Macpherson: Quebec’s Fox News, only bigger

Of note, and the consequent implications:

For their shrill populism, the Québecor media have been called Quebec’s Fox News. But in terms of their influence on this province’s politics, they’re much bigger than that.

Last weekend, in the annual Quebec journalism awards, Québecor’s newspapers, television channels and digital media were shut out.

But its flagship daily Le Journal de Montréal boasted of survey results suggesting that on all platforms, the three Québecor dailies were read at least once a week by more than half of Quebecers over the age of 14.

And Québecor’s TVA network bragged that its newscasts and LCN all-news channel led the television ratings in their respective categories.

This market domination by the Québecor media, and their resulting influence on public opinion, help explain poll results published this week suggesting that Quebec is the only province where a majority supports legislation like Bill 21.

The Legault government’s proposed anti-hijab-and-kippah-and-turban bill is supposed to settle, after more than a decade, the issue of accommodating minority religions. As the Bouchard-Taylor provincial commission on the subject reported in 2008, that issue was largely created by sensationalist and often inaccurate reporting by Québecor. And it’s mainly Québecor that has kept the issue alive.

In December 2017, TVA reported that a Montreal mosque had female construction workers removed from a work site outside during Friday prayers. The report was quickly debunked, but it wasn’t until a year later that TVA grudgingly admitted it was false and apologized.

Instead of editorials, Québecor’s dailies have columnists who circulate among its “convergent” platforms defending the supremacy of what one of them, Mathieu Bock-Côté, calls Quebec’s “historic French-speaking majority” — that is, ethnic French-Canadians — against the province’s minorities and other enemies of the true people.

Last January, another Le Journal columnist, Denise Bombardier, called minorities who complain of their treatment in the province “enemies … of French-speaking Quebec.” And she issued a call to “extinguish these hotbeds of intolerance,” even though she acknowledged it might be used by the “hotheaded and violently prejudiced.”

Le Journal’s columnists have clout. The non-binding 2017 National Assembly motion against the public use of English, in the form of the bilingual “bonjour-hi” greeting in businesses, resulted from a campaign spearheaded by one of them, Sophie Durocher.

Another, Richard Martineau, is obsessed with “Islamism” and has been accused of Islamophobia, which he denies.

In 2017, TVA’s rival Radio-Canada reported that in the previous 10 years, Martineau had written about 700 columns directly or indirectly concerning Islam.

A UQAM sociologist, Rachad Antonius, told Radio-Canada he had concluded from a study of Le Journal’s news coverage and columns on Islam that their cumulative effect fostered distrust of Muslims.

But if “Islamists” are a Martineau dog whistle, they may not be his only one. A cheerleader for Bill 21, he predicted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will come under pressure to challenge the legislation from “followers of multiculturalism who live in Hampstead or Côte-Saint-Luc,” Montreal suburbs widely identified with their Jewish residents.

Québecor’s domination of the marketplace puts pressure on other media to follow its lead, in both news coverage and opinion. And its position may get even stronger, as its competitors get weaker.

The same day that Le Journal boasted of its readership, its main competitor, La Presse, published another plea for reader donations.

From 250,000 paying subscribers when it was still charging for its journalism, the number of its financial supporters willing to donate money to keep reading La Presse has shrunk to a total of 23,500 donors for the past four months.

This was after Le Journal reported last week that La Presse and another of Québecor’s competitor, Quebec City’s daily Le Soleil, are in serious financial trouble, and have asked the Legault government for help.

It said the government is “particularly pessimistic” about the future of Capitales Médias, which owns Le Soleil and five small regional dailies. And it said that, despite La Presse’s campaign to raise $5 million in donations, it could be broke within a year.

Source: Macpherson: Quebec’s Fox News, only bigger

Incorrect Fox News tweet on Quebec City mosque attack earns scorn of PMO

Appropriate quick action by PMO. Expect this will not be the last time that these kinds of corrections and messages will be needed and which I suspect will be more effective than general messaging or statements:

The director of communications for the Prime Minister’s Office has written to Fox News, asking it to remove a tweet that she says is “dishonouring” the victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting.

Kate Purchase sent the letter to Bill Shine, co-president of Fox News Channel, asking the organization to remove a tweet that incorrectly reported the suspect in the shooting was of “Moroccan origin.”

