ICYMI: Racist reporting still rife in Australian media

Haven’t seen the equivalent study of Canadian media but may have missed it (readers to advise):

Half of all race-related opinion pieces in the Australian mainstream media are likely to contravene industry codes of conduct on racism.

In research released this week, the Who Watches the Media report found that of 124 race-related opinion pieces published between January and July this year, 62 were potentially in breach of one or more industry codes of conduct, because of racist content.

Despite multiple industry codes of conduct stipulating fair race-related reporting, racist reporting is a weekly phenomenon in Australia’s mainstream media.

We define racism as unjust covert or overt behaviour towards a person or a group on the basis of their racial background. This might be perpetrated by a person, a group, an organisation, or a system.

The research, conducted by not-for-profit group All Together Now and the University of Technology Sydney, focused on opinion-based pieces in the eight Australian newspapers and current affairs programs with the largest audiences, as determined by ratings agencies.

We found that negative race-related reports were most commonly published in News Corp publications. The Daily Telegraph, The Australian and Herald Sun were responsible for the most negative pieces in the press. A Current Affair was the most negative among the broadcast media.

Chart 1: Number of race-related stories by outlet and type of reporting

Muslims were mentioned in more than half of the opinion pieces, and more than twice as many times as any other single group mentioned (see chart 2).

Muslims were portrayed more negatively than the other minority groups (see chart 3), with 63% of reports about Muslims framed negatively. These pieces often conflated Muslims with terrorism. For example, reports used terrorist attacks in the UK to question accepting Muslim refugees and immigrants to Australia.

This was a recurring theme in race-based opinion pieces over the study period. In contrast, there were more positive than negative stories about Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.

Negative commentary about minority groups has lasting impacts in the community. An op-ed in the New York Times recently highlighted the impact that racism in the media has on individuals. It explained:

…racism doesn’t have to be experienced in person to affect our health — taking it in the form of news coverage is likely to have similar effects.
The noted effects include elevated blood pressure, long after television scenes are over. Racism is literally making us sick.

Note also that given the lack of cultural diversity among opinion-makers, particularly on television, social commentators are largely talking about groups to which they do not belong. According to the 2016-20 PwC Media Outlook report, the average media employee is 27, Caucasian and male, which does not reflect the current population diversity of Australia.

This creates a strong argument for increasing the cultural diversity of all media agencies to help minimise the number of individuals or groups being negatively depicted in race-related reports.

via Racist reporting still rife in Australian media

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Canada’s First Hijab-Wearing Television News Reporter Is Using Her Difference To Break Barriers: Forbes

Interesting profile:

Canada is a country known for it’s multiculturalism, and nowhere represents that better than Toronto. As the fourth largest city in North America and the most diverse metropolitan area in the world, Toronto is home to people of all racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds. From Greektown to Little Jamaica, from food festivals to musical showcases, from the ringing bells of churches to the prayer calls of mosques, the corners of the world convene in Toronto. But despite this rich diversity, a hijab-wearing Muslim woman had never anchored a major newscast in the city, or anywhere else in the country. Not until 2015. Not until Ginella Massa.

Massa made history two years ago when she appeared on televisions across the Greater Toronto Area on CityNews Toronto’s late night news show. While Muslim women had anchored newscasts in Canada before, none had ever done so in a hijab.

The gravity of this was not lost on Massa. “When I have young girls coming up to me saying how excited they are seeing someone like me in a mainstream medium, and that it makes them feel like it’s something they too can aspire to be, that’s what keeps me encouraged and inspired to keep doing the work I’m doing,” she explained.

“My mother was the one who suggested that I might want to pursue a career in broadcasting, given my loquaciousness, my inquisitive nature, and my ability to easily connect with all different kinds of people. When I questioned whether I could be given a chance on broadcast TV, she would tell me, ‘just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean you can’t be the first,’” Massa recalls.

Massa pursued a degree in journalism and later worked as a digital content editor for the website of a small news station. But getting an anchor role is a considerable challenge for aspiring news reporters with no on-air experience. So, Massa, decided to create an opportunity for herself. Together with her friend, Maleeha Sheikh, Massa co-produced an online web-series. Though they didn’t have a huge budget or audience, the episodes were good footage for their portfolios and demo reels and proved they had essential industry skills.

