March 1, 2011

Moving To Canada

If I ever become Canadian I'm getting this tattoo. I think I've said this before...

Canada is looking better and better the more I learn. Two news stories between yesterday and today made me absolutely disgusted with America.

The first was a story about the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision to not alter wording in a regulation that prohibits the broadcast of false or misleading information. Canada actually has a rule that says you can't fucking lie on TV or radio. Apparently this whole thing is being called into question because back in 1992 (yeah, almost 20 years ago) some guy said the Holocaust never happened and argued that his right to freedom of expression meant he couldn't be charged for disseminating false information. Now they want to change the wording so it only applies to broadcasters who know the information is false or misleading and when "reporting it was likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public." But that's not journalism; anyone who uses his or her position in the broadcasting industry to deliberately report false or misleading information, especially when it could cause damage to lives or industry, should at the very least lose his or her job and possibly even be jailed, depending on how severe of a lie it is. It is the responsibility of journalists, in radio, print and TV, to double check the accuracy of the statements and stories they report and be confident enough to stand behind their research. This new wording would allow someone to report misleading or inaccurate information and hide behind the "I didn't know it wasn't true" loophole. If journalists aren't doing their jobs where does that leave us?

Enter Fox News.

Widely touted as the "only fair news source" by right-wing crazies who insist our president is an African-born Muslim (also the Antichrist... are they still on that?), Fox News has been caught red handed in a number of lies, the most recent one in which the president, Roger Ailes, convinced a number of employees to lie to Federal investigators about an affair that would have embarrassed Ailes buddy Rudy Giuliani in his presidential bid. Fair and balanced? Oops.

Canada calls Sun TV News "Fox News North" for it's "fair and balanced" agenda, and it's easy to see the connection with a tag line like "Hard news and straight talk." Sun TV has been trying to get into Canada, and this new rewording of the regulations would allow them to hide behind the law in their attempts at creating chaos. Here in America we have 2 parties who will do anything to embarrass the other, creating a near-impossible situation for genuinely fair reporting. Luckily, the people of Canada have spoken up against this rewording; they don't need or want lies over their airways.

The second story making me want to move to Canada is one from the good ol' US of A. Turns out 4 years ago House Democrats started a Green the Capitol movement to start environmentally friendly habits. According to their website they've saved nearly 1,500 trees in 2009 just by sending electronic faxes, 46 million gallons of water each year from using low-flow toilets, and 240,000 meals every month served with compostable utensils. Now that the Republicans are in control they're saying "the new majority, plastic ware is back." The good news is not all of the green measures are getting cut, but many are. Compostable utensils are out because they're not strong enough (which I don't get because I used compostable utensils all the time at the Park and they were great), but LED lights get to stay. The bottom line is many environmentally friendly habits end up saving money while also reducing our carbon footprint. Cutting them because they have an up-front cost and opting for initially cheaper (but with higher long-term costs) isn't saving anyone any money. I can't help but feel like taking away green initiatives are more about the Republicans asserting their authority and pissing off the Democrats simply because they can, neener neener neener.

It's so hard to read or hear any piece of news without being skeptical. I find myself asking who's behind the story, what angle are they working and who benefits from this information. It's not about informing the public, no matter which side is doing the talking. It's about being better than the other side. And it's getting embarrassing.

On the other hand, Canada does have one blemish I'm really disappointed about: metered Internet. WTF CANADA? Since when is this an option? We have unlimited calling and texting but now you're trying to take away unlimited Internet? This means people will not have access to basic websites if they can't afford the flash that website decides to put up. Of all the things there is now to fight for, if the US decides to follow in our northern neighbor's footsteps I will protest that to the end. I can't imagine our president, who uses fucking YouTube to broadcast his weekly address to the public, would support limiting who can visit certain websites, but I didn't even know this could ever be an issue. (Though to be fair, I also didn't know we had to have laws that say you can't broadcast a lie, so now I just don't know what to think.)

I never thought, in this day and age, in this country, that we'd be dealing with some of the issues we're dealing with. They just seem so... duh.

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