Media Central to buy Vancouver's Georgia Straight alternative weekly for $1.25M - The Tri-City News - Canada News Media
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Media Central to buy Vancouver's Georgia Straight alternative weekly for $1.25M – The Tri-City News

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TORONTO — Media Central Corp. Inc. says it will buy Vancouver’s Georgia Straight alternative weekly newspaper and associated publications in a deal valued at $1.25 million, including cash and shares.

It’s the second recent acquisition for Media Central, which said last month it would pay up to $2 million to buy Toronto alternative weekly Now Magazine.

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Georgia Straight founder Dan McLeod says he saw potential in Media Central’s plans for Now, announced Dec. 2. His son, general manager Matt McLeod, negotiated the deal.

In addition to the Georgia Straight, Media Central will acquire straight.com and straightcannabis.ca. Its other publications include the cannabis-focused online site CannCentral as well as Now Magazine and nowtoronto.com

Media Central chief executive Brian Kalish says there’s an opportunity to tap into a stable readership developed over the years by alternative weeklies across North America.

Georgia Straight has an estimated 2.7 million readers per month through its print edition and an additional 1.8 million through its website.

“The Straight is a highly trusted Vancouver institution,” Kalish said in a statement.

“The Georgia Straight brings more than 50 years of respected, award-winning local journalism and an influential loyal audience of 4.5 million monthly readers to the Media Central family.”

However, Dan McLeod acknowledged in an interview that weeklies have been hit by the same decline in advertising that has affected most other print publications since the rise in digital alternatives.

“But I think that Media Central has a plan to move forward. They’re going to buy up a lot of alternative papers and they have some innovative ideas. So I think they have a good chance to make a go of it.”

McLeod says he’s semi-retired, but will remain available in an advisory capacity. He expects Media Central will retain the company’s other staff to run the Vancouver operation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2020.

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The Media and the Military Mindset – CounterPunch

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Photograph Source: Beverly & Pack CC BY 2.0

U.S. national media have been lazy in their treatment of our military—pandering to the military itself and using retired general officers with ties to the military-industrial complex as spokesmen.  The United States is largely in an arms race with itself, but the media typically ignore bloated defense spending.  It is past time to reinforce Martin Luther King’s address to the Riverside Church in 1967 that linked chronic domestic poverty and military adventurism.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Department of Defense has been playing an outsize role in the implementation of U.S. foreign policy and has too much clout in the production of intelligence analysis.  The administrations of Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump have given the Pentagon an unprecedented position of power and influence, including huge increases in defense spending and a dominant voice in the making of national security  policy.  The media, relying for the most part on retired general officers, have been insufficiently critical of this militarization.

The news on cable television relies on retired general officers to analyze and assess the military actions of the United States.  Nearly all of these retired generals and admirals have high-level positions at various arms manufacturers, but this is rarely noted.  General Jack Keane, one of Donald Trump’s favorite generals, is a frequent analyst on Fox News, but it is never mentioned that the retired general is executive chairman of AM General, a leading defense contractor, best known as the manufacturer of the Humvee and other tactical military vehicles.  Keane obviously has a direct financial interest in the use of force.

NBC News and MSNBC, the so-called liberal voice of cable television, rely on a former student of mine at the National War College, retired Admiral James Stavridis, who is described as the networks’ “chief international security analyst.”  The networks never mention that Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, currently works for the Carlyle Group, advising Carlyle on its multibillion-dollar portfolio of defense companies.

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, CBS’s in-house military expert is retired Admiral James Winnefeld Jr., a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but also a member of the board at Raytheon, a major defense manufacturer.  CNN relied on retired General James Marks in the early years of the Iraq War, without mentioning Marks’ role in obtaining military and intelligence contracts for McNeil Technologies.  Marks is back at CNN, but the network never mentions that now he is a venture partner and adviser to a company that invests in military companies.

The Washington Post is guilty of the same kind of enabling of the military.  In the wake of the killing of Qassim Soleimani, Stephen Hadley, President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, endorsed the actions of the Trump administration, arguing that the killing could open the door to diplomacy.  The Post needed to mention that Hadley is a director at Raytheon, which manufactures components of the drone that killed Major General Soleimani.  In other words, it should be noted that Hadley has a vested financial interest in the war.  As a letter writer to the Post noted, drone targeting systems aren’t cheap.

In the field of intelligence reporting, MSNBC relies almost entirely on the views of former CIA director John Brennan and deputy director John McLaughlin.  Brennan is a peculiar choice because he supported the policy of torture and abuse while serving on the executive staff of the Central Intelligence Agency as well as aiding in the cover-up of the CIA’s role in shooting down a missionary plane over Peru in a botched mission to stop drug trafficking.  Brennan was also responsible for the order to CIA lawyers and technicians to hack into the computers of the Senate intelligence committee to remove sensitive documentary evidence of the sordid acts of CIA officers.

McLaughlin is a bizarre choice as an intelligence analyst because he led the effort to craft the spurious speech that Secretary of State Colin Powell gave to the United Nations only six weeks before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  The speech was designed to convince a domestic and international audience of the (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction in Iraqi inventories.  The speech was particularly successful in fooling the editorial and oped writers of the Washington Post, who claimed they were “convinced” that Iraqi WMD justified Bush’s war.

The U.S. reliance on military force has damaged U.S. national interests at a time when the global community is facing severe economic stress.  The Iraq and Afghan wars have cost trillions of dollars and have not made America more secure.  The war on terror has created more terrorists than it has eliminated, and recent secretaries of state have failed to question the strategic and geopolitical implications of a wider war in Southwest Asia.  The budget of the Department of Defense, exceeding levels reached during the worst days of the Cold War, receives overwhelming bipartisan support.

