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January 19, 2019 January 19, 2019

Media not always Grinch that stole Christmas

Posted on December 12, 2018 by Taber Times

By Greg Price
Taber Times
gprice@tabertimes.com

Calling the media ‘the true enemy of the people’ was a phrase coined by United States president Donald Trump in late October.

Of course, some of the tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists in his flock took that message to heart and ceremoniously left pipe-bomb care packages to people and organizations he pointed out — including CNN.

It is a concept I find myself shaking my head at and has certainly been voiced by some local politicians here in the past number of years on the municipal and provincial level, and also in the world of Facebook debate.

Simply printing something that does not align with someone’s thought or belief system is not some sinister master plan to tear one’s community down.

It is simply repeating dialogue that was said by others to go along with columns and editorials to spurn on dialogue and debate where hopefully people can come to their own conclusions, hopefully using sound logic in arriving at a decision that may or may not have lined up with your pre-conceived notions before you read the piece.

Talking of how mainstream media doesn’t speak the ‘truth’, these accusations are often backed by posting articles from more ‘independent’ sources that wish to confirm one’s own bias — a trend that can be found on both the right and the left of the political spectrum.

Wanting to be reassured over and over again by an echo chamber in a viewpoint that is immalleable despite concrete proof to the contrary is not ‘truth,’ that is the very definition of propaganda.

Demands from one’s media to be like that as a personal cheer squad 100 per cent of the time shares traits with countries who aren’t exactly at the top of the list in the rights it gives its citizenry.

It also leads to the very fear people have of ‘corporate’ media that adheres more to a segmented fan base than doing the job media is actually supposed to do — like how FOX is perceived to appeal to ‘right-wing’ viewers and MSNBC appeals to ‘left-wing viewers’ where pundits are becoming more commonplace than actually reporting the news.

Unfortunately, that’s often the only thing people see — or choose to see.

The microscope of Community Standards bylaws, Falun Gong protests, fire hall/emergency services building, Pride Flag decisions, or any number of controversial issues in recent years — is bringing ‘negativity’ to the town.

No, it’s challenging the notion of such decisions based on transparency, need, equality and the debate on both sides that can ensue from the citizenry in bringing such things to light, dialogue which should be encouraged in a society that encourages democracy and a free press.

And while some get lost in all the ‘negativity’ that The Times has in its pages at times, I can point to just as much positivity.

Ask the Taber Food Bank, Safe Haven Women’s Shelter, Communities In Bloom, TDCALA, Taber Equality Alliance, Taber Library, Taber and District Health Foundation, numerous schools and its sports teams, numerous people featured on our Your Town page… the list can go on and on, and ask them if the paper is ‘the enemy of the people.’

The town itself, we just finished promoting its Trout Pond and three-cart recycling system in our latest Insight Magazine.

And I can guarantee you, as the reporting staff makes their way into the evening, weekends, and sometimes late night promoting the community in after-hours events, it’s not like they are getting paid double time.

News is not 9-to-5 and we try and do the best we can with the limited resources we have while still trying to find that balance in our personal lives with private time.

I myself see it as a job I have to do and sometimes that job takes me to uncomfortable places.

I am sure I am not at the top of the Christmas card list with some people in this community with either editorials, columns or news articles that were published in the past.

But it is what it is, and there is always The Letter to the Editor section that can take people to task which I encourage readers to become part of (short of course of libelous intent).

So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, including those who view The Times with a ‘Bah! Humbug!’

I think if you go to visit the Issues of Taber Times Past, you will find something in its pages that will warm even the most jaded of hearts this holiday season.

And a free press is a gift everyone should want under their tree for Christmas, if they value democracy.

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