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Just like the latest Justin fable in the Election thread.  You have to research your research.

The Buffalo Chronicle Is Not A Reliable News Outlet

Yet people who should know better keep sharing their stuff


If The Buffalo Chronicle was sent to us as a test, a latter-day media-literacy exam in the era of fake news, we have failed pretty badly. A please-see-me-after-class kind of failing.

Over the past month, the Western New York-based website has begun publishing a slew of Canadian stories.

One reported that the Bank of Montreal wanted a deferred prosecution agreement over bribery charges it was facing. Another hot tip reported that the NDP was courting ex-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to helm the party. Another scoop proclaimed former puisne justice of the Supreme Court Frank Iacobucci was behind both the proposed deal for SNC-Lavalin and Ottawa’s decision to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline. And, most recently, a crackerjack exclusive reported that Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould was arm-twisting Google to “curtail political criticism” of the Trudeau government by instructing “Google News to limit Canadian access to foreign press.”

These stories, totalling eight at last count, have been shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook.

Ex-Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella; Newstalk 1010 host and former Rob Ford chief of staff Mark Towhey; former Alberta cabinet minister Donna Kennedy-Glans; Senator Nicole Eaton; Members of Parliament Larry Miller and Todd Doherty — all promoted the stories on their social media pages. Former Dragons’ Den mogul Brett Wilson tweeted out one Buffalo Chronicle story to his 182,000 Twitter followers, gushing that it “only need to be 10% true” in order to prove that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was presiding over a “reign of terror.” (He added that he believes it to be “100% true.”)

This story about abuse of power & influence only need to be 10% true (I believe it is 100% true & that there is “more”) then the dagger to the heart of the corrupt ⁦@liberal_party⁩ has been set – to end it’s one term reign of terror over Canada.

— * W. Brett Wilson * (@WBrettWilson) March 15, 2019


Trouble is, 10% true might be optimistic.

It’s fake news.

The Buffalo Chronicle, until February, did no independent reporting on Canada, instead running news stories from the Canadian Press. The vast majority of its content is local coverage of Buffalo.

It was amid the unfolding SNC-Lavalin scandal in Ottawa that the Chronicle started running bold exclusives about Canada — stories that do not carry bylines, cite no named sources, and do not try and back up any of the claims found within.

Certain assertions are verifiably false. The Bank of Montreal, for example, is not facing criminal charges over the Trans Mountain pipeline, as one story attempts to suggest.

Other allegations — that the RCMP has begun interviews on the SNC-Lavalin affair, that Minister Gould threatened regulation of Google if they didn’t stop negative coverage of the prime minister, that Iacobucci was hiding lobbying meetings — are outlandish and attributed only to anonymous sources, if attributed at all. They have not been backed up by any other reporting because, indeed, the allegations appear quite made up.

Nevertheless, the Chronicle’s writing has begun to pop up elsewhere. Spencer Fernando, a former political staffer who now runs an eponymous blog, cited the Chronicle’s reporting on his site. The Centre for Research on Globalization — a conspiracy-minded site which has been specifically singled out by NATO researchers as being lousy with pro-Kremlin propaganda — also used the Chronicle’s stories in one of its own articles.

It’s not hard to cook up bad information. Come up with a name that sounds like a reputable newspaper. Use a free WordPress template. Republish some photos from the Canadian Press. And then, in a story, roughly summarize other outlets’ reporting, before adding in dashes of nonsense. Voila, you have The Buffalo Chronicle.

I reached the owner of the site, Matthew Ricchiazzi, to ask for details of their reporting, but didn’t receive much. Ricchiazzi says he agreed to keep his writers’ names secret — he says he has two contributors in Canada — and that, while he hasn’t independently verified much of their reporting, he is very confident it is all accurate.

Ricchiazzi is a failed municipal candidate in Buffalo — he couldn’t get enough valid signatures to run for mayor in 2009, and was later rejected as a school board candidate. And he’s gotten in trouble for his work on The Buffalo Chronicle before.