It paid off. “We only ended up doing 4 episodes because a month later [Sheikh] got offered a job reporting on a morning show, and I landed my first on-air gig about 4 months later,” Massa notes.

Ginella Massa’s first newscast

Of course, the journey to that job did not come without fears and apprehensions. Though Massa never worried about her abilities or the quality of her work, before getting hired on at CityNews, her concern was that networks would hesitate to hire her for fear of controversy or backlash in response to the outward display of her faith. But a mentor encouraged Massa to embrace her difference and position it as an asset, and that’s precisely what she did.

In interviews, Massa encouraged the directors she met with to see the importance of reflecting the diversity of their audience. In a city where more than half the population is made up of visible minorities, hiring a hijab-wearing Muslim woman was not a risk, it was a willful decision to include the voices of communities that are often left unheard.

Now, with every broadcast, Massa not only reminds Muslim girls that they could one day be anchors too, she also continues to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions her colleagues and viewers might hold.

“I recognize that some of the people I work with would otherwise never have any interaction with a Muslim, and it’s opened their eyes and made them realize that Muslims have a vested interest in our society, that we’re intelligent and talented, and we care about the same issues as many Canadians,” Massa notes.

Massa hopes that her role will continue to inspire other Muslim women to go after roles in the public sector where they can help change the negative narratives around what women of her faith can achieve. She extends that same message to women and girls of all faiths, races, and cultural backgrounds who might feel that they don’t belong in the spaces they dream of occupying.

The advice she offers is universal: “Don’t let anyone else silence your dreams because of their perception of what you can or cannot achieve. You’re going to have to work hard to overcome those barriers that people will try to put in front of you. Be persistent, don’t give up, and work on being the best, so no one can ever have a reason to say no.”

via Canada’s First Hijab-Wearing Television News Reporter Is Using Her Difference To Break Barriers

‘Australia’s media is frighteningly white’, says The Monkeys’ Scott Nowell – AdNews

Good article on multicultural marketing – the ads are worth watching for the contrast (the humour on “boat people”):

The Australian media is “frighteningly” white and the nation is lagging behind in its representation of broader media, believes The Monkeys co-founder Scott Nowell and former Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) top marketer Andrew Howie.

The pair were speaking at AdNews Live! Reframing Australia in Sydney yesterday (15 November) to address the changing face of Australia, and talk through how The Monkeys and MLA tackle multiculturalism in marketing.

For over a decade, MLA has been renowned for its Australia Day and spring lamb ads that for the past several years have focused on the theme of diversity and inclusion.

Howie, who recently announced he was joining Westpac, said that as Australia’s cultural variety has evolved, MLA has had to evolve its brand to target a diverse, younger Australia.

MLA has had to evolve its ads from its all-white cast in 1990

The result has seen the brand achieve significant earned media and significant uplift in sales, but it’s not been without controversy.

This year the MLA chose to move away from the Australia Day focus as it recognised that a significant segment of the population felt negatively about the date.

“MLA has been a brand that has been about Australia Day but it was starting to feel like it wasn’t right to talk about Australia Day from a brand that talks about unity,” Nowell said, adding it was a hard but clear choice for MLA.

“Our intention was to show the true face of Australia and not just the one we see on television,” Howie added.

The process of creating the ad was difficult, Howie and Nowell admitted. The ad focused on the settlement of Australia, which can be a sensitive subject for the indigenous, so the agency and brand were constantly in consultation with Reconciliation Australia.

The script was leaked, an actor refused to deliver his lines on the day of filming and there were some complaints made to the ad watchdog, but ultimately the campaign was a success, says Howie.

“Sometimes to find where the edge is you have to put your toes over the side,” Howie said, adding that its unlikely the brand will ever get everyone on side with the bold work its doing.

“We are not controversial for the sake of it but we are prepared to say what people won’t. Often they are things that people are talking about and the topics of conversation around water coolers but not said in the open.”

Howie and Nowell did admit they’ve gotten it wrong in the past, admitting that naming its 2016 campaign ‘Operation Boomerang’ was an oversight.

While this type of bold advertising is what we’ve come to expect from MLA under Howie’s leadership, he admits it’s probably not what you’ll see from Westpac when he joins in his new role.

