Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Six Nations occupation: media put on notice

Tensions continue to build in Caledonia. This is an interesting article in Windspeaker. A journalism professor at Ryerson has examined the media coverage of Ipperwash. He produces some scary (and relevant) findings. Some highlights:

"I wanted to look at some of the coverage from before the park but I also wanted to look at it for about a month afterwards, where there was evidence available that the Stoney Pointers were telling the truth. That they had a right to be there and they weren't armed. But almost nobody picked up on it."

Most reporters... "framed" the story long before they ever arrived at the scene.

" of the frames was 'Natives as troublemakers.' How did I determine that? I determined that by, if the story was cast as a police story rather than a land claim story. It was, you know, the Stoney Pointers were up to something that required the police presence and build up, police action... So they were someplace they weren't supposed to be and were causing trouble. If, however, it said they were there out of frustration that their land claims hadn't been settled then it was framed as a land claim story. Or if it was emphasized that they were rebels or a splinter group from the main band then they were again cast in a negative light and not even authorized by the their own band."

We should take a good hard luck at this, in the context of the Six Nations occupation. I've posted on this before. I don't think the media coverage has been horrible, per se. There has been some cursory discussion of the land claims frustrations behind this whole exercise.

However, much of what is written above rings very familiar. In my previous post, I discussed the media preoccupation with colouring the protestors as "not even authorized by their own band" and why that is a completely irrelevant issue.

This issue has also been coloured as one of law and order. This, in fairness, is partially a result of the cowardly Federal response (calling the protest a "private dispute.") But it is the job of reporters to explain to Canadians how absurd that assertion is.

This is what the Toronto Star has published. "About 400 protestors - some clad in camouflage..." What is the rationale behind reporting the print of the clothing of some? When you report on camouflage clad "warriors" without ramming home the point that this is a wholly peaceful demonstration, you open the door to readers reaching their own conclusions. That is what happened at Ipperwash - calls started flooding in, the government and OPP reacted in a kneejerk manner - and Dudley George was killed.

I hope we'll have learned from our mistakes.


Blogger Steve said...

This doesn't seem to be be getting much play around here.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

where I am, not the blog.

5:32 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Yeah - the national media just picked it up yesterday. Prior to that I only saw it in the Hamilton Spec.

1:07 AM  

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