In 2012, Ricchiazzi had a hand in spreading a homophobic mailout targeting a Republican state senator who voted in support of gay marriage. Last January, a Rochester-based company had to issue a statement specifically calling out a story on the Chronicle’s website as false. The website lists the outlet’s corporate name as “The Buffalo Chronicle Media Group,” and yet I haven’t been able to find any corporation registered under that name in New York State.

Many of the names listed on the Chronicle’s website as staff members either haven’t written for the site in years, or deny knowing anything about the operation. The Chronicle’s website has reported that a former municipal Green Party candidate, Terrence Robinson, was its managing editor. Elsewhere, it lists him as its city hall reporter. When reached by phone, Robinson didn’t even know the Chronicle had a website — he thought it was a Facebook page.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Robinson told me. He laughed when I told him that the page lists his email address and phone number. “Oh my god,” he said, adding: “It’s some cover.”

Today, Ricchiazzi lists himself as a consultant with Enkindle Strategies — a company which has no web history to speak of, and does not appear to exist apart from its mention on Ricchiazzi’s LinkedIn page.

On Sunday, I decided to start working up a story on the Chronicle. I pitched a column about the weird saga to the The Globe and Mail (which ultimately passed) and reached out to Ricchiazzi for comment. I wanted to know the names of his so-called reporters, whether he could even try to back up some of the outlandish claims he published, and whether he had been paying the Canadian Press for their photos and stories.

Ricchiazzi replied that he would “under no circumstances” respond to a request for comment from any publication that would “allow for the State-sponsorship of its journalism or journalists” and refused comment on my questions. Ricchiazzi then threatened legal action if I published anything suggesting he refused comment.

On Monday morning, Ricchiazzi published a story — written in the same tone and voice as the previous articles — claiming I was a Liberal operative and suggesting I had attempted “political intimidation and extortion.”

The publication’s bizarre reaction aside, it wasn’t exactly difficult to figure out that the Chronicle was an unreliable outlet. All the details I’ve recounted here are relatively easy to find out with a basic amount of Googling. The politicians and social media denizens who amplified the nonsense reporting did none of this. Because the stories suited the political bent of those happily clicking “share,” the conspiracy theories were unleashed.

Just the article alleging Minister Gould was behind a cynical play to censor the media racked up more than 14,000 shares on Facebook, and hundreds of tweets. Ironic, isn’t it, that Gould is the minister responsible for combating fake news and misinformation in Canada’s political arena.

The whole affair is a perfect parable of the harms of misinformation online. While much has been made, rightly, of the dangers posed by the Kremlin’s media-manipulation machine, we should be equally vigilant about our own media illiteracy.

That a failed political candidate like Ricchiazzi has proven himself capable of duping thousands of people — including two members of parliament — goes to show that we’re a long ways off from inoculating ourselves against the scourge of fake news. The allure of damaging one’s political enemies can be more powerful than the need to share accurate information. That base instinct, sadly, doesn’t appear to be changing.

The one heartening thing in this whole affair is that several of those public figures, including both MPs, removed links to the stories from their social media accounts and apologized for sharing the fake news.

But The Buffalo Chronicle’s ability to play so many people as rubes also comes at the tail end of more than a decade of furious brow-beating of the mainstream media, from all sides. Conservatives call the newspapers and public broadcaster front groups for the Liberal agenda, bandying about a proposed newspaper bailout package as evidence of this. Leftists dismiss major media outlets as bagmen for the corporate elite. Even Justin Trudeau’s defenders have recently taken to alleging a conspiracy of journalists to kneecap the prime minister.

It has fomented such distrust in the national media that, when someone notices brave and fearless reporting from a little outlet like The Buffalo Chronicle, the reader is inclined to trust it — maybe even, as some did, sharing the link with the question, “Where’s the mainstream media on this?”

If we are to remain so heavily invested in partisan bloodsport, so hostile towards the professional journalism class, and so unwilling to do a basic amount of research to check into online news, then perhaps we deserve all the fake news we get.

