TORONTO - I have an interest in advocating for a free and sustainable Press, even if, on occasion, I dislike myself as much as do other practitioners of the trade. But I believe we have an indispensable role in maintaining the infrastructure of democratic and free society.
Governments, or at least some of them, don’t always agree. “Control” and discipline is their preferred approach.
That would be inconsistent with the concept of a free press. Governments counter with strategies and half-baked ideas designed to suffocate critical analyses by withholding necessary funds to keep press and media alive. It’s a prickly relationship.
Not unsimilar to the one developing on the international and domestic front with our leaders.
The British Ambassador has been making international headlines lately. Not deliberately. Excerpts from his regular communique’ to his country describing conditions in the USA and expressing his assessment of the White House’s ability to address the issues of the day were leaked. They are now the “stuff of legend”.
The author of the description though is a trained Diplomat, Kim Darroch, driven by objective, calculating analysis on which his government’s policy vis-a’-vis the USA and the World most surely depends.
Its President is “insecure, inept and incompetent”, he said. Nothing new here. The Donald has been called worse. He may single-handily be responsible for keeping every journalist busy with material to critique or discard.
Trump responded in the style which many of his enthusiastic supporters in the political world now ape with glee: “oh yeah? Well your mother wears army boots!”.
You remember the retort that schoolyard urchins under the age of seven would hurl at any critic. It seemed to serve all purposes. Trump’s variation is slightly more urbane: “Yeah, he’s a very stupid man…I don’t know him... and I don’t want to see him.”
Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be perturbed by any criticism, so this probably will not affect him much. Still it must sting – one hopes. Except for the knuckle-draggers who thrive in every society, public criticism – even rebuke – serves to establish acceptable norms and conventions of behaviour and practice which help to define who we are and the standards against which we measure each other.
It is not limited to Trump and the USA. Here at home in the province of Ontario, the tenor, tone and substance of the Government’s initiatives and character are being confused by displays of unfocused policy, arrogant, uncouth behaviour and questionable ethical administrative practices.
Premier Ford can shout all he wants that the Press and Media are only interested in talking about his former Chief of Staff, Dean French, whose propensity to dress down elected members of his own caucus while dispensing government largesse to friends, relatives and Party hacks as if the Treasury is a bottomless pit, eventually led to his forced dismissal.
His ethics, and those of he who engineered his position, are surely the stuff of concern to any citizen who cares for the wellbeing of his/her country or province.
No, Premier Ford. It’s not just the Press and Media who talk about this. Were it true that “the people are only concerned about the economy, the debt and the deficit”, the RT. Honourable Paul Martin would still be Prime Minister.
Your government is in swaddling clothes by comparison to his on that subject.
But you are allowing your government to be defined by people who do their best to affirm the suspicion that they are inelegant in language and in ethical behaviour: Tibullo, French and McLeod.
Many good people live in trailer parks. This trio is a public manifestation that there are still those who are bent on proving the presence of trash there as well. The Press didn’t put them there.