Right now in the United States, Super Tuesday is just a couple of days away. It’s pretty amazing that I know that. I have never paid such close attention to American politics before. I never cared that much; not until it came down to the actual Republican vs. Democrat. In general we, your neighbors to the North, breathe more easily when it’s the latter.
But right now there’s a political revolution going on that has broad implications in both of our countries. There’s a huge generational divide. It’s the generation we call the Millennials. They’re changing how everything works. In current North American politics, both in the recent Canadian federal election and in the upcoming American Presidential election, there has been a visible, undeniable generational split in opinions at the polls, and it has made, and is making, a significant difference. Millennials are the reason that the Conservative Harper regime in Canadian government was finally overthrown, and Millennials are changing the face of American politics even as you read this. Nothing in national democratic politics is ever going to be the same again.
Why? Is it that Millennials are creative and innovative? Well, to some degree that’s true; the younger generation is almost always more flexible and more willing to try new things than the older generation. Is it that they realize how fixed the system is and they are desperate for change? Well, that’s partially true too.
But more than anything, I think it comes down to one simple thing: Boomers watch TV. And Millennials don’t.
The Problem with Corporate Media
We in democratic capitalist societies labour under the delusion that the media is the Fifth Estate, which exists as an independent watchdog to inform us on the benevolence, and abuses, of those in power. The media, we believe, reports on events in a way that delivers the news with forethought, expert consultation, and a fair, if not entirely unbiased, lens. My parents still share this subconscious assumption. But it’s not true. It’s never been true.
Corporate media is, of course, interested in furthering the interests of things that benefit corporations. In general, they support right wing policies because right wing governments support bigger corporate tax breaks, trickle-down economics, low wages, and lack of regulation. It’s only common sense, really. These things benefit any large corporation, and I don’t think there’s any denying that broadcast media is entirely ruled by large corporations. What you may not know is just how large they are.
You would think that print media would be different; the last bastion of the independent journalist. But again, you would be mistaken. Almost every major newspaper in Canada is owned by two companies. That’s right, just two. They are Sun Media and Postmedia. How big do you think a corporation has to be to own so many newspapers?
It didn’t used to be that way. There was the CBC, and then there were mostly local private companies. Until our broadcast media was partially deregulated in 2008, and again in 2011, by the Conservative government of the time. Is it any wonder that the news seems to be favouring the right wing view more and more all the time?