Even so-called liberal organizations are attracted to these policies.  The Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and their scholars—Michael O’Hanlon and Robert Kagan, respectively—have advocated the use of military force in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Meanwhile, the media largely ignore the loss of civilian life as they do the destruction of civilian economies, including hospitals, schools, and infrastructure.

Nearly sixty years after President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex, the United States must come to terms with its elevation of the role of the military; its cult of military spending that has become sacrosanct; and the culture of militarism that has placed U.S. bases all over the globe.  The American public is in danger of knowing only those military policies and actions that the government wants it to know, and the media are insufficiently aggressive in uncovering the nature of U.S. militarism the world over.

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Olympics – Boxing qualifiers set for Wuhan nixed over health fears-media – National Post

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TOKYO — Qualifying boxing matches for Asia and Oceania for the 2020 Olympic Games that were set to take place in China’s Wuhan next month have been canceled due to fears over the new flu-like coronavirus, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said on Wednesday.

Boxing preparations for the Games have already been upended after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in June took over the competition and suspended the international boxing federation due to issues with its finances and governance.

The IOC have instead set up a task force, led by its member and International Gymnastics Federation head Morinari Watanabe, to organize the boxing events.

The Kyodo report cited organizers as the source of the news. Reuters was unable to immediately contact Watanabe. The IOC did not immediately return requests for comment.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

The death toll from the virus in China rose to nine on Wednesday with 440 confirmed cases, Chinese health officials said as authorities stepped up efforts to control the outbreak by discouraging public gatherings in Hubei province.

The Tokyo organizing committee has previously said in response to questions on health concerns for the 2020 Olympics that, “countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of our plans to host a safe and secure Games.”

It added that it would “continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and we will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organizations.”

The global boxing body has been in turmoil over its finances and governance for years with the federation $16 million in debt. It has also been split internally by an ongoing bitter battle over the presidency. (Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski and Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Richard Pullin)

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David Suzuki: Ecological crises deserve better media coverage – Straight.com

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I was 14 when North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. As an adolescent, I was more preoccupied with puberty-related personal issues than politics. But when Canada sent military personnel as part of a UN effort, I religiously followed the battle lines. Every day, the local paper’s front page reported how troops were doing, with a map showing enemy and allied movements.

Now we face an even greater challenge, but it’s not always reflected in headlines.

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a terrifying report on humanity’s impact on the chemistry of the atmosphere—the source of air, weather, climate, and seasons. Our emissions have increased average global temperatures by at least 1° C since preindustrial times, causing ice sheets and glaciers to melt and wildfires, hurricanes, floods and droughts to become more widespread and intense.

At the 2015 Paris climate conference, all nations committed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions so temperatures wouldn’t rise by more than 2° C by 2100. The IPCC report concluded that a rise above 1.5° C will cause climate chaos. We’re on a trajectory to reach 3° C or more! The report gave a glimmer of hope that we could escape catastrophic climatic consequences by reducing emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and completely by 2050.

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The IPCC study didn’t garner the same kinds of headlines or urgent stories as the Korean War. Soon after its release, Canada legalized cannabis, which pushed everything else to the media sidelines. The IPCC target of cutting emissions in half within a decade and completely in three decades is a narrow window, with enormous ecological, economic, and political repercussions, yet the urgent call to action was a one-day, low-key media event.

Last May, the UN released a major global-biodiversity study showing humanity has caused species loss comparable to megaextinctions in which up to 90 percent of plants and animals disappeared. It’s not just whales, tigers, and penguins that are endangered; insects, the most abundant, diverse, and important animals, have been devastated by decades of poisons pumped into air, water, and soil.

Now, up to a million plant and animal species are in imminent danger of vanishing! As Earth’s top predator, we depend on nature’s productivity and services—exchanging carbon dioxide with oxygen, filtering water in the hydrologic cycle, creating soil, capturing sunlight, renewing protoplasm, etcetera. Climate change and large-scale extinction are intimately related consequences of human activity with enormous repercussions for us, yet when Prince Harry and Meghan had a baby in May, media coverage of species extinction disappeared.

Our great evolutionary advantage—intelligence—has served us well. But we’ve become such a powerful presence that our collective impact is driving changes in the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale—leading some to call this the Anthropocene epoch.

Confronting climate and extinction challenges with the urgency they deserve must dominate our thoughts and priorities. Every day, media report on Dow Jones averages, the S&P index, the value of the loonie, the price of a barrel of oil, the current status of companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Exxon, and Toyota, and celebrity and sports news.

But what about the real things that matter to us? How many tonnes of pesticides were spread around the globe or plastic into the ocean? How many species have vanished? How many plastic microbeads, hormone mimics, and carcinogens have we consumed? How many hectares of land have become desert? How much carbon dioxide have we added to the air? How many tonnes must be reduced to keep temperature from rising above 1.5° C? So many numbers are of far greater importance for our species’ future than stock-market values, yet media often ignore them.

We’ve frittered away two of the 12 years we have to halve our greenhouse-gas emissions. Where is the daily discussion about concrete ways to reduce them? What about job opportunities that acting on ecological crises will create?

It’s said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. What are we doing while the planet is burning? So blinded by our success as a species, we’re preoccupied by our own amusement, comfort, hyperconsumption, businesses, and politics.

We proceed down this path at our peril.

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