by Graeme Waymark Retired resident, Kemptville
Two weeks ago, I submitted a rhetorical question regarding the matter of how North Granville (NG) residents currently assess news reporting. Importantly, I highlighted a commonly reported “divide” in community opinion. I had speculated as to whether an improvement in reporting would assist us in better differentiating between fact and opinion.
“Could there be an improvement to (ameliorate) the divide amongst (us)” (at least intter N.G.)?
I hoped to provoke a response. And I got a perfect one plus an editorial comment on top of it!
Why am I publishing this question through our local media, the North Grenville Times? Let me reference an issue not covered in my first letter: Bill C-18 (44) was introduced by our Parliament.
I felt that this government policy was responding to a present policy demand to alter certain aspects of news reporting. Apparently, policy supports were received by our Government. Today, Facebook and Google have responded to the passage of this Legislation, as follows:
“Canadian news will be no longer delivered…” (on our platforms).
Today, my neighbour and I find ourselves capable of parroting any public release of information in either an affirmative or negative belief on any subject. It is fun for us. We both could have different opinions on Bill C-18. We may ask if either of us feel that we received the facts behind this legislation, enough that could fully inform us in developing an opinion?
Of course, that depends on our individual values, as a minimum, or how we receive the news, amongst many other considerations. Regardless, a few examples that have challenged many of us recently are:
- COVID data: vaccine efficacy, masking, quarantines, shutdowns,
- climate change/ warming: causes and consequences,
- economicsideological: to spend or conserve,
- elections: interference, fraud and voting rights,
- aboriginal issues: rights and reparations,
- the nation’s bedrooms: marriage, conception, abortion,
- royalty issues: a King for Canada? opting in or out of the British “Corporation”?
- my gosh, even the teaching of cursive writing is up for debate.
But, are we debating as a citizenry? Do we have enough reliable data to debate?
Last week, I enjoyed the satirical response to my letter to the Editor, from (Sir) Paul Gleiser. In turn, his reply received an anointing from our Editor (who wears “beautiful socks”). You have to read his letter to understand the satire and salutations! Both Sir Paul and Brandon attempted, I think, to accentuate a form of “neutrality” as sensible? critical? or imperative maybe? I think that is their community response to my question.
Yes, I did want to provoke the bureaucratic, fence-sitting, indifferent, diplomatic neutrality of Canadians. Lo and behold, I got it. They were both perfectly neutral. Had I wished for no less? It was perfect!
To be neutral or not that is the question, eh?
In being neutral or simply poking fun at serious issues in our community, does it commit or perhaps permit all of us to deflect? Are we comfortable as Canadians in deflecting away from tough questions? Or is my question silly? Here it is:
“When I read or hear what I believe could be deemed newsworthy by us, how will the N.G. Times and others assist me in the process of discerning between fact and opinion”?
e.g. Is the fact generally accepted as provable and is the opinion derived from expertise?
In conclusion, I now reformulate my question:
Do readers have any opinions, expert or otherwise, on how we can bring together, even incrementally over time, the two sides of any divided issue percolating in our community that may have the potential to harm our established social fabric?
Is there a metaphorical seed that we can plant and help sprout?
I believe that this divide in 21st Century growth is truly fettering our ability to pass on a brighter torch to future generations.
Thank you Paul Gleiser and Brandon Mayer. I do appreciate your willingness to at least address the issue.