June 15th, 2024

Accusations of media bias and racism are unjustified


By Lethbridge Herald on February 12, 2022.

Brian Hancock
Lethbridge Herald publisher

For a long time now we’ve had to read the lame duck “its mainstream media’s fault” excuse given on social media for everything from truck convoys to COVID to cold cheeseburgers to toilet paper hoarding. The Herald leans left, the Herald leans right, I wish the Herald would take a stand … at the end of the day we get as many complaints about being too left as we do about being too right … which tells me we are right in the middle and very happy to be there. 

There is no room for personal opinion in any news story:  we report what we see and hear, nothing more and nothing less. 

“There’s too much Shannon Phillips in the paper, you must lean left,” “there’s too many negative comments about Shannon, you lean right,” “not enough Nathan Neudorf,” “too much Rachael Thomas,” “not hard enough on Trudeau,” “too hard on Trudeau” … all these quotes are what we received in the past week … do you think maybe the bias is in the mind of the reader and not the writer?

It’s our job to report what is done and said, it’s yours to read and form your own opinions about what was done and said. By writing it in our paper we neither agree nor disagree with the subject, we simply report it. “You’re racist against XXX race,” “you take it easy on XXX race,” “why do you give free obits to XXX race?” – I wish I was joking when I tell you we get these type of disgusting emails and messages all the time. Racism trying to disguise itself as intelligence is rampant.  

Blaming the media has become the “in thing.” I watched a video from a colleague at a local TV station about a couple of guys who confronted a TV reporter in Ottawa about his coverage of the convoy. “You’re just fake news” is how it started. 

By the end of the interview the guys admitted they had never watched the reporter’s station or story. This is a prime example of brainwashed people making up stories to back up the opinion they want to have.

 Another reporter in Lethbridge summed it up beautifully by saying “fake news” is a term that really means ‘you should only tell our side of the story’. It can be a dangerous thing when people stop believing facts simply because they don’t fit their own narrative.

Are we perfect? No, but we try to get it right and own up to it when we don’t. Can you hold social media to the same standards? If you feel the Herald published something that is incorrect – and can provide documentation to support your view – we encourage you to send it to us for corroboration.

Mainstream media didn’t tell you to hoard toilet paper, social media did, but when mainstream media reports what’s happening, they get blamed.

Call in a bomb scare to your school based on a Tik-Tok challenge? Mainstream media reported it so it must be their fault. There are biased media out there; educate yourself and stay away from them and the social media algorithm that feeds you more of the same.

We attended the truck convoy and blockade, we asked to talk to people on location and were told “no one will talk to the Herald,” and then on social media the same people complain because we won’t print their side of the story. The offer still stands – if you won’t talk then we can’t print it. 

One of the same organizers of the convoy was protesting outside Ecole La Verendrye school a few days ago. We interviewed her and wrote what she said. There were no complaints from her but complaints from others that we sided with her – we did neither, we reported what was seen and said just like we are supposed to. It’s up to you to decide if you agree or not. It’s up to us to inform you.

The next time you hear “fake news” or “biased media” ask questions – questions like “what specifically are you talking about?,” “which story are you referring to?,” “what do you think was misrepresented?” or the question that they can’t answer: “What was fake about the story, or was it that you just don’t agree with the opinion expressed?” 

Our staff come to work every day trying to find out what’s happening and keep you informed. 

Don’t fake yourself out falling over unverified news from sources you’ve never heard of but suddenly rely on. We don’t print rumours, we print news, op-ed pages are clearly marked as opinions and you’re free to disagree and write in. There’s nothing fake about it. 

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UncleBuck

“Racism trying to disguise itself as intelligence is rampant.”
Way to call out DB and his anti-SCS crew lol

Sharkmeister

The monster of “your fake news” mantra unleashed by that vile POS Trump is maybe the worst part of his legacy. People no longer want actual news. They want someone to tell their side of the issue disguised as news. FOX News of course is the most dangerous of these sycophantic so-called journalistic outlets. This entire blockade fiasco is as much due to the belief in fake news as it is to anythng else. Scary times ahead.

Fairness

I am OK with your comment “we are right in the middle” – you will be damned if you do or if you don’t. I agree –
ask questions of people making unfounded statements. Reminds me of the song “I heard it through the grapevine”.

biff

fox may not be the most insidious – at least most people recognise their agenda. such is not the case with the long entrenched popular media. incredibly inbred and monopolised, they are, erroneously, still seen by the majority as independent, honest, fair. that makes them a good bit scarier than fox.

Last edited 2 years ago by biff
TonyPargeter

We can thank Sarah Palin and the GOP for the catchy “lamestream media” phrase along with Fox “News” somehow setting up shop, boldly and brazenly claiming to be “fair and balanced” when they were in fact the opposite. Then remember the conservatives’ “fair” elections act that a pimply-faced Poilievre cut his nasty teeth on? And recall how Harper and co. introduced us all to attack ads?
My point is that I sympathize with the conundrum of striving for the journalistic standard of being objective and non-partisan at a time in the face of rampant misinformation, disinformation, alternative facts, and mistruths sanctioned by the platforms of social media, the creators of which don’t strike me as being exactly LEFT wing politically…
It’s like all the “tribal” conservatives currently trying to pretend that there ISN’T something completely changed, something dangerously different about conservatism itself, even when there clearly IS. That’s when a creed or a philosophy veers toward being a “religion,” which is what has happened. Rigidity sets in, critical thinking disappears, and we’re in real trouble. The new creed or religion of QAnon where “Q” is an omniscient being giving “signals” is panned by most people for example, even while they continue to identify as “believers.”
There is one old-fashioned media outlet that stopped covering Trump, not sure if there were others, but I know they all struggled with suddenly being the perpetrators of lies simply by “covering” him even though they were simultaneously defiled by him. It doesn’t get much nastier than that, and it’s what the political right wing has become. Here too.
So that’s the central problem for the Herald, being stuck in the bible belt in a traditionally conservative part of a traditionally conservative province at a time when the right wing has lost its mind. I think you negotiate it fairly well, although I don’t see much back and forth in your letters section, and see FAR too many anti-Liberal, anti-Trudeau cartoons. Do you really think you can still afford to stoke that here when it’s been so assiduously cultivated online? Have you seen what’s happening in Ottawa generally, and that truck parked right by Trudeau’s office with F* Trudeau emblazoned on the trailer, along with all those huge flags saying the same thing? Appalling.

biff

seems increasing numbers are feeling they can no longer rely on the usual 4 estates for truth, integrity, and transparency. and so, the 5th estate (no, not the cbc show) worms its way into the fray. that may not be dependable, either. our structures shake, the planet shudders.

Last edited 2 years ago by biff
pursuit diver

We are facing even tougher times in the next few years and people will move on! The Defund Police push moved on the Defund Media, but will move as well to what? Maybe Defund Government?
Nothing makes any sense anymore and the world continues to sink into the abyss further! We need media, just like we need police! There are some poor media outlets just like there are poor businesses, governments, etc., but just like all of them, the majority are good. After saying that, maybe I should remove ‘governments’, since it is very hard to find a political party that stands on their party platform and doesn’t deviate to get elected or re-elected.
We need media! It is great we have a local newspaper still, even though not locally owned, the people who operate are local. Major TV networks have left Lethbridge without good news coverage on weekends and holidays so it is nice we still have the Herald.
When people get caught doing something wrong they always attack the person who caught them. If you are walking downtown and you catch someone vandalizing something, you ask them to stop, you are suddenly a racist. How? Nothing makes sense anymore!
Don’t worry about! Thank you Lethbridge Herald and thank you Brian!