Truth and propaganda

The editorial in the Dec. 5 Courier on media objectivity and global warming reminds me of a quote.



The editorial in the Dec. 5 Courier on media objectivity and global warming reminds me of a quote by the late American journalist Molly Ivins.

She wrote ” There is no such thing as objectivity, and the truth has the oddest habit of being way the hell off on one side or the other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing points of view. The smug complacency of much of the media stems from the curious notion that if you get a quote from both sides, preferably in an official position, you’ve done your job. In the first place, most stories aren’t two-sided; they’re 17-sided at least. In the second place, it’s of no help to either the readers or the truth to quote one side saying “cat” and the other side saying “dog”, while the truth is there’s an elephant crashing around out there in the bushes.”

The antithesis of truth is propaganda.

Propaganda is defined by Wikipedia as “a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.”

Over the past several months Enbridge and its partners have spent tens of millions of dollars inundating local and regional media with propaganda about its Northern Gateway project in an attempt to mollify the B.C. public into acquiescence.

But the real “elephant crashing around the bushes” with Northern Gateway is its potential for exacerbating global warming.

Scientists are telling us that we face a planetary emergency. If we stay on our current fossil fuel energy path, there’s a virtual certainty of catastrophic climate change.

Science also tells us it’s not too late to change course, to avoid the worst effects. But in reality it’s getting very late.

According to the International Energy Agency, we only have five years to begin a fundamental transformation of our energy system. The reality of the situation is that in the absence of a national energy strategy that tackles Canada’s role and responsibility for global warming head-on we simply can’t afford to lock-in more climate warming pollution by building massive new fossil fuel infrastructure like Northern Gateway.  And no amount of propaganda about pathways, short term jobs and economic prosperity is going to change that.

That’s my “truth.”

Kelly Izzard

Fort St. James