“Banks don’t want controversy so don’t expect to see this stuff going on, but you can expect to see work that you enjoy watching,” Howie said, adding that he’d like to see the brand explore its purpose and own a time of year as MLA had previously owned Australia Day.

Source: ‘Australia’s media is frighteningly white’, says The Monkeys’ Scott Nowell – AdNews

Canada stays civil amidst the polarization of American media: John Ibbitson

Good piece by Ibbitson:

CNN has a new commercial that features a picture of an apple. “Some people might try to tell you it’s a banana,” says the narrator. They might even scream that it’s a banana. “They might put BANANA in all caps. … But it’s not. This is an apple.”

The ad was, of course, immediately attacked by right-wing columnists. “Trump Derangement Syndrome has struck CNN and is taking a terrible toll,” wrote Thomas Lifson at American Thinker.

The American media have become so deeply polarized that each side has now lost any ability to listen to the other. Each accuses the other of committing fake news – stories based on false facts that are intended to deceive. But the deeper problem resides in columns and editorials and blogs and tweets that take implacable stands, distorting facts and belittling opponents, ignoring or disrespecting other points of view.

On Thursday, on the RealClearPolitics aggregator website, you could find headlines such as “The Bone Spur Bozo in the White House,” and “Does the Dems Dossier Trick Count as Treason?”

So why aren’t Canadians screaming at each other the way the Americans are?

One answer is that “we don’t have Donald Trump as prime minister,” observes Janni Aragon, who teaches political science at the University of Victoria. The President personifies the anger embedded within American discourse. But Prof. Aragon adds that the differences in media reflect differences in the political cultures of the two countries.

America, she says, is a land divided. In Canada, “divisiveness is not as strong.”

There isn’t a single political leader in Canada whose platform mirrors the nativist, anti-immigrant, authoritarian strains that we see in President Trump and his supporters. Nor, with a few minor, on-the-fringe exceptions (We’re talking about you, The Rebel), do Canadian media cater to racist phobias.

Why not? There could be several reasons.

Since the first Loyalist settlers arrived in the late 1700s, Canadian political culture has been tinged with what has been called a “tory touch,” an upper-class British tradition that stresses collective obligations over individual liberties. This sense of noblesse oblige underlies many of the value assumptions of the mainstream media.

Our small and scattered population also contributes, says Kirk Lapointe, who held a variety of positions in Canadian media (he was once my boss), and who teaches journalism at the University of British Columbia. There are so many Americans, he points out, that fringe publications can profitably publish, giving extremists a voice. But Canadian publications must cater to more moderate views in order to win a large enough audience to make a profit.

Mr. Lapointe hosts a Vancouver radio talk show. In his experience, extremists don’t attract listeners. “I see a fair amount of revulsion when someone like that tries to grab the microphone,” he said in an interview.

Canada’s large immigrant population is also a steadying influence. With four in 10 Canadians either an immigrant or the son or daughter of an immigrant, nativist voices have little hope of dominating the print, broadcast or digital conversation.

Pollster Michael Adams has published a book, Could It Happen Here? that compares Canadian and American political and social values in the age of Trudeau and Trump. To cite just one powerful statistic: According to one poll, 50 per cent of Americans believe that “the father of the family must be the master in his own house.” In Canada, the figure is 23 per cent.

To explain these differences, Mr. Adams refers to a chronic streak of paranoia that has long run through American politics, and Horatio Alger-like belief that anyone can make it to the top – so if you don’t, the system must be conspiring against you. He also cited the baleful influence of evangelical religion, gerrymandered Congressional districts and increasing income insecurity.

“In this paranoid atmosphere, people feel entitled not only to their own opinions but also to their own facts,” he believes. “And now, in the age of the internet, each is his own publisher and editor locked inside an ideological bubble with fellow travellers.”

This paranoid polarization infects the right more than the left in American politics. There is no progressive equivalent to Rush Limbaugh or Breitbart News. But the left is not immune to intolerance.

At the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) last week, a small group of protesters self-identifying as antifascists interrupted a forum on, of all things, how best to challenge hate speech. “No Trump, no KKK, no Fascist U.S.A.” they yelled, shutting down a question-and-answer session that resumed later in another room.

