Zerbisias acknowledges the chill of car advertising

In a piece ostensibly about former counterspin producer Paul Jay’s much-vaunted plans to launch a commercial-free international cable news station, Antonia Zerbisias (columnist at the Toronto Star, with a Star– sponsored blog) writes “This is beyond public broadcasting. This is TV by and for the people and not the soap, suds and SUV-makers.”

You can also read about Paul Jay in this week’s Toronto “eye weekly” (which ALLDERBLOB readers will know of as the home of that famed ambidextric, Gord Perks), in a story by Nicole Cohen.

It appears Jay has the help of some of the same folks who so creatively utilized the internet to raise money for the shoulda-been democratic candidate for (U.S.) president, Howard Dean. He also has a powerful lineup of backers: “intellectuals, media activists and progressives from around the world, including Naomi Klein, Gore Vidal, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis, Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham and actor-turned-Air America radio host Janeane Garofalo,” according to Cohen.

What interests the ALLDERBLOB, of course, is the tacit acknowledgement, both from Zerbisias and from Cohen, that a car-free media would be a warmer place. As Cohen leads off, “Two weeks ago, a CBC/Environics poll announced that one in three Canadians has little or no confidence in the media, and only 11 per cent of Canadians have ‘a great deal of confidence in what the media have to say.'”

She goes on to say “this is not news to Paul Jay.” It will not be news to readers of the ALLDERBLOB either. Take a look at what we wrote back in March. In a letter addressed to the Globe and Mail’s Roy McGregor, we stated in part:

McGregor mentions that journalists are themselves half-way down the trustworthiness chart, without really wondering why.

I have a thought. Maybe it’s because at the end of the day most of your readers know you are beholden to your advertisers. And the sleaziest advertisements of all, the one that promises the most and delivers the least, is that for the automobile. Journalists are part of that food-chain.

We think Zerbisias knows this too.

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