So what's wrong with the Leader-Post's excuse for a news article about private health services? Let's start with the basic premise before going into the details.
My impression would be that most news stories are intended to actually reflect news of some sort. So let's ask: what news value is there in the fact that a service provider has provided services? Or put another way, how often has the Leader-Post printed news stories about, say, happy welfare recipients as an argument for improved social services? Or people who received excellent care in the public sector and don't much want to see a privatized system?
The main answer is that they wouldn't bother, because things functioning as they're supposed to aren't generally considered to have any particular news value. But apparently CanWest makes an exception where it suits its editorial slant. And that brings us into the jaw-dropping degree of bias in what's supposed to be a matter of news rather than opinion.
Want any context comparing public and private services? Counterarguments in anything but the flimsiest of straw-man form? You'll find none whatsoever, just an article-long homily to privatization. Indeed, while I don't have a hard copy of the Leader-Post in front of me, I'd be shocked if there weren't some ads in the paper that are more balanced in their treatment of their subject matter.
And all this over services which themselves could just as easily have been delivered in the public sector as the private sector. But again, any actual context would be entirely unhelpful in serving the corporate purpose.
But wait, there's more! Scroll down to the end of the article, and you'll find out just who it is that's been called on to pass off their opinion as news:
Hopkins is speaking out, not as the CEO of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce, but as a grateful parent.Now, most of us would have the sense to treat an article along the lines of "President of Domestic Auto Dealers of Canada: Ford Offered Me A Great Car At A Great Price!" with the level of skepticism it deserves. And I'd like to think most journalists would do the same in deciding how to frame an article.
But the Leader-Post's choice to offer a corporate spokesperson free rein to spout uncontradicted pro-privatization blather amounts to effectively the same thing. And it's combined with just enough subterfuge to lull the reader into thinking there's something more to the article, before mentioning the interviewee's pecuniary interest as an afterthought.
Now, it's sad that this is what passes for media in our province - and it's never a plus to be up against such widely-distributed propaganda. But let's close with a look on the bright side: we can safely say that the privatization movement is completely devoid of any intelligent thought if this is what's passing for a sales job.