The discourse in Canadian politics and journalism is far from perfect. Indigenous Canadians, especially, do not see their values and priorities reflected in either Canada’s political culture or its media. Newsrooms are far less diverse than the communities they cover.

And Prof. Aragon warns of the tendency of American cultural influences to “trickle up” across the border. Polarized American media risk polarizing Canadian media through the sheer power of proximity.

Nonetheless, as President Trump sends out one angry tweet after another, Canadians retain deeper wells of moderation and goodwill than their American cousins.

In this country, just about everyone seems to agree that an apple is not a banana.

Source: Canada stays civil amidst the polarization of American media – The Globe and Mail

A cultural policy that overlooks multiculturalism [media focus]

George Abraham, publisher of New Canadian Media, on the need for broader and more diverse journalism (disclosure: I assisted George and New Canadian Media during its early years):

For a multicultural country, we have a rather monocultural media landscape. Our newsrooms and media organizations no longer reflect their audiences.  Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly missed an opportunity to make a policy intervention that would have at least nudged some reform.

Canada’s multicultural media has been decimated in recent years.  There were budget cuts in multicultural programming at the Rogers-owned OMNI Television. A promising media enterprise that published a string of multicultural and community newspapers went under in 2013. It was ironic that the Mississauga-based Multicultural Nova Corporation was being subsidized by the Italian government. These and other outlets help Canadians weave a shared narrative around what it means to be Canadian, at a time when our “ethno-cultural” (to use a favourite expression of bureaucrats) makeup is rapidly changing. Our ethnic media remain as fragmented and resource-strapped as ever.

“Canada’s ethnic and third-language communities do not have access to enough news and information programming in multiple languages from a Canadian perspective,” the chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Jean-Pierre Blais said in May.

The fact is, Canada is rapidly changing before our eyes, but we continue to sleepwalk through this transformation.

While media organizations and journalism schools appear to have given up measuring the representation of minorities in newsrooms (the last credible industry-wide study was in 2004), the government is aware that this lack of representation is a major handicap for new immigrants. A June 2014 study titled “Evidence-based Levels and Mix: Absorptive Capacity” (bureaucratese for how well Canada integrates its immigrants) stated categorically: “There is no clear commitment to achieving diversity in Canada’s newsrooms or in Canadian news content.” (The study was commissioned by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and it was released under the Access to Information Act.)

The government’s new cultural policy did little to shift the conversation to the emerging media players who are redefining journalism for a new era. It failed to state the obvious: a shrinking cohort of media organizations that have monopolized national discourse are headed for irrelevance, because neither their audience nor their newsrooms are reflective of Canada at large.

This lopsided media structure means that folks like me don’t get to tell our own stories on our own terms. Somebody else uses the lens of their lived experience to interpret our immigrant stories. A cultural and content policy written in 2017 ought to have been much more mindful of this shift – roughly 40 percent of Canadians are either foreign-born or the children of immigrants (the bulk of them have Asian roots, like Jagmeet Singh). The minister should have outlined specific goals to foster and sustain the kind of journalism that reflects a new Canada where the rise of a sardar (turbaned Sikh) is not a leap of faith, but a fact of life.

I write this as somebody who is well aware of the perils of “government support.” Not all governments are benign actors. In Dubai, the owners of the newspaper where I once worked found themselves on the wrong side of the ruling family. We had a dedicated “reporter” whose job was to relay diktats from the government to the editor. At another outlet in Doha, the newspaper was owned by the country’s then foreign minister. It was my job as managing editor to walk the gauntlet between censorship and shackled freedom. The country even had a director of censorship, who subsequently became the editor-in-chief of an Arabic language newspaper.

Not all journalists welcome government support. The Canadian nonprofit media organization that I run has lost editors who couldn’t live with any form of government funding. We’ve viewed these grants – including those from the Canada Periodical Fund – as seed money for an enterprise that serves the collective public good. I’d like to think that we exist because we fulfill a need. Joly missed an opportunity to signal a shift of tax dollars towards content that enables new players to take advantage of gaps in the marketplace of ideas.