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 So we've all heard the Maryam Monsef illegal passport story. The media quickly ran to the defense of Ms. Monsef. 

How would the media react if Maryam Monsef was a Harper Conservative?

A) Defend her like she was a Liberal
B) Call for a public investigation
C) Demand that the law be respected
D) Call for the release of her citizenship application documents
E) Demand that she should be deported
F) Change the law to protect her from any prosecution

Guess which one the media would advocate for if she was a Harper Conservative, and guess which one they're advocating for because she is a Trudeau Liberal !



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Facebook takedowns show new Russian activity targeted Biden, praised Trump

Facebook on Monday said it removed a network of Russian-backed accounts that posed as locals weighing in on political issues in swing states, praising President Donald Trump and attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, illustrating that the familiar threat of Russian interference looms over the next U.S. presidential race.

Facebook said the network bears the hallmark of the same Kremlin-backed group that interfered in the 2016 election by sowing social discord, boosting Trump and attacking Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The new disinformation campaign appears to follow the same playbook.

This time, a co-ordinated group of Russian accounts that appears to show some links to the internet Research Agency took largely to Facebook’s photo-sharing app, Instagram, to post content this year about U.S. politics and memes targeting Democratic presidential contenders.


The operation demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the schisms within the Democratic Party as it labours to choose a nominee to face Trump next November. One Russian account, which portrayed itself as a black voter in Michigan, used the #blacklivesmatter hashtag to hammer Biden for his gaffes about racial issues. Some of the accounts boosted one of his left-wing rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The Russian network was one of four takedowns Facebook announced Monday; it also disabled three misleading campaigns originating in Iran. Researchers said the efforts demonstrated how those seeking to interfere in U.S. politics continue to exploit radioactive topics, including racial and religious fault lines. And they said it offered fresh evidence that foreign actors are pursuing new platforms that rely on a steady stream of images, making detection more difficult despite Facebook’s heightened investments in election security.

“We are seeing again that the aim of the Russians is not exclusively to favour one candidate over another but to create divisiveness within the electorate over all,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “The reason that networks of phoney accounts are drawn to Instagram is because disinformation is increasingly visual in nature, and that’s what Instagram specializes in.”

The disclosure from Facebook served as more evidence of what Trump has repeatedly questioned — that Russian actors not only meddled in the 2016 election, but are continuing their efforts to interfere in American democracy. The task of safeguarding U.S. elections from interference by Russia and other foreign actors has been a source of tension in the Trump administration, with the president repeatedly calling the allegations of Russian involvement in 2016 a “hoax” and top security officials being forced to tiptoe around the issue.


Multiple U.S. investigations have confirmed the extent of Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential race. Robert Mueller, the former special counsel, obtained multiple indictments last year of individuals affiliated with the internet Research Agency. This month, a bipartisan report produced by Senate investigators concluded again that the Russian effort sought to boost Trump and undermine Clinton in the eyes of social-media users.

Speaking to the Post last week, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the problem posed by disinformation has worsened since 2016, which he attributed in part to the U.S. government’s poor initial response to the threat. “Unfortunately, the U.S. did not have a particularly strong response to Russia after 2016,” he said, “so it sent the signal to other countries that they could get in on this, too.”

Facebook’s announcements arrived two days before Zuckerberg is set to appear on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are likely to press him on the company’s work to safeguard U.S. elections from foreign manipulation. Members of Congress have upbraided the tech giant for missing key warning signs of Russian interference prior to the 2016 election, then failing to acknowledge the Kremlin’s activities immediately after the fact.

Zuckerberg said in an interview last week that Facebook is in a “much better place now” to stop future disinformation campaigns, citing the company’s investments in tens of thousands of new staff hires and artificial intelligence that can spot fake accounts and dubious posts in real time. The company further fine-tuned its policies Monday, pledging to more prominently alert users when viral content is determined to be false. Announcing the changes, Zuckerberg stressed he now has “some confidence our systems here are working.”

