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Feb 14·edited Feb 14

Mr. MacDougall, the PM is a teenie-bopper in an adult world. His piss-off-edness is a function of his out-of-touch-ness. Unfortunately, your article is just more of the same..

You lay the demise of the old news industry at the feet of technology when the problem you want to address isn't bytes...it's boredom. The product sucks...and has done so for decades. Media elitism, ignorance, absence of initiative and flat out laziness have dogged innovation, research and entrepreneurial effort to death.

There is nothing left "to fix" Mr. MacDougall. There is no one left to fix it. The ones who could innovate are doing so by building new structures like Substack.

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Great article. One point though: I am not ADHD. I speak to my wife, my kids and my grandkids from time to time. Having grown up with Peter Mansbridge, Walter Cronkite and others before him, I miss them today.

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Andrew - Good column with many great points, and just a couple I'd quibble with.

...'a dark day for journalism':

While the layoff announcement may have been a dark 'day' for journalism, I would suggest that the death of the legacy media model can't come fast enough - the old model was never as perfect as many wearing rose coloured glasses would suggest it was. Publishers and radio/tv network managers were always beholden to powerful advertising, political, union, and often criminal interests, and while there have always been a few stellar journalists that rose above the herd, many were average to poor, just like in most other industries, and were not above, shall we say, ethical lapses.

I'm not without a heart. I do realize losing one's job and livelihood sucks and in the short term is very painful. I've personal experience with being let go early in my career, and much later, chosing to leave a stable position with good salary & benefits. In the latter case, it really sucked in the short term. In both cases, these setbacks were blessings in disguise - I went on to bigger, better, and more fulfilling things. So will the journalists that do have talent and integrity - you and our editors at The Line are clear evidence of the new model of success. The rest will either leave journalism or just find a new outlet, likely on social media, to display their hack 'talents'. No names mentioned, though there are many that are spewing the same nonsense they did when they were employed in the legacy media.

'...wholesale kidnapping of the advertising industry by the major tech platforms'

The tech platforms kidnapped no one - advertising naturally and quite willingly migrated to the tech platforms BECAUSE THEIR MODEL IS VASTLY SUPERIOR to what the legacy media platforms were stubbornly offering. No one drives a horse and buggy around anymore for anything other than nostalgic purposes or religious convictions.

While we must acknowledge the bad things we are stuggling with as a result of big tech (you have correctly listed several), can one even imagine all the positive things that have come out of folks like Jobs and Gates tinkering in their garages? It's absolutely stunning what we take for granted these days with technology at our fingertips. Yes, we all have a firehose of info in our phones, but I can do so many things today because of free access to the information shared by millions of ordinary citizens like myself that I never would have attempted before big tech developed tools like YouTube.

Bottom line - good column - I enjoyed it. Here's to JT getting pissed off enough to piss off.

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Trying to revive the old news industry by regulating social media platforms has the same feel as various schemes to build seawalls, breakwaters, and jettys to stop the natural tidal erosion of beaches. These artificial interventions slow erosion and preserve some small areas of the original beach, but always have other effects that can accelerate erosion in other areas before they themselves are undermined and collapse. The phrase "free speech isn't free reach" basically implies that the proponents think they have a better idea of what people should be allowed to say and do on those platforms than the platform owners or users. They're usually wrong, and they almost always fall victim to unintended or unanticipated consequences - most prominently, that they might end up on the wrong end of the regulation.

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There are options to spending $5.00 a day to purchase the Globe & Mail. Subscribe to The Line and other Substack offerings . By the way, who the hell over the age of 30 actually watches Tik Tok?

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Mr. MacDougall, I get it, you are like the Prime Face Painter: you are pissed off.

Now that you have got that off your chest, I have a question for you. Your last sentence says, "We can either try to fix the problems we have, or be pissed off about a past that will never come back. "

My question is how would you fix the problems that we have? Precisely, please. Or are you content to simply be pissed off?

I am not trying to be a horse's ass by asking this question but, instead, I am trying to figure out what reasonable options are available. You reference legislation in Europe and potential legislation in Washington. I betray my ignorance by saying that I don't really know what this legislation / proposal is supposed to do.

I suggest that rather than being pissed off you and/or some acquaintances come up with some policy proposals. Oh, and yeah, please don't a) go the LPC route and try to steal money from Peter (which always works out to be the public paying) to pay Paul who will himself simply continue to pour it down the drain; and b) try to limit our freedoms with your proposals which ultimately tell us what we MUST like and what we MUST see and do, sorta, kinda what the LPC is doing.

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Pretty hard to argue with any of this. The traditional ad model - the half page ad, the 30-second TV spot - died years ago. The shuttering of news outlets and mass layoffs of journalists has also been going on for years. The only thing new in the past 8 or 9 years is more and more people despising the mainstream media and buying into the stupid conspiracy stories about writers and editors taking their daily marching orders from some corporate Supreme Being, not seeing the irony of believing some influencer on tiktok. But this is how the world is quickly evolving - those who still have a taste for responsible journalism and those who will believe almost anything, as long as it fits into whatever they already believe. God knows where this ends up but it isn't a place where people are better informed and can exchange points of view in a civilized manner.

