07 October 2009

Schadenfreude and the Aspers

The word is schadenfreude, and yes I'm guilty of it today. A German word, it means pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. The others in this case are the Aspers, the owners of the CanWest media empire. I doubt I'm alone in enjoying the dismantling of this debt-riddled monster.

Is part of my glee due to the right-wing bent of CanWest? Of course. But it's also due to the failure of its organs, the National Post first among them, to present a balanced view of the political world. With so few mass media owners in the country, they have a responsibility to report news objectively and offer a thorough range of opinion. Unfortunately, with the exception of the CBC, the only independent and only democratic mass medium we have, all the mass media belong to the corporate sector and therefore promote a corporate agenda. Nonetheless, some make a far better effort at balance than the National Post.

Of course, the empire could be sold off to another narrow-minded, right-wing outfit. Certainly nobody on the left can afford to buy a media giant. As the famous American journalist A.J. Liebling once said, "Freedom of the press belongs to those rich enough to own one." But at least a chance now exists for a more moderate, responsible ownership.

As for my schadenfreude, it may be petty and sinful, but sometimes it's just plain irresistible.

1 comment:

  1. It's been too long coming Bill. In any case, Lenny is positioning himself to get operating control of the company back once (if) it successfully negotiates the shoals of CCAA.