Fake News

Maybe this has been going on for awhile, because I generally don't pay much attention to CITV, but on the back of the Budget there seems to be a proliferation of fake news shows, particularly the "In The Know" show and "Today", with 'hosts' presented as journalists but lobbing soft balls at Government Ministers who then go on extensive monologues.

I'm yet to see any Opposition figure interviewed, although I could be wrong. This is exactly what CITV shouldn't be doing, which is political infomercials dressed up as interviews. The window dressing is that it is Government communicating directly with the people, but these are taxpayer funded one-sided political broadcasts at their core.

The sign offs from the host of "In the Know" tonight were

"Minister [Smith] you are a pleasure and a shining light and a gem to be around."

"Thank you Minister Desilva for all your hard work and dedication in regards to health. It is appreciated."

Cringeworthy.

This is not the model of CBC in Canada, or the BBC in the UK, or CSPAN in the US. Other than CSPAN who are ruthless in their equal time and lack of advocacy, there are of course accusations of bias, but there's no question that their shows are not an arm of the political communication apparatus, as CITV is.

I watch it and cringe at the obvious transparency of what is going on. In normal modern democracies these kinds of programs would never pass muster. At the minimum you'd see equal time, and I can't see the likelihood of the Opposition being invited on to discuss their Budget reply and plan contained within.

Not to mention that the most obvious use for CITV - broadcasting Parliament - remains elusive, with antiquated and flaky radio feeds still the only option. Parliament is one of the few times that the Opposition have a platform that can't be controlled (although they try through a pliable Speaker) and gives them a profile.

Hence why there seems to be no enthusiasm to get Parliament broadcast properly. Why give the Opposition airtime when you can produce puff pieces dressed up as news.

Of course CITV has other community shows and cultural programs, but this fake news stuff is embarrassing and the kind of propaganda that would be unacceptable in democracies we'd like to think we keep company with.

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