I also know first-hand that editors and newsroom managers are loath to take the bold steps that will change the demographics of their newsrooms. There’s a lot of lip service being done out there and little concrete action. The cultural industries policy statement could have made a big difference by offering incentives to correct this imbalance and foster the growth of alternative media platforms that cater to niche markets.

Instead, the headline coming out of the policy statement was focused on Netflix and its promise to make investments in Canadian productions, as if this would in some way feed this country’s desperate need for a new narrative and a new conversation. Entertainment seemed to take precedence over journalism in the policy announcement, although both embody the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell the rest of the world.

However, fact is more important than fiction. Facts are sacrosanct and the need of the hour. The phenomenon of “fake news” can only be addressed by true and tested journalism. The opinions of Canadians need to be shaped by solid, on-the-ground reporting done by journalists who are embedded in their communities and share the lived experience of the places they call home. This includes newcomer journalists who offer unique perspectives about their communities and are informed by the day-to-day trials that immigrants face in buying or renting homes, finding employment, enrolling their children in schools and becoming full members of the society around them. There is a public interest in ensuring that their voices are heard, not just through niche media and ethnic platforms but also in legacy newsrooms.

The federal government has rightly supported Canadian culture and content since the days of the Massey Commission in 1951. A Canada of 35 million people, or an imagined one of 100 million, will live or die on the ties that bind its people together. Old-fashioned journalism ought to be the bedrock of a more globalized, more multicultural Canada.

Source: A cultural policy that overlooks multiculturalism

On diversity, Canadian media is throwing stones in a glass house – Murad Hemmadi

I share the wish for more accurate data on diversity in the media (have asked for a breakdown from Labour Canada of the broadcasting sector) that would likely show under-representation in management ranks and columnists, likely less so with respect to journalists.

In this sense, media may be no different than other sectors where visible minorities tend to be at more junior levels compared to “whites” due in part to relatively shorter periods of time in Canada.

However, my general reading of articles and commentary on immigration, citizenship and multiculturalism indicates for the most part that the major issues are covered with a broader perspective than just “white.”

I wish I could quantify here the degree to which Canadian media is white. Then-Canadaland reporter Vicky Mochama once asked Canadian media outlets for diversity data. They were reluctant to cooperate, and did not opt instead to collect and publish the data themselves; it is, after all, harder to criticize organizations for what we can’t count. A J-Source attempt to gather self-reported diversity data about columnists produced incomplete results in part because some of those contacted were actively hostile to any such measure. So the best I can offer is that looking around newsrooms, the senior ranks are disproportionately white, and the people of colour present are more commonly found towards the bottom of the masthead and in strung-together contract positions or internships. The result of not having people in the building who understand specific identities and cultures is that your publication does not cover them often, if at all, and when it does it’s often in an insulting or stereotypical way.

Look, you can’t stretch your legs in Canadian media without kicking someone connected to you. Of those who opted to pledge their support for the appropriation prize online, Alison Uncles is editor-in-chief of this publication, and Maich runs the publishing arm at Rogers, which owns Maclean’s. (Both noted they were acting as individuals). Whyte himself was at Rogers until recently, while National Post editor-in-chief Anne Marie Owens and Coyne left Maclean’s a few years ago.

However permissive the workplace, it is always the case that to criticize or question the lack of diversity and pervasive whiteness of Canadian media is to risk alienating someone who may one day be a coworker or boss. To be clear, and for what it’s worth, I’ve never had it so much as hinted to me by those I work with or for that I should be less vocal about these topics. But faced with an industry whose power players often actively reject or else pay lip service to diversity, both in the workforce and the subjects covered, I’m left to wonder how often I can bring it up before it becomes my label—“that brown guy who keeps whining that we’re not diverse enough.” (Or in a more egregious example, think of Desmond Cole, who wrote about race too often, according to the Toronto Star’s publisher).

Told there’s nothing wrong, or that things aren’t as bad as we make them seem, we press our case again and again. With every passing insistence, white decision-makers are increasingly able to dismiss us as shrill and one-noted, muting us with calls for “civil discussion” in rooms reserved for higher-level, disproportionately white staff. Already, that repeated denial of what we see in our lives— “gas-lighting”—has a chilling effect of its own, teaching us that we best not talk about these things because we won’t be believed or taken seriously.

