Jeffrey Simpson deserves the status he enjoys as a dean of Canadian journalism, but it was his stature as such that added to my shock when, as part of his Bruce Hutchison Memorial Lecture at the recent Festival of the Written Arts, he chose to avoid the issue of greenhouse gases and global warming in answering a question from the audience on pipelines.
In fact, he prefaced his answer by saying he did not want to get involved in the debate over the causes, impacts and urgency of global warming but preferred to put those issues aside in an “imaginary box.”
Is this not the best example ever of what is wrong with the media in Canada? Is it not also evidence that much of the problem comes from within the profession itself?
Here we have a preeminent member of the press speaking to a friendly audience about the issues we must address as a country, and he elects to avoid any mention of global warming. Instead he gives us a dissertation on a better way for the three major stakeholders (the federal government, the Alberta provincial government and the big oil companies) to get what they are after. No mention of any of the risks of pipelines, and no mention of their role in global warming. His failure to mention this overwhelming fact is equivalent to the captain giving a talk on how to rearrange the furniture in the late hours of the Titanic. It gives the impression that all is well — when all is not.
Why do our senior journalists and the media in general avoid any honest, thoughtful and penetrating analysis in what many describe as the most horrendous problem humankind has ever faced? Considering the importance of the fifth estate in ensuring an informed electorate, this is a profoundly serious question.
Jim Gordon, Kamloops