OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – A Canadian scientific panel that receives funding from the federal government seemed to assert in a new report last week that the standard journalistic practice of showing two sides to a story is to blame for a rise in media “misinformation.”
The Council of Canadian Academies noted in its report released January 26 titled Fault Lines Expert Panel on the Socioeconomic Impacts of Science and Health Misinformation that some “journalistic norms contribute to misinformation such as the tendency to present both sides of a debate as having equal weight.”
The Council’s report, which was sponsored by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), claimed that the journalistic practice leads to an artificial “false balance of perspectives even in cases where the science is conclusive.”
“The effects of a false balance in media have been observed in public discourse on climate science, genetically modified organisms and nuclear power,” the report stated.
ISED had asked the Council of Canadian Academies “to examine the socioeconomic impacts of science and health misinformation and disinformation on the public and public policy in Canada.”
The Council’s report claimed that unnamed media were “creating opposition” to certain governmental agendas and policies relating to “climate change.”
“Targeted misinformation campaigns have played a documented role in creating opposition to policies addressing climate change and the widespread and increasing human and economic damage it is causing,” the report read.
The report continued, stating, “Science and health misinformation becomes intertwined with ideology and identity it is also increasingly weaponized for political gain, feeding off and contributing to political polarization.”
“The proliferation of talk radio, cable news, online message boards and social media likely contributes to the post-truth era in which the validity and legitimacy of information and knowledge institutions in government, academia, science and health care are increasingly challenged.” the Council’s report offered.
The Council wrote that when people are presented with two sides of a story from experts, “people perceive lower levels of consensus even when commentaries are accompanied by data showing that more experts support one side over the other.”
Showing two sides to a story, the Council said, leads to “bad actors” who target and “manipulate media outlets by using journalistic norms and standards to amplify misinformation and extremist messaging.”
The last two years saw unprecedented COVID mandates placed on Canadian citizens, which led not only to lockdowns but jab mandates as well.
Most legacy media outlets ran with headlines in line with government messaging, which promoted lockdowns and mandates of all kinds as the way to stop the spread of the COVID virus.
Alternative Canadian media sites that do not receive any government funding such as Rebel News, True North, the Western Standard, and LifeSiteNews offered different perspectives on COVID lockdowns and mandates.
News reports from these outlets focused more on the human impact the dictates had on citizens who chose not to comply with the rules, and most notably those who chose not to get jabbed.
Trust in legacy media in Canada is also at an all-time low, according to a study conducted by Oxford University.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which is majority funded by the federal government, has had to multiple times issue corrections to stories.
While the Freedom Convoy was successful to a degree in getting governments to eventually back down on COVID mandates, the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gone on the attack to target legal internet content.
Since Trudeau became Prime Minister in 2015, his government has pushed forth many bills targeting legal content on the internet, which critics had blasted as an affront to freedom.
Late last year, the Trudeau government decided to fast-track Bill C-18, titled the “Online News Act,” rushing it through the House of Commons. The bill is now before the Senate.
According to Derek Fildebrandt, who is the publisher and CEO of the independent Western Standard, Bill C-18 is a direct attack on media that does not get government funding.
Another piece of legislation before the Senate, Bill C-11, also deals with internet censorship.
C-11, which like C-18 has faced immense criticism for its implications on freedom of speech, recently passed its second reading in the Senate.
Critics have long warned that Bill C-11 will stifle free speech online, and even Big Tech giants YouTube and Apple, who both have a history of censorship, have urged the Senate to stall the passing of the bill.