Mr Harper borrows tool from Putin:
Feds spending $4.34 million on self-promotional “news”
In my junk email folder are hundreds of emails from a company called “News Canada”. This is a pseudo news agency that offers free newspaper content. I do glance through their emails as much as I can, scanning for news leads, but not once have I reprinted any of the stories. Generally the press releases, as I see them, are about banking news or big-box store openings, which is standard. They are also about federal ministers making funding announcements. This is a paid service from banks and corporations, their effort to push their ‘news’ onto editors, disguised as news. Obviously, Mr Harper’s government doesn’t trust trained journalists.
Why does this matter to readers of the Bulletin? Well…. when was the last time the federal government communicated with you, readers of the Bulletin? Did Veterans Affairs explain improvements in benefit packages to readers? How about changes to federal child tax benefit amounts? Did readers see any ads from the federal government about these? The answer is no. In fact, the answer is a deafeningly silent big fat NO! And the no is about to get louder with Ottawa’s new way of communicating with Canadians.
Controlling the news,
thanks to your tax dollars
In a Public Works tender notice dated December 17, 2014, News Canada is named as the single tendered company which will provide the federal government with articles tailored to the government ministry in question. The contract is worth $4,340,000 over three years for this advertorial writing, plus twitter and facebook posting. $1,250,000 of taxpayer money is going to this company in 2015.
This is not journalistic writing, which requires research and verification of multiple sources. It will be disguised as such, though. And, it is possible that a few editors across Canada will publish News Canada’s free articles. Readers may be fooled into believing they are reading journalistic articles (researched, fact-checked and verified), but which are in fact propaganda. They are skewed federal government announcements. This should strike fear, perhaps disgust, in the hearts of Canadians.
I assure you, Bulletin readers, that you will not find such re-printing in your newspaper. We are delighted to be a vehicle for straight-forward federal advertising. These are clearly framed as ads, meant to inform the population about changes or improvements to government agencies. Bulletin journalists may dig deeper about such announcements, but we assure readers they will be written according to a journalistic code of ethics – as is everything published in this newspaper.