So imagine how discouraging it is to see the decision-makers who cannot find money in the newsroom for more diversity gladly offer to give their own for a cause that people of colour and Indigenous people have pointed out actively devalues us.

Of course, I don’t expect the people who pitched in to Whyte’s effort to pay for a permanent reporter position out of their own pockets, though the total they’ve pledged would have covered a month of my first full-time salary. And it’s true that “not quickly enough” will always be my view of how fast newsrooms must work to diversify. But the symbolism of white Canadian media decision-makers sponsoring an appropriation prize via a Thursday night Twitter thread—that’s something people of colour and Indigenous people in the industry could have done without.

Source: On diversity, Canadian media is throwing stones in a glass house – Macleans.ca

The Modern Newsroom Is Stuck Behind The Gender And Color Line : NPR

Unfortunately, we do not appear to have comparable data regarding diversity in Canadian newsrooms, where likely many of the same concerns would apply:

In many of today’s newsrooms, women and journalists of color remain a sliver of those producing and reporting stories. According to studies from the American Society of News Editors, the Women’s Media Center and the advocacy group VIDA, gender and ethnic diversity in newsrooms have hardly improved in the last decade despite increasing demand for more inclusive journalism in the current round-the-clock news cycle.

Nationally, Hispanic, black and Asian women make up less than 5 percent of newsroom personnel at traditional print and online news publications, according to 2016 data from the American Society of News Editors. The organization stopped requiring that news outlets reveal their identities in an attempt to increase participation in the yearly census. Numbers from 433 news organizations that participated in 2015 and 2016 show a 5.6 percent increase in the minority workforce, now at 17 percent at print and online news sites. But the numbers lag far behind demographic shifts in a country where nearly 40 percent of Americans are part of a minority group. Around the country, local newsrooms remain largely white by most measures. (In the spirit of full disclosure, NPR’s latest diversity figures can be found here.)

In March, the Women’s Media Center released its annual report on gender representation in the media (print bylines, internet, broadcast and other outlets). The latest numbers show a tiny change — 37.7 percent of the news was credited to female journalists, according to an analysis of over 24,000 pieces of news content. Major national outlets continue to be dominated by men, and women actually lost representation in broadcast news television.

In a 2015 survey by the group VIDA: Women of the Literary Arts, magazines with a focus on news and culture, such as The New Yorker, The New Republic and Harper’s, don’t fare any better. VIDA’s numbers show that women of color (and minorities in general) are virtually absent from the political commentary and investigative journalism these magazines provide. Though nearly 20 percent of the country’s population is Hispanic, very few of these publications had a single VIDA respondent self-report as Hispanic.

The implications of this generalized absence are manifold, and begin at the storytelling level.

A September 2016 piece by Lonnae O’Neal in The Undefeated, a site that covers how sports, race and culture intersect, described how NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche — one of the country’s leading African American national sports reporters — covered the story of Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem as an act of protest. His refusal, Wyche learned, formed part of a larger outcry over police violence against black men and women. Initial reports by other outlets focused on Kaepernick as divisive and a potential distraction in the locker room. For O’Neal, who analyzed the coverage with a racial lens, the Kaepernick story raised questions “about why the country is more brown than ever but mainstream journalism is so white.”

O’Neal herself rose through the ranks as a Washington Post reporter and columnist for 24 years before joining The Undefeated. She sees her race as providing an added edge in stadiums filled with mostly black players. “Because I’m experienced, because I’m a woman, and because I’m African American, I can go right up to people and find an entry, a portal, a way to talk without layers and layers of translation,” she said. Her common background with her sources, the “cultural resonance” between them, won’t always carry the day, “but it goes a long way.”

For O’Neal, hiring women, minorities and generally journalists of diverse backgrounds is not a luxury or a matter of “different optics,” or political expedience, as recruiters typically approach the matter, but essential to the profession’s mission and longevity. A typical white, male-centric newsroom, means critical stories will continue to go unreported and news analysis will remain unbalanced.

“We need new and different lenses, people of different backgrounds thinking at the table. We’ll only be richer for having that. Why is it so hard to set as an intention? Because many folks are going to be uncomfortable with what that looks like,” O’Neal said.