Fox News responded by saying it regretted the error and would delete the tweet.

Amid the chaos that characterized the initial hours after the shooting, the incorrect information was also reported by a number of Canadian news organizations, including CBC News.

The Fox tweet only mentioned one possible shooter, while other organizations reported that there were two possible shooters, including one that was of Moroccan origin. Fox ‘s tweet contained text across an image of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying “We condemn this terror attack on Muslims.”

While two men were initially arrested, police have only charged 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette. The second man, 19-year-old Mohamed Belkhadir, was not involved in the shooting but rather was a witness to the attack that left six dead.

A link contained in the Fox News tweet leads readers to a story about the shooting in which Fox explains that its initial reporting on the incident later proved to be incorrect.

But Purchase wanted that tweet updated to reflect the most recent information.

“Sadly, this misleading information has been left to stand on the Fox News Channel’s Twitter account and continues to circulate online even now,” Purchase wrote.

“These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities.”

Fox News Tweet

A screengrab of the tweet by Fox News, which went out Monday. (@FoxNews/CBC)

Purchase goes on to say that Canada is an “open, welcoming” country and a “nation of millions of immigrants and refugees.”

Moving beyond the tweet, Purchase says that “we need to remain focused on keeping our communities safe and united, instead of trying to build walls and scapegoat communities.

“If we allow individuals and organizations to succeed by scaring people, we do not actually end up any safer. Fear does not make us safer,” she says. “It makes us weaker. Ramping up fear and closing our borders is not a solution. It distracts from the real issues that affect people’s day to day life.

“For all of these reasons, we ask that Fox News either retract or update the tweet to reflect the suspect’s actual identity.”

Late Tuesday, FoxNews.com managing director Refet Kaplan issued a statement saying the organization regretted the error and had made moves to correct it.

“FoxNews.com initially corrected the misreported information with a tweet and an update to the story on Monday,” Kaplan said in the statement. “The earlier tweets have now been deleted. We regret the error.”

Source: Incorrect Fox News tweet on Quebec City mosque attack earns scorn of PMO – Politics – CBC News

The Origins of Fox’s Favorite Muslim No-Go-Zone Myth – The Atlantic

Good take down of the ‘no-go-zone’ myth, with the following conclusion (and for those who know French, this parody on Le Petit Journal is both amusing and effective):

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=28b_1421201170:

Meanwhile, the meme can be seen extending to the United States. Truth Uncensored reports, incorrectly, that there are no-go zones stateside, including in places like Dearborn, Michigan, a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim population. Conservative Tribune even posts a map that allegedly shows no-go zones controlled by Islamists across the United States. I can’t tell where the map originally came from, but it cites data from Steven Emerson, the Fox expert who apologized for his no-go-zone comments. And the map is posted elsewhere on the Internet, labeled as everything from a map of terrorist camps (apparently al-Qaeda is big in Boca Raton—alert your grandparents!) to areas with concentrated Muslim populations.

Erroneous beliefs such as these concentrate along partisan axes, and once an idea has taken seed it’s difficult to root out.

Bottom line: You don’t need to worry about Muslim no-go zones if you live in the United States. And if you’re planning a tourist expedition to Europe, it’s a good idea to avoid high-crime areas, regardless of their demographics. But why, if there’s no evidence for no-go zones and some of the highest-profile propagators of the idea have repudiated it, do such myths survive and thrive?

It probably has a lot to do with the conservative media ecosystem. Erroneous beliefs such as these tend to concentrate along people’s partisan or ideological axes. (The same is true of liberal media, though not in this particular case.) And once an idea has taken seed, it’s extremely difficult to root out. As political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler have shown, corrections can actually backfire, increasing holders’ faith in their incorrect beliefs.

Unfortunately, even reporting on these misconceptions can worsen the problem, so I am part of the problem. But it seems important to note that Jindal is plainly wrong. These sorts of distortions and exaggerations don’t help to fight the very real threat of Islamist terror. They don’t serve the cause of creating an informed, reasoned democratic society. And they don’t help the political prospects of guys like Jindal, who has previously demanded that his GOP stop being “the stupid party.” Maybe this meme is the real no-go zone.

The Origins of Fox’s Favorite Muslim No-Go-Zone Myth – The Atlantic.