“Elections have changed significantly since 2016,” he told reporters, “and Facebook has changed too.”

On the one hand, researchers said Facebook — in spotting and disclosing the Russian network Monday faster than it had in the past — demonstrated it had improved its digital defences. Companies like Facebook are “building muscle memory around understanding malicious actors on their platform,” said Graham Brookie, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.

But Brookie added Facebook’s takedown showed that Russia’s tactics would continue to evolve as well. “To steal a phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words, and meme based content is still extremely effective and much harder to detect,” he said.

The Biden campaign applauded Facebook for disabling the fake accounts, but said Trump’s penchant for falsehoods posed just as great a challenge for the company, which has refused to fact-check political advertising placed by the president’s reelection campaign.

“Unfortunately, like the Kremlin, Donald Trump continues to benefit from spreading false information, all the while Facebook profits from amplifying his lies and debunked conspiracy theories on their platform,” TJ Ducklo, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement. “If Facebook is truly committed to protecting the integrity of our elections, they would immediately take down Trump’s ads that attempt to gaslight the American people.”

Facebook described the Russian network as a “well-resourced operation,” focused on the U.S. and reliant on sophisticated steps to conceal the identity and location of those behind the fake accounts. It was comprised of 50 accounts on Instagram and one on Facebook, all of which were created this year.

The network appeared still to be in an audience-building phase when it was removed by Facebook: 246,000 accounts followed one or more of the inauthentic Russian accounts, which had collectively made just under 75,000 posts, according to a report from Graphika, a social media analysis firm that examined the operation for Facebook. Only one account, which addressed environmental themes, had more than 20,000 followers.

Much of the content lacked text, consisting only of memes, and the posts often drew from viral content first posted by American actors, including news organizations and prominent political figures, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York firebrand.

The accounts had not yet developed their own voice, which analysts say is critical to achieving a mass following.

“These accounts were trying really hard to hide,” said Ben Nimmo, Graphika’s director of investigations. “The more you try to blend in, the less you stand out. And the less you stand out, the less you’re going to attract an audience. It looks like these accounts were sacrificing engagement for security. That’s a very defensive strategy.”

Nimmo said Facebook’s action was at least the fourth takedown since 2017 of operations targeting the U.S. that seemed to bear links to the internet Research Agency. The apparent connection to the St. Petersburg company and so-called “troll farm,” owned by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, went beyond overlap with the thematic focus and targets of past Kremlin-backed campaigns. Some of the accounts taken down on Monday had posted memes already attributed to previous IRA efforts — but had sought to rebuild them from scratch, rather than simply reposting them, and had made attempts to remove the original IRA watermarks.

A minority of the posts focused explicitly on the 2020 election, according to Graphika’s analysis. Among the accounts posing as backers of political and social causes in the U.S., the largest cluster was conservative and in support of Trump. Numerous accounts aimed their fire at Democratic candidates — namely Biden but also Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Kamala Harris of California. Other issues included racial activism, Confederate pride, gun rights, LGBT issues, feminism, Islam and Christianity.

Nearly half of the accounts claimed to be based in swing states, with a specific focus on Florida.

Biden came under attack from accounts that positioned themselves on both sides of the political spectrum. One account reposted a tweet from a right-wing political commentator parroting Trump’s rebuke of Biden, while another posted a meme showing a road diverging, and a car swerving to choose the path representing “Bernie 2020” over “Joe Biden.” Four years earlier, Russian-backed Facebook accounts similarly promoted Sanders during the Democratic primary against Clinton, according to Senate investigators.


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CNN beats Fox News by one important metric, but it may not want to brag about it


'The decades-old rivalry between CNN and Fox News is not especially interesting these days. As anyone who follows the TV industry can tell you, Fox News routinely trounces CNN in prime-time ratings, according to Nielsen, and it pretty much dominates online, too.