In the meantime, old narratives about race and identity don’t change. Latinos are mostly U.S.-born and consist of dozens of sub-groups. But, says Dana Mastro, a professor in the department of communication at the University of California in Santa Barbara, they’re seen only in one frame — immigration.

“The idea that there are other narratives just doesn’t pan out,” said Mastro, who researches racial and ethnic stereotyping in the media with a particular interest in Latinos. “It’s immigration and almost entirely threat-driven,” she said. “You just don’t see other themes emerge, and Latinos are almost exclusively portrayed as undocumented Mexicans,” she added.

Source: The Modern Newsroom Is Stuck Behind The Gender And Color Line : Code Switch : NPR

Ezra Levant: The Rebel’s unrepentant commander – Good profile in Maclean’s

Good profile on Breitbart North by Jason Markusoff. Sad that there is a market for this kind of behaviour:

…Media highlighted the “lock her up” chant at Rebel’s rally, in part because there was little particularly new by December 2016 about Alberta economic hurt, carbon tax opposition or anti-NDP rallies; plus, there’s high curiosity about anything vaguely Trumpish penetrating Canada.

Levant chastized them for not focusing on his rally’s content, for two straight nights on his self-titled show, where he treaded lightly on that content and instead reacted to the reaction by news reports and politicians.

“How about just once, we all tell the media-political industrial complex to f–k off?” he ended his rant.

Within days, The Rebel was selling “lock her up” T-shirts, and announced the following week’s rally in Calgary. He hadn’t initially planned it, Levant explains, until that media response.

“As a signal to Canadians that you don’t have to do what Peter Mansbridge says anymore,” he says.

The second rally drew Conservative leadership candidates tacking to the party’s right flank, like climate change skeptic Brad Trost, Kellie Leitch, as well as Chris Alexander again, who had told most outlets he was mortified by “lock her up.” He told this audience his donors and “establishment types” warned him not to return. “I’m not going to fold to a bunch of politically correct people,” he said.

This time, Calgary news reports played it largely straight, leaving little for Levant to pillory. But he found his whipping post on Twitter: a twentysomething radio reporter. “We had a controlled experiment of the media. And Haley Jarmain screwed up,” Levant says.

Jarmain is a university student who also reports for Newstalk 770 radio. After live-tweeting the Calgary rally and filing her radio story, she tweeted about the insults she’d faced that afternoon but excluded from her report: “But I got death threats. Was laughed at. Told that I’m less of a human for my job.” Levant and supporters on Twitter pushed back skeptically: why didn’t she call police about threats on her life, or the rally security? She explained later, on Twitter and her radio station, it amounted to one guy telling her “you’re dead” in the foyer, and didn’t want to risk a he-said/she-said by reporting to the authorities.

The next day on The Rebel, Levant posted a 14-minute piece skewering her as a left-wing, social justice reporter, and promised to go over security tapes with her to catch this would-be-murderer. Voice oozing with sarcasm, he announced a cash reward, and acquired HaleyJarmain.ca and HaleyJarmain.com to redirect to his video. Levant’s Twitter backers mobbed further: called her attention-craving, a faker, part of the lügenpresse. (She and her station declined to comment to Maclean’s.)

Journalists tweeted in Jarmain’s defense and called Levant’s stunt disgusting and bullying. That’s just more media tribalism, he says. But journalists aren’t the only ones who worry about this dark side of Levant. “You want to be controversial; you want to hold powerful people to account for their action,” says Kory Teneycke, a longtime friend and former Sun News president. “But on the flip side, I think you get in trouble if you target people who are smaller than yourself.”

Coren says: “I’ve seen him do and say things that are incredibly hurtful, but I don’t think he actually feels it. He doesn’t know the effect he’s having on people.”

He scraped gutter mud a week earlier, too. An Alberta labour leader criticized a claim about his Edmonton rally size, and Levant threatened to post his profile from dating site Ashley Madison.

To call Levant perennially unrepentant is to call fish damp. That young reporter was “an embedded activist,” he says, the paragon of media skullduggery. “You know what?” he says, as though addressing her. “You can own that for the rest of your life as long as I have the money to keep the domain HaleyJarmain.com. She’ll own that lie. Or, we’ll catch the killer. Either way, it’s a win.”

