Bullies of a monied sort
There’s widespread disappointment that we get so little, and of such modest quality, from our national media on many international subjects. Especially news from nations important to our economy or to peaceful progress within our neighbourhood. Two examples: Mexico’s new national government (NAFTA ally) and Venezuela’s recent national elections (hemispheric neighbours). We hear little until the event itself, then a flurry of reaction (rather than honest journalistic reporting).
Some blame the Harper cuts which closed numerous foreign desks in the CBC; others point to our historical lack of interest in our own hemisphere -- certainly in its more progressive and experimental efforts.
Mr Harper might say the second explains the first: he was just economizing on services few Canadians sought. All three may be correct, but they don’t explain Canadians’ cultivated lack of interest in the Americas, nor explain our media’s role in encouraging this disinterest.
Curiously, both examples, Mexico and Venezuela, have had their modern histories warped and almost strangled, several times, by the World’s Baddest Guy, apparently, by Big Oil. Mexico’s modern history is marked with big struggles by the Mexicans to “own” their considerable petroleum resources. So close to the colossal American market, unthreatened by foreign powers, high-quality Mexican oil was a prize sought, won, lost -- and sought and won again. Now, who knows? The oil consortium pursued control, turning that nation’s history upside-down several times.
Venezuela owns the world’s largest reserves of petroleum. There’s an elephant in a room, but rarely even mentioned in what we do hear about that nation in our big media. Nobody cares about this oil treasure just on the other side of the Caribbean? Nobody cares in the USA, described by Europeans as “an oil industry with the world’s biggest military machine”?
Mexico and Venezuela have been de-stabilized by struggles for those oil resources. Curiously again, many of our own political conflicts here in Canada, from Kinder Morgan, the Keystone and Energy East pipelines, even the Mackenzie Valley pipeline long ago, to Mr Harper’s efforts to remove the evaluation processes for oil sands, settling ponds, and pipelines from public scrutiny – are also struggles generated by Big Oil. Canada has no local refineries capable of processing the tar-sands oil, thanks to an “organization of markets”, imposed on Canada by B.O. Our NAFTA debate includes the energy-equivalency clauses (making “our” oil not ours to control).
Our national media finds all this so minor that both sides are rarely presented, and oil unmentioned. Our media judges the non-compliant Venezuelan (and new Mexican) governments so bad that there’s no need for fair-minded reporting. At home, struggles against Big Oil are reported, but rarely presenting the case of the Goliath’s Davids. And never, never exploring corporate motivation.
... er, sorry! What’s a local editorial doing in international affairs!
Because none of us fill up at the pumps, right? None live in the Western Hemisphere, right? And don’t we already get plenty of news -- from the Big Oil account?