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Grading the media on Indigenous issues

As the kids head back to school, let's take some time to hand out some grades to the mainstream media on their coverage of Indigenous issues. 

Quite honestly, you can ask who is Trevor Greyeyes to be grading the mainstream media on its coverage and treatment of Indigenous topics? 

Back in 2011, Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers was published. Funny thing, and I don't mean hilarious in anyway, is that more than 150 years since confederation there are few Indigenous people working in and ever fewer in senior management positions in media across the country.

Worse. Many in the mainstream media publish and broadcast stories and commentary without having an Indigenous voice offer opinion or rebuttal to what was printed or broadcast. 

Outside of APTN and CBC, there is little if any representation from Indigenous people with the resulting coverage offering little more than the colonial narrative that has and continues to dominate coverage of Indigenous peoples and issues. 

Here are the grades:

CBC - the mega news corporation:  GRADE B

The CBC is such a large corporation. In fact, it is bigger than any privately held media company.

Last year, the federal government announced the 2017 budget would be $675 million.

Needless to say, the First Nations Voice doesn't get that kind of support but I am not one of those private business persons to rail against the publicly funded CBC. To be honest, some of my best friends work at CBC but I don't hold that against them.

However, remember it is a corporation. For example, why did Tim Fontaine and Stephanie Cram leave CBC Indigenous division.

Another problem is that many of the Indigenous people are working under contract. It sets up a sort of sharecropper journalist caste at CBC where there is no security and very little benefits for anyone, it's just not Indigenous people but anyone new, newly hired at CBC.

That being said, CBC has the highest number of Indigenous people working there, does quality programming and offers programming the rest of the mainstream doesn't.

National Post: GRADE F

On social media, I recently commented that the Conrad Black piece "Aboriginals deserve a fair deal, but enough with us hating ourselves" (National Post August 4, 2017) was written by a nineteenth century writer in the 21st century for a twentieth century publication.

He actually tried to justify the history of colonization by invoking terra nullius ? the idea that North America was empty and that Indigenous nations had no ownership or claim to the land.

Typical of this publication though.

Globe and Mail: GRADE C

Hats off to the Globe for actually offering space for dissenting and varied opinion from various Indigenous writers.

However, like my comments in the opening, there are few if any Indigenous people actually employed at the storied national paper.

NEXT ISSUE: more grades

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