Kai Nagata: Media Crusader

After that last article, I want to point out something positive* on the internet.

You remember Kai Nagata right?

He wrote what may have been the best resignation letter ever. It was essentially a manifesto for change in the Canadian media climate.

Well, lucky for us, The Tyee found him and has started letting his unfiltered words hit the internet.

And wow does he have things to say.

He’s already started a series called “Warnings from Quebec”, which begins by painting the bleak picture of media centralization that has become Quebec under Quebecor rule. Nagata notes that Quebecor has been crucial in forcing secret laws through the provinces National Assembly to support the construction of a new arena, to be owned by Quebecor, in Quebec City. He questions the new motto of Quebecor president “What’s good for Quebecor is good for all Quebeckers” and worries about the extreme agendas being pushed by Quebecor.

Part 2 introduces us to the ex-Parti Quebecois members who quit over their party’s sell out to Quebecor. He notes how the PQ’s implosion has basically cost them their next election, which is of little concern to Quebecor who may have found the ideal puppet in Francois Legault – potential leader of an uncreated, but high-polling, new right-wing party. He finishes by asking whether any large corporate media in Canada is free of bias, noting that only the independent Toronto Star and Le Devoir endorsed anyone other than the Conservatives in 2008 and 2011.

Finally, Nagata concludes with a blistering two-page analysis** of Quebecor’s new Sun News Network, which he claims has a steadily rising viewership (his source is a Sun newspaper, so I’m still a bit skeptical). He discusses the prevalence of polling data in Quebecor papers, which seem to have been used to promote the Quebec arena – asking respondents to single out who is to blame for delays. He worries about the lack of critical analysis of Quebecor (save for a few courageous columnists) and concludes by worrying about the isolating effect that such media centralization can result in.

Go read all three pieces, and feel worried. But then feel a bit better knowing that at least someone’s paying attention.

*At least it’s a good thing that’s it’s being written.

**I hate when online articles are split across pages. We have scroll bars for a reason.

One thought on “Kai Nagata: Media Crusader”

  1. I wrote the message below to Talin Vartanian, at the CBC, and realized I’d like to get it to Kai Nagata as well.
    Surely you can help : )
    sincere best wishes, Jan S.
    Dear Talin,

    Although I know the Sunday Edition does not specialize in covering “hard” news, breaking stories, that kind of thing, I’m writing to you because I sense that you are someone who cares.

    I wrote a message to CBC News Vancouver yesterday and did my best to share it with others too… I think we need some kind of “Journalists as Citizens” group, which would work to transform our media from a mouthpiece for distraction, to one that helps empower citizens to live in ways that embody deep respect.

    Corruption and mendacity are rife at the highest levels of governments almost everywhere (just as virtually every government is in debt so deep that one can hardly imagine nations as sovereign). But humans are still amazing, have done and can do amazing things.

    We have already doomed future generations to horrendous climatic upheavals. We are in the process of the sixth extinction, which is wiping out incredible beauty and diversity. But there is still the possibility to nurture and love life. We need all hands on deck.

    …I’ll keep working; you will too I’m sure. Thank you for what you do.

    sincerely, Jan Slakov
    135 Deer Park Rd.
    Salt spring Island, BC
    V8K 1P5
    (250) 537-5251
    Dear CBC news,

    I hope you will give some decent coverage to the Site C hunger strike… and the wider effort for better democracy and survival of life on earth.

    Here is an article on the hunger strike:
    and one on the state of democracy in BC: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/affordable-ways-to-buy-access-to-government-remain/article29502606/?click=sf_globe

    and below is a draft i wrote, which mentions you…

    all the best, jan

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: Jan Slakov
    Subject: Site C as Part of a Culture of Violence
    Date: April 2, 2016 at 9:00:49 AM PDT
    To: hungerstrikevancouver@gmail.com
    Dear Hunger Strike Vancouver people (including Kristin H., Sage B and Tamo C) and other friends,

    When the Climate Fast group I’m part of called for fasting in support with your fast, I was inspired to act myself. (Usually I don’t do the monthly fasts as it’s not easy, not with everything else going on here!) But mainly I want to support your efforts through more political pressure.

    So, I wrote the article below. It’s just for our local paper, and I’ll probably change it before I need to send it in.

    but I think I’ll send it to people in the CBC as well; you’ll see why. And you are welcome to use it if you think of a way that might support the overall cause.

    with love and appreciation, Jan
    Site C as Part of a Culture of Violence

    Two nights ago Kristin Henry, on the 19th day of her hunger strike against the Site C dam, was taken to hospital, with a failing heart rate. This was not reported on CBC news, so I was curious to see what they are reporting.

    Saturday morning the top two BC stories were about a plane crash and how a group of students arrived back home after a delay because of the Brussels terror attack.

    There’s that saying, “if it bleeds, it leads”. A young woman risking her health in nonviolent protest is not deemed newsworthy, but violence is – just one indication that we live in a culture of violence.

    In his speech at the Paris climate summit, UN Secretary General said that “climate change is the defining issue of our age. […] We have never faced such a challenge. Nor have we encountered such great opportunity.”

    The opportunity is not just in terms of a growing “clean tech” sector. It’s an opportunity to create a more just, less violent world. For humanity to come together to tackle this enormous challenge, we will need to “change everything” as Naomi Klein and others are saying. We will need to foster sustainability, not maximization of growth and profit. We will need to redirect resources devoted to war and militarism towards preventing humanity from destroying the only home we have.

    I believe that is why Kristin Henry and others are on a hunger strike against the Site C dam. The BC government used its “Clean Energy Act” to exempt the project from a BCUC review and BC Hydro is trying to limit union rights, all part of Christy Clark’s intention to get the project “past the point of no return”. Amnesty International says, “there’s nothing clean about the Site C dam”. Indeed: its construction violates First Nations rights and treaties and, unless we stop it, will destroy forests and farmland to create energy to be used mainly to fuel more extraction projects that mean the climate crisis inches ever further past the “point of no return”.

    And it’s not as if there were no other options. Economist Marvin Shaffer and others have shown that if energy is needed, British Colombians have far less expensive and damaging options, including geo-thermal energy. But we need to shift government subsidies away from fossil fuel and corporate dependence, towards low impact living.

    To my mind, ultimately this means choosing nonviolence over violence. It means living from a conviction that each being has “a piece of the truth”, as Gandhi said, and cultivating respect, not just for fellow humans, but for all of creation, so much of which is under threat because of what out species is doing.

    When ISIS destroyed a heritage site in Palmyra, that made it to the news. But how many people are working to prevent the BC government from destroying sacred sites of a culture that stewarded this land for thousands of years more than our current culture has been in charge?

    Prime Minister Trudeau says he supports a “transition to a low-carbon economy that is necessary for our collective health, security and prosperity.” Clearly, he and other political leaders will only act on that vision if we, as a society, mobilize ourselves towards that goal. That means changing everything, including the way we report the news and the ways we think and work together. We can all contribute to that mobilization.

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