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Journalists should not be paid by the government


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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Kris Sims

Trust in journalism is crumbling while government funding of the media ramps up.

The Trudeau government is currently in a spat with tech giants Google and Facebook which could cost taxpayers big money.

Bill C-18 is forcing internet companies to pay media corporations when links to news stories are posted. In retaliation, the companies are vowing to block news links from their services.

The brass from media companies say if their news links are banned, they will lose out on millions of dollars.

What happens if Big Tech refuses to pay?

This Trudeau government is eager to have a place in the newsrooms of the nation.

“We have to make sure that newsrooms are open, that (journalists) are able to do their job and (they) have the resources necessary,” Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez told reporters.

In government speak “resources” means taxpayers’ money.

It’s time to set out a fundamental truth: having the government sign the paycheques of journalists who are supposed to impartially cover that very same government is a massive conflict of interest.

Columnist Andrew Coyne penned it well back in 2019 when the so-called media bailout was first being hatched:

“Taking money from the people we cover will place us in a permanent and inescapable conflict of interest; that it will produce newspapers concerned less with appealing to readers than to grantsmen.”

Fast forward four years and those media bailout deals are coming up for renewal, with the funding set to run out at the end of the fiscal year.

According to the heritage minister wielding the taxpayer piggybank, it sounds like more government-funded media is on the way.

That’s the last thing we need.

The CBC already gets more than $1.2 billion in taxpayers’ money every year and the feds budgeted $595 million for the media bailout over the past four years.

This means taxpayers have poured about $5.3 billion into the CBC and private-sector newsrooms over the last four years.

That kind of money would buy a year’s worth of groceries for about 350,000 families. It could cover the annual income tax bill of more than 380,000 people – about the population of London, Ontario. It could buy about 7,400 homes.

This government-funded media scheme isn’t just a waste of money, and it’s not just a conflict of interest – it also isn’t supported by Canadians.

More than 59 per cent of Canadians surveyed said the government should not fund newsrooms “because it compromises journalistic independence.”

That “journalistic independence” is an endangered species.

A Trudeau government committee is deciding what a journalist is, what a qualified newsroom is and the government is paying journalists.

The term “free press” doesn’t mean newspapers were free to take off a newsstand. It means the press is free from government influence and censorship.

Journalists should not be paid by the government. Newsrooms should rely on money from advertising, subscriptions and free-will donations from people who support them.

Under Trudeau’s bailout program newsroom employees get 25 per cent of their salaries covered by the government, up to a maximum of $13,750 per person.

Imagine being a journalist and knowing a big chunk of your paycheque is covered by the same government you are covering.

That’s like referees saying they can call the game fairly while also making bets.

Even the perception of corruption or bias erodes trust and a majority of Canadians have lost trust in journalists.

According to a longstanding survey that gauges trust, 61 per cent of Canadians think “journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”

Most Canadians now think journalists are trying to mislead them on purpose.

For journalists who believe their craft is a calling and that speaking truth to power is a nearly sacred task, that distrust is very tough to hear.

But we must listen. We can’t afford not to.

Kris Sims is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and a former longtime member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

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Musk: X to sue groups that conspire to boycott conservative news sites

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From The Center Square

“That system guarantees that advertising dollars flow only to left-leaning media brands.”

Tesla founder and X owner Elon Musk said Thursday he plans to file a lawsuit against a collaboration of people and organizations that work to prevent advertising dollars from going to conservative news media brands.

Musk announced his intention on X while sharing video of Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro’s Congressional testimony on the topic from Wednesday.

“Having seen the evidence unearthed today by Congress, 𝕏 has no choice but to file suit against the perpetrators and collaborators in the advertising boycott racket,” Musk wrote. “Hopefully, some states will consider criminal prosecution.”

At Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Collusion in the Global Alliance for Responsible Media,” Shapiro told lawmakers that legacy media and their political allies conspire with online advertising gatekeepers to paint conservative news organizations as “dangerous,” limiting their opportunity to receive advertising revenue.

“There is in fact an internal pressure system created by Democratic legislators, this White House, legacy media, advertisers and pseudo-objective brand safety organizations,” Shapiro testified. “That system guarantees that advertising dollars flow only to left-leaning media brands.”

Shapiro identified the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) as one of those gatekeepers of online advertising revenue.

“In reality, GARM acts as a cartel. Its members account for 90% of ad spending in the United States, almost a trillion dollars,” he testified. “In other words, if you’re not getting ad dollars from GARM members, it’s nearly impossible to run an ad-based business. And if you’re not following their preferred political narratives … you will not be deemed brand safe. Your business will be throttled.”

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at [email protected].

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Artificial Intelligence

Elon Musk is building the ‘most powerful Artificial Intelligence training cluster in the world’

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News release from The Deep View

Elon Musk’s xAI has ended talks with Oracle to rent more specialized Nvidia chips — in what could have been a $10 billion deal — according to The Information.
Musk is instead buying the chips himself, all to begin putting together his planned “gigafactory of compute.”
The details: Musk confirmed in a post on Twitter that xAI is now working to build the “gigafactory” internally.
  • Musk explained that the reason behind the shift is “that our fundamental competitiveness depends on being faster than any other AI company. This is the only way to catch up.”
  • “xAI is building the 100k H100 system itself for fastest time to completion,” he said. “Aiming to begin training later this month. It will be the most powerful training cluster in the world by a large margin.”
xAI isn’t the only one trying to build a supercomputer; Microsoft and OpenAI, also according to The Information, have been working on plans for a $100 billion supercomputer nicknamed “Stargate.”
Why it matters: The industry is keen to pour more and more resources into the generation of abstractly more powerful AI models, and VC investments into AI companies, as we noted yesterday, are growing.
But at the same time, concerns about revenue and return on investment are growing as well, with a growing number of analysts gaining confidence in the idea that we are in a bubble of high costs and low returns, something that could be compounded by multi-billion-dollar supercomputers.
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