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The solution is paid content on platforms like this one and The Wire is a perfect example. The challenge is finding and identifying the creators with content worth paying for and I certainly won't be looking to the government for any help with that. Justin Trudeau and his regulators will be pissed off at that too.

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You lost me at quoting Renee DiResta, a CIA shill and architect of the US censorship regime that came into full force during COVID (see Shellenberger's thorough coverage on the matter). People like her (and whoever her Canadian counterpart would be) are one of the main reasons people do not trust the media anymore, because most of it has become little more than government mouthpieces spewing fake news on a continuous basis (under the guise of fighting mis-, dis- and "malinformation" - whatever the hell that means), and thus why mainstream media is dying: not because of some external boogeyman, but because the product sucks and isn't trustworthy as noted previously by another commenter.

It's truly a case of the inmates running the asylum and trying to make us believe that we're the insane ones. Social media just amplified it, but didn't create it.

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Mr. MacDougall, mainstream media lost most of us years ago and the slide has only continued. I stopped reading the paper when it was filled with spelling and gramatical errors adn was incorrectly 'reporting' news that I knew to be wrong. CBC lost me years ago when they started promoting their woke agenda and had Gomeschi try to reflect Canada to me, TV news and TV shows are of no interest to this 69 year old either - mostly mindless and silly. Maclean's lost me when they also started reoprting incorrectly and putting a woke liberal (small 'l') slant on the world - besides constantly encouraging university education over the trades and practical education options. Mainstream media receiving my tax dollars while claiming that it wouldn't change their views was the last straw I'm not alone.

Questions for you sir: Where is the reporting of the shooting and fire bombing of the Edmonton City Hall? Where is the reporting of the burning of the church in Regina this week? Where is the reporting of the fact that no bodies have been found in the 'mass unmarked graves' in BC? Where is the reporting of the arrest and court trials of anyone who burned churches, attacked pipeline construction facilities, blockaded roads, railways and construction sites across Canada? Where the reporting of arrests of anyone burning synagogues or blocking highways near Jewish neighbourhoods? Now tell em that the media is actually 'reporting' what is going on.

I read The Line and listen to the podcast to get the liberal slant to the world and listen to a couple of conservative podcasts to keep my hopes up. I don't know that you, JT or anyone else can do anything to encourage us to regain any respect or support for most of mainstream media.

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The government -- any government cannot fix the media. I think we read the paper because it was cheap, provided coupons and more detailed sports coverage which we often missed when it wasn't televised or we had to do something else when it was. There has always only been a handful of good investigative journalist -- and most of them are now on substack. The rest of the news was often repackaging Reuters, CP or AP newswires.

The problem came when the vultures swooped in unopposed by the Competition Bureau and bought up all the local papers. They then cut costs and borrowed against assets to pay themselves. Their model was basically the Fox model -- report what they think their audience wants to hear with the appropriate slant. That's how we get the CBC, the Sun's endless retelling of the ever-growing list of Trudeau fumbles (why can't they just report on the latest folly) or the Toronto Star endlessly fawning apologists for Justin.

What the government could so is make sure we have control over our out data and privacy and that the algorithms used to manipulate us are known and fair. (Of course this is problematic since the government and political parties are big customers of the data farms.)

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Substack: Tara Henley, Meghan Murphy, The Line, Bari Wise/The Free Press. Websites: True North, Rebel News. There are many news sources that don't work for/aren't employed by Justin Turdo. He doesn't like them. The CBC works for him, but no one watches or listens, so he hissies. He's the dumbest man to ever hold the job. Whine on you crazy demon.

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"...and none of them will give a fig about the merits of the content itself either, only that we love watching it."

True. Surely, though, what newspapers and television pioneered was this same marketing impulse--not, in any meaningful sense of the concept, "accountability." Ever. The technology has changed; the venality of the motivation has not.

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I see two solutions:

1) Anti-trust investigations into big tech. This is unlikely to happen as the US government which would be hesitant to risk the globe leading profits that these companies pull into the country. The definition of anti-trust would also need to involve beyond pricing, which is the tradition measure of consumer harm

2) Forcing big tech to disclose aspects of its algorithms and allowing users to see what data has been collected about them

Hopefully platforms such as Substack become sufficiently lucrative for founders to hire true reporters. Perhaps the biggest consequence of legacy media's demise, has been the shift to relatively cheap opinion based content and away from more expensive reporting based content.

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Agree with this, although from the headline I thought this might be more about how dumb it was for PMJT to get notably curse-word-adjacent on a topic where it’s almost impossible for him to do anything effective in the near term.

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Kidnapped? No, the tech companies provide a superior platform for advertiser's. It's a free market and the free market has spoken.

As for the CBC though, the Conservatives made a huge strategy mistake by not killing it off, damned the consequences in French Canada. Let Quebec take over the Radio Canada if they cared so much. The CBC is toxic for the rest of the media in Canada in that it has a running start in taking ad revenue and staff from the free market providers. Hopefully Pierre guts them. Offer Quebec to take over Radio Canada, let them pay for it. If that isn't good enough, let them have another referendum.

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