Thursday, October 18, 2007

Letter to CTV-TV regarding anti-environment stance of broadcaster

Attn: CTV News and editors

It concerns me that CTV broadcaster Lloyd Robertson two weeks ago stated on TV, in response to the APEC climate talks, that "Stephen Harper doesn't really want climate change. Doesn't he have a point? Canada produces only 2% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Why should we hurt ourselves economically [by complying with Kyoto?]"

Needless to say I was shocked by this commentary. This is hardly an objective or balanced point of view, especially when you consider that Canadians are among the highest emitters of CO2 in the world.

Furthermore, Canada's international reputation is now tarnished by Mr. Harper's climate change denial and position at the climate talks in favour of the Bush Administration's position -- which is effectively support Exxon Mobil, Shell and the oil and coal industries.

In fact, it seems that Mr. Robertson acted as a de facto apologist for the Harper government and the oil industry which that government has decided to represent against the wishes of the majority of Canadians. I would call this biased reporting.

If Mr. Robertson cannot relay the news regarding the APEC climate conference without adding biased comments which misrepresent the issues, his journalistic credentials are highly suspect.

And earlier this week CTV interviewed climate change denier Tim Ball, implying that he represented one side of a "debate among scientists" on the issue of global warming, but failing to inform us that Ball is funded by Exxon Mobil and that his views are overwhelmingly rejected by the vast majority of climate scientists worldwide.

Nor were we informed by CTV that Mr. Ball's "research" has never passed muster in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, whereas the emperical evidence that global warming is caused by human activity and is already resulting in global catastrophe (which will only get worse) is peer-reviewed by every major scientific body addressing the issue in every industrialized nation. The peer-reviewed consensus on climate change is overwhelmingly indisuptable. CTV, by airing Mr. Ball's interview, falsely portrayed a debate where none exists and is therefore (again) biased and irresponsible.

Additionally, I found an online article at your site on climate change denial, reprinted from the from the Canadian Press

Again, it is an altogether biased article in that it fails to mention that their work is not peer-reviewed and is therefore entirely without scientific merit) and fails to articulate the peer-reviewed scientifically accurate account of what is actually happening.

Additionally, I have reviewed CTV's online coverage of the issues at

This is far more balanced than the other online piece, and it is a shame that Mr. Robertson and the editors of the CTV News do not reflect this more balanced perspective.

Even so, I have a few words of criticism for this article. I find that it focuses far too much on the idea that there be will some great economic burden placed on Canada by complying with Kyoto targets. This is an idea advanced largely by the Harper government, but it fails to acknowledge 1) the argument for a thriving market based on green technology, as exemplified by California, 2) the economic costs of not acting, as illustrated by the Blair government's famous Stern report (which applies to global economies), and 3) it fails to mention the rather obvious point that economic benefit will mean very little if human civilization collapses as a result of catastrophic climate change. These are well known points that the article
could have covered.

The economic argument, used in this way, is the result of a narrow-minded worldview -- that of some economists and politicians -- and to suggest that it should be the primary consideration of news commentary is misleading. Of course the new media tends to focus on conflict and the economic debate is where the conflict is, but if so then at least present an alternative economic perspective, as exemplified by the Stern Report.

Lastly, your online article mentions George Monbiot's suggested target of 90% by 2030, but does not mention that he illustrates that it is both possible and necessary to do this. Please read the first few chapters of the book to understand why this is so.

I am writing primarily to ask that your new broadcasters not continue with biased reporting in faviour of Stephen Harper's position or in defense of continued action on global warming, since that is not good journalism and nor is it socially or morally or environmentally repsponsible.

Paul York
on behalf of Students Against Climate Change, U of T


Caption: The U.S. mass media has climate change deniers on TV and in print everday. They are all paid by the fossil fuel industry. CTV appears to be part of the much larger climate change denial industry. To see videos of Republicans in Washington D.C. who employ this rhetoric, see the Think Progress website.

Exxon Mobil: the world's largest and most evil corporation, contributing more than any other entity (besides the United States government) to inaction on climate change, by funding the climate change denial (and skepticism) industry. This illustration equates Exxon with crucifixion - an appropriate symbol for killing life on Earth (See Matthew 25:40 for Biblical support for justice for "the least of mine")

1 comment:

Don McLeod said...

I may be wrong, but I believe there must be a reason why CTV-TV makes Stephen Harper look good on CTV-TV has a root cause.


CTV-TV revenue only comes from advertising.
Stephen Harper goal is to reduce tax until there is only enough for funding of wars with non-Canadians and for punishing Canadians.

Why does Stephen Harper like

Churches, it is because this gets Government out of providing tax-funded safety nets and so Harper can lower tax
Private Health Care, Government is out of providing tax funding health care again lowering tax

These organizations will grow in Canada with Stephen Harpers help. They are cash driven organizations. That means they need income from users, subscribers or parishioners. For each organization they need income of $300 to $1,000 per customer per year. That’s $1,000 to $3,000 expenditure per family. Harper has proven he always gets his way, so these organizations will flourish financially. Every Canadian will be making choices so Harper can reduce tax. Stephen Harper can often be heard saying choice is a benefit. If choice is a positive its negative side is marketing and sales. For choice you need to be sold to. That means marketing expenditures. That is where the money for CTV-TV is, is in the billions of dollars of advertising. Money for advertising that is not being spent today. Because it is spend by the government.

CTV-TV group might be looking in the range of $300 million to $1 billion annually in new revenue. That covers many $300,000 salaries for marketing and sales types and helps with those $1 million dollar salaries for executives.

CTV-TV executives may not be too interested in saving the world from environmental disaster. And you can bet if there are lifeboats as our “earth ship” starts to sink they will push aside the women and children to save themselves.

My advise is get some students in marketing and business to do a business case on what CTV-TV executives and the parent group will personally get by always putting Stephen Harper in a good light. By making choise a benefit and hiding its down side. You may proof me wrong. That would be nice.

Don McLeod
Ottawa ON