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Think, Learn and Express in 2023

By Joan Janzen

The question was posed as to what is the worst thing about censorship. The amusing response was that no one is allowed to answer the question for fear of getting censored. But in everyday life, we need more perspectives represented in our various media outlets, not less.

In a recent interview with True North journalist Rupa Subramanya, Tara Henley explained why she resigned as a journalist at CBC. Henley said, “The woke voice came to dominate in the newsroom, and in interaction in the newsroom. I found it very concerning. I found it harder and harder to get different views on the air. I felt the environment was not conducive to me doing my job properly.”

Henley has been a journalist for more than two decades, and has worked in magazine, newspaper, TV, digital and radio. Since she began working at CBC in 2013, she worked on a lot of different shows, thus gaining a sense of what is happening in that work environment.

In an interview with CB News, she said, “Over the last few years the views have become more extreme and more pervasive, and the ability to voice opposing views has been less and less possible.” She noted the network is much more interested in talking about language, which is often referred to as a ‘woke’ perspective.

“There’s nothing wrong with the woke world view being represented. I would like it to be one of the views in the room; I just don’t want it to be the only view in the room,” she said. “I think this is in the newsrooms all across the world, and that’s why journalists are slowly starting to object, and say it’s not good for journalism and democracy.”

Henley continued to further explain her reasons for leaving the network. “Twitter has an undue influence, which presents the ‘woke’ world view as the consensus view, which it is absolutely not in the public,” she observed. “Everyone (journalists) is on Twitter, so they don’t see opposing views.”

She also said journalists are concerned about keeping their jobs, which doesn’t lend itself to speaking out about things. Those who do voice disagreements are often the recipients of harsh criticism and name calling on social media.

“For the most part the public would like us to present a broad range of views, from a wide range of spectrums, and allow them to take that information and make up their own minds. I think part of the problem is that journalists have begun to think of themselves as responsible for the decisions of the public and public behaviour, and I think that’s a mistake,” Henley noted. She hears from the public all the time regarding this concern, and currently has a podcast called Lean Out, discussing current affairs with people from around the world.

Henley explained one of the turning points in her decision to leave CBC concerned the topic of vaccine mandates. “I did not agree with their coverage as a network. I felt because CBC is such an important institution in this country that it was useful to have a public conversation about that. Because I was getting so many complaints from the public, I thought it was important to talk about that. There were a lot of questions that could have been asked, and I didn’t see the questions being asked. I just thought that there should have been a lot more critical thinking.”

American political commentator, Glenn Beck made the following observation: “We’re talking about the erasing of the fundamental right for you to choose. You’re being coerced right now to accept one side. That is taking away your freedom of choice, that is God given.”

Former member of parliament, Dan McTeague, voiced his concerns regarding government censorship. In an interview with Stephen LeDrew, McTeague said, “They want to make sure that people who have legitimate concerns don’t have the opportunity to express those. This is far more serious than censorship. It’s really about government saying we want to control the agenda, we want to control what you think, and if we don’t like what you think we’re going to shut you down. It’s unCanadian. The concern we all share, is there’s a significant infringement on our ability to think, and to learn and to express.”

The ability to think, and learn, and express, is only possible when we are listening to many different perspectives, and listen to media where opposing views are welcomed. My New Years wish for your in 2023 is that you take the time, and make the effort to think, and learn and express.

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