Ian Jessop served as a radio host with commitment and guts. He handled topics others refused to touch. He was fired from CFAX radio in Victoria last week for reasons undisclosed by decision makers at Bell media whose names we don’t know…other than the name of Heather Kim, the local manager. Heather Kim, according to others’ reports, won’t say anything except to blather about ‘new direction’. She hasn’t responded to my email.
Here’s why Ian Jessop’s firing matters. It sends a not so subtle chill through other media who may be considering doing the kind of news talk that he did. There are two broad types of lies government tells us, the statistical lie and the integrity lie. Ian was devoted to exposing both.
The Statistical Lie:
Ian regularly had Norm Farrell as a guest. Norm’s blog “In-Sights” is the province’s go to source for statistical information on the devastating drop in revenues to the public purse from resource extraction under the reign of Gordon Campbell, but particularly under Christy Clark. Norm also discussed problems with the Site C project and BC Hydro’s bankrupting at the hands of 60 year IPP contracts.
On Site C, the $10 billion, largest infrastructure project in BC history, Harry Swain, chair of the joint Federal/Provincial review panel that studied the project, did not believe the load demand forecasts. That panel recommended Site C be reviewed first by the BC Utilities Commission. The BCLiberals refused.
Harry Swain is now on public record calling the dam a hugely expensive mistake. The reasons to be concerned are well documented at Norm’s site, and also Laila Yuile’s. But Harry Swain has not been on the six o’clock news as far as I’m aware. If you think about that , it’s shocking.
Swain isn’t some blogger one can dismiss lightly (and you know I don’t think bloggers should be dismissed just because they are bloggers 🙂 ) . . Newfoundland recently had to admit its Muskrat Falls dam was a massive mistake. We should be very concerned that Site C is a mistake as well.
The Integrity Lies
I wrote in the past month about Christy Clark’s strange trip to Haida Gwaii to promise school funding outside our jurisdiction, and the questions and contradictions surrounding that. Ian Jessop was the only MSM personality who asked the legitimate questions raised by me, and by John Horgan in the legislature. The premier hasn’t proposed a credible alternative to the idea that the trip would help a councillor in a band election who favored a project of financial interest to her brother. The third of three posts on that subject is linked here : http://www.bcveritas.com/index.php/2016/06/06/again-on-the-old-massett-150k-grant-new-information/
What Ian Jessop recognized is that contradictory and changing “splaining” by principal actors in a story are the red flag that should set media digging. Some lies were told, and Ian wanted to know who was lying and why.
Someone said to me last night.. “I’m surprised they haven’t gone after McComb, Simi, and Drex (of CKNW).”
“They” would be the corporate masters and political pressure operatives RossK refers to as the “wizards of Clarklandia”. “They” control journalist’s access, and advertising spends.
(Indeed, Jon McComb, Simi Sara, and Drex have all in their way criticized the Clark government pretty harshly on occasion. Kudos to them when they have done so..It’s not necessary to criticize the Clark government because it is right wing in philosophy, but because it is chaotic and dishonest. Witness the return of $25 mill of $54 mill cut from education… Witness the sudden spending on rural schools in threatened ridings…Witness how local school boards, the “local decision makers on closures”, are now being pressured by MLA’s to save particular schools a year ahead of the election. All othis new spending and political backtracking occurred AFTER School Board budget work had been largely completed. Chaos. )
Another lie was exposed by independent media recently… In a piece by Discourse Media, we read that the Lax Kw’alaam’s sudden reversal on the PNW LNG project , hailed by Clark, was not true, and didn’t reflect the true community sentiment on the project at Lelu Island. It’s a long piece.. go read it now: http://www.towardreconciliation.discoursemedia.org/investigation/divide-and-conquer/
The Premier’s office had to backtrack on a statement that the Lax Kw’alaams had voted massively in favour of the project. The only recorded vote on the project was the opposite. The Premier’s office claimed that the First Nation had done its internal consultations prior to a stunning reversal, in which the new Mayor wrote to the Canadian Environmental Agency in qualified support, only weeks after opposing it. According to the link just above, nobody in the community, admittedly divided under pressure, had been consulted.
Sometimes, events smell like bribes. They just smell. And if you think that could never happen in BC, read this piece which also got no media coverage, from last year….. In which the Haida nation claimed Enbridge was offering cash for individual signatures on a supportive piece of paper. http://www.bcveritas.com/index.php/2015/06/30/time-to-call-in-the-rcmp-has-enbridge-offered-bribes/
We need media to dig when these things happen.. We need people like Ian Jessop. We need media who not only report what a Minister or Opposition critic wants in the public realm, but dig for what they don’t. Orwell: “everything else is propaganda”.