Why clicking on this story about Indigenous people matters: Neil Macdonald

Interesting points about how stories are selected or not, and the biases and influences at play:

Indifference, though, is something more pernicious, and much more difficult to deal with.

Because what’s the point of continuing to talk about something if even people of goodwill aren’t listening?

Insist too much on educating readers and viewers against their will, and they tune out, the way they reacted to overzealous, didactic coverage of the Meech Lake Accord in the late 1980s.

The fact is, editors at news organizations are alive to audience biases and apathy, and have baked them into their editorial choices for as long as journalism has existed.

The elders of our craft deliver speeches to rookies about “news judgment,” making it sound like acquired wisdom, something that develops only after years of experience and sober reflection on important issues.

But really, news judgment is a slipperier thing, freighted with ethnocentrism, tribalism, nativism and the assignment of value to life based on an understood, but undiscussed, hierarchy.

In choosing stories and laying out pages at newspapers decades ago, I quickly learned that one dead Canadian anywhere (even more so, a white Canadian), equalled two or three dead Americans, which in turn equalled 10 or 15 Brits or West Europeans, which in turn equalled 30 or 40 dead East Europeans, who were probably white and maybe even Christian, but came from unpronounceable places, and so forth.

At the very end of the list were Africans, or, say, Bangladeshis. They had to perish in very large numbers indeed to merit any notice.

…But Indigenous people, I’m afraid, haven’t rated very highly on that unspoken hierarchy. Canadians evidently do not consider Indigenous people proximate — and the less proximate the subject, the more indifferent the audience.

As the missing and murdered inquiry will no doubt conclude, police also prioritize cases they believe are of most interest to the public; in a way, they exercise news judgment of their own.

And it’s a safe bet that in turn, predators choose targets that are low priorities for law enforcement: to wit, Indigenous women, especially if they happen to be sex workers, are not only the most vulnerable among us, but the least protected.

So, indifference can also be lethal. And now we have those damned computer apps to remind us constantly of its stubborn, passive presence.

Source: Why clicking on this story about Indigenous people matters: Neil Macdonald – Politics – CBC News

Canada’s news media are contributing to mistrust of Muslims: Siddiqui

Haroon Siddiqui’s guide for the media (I would add test these by substituting ‘Christian,’ ‘Sikh,’ ‘Jewish’ or other religions to check for consistency) :

The credibility of media with Muslims is very low. Muslims generally don’t trust us. In fact, they’re outright afraid of us. They don’t think they would get a fair shake from us. They are petrified that their words would be twisted and distorted.

Let me offer some suggestions.

  • It would be helpful for newsrooms, or the media industry as a whole, to articulate some ethical guidelines on coverage of and commentary on Muslims.
  • Develop a manual to clarify what do the following words mean and whom do they apply to – “moderate Muslims,” ‘anti-modern Muslims,” “fundamentalist Muslims,” “militant Muslims,” and “Islamist Muslims.” Who, exactly, are “radical Muslims” – those who believe in violence, or something else? Who are anti-modern Muslims – the Muslims who don’t drive cars, don’t use iPhones, don’t Tweet, don’t build or visit museums, or refuse blood transfusions?
  • Subject opinion pieces and commentaries to the simple test of truth. Give us a range of views, not just those that might just confirm your own prejudices. The CBC commentator Rex Murphy has advanced questionable propositions about Muslims. He is free to express his views, of course. But where’s the counter-opinion on the taxpayer-supported CBC?
  • Don’t find excuses to attribute crimes by Muslims to their religion. Use the same standard for them as for other people.
  • Avoid double standards on free speech. It seems that we must have free speech to malign Muslims but Muslims must not claim the right to be free from hate speech, which is also a very Canadian value.
  • Resist generic photos of niqab-wearing women when the story has little or nothing to do with niqab. You create the impression that most Muslim women wear it, whereas the number who do is a tiny, tiny minority – in Canada, no more than a few dozen. Don’t distort that reality.

I describe myself as an “incurably optimistic Canadian.” So I think if any nation can debate this issue, within the framework of free speech and fair play, it is Canada. If we get this right, we might even export it to the United States and Europe.

We owe it to Canada to at least try.

Source: Canada’s news media are contributing to mistrust of Muslims | Toronto Star