But there is at least one metric by which CNN comes out on top, albeit a dubious one. Over the last few years, research firm Morning Consult has released its list of the “most politically polarizing” brands, a data set that looks at brands’ favorability with Republicans and Democrats and then measures the “spread” between them. Not surprisingly, news organizations dominate this list of rabble-rousing entities, with the New York Times, ABC News, the Washington Post, and all three major cable news networks appearing in the top 15.

What’s really interesting, however, is when you look specifically at CNN, the most polarizing news brand on the list. (Only Trump Hotels scored more polarizing, although I can’t imagine why.) This year, CNN has a net favorability of 55 points among Democrats, while its net favorability among Republicans is minus 25 points. Yes, minus 25! All told, that’s a staggering 80-point spread.

Fox News, meanwhile, has net favorability of 53 points among Republicans and minus 20 points among Democrats, for a point spread of 73. So you can see, not only is the Fox News brand seen as less polarizing than CNN, it’s also viewed somewhat more positively by the opposing side.'

'news consumers are increasingly living in parallel universes of different, often conflicting information streams'

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It's pretty hard to know what to believe anymore.

If this is true, surely it is grounds for the immediate dismissal of both pilots . If it's made up, it should be grounds for the immediate dismissal of the FA.

And if it really is a "top secret security measure" the company needs to be sued until the entire MBA crew are in tears from a good spanking.... maybe flogging is a better choice of words. 

If you look at this article from almost any angle, it speaks to a stunning lack of integrity in a world gone mad. I see no upside unless it's an early April fools joke.... then it's just not funny.

Edited by Wolfhunter

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unfortunately I can see this happening in this day and age. I can also seeing it being swept under the rug like that.  Its a sad thing really


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by Joe Durocher

“ I have been disappointed in the recent divide of Canadians. We have been conditioned to accept polarized politics...left vs right...liberal vs about we act responsibly and stop wasting money and time arguing, and actually come to conmon solutions to social and natural problems? History shows us the best way to control a people is to "Divide and Conquer ", which is being successfully done in most countries in the world and also in a global way.  If we all agreed to certain common principles,  we could begin to move forward. 

There is a small number of individuals and families who seek control and power over the masses.  They control the highest seats of governments, central banking institutions, media corporations, social media and search engine companies, etc. 

We need to be wise enough to see beyond the constant pumping of certain stories and narratives that are filtered towards our minds consistently, day in and day out, to keep us divided.  Our goal needs to be to have free minds, that seek solutions to problems instead of bowing to the daily conditioning we receive, to constantly battle one another.   We should be battling things together like political correctness etc., getting offended over everything, and other things that are dividing us and destroying our society.

You have more inside you then you realize and have solutions to the world problems. Make your voice heard, but do it above the chaos of battling each other or arguing about silly issues.  Work on solutionary thinking!  Look to the year 2020 as a year where we begin to see through the smoke screens and begin to see with 20/20 vision. “


Edited by Jaydee
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Fox News turning a new leaf?  Even they reported that Trump made a mistake and added another article of impeachment live.

Bret Baier: Hearing 'turned on a dime' after Schiff read the president's tweets live

The second public hearing in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Trump "turned on a dime" when House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., read the president's tweets about witness Marie Yovanovitch in real-time, "Special Report" host Bret Baier said Friday.

Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, pointed her finger at Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani while detailing her sudden removal from her diplomatic post during Friday's nationally televised testimony.

During her appearance, Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, relayed her story of being suddenly recalled by Trump in May, saying she believes Giuliani played a key role in telling people she was not sufficiently supportive of the president.

“I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me,” Yovanovitch said.

She argued the efforts against her by the president's allies hindered her work.

“If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States,” Yovanovitch said.

Appearing on "America's Newsroom" with host Bill Hemmer, Baier said that he had started watching the hearing "thinking that Ambassador Yovanovitch was going to be a sympathetic witness."

"The Democrats would tell her story about how she was recalled," he said.

"But, as we noted, she serves at the pleasure of the president and I started to say that she didn't see the call. She didn't hear the call," he told Hemmer. "You know, this is tangential to the actual argument."

"However, this whole hearing turned on a dime when the president tweeted about her real-time," Baier stated.

