengers stuck on board and quarantined with little to do for entertainment.
CamSoda, a Miami-based pornography company has offered quarantined passengers full complimentary access to their webcam services according to Fox Business reports.
Daryn Parker is CamSoda’s vice president and he elaborated on the decision in a statement to the press, “They are not only dealing with the fear of infection, which is terrifying, but boredom,” stated the release. “We like cruises just as much as the next guy, but without activities or human interaction, the boredom must be crippling.”
“In an effort to keep their minds off of the coronavirus and to help with the boredom, we’re offering passengers and crews the ability to have fun in a safe and controlled environment with camming.”
“Camming” is a more interactive approach to traditional pornography whereby individuals can perform in front of their webcam at home or in a studio for a live audience and the viewers pay for the experience through tips and site tokens. There is also the ability to chat in real-time with the sex worker.
CamSoda is asking that passengers and crew aboard the cruise to send them proof of travel documents via email to [email protected] according to the New York Post. CamSoda will then respond by sending the individual 1,000 free tokens which can be used to pay for the webcam live-stream performers.
Many towns and schools have been forced to evacuate after New South Wales sees heavy rainfall throughout the region. The rain has put out some of the wildfires that have been burning for months according to CTV News.
According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, over 200 millimetres of rain came down on the region in just one day. Sydney saw more rainfall than the city has seen since 1990 at 391.6 millimetres over four days.
On Monday, the New South Wales Department of Education closed many schools due to flooding in the area.
Since Friday, more than 30 fires were put out by the heavy rainfall according to the New South Wales Fire Service. The Fire Service released a Tweet saying that the rain was the “most positive news we’ve had in some time.”
James Morris of the Fire Service noted that the Currowan fire was put out by the heavy rain on Saturday. That was a giant fire that had covered about 500,000 hectares in 74 days.
Morris also noted that the persisting fires will most likely be extinguished by the continuous rain.