He said that when Schiff stopped Democratic questioning to read the president's tweets and get her response, it enabled him to then "characterize that tweet as intimidating the witness or tampering with the witness, which is a crime."

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors," the president wrote.

Adding: "They call it 'serving at the pleasure of the President.' The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O."

Trump’s comments ignited an outcry from Democrats: Schiff read Trump's anti-Yovanovitch tweet during the hearing, and called it “witness intimidation.”

"Adding, essentially, an article of impeachment real-time as this hearing is going on," Baier explained. "That changed this entire dynamic of this first part of this hearing and Republicans now are going to have to take the rest of this hearing to probably try to clean that up."

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Nice spin.

Tell the whole story.  Postmedia has been in an even greater decline than the CBC or the Star.  When Postmedia bought the Sun from Quebecor, they started sliding years before the rest.

So right wing media hounds bailed from the truth first.

On top of that, when you complain about the CBC taking handouts, look to the paragraphs I highlighted in the article below.  The right wing press has been at the teat even longer.

TORONTO -- Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (PNCa.TO) cut its third-quarter loss nearly in half to $7.7 million as growth in digital revenue partly offset continued declines in its print business, the publishing company's latest financial report said Wednesday.

The owner of the National Post and other newspapers had $157.1 million in total revenue for the quarter ended May 31. That compares to total revenue of $171 million in the same quarter last year, and a net loss of $15.5 million.

Postmedia's third-quarter revenue included $32.9 million from its digital businesses, such as websites and marketing services -- up 10.1 per cent from last year's third quarter.

Advertising revenue on digital platforms was up 12.2 per cent from a year ago, which Postmedia chief executive Andrew MacLeod said marked the 10th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in digital ad revenue.

"I don't see a lot of other participants in our marketplace who have managed to do that," MacLeod said in an interview after Postmedia's quarterly conference call.

Nevertheless, MacLeod said, "we need that to continue and we need that to accelerate because we have a legacy business that's larger and it's in decline."

This year's third-quarter loss amounted to eight cents per share, compared with 17 cents per share during the comparable period last year.

Revenue from print advertising was down 17.6 per cent to $64.8 million, from $78.6 million in the 2018 third quarter, while print circulation revenue fell 6.3 per cent to $51.4 million from $54.8 million a year earlier.

Last year's loss included an impairment charge and higher restructuring expenses, partially offset by a tax recovery. This year's third quarter included a gain on derivative financial instruments, partially offset by a higher currency loss.

MacLeod said Postmedia has been using various means -- operational cost cutting, sales of real estate and other assets and government tax credits -- to prolong the life of its legacy business.

Postmedia estimates that it will eventually qualify for between $8 million and $10 million per year for five years from a new federal program that's designed to pay some of the labour costs for qualifying journalists, he said.

But MacLeod said the exact timing and details of the federal government's funding have yet to be worked out.

In last year's fiscal third quarter report, Postmedia said it had received $20.4 million from a now-ended Ontario digital media tax credit for the period from September 1, 2012 to April 23, 2015.

MacLeod said media companies generally need the assistance to transition to digital publishing because so much advertising revenue has been captured globally by Google and Facebook.

"Our rate of decline tends to be pretty consistent with what the industry's facing. We do everything we can to support (the legacy) business but there's an . . . an inability to control what's occurring in an industry that's in a structural decline," MacLeod said.

He added that Canadian private sector media companies have an additional problem -- competition from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and, to some extent, Canada Post.

"That's pulling revenue out of the ecosystem that private corporations would otherwise be going after. So I would encourage Ottawa to think about having the CBC emulate the BBC, where they don't take paid advertising."

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What does any of that gibberish have to do with the CBC losing AD revenues while also being on the take for 1.2 billion a year from taxpayers?

For the real truth Reread your own article especially the last 2 paragraphs.

Edited by Jaydee

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All it proves is that all news media is sucking at the teat.  

What it also proves is that right wing media is in an even greater decline.  

I wonder why.....

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