Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Violence et télévision

Jean-Michel Lacroix

From LaMarsh to the Mohawk Crisis: Some Nuances of Evolving Violence in Canadian Journalism

Andrew Osler

Texte intégral

1Canadians have been aware and concerned for many years about the possible consequences of distortions in mass media representations of society to itself, especially where such distortions and misrepresentations may be seen to relate to themes of violence.

2This concerned awareness has traditionally had four important summary characteristics. First, it has had rather a remarkable intensity of place in Canadian public life. In various manifestations, and on a significant number of occasions, perceptions of serious media dysfunction (usually linked in one way or another to concerns about violence) have been deemed to be sufficiently serious as to encourage popularly supported state intervention.

3A second characterization of Canadian concerned awareness in these matters has been that very frequently the perceived dysfunction of the moment is also seen either to be directly caused by offshore influences, or to be powerfully influenced by them.

  • 1 Isaiah Litvak and Christopher Maule, Cultural Sovereignty: the Time and Reader's Digest Case in Ca (...)
  • 2 Litvak and Maule, p. 23.

4As early as 1926, to cite one crude but not untypical example, a now-defunct Vancouver newspaper, The Morning Star, was wringing editorial hands about what it described as a "reeking gas cloud of lower Americanism" entering Canada in the content of imported American magazines with apparently ominous implications for the "mentality and morale of impressionable young Canadians"1. As this rather nastily narrow-minded little quotation implies, agonizing about the possibly negative social consequences of certain forms of media content (especially the imported variety) was already, seventy years ago and earlier, a common theme of public concern. Not only did it regularly find expression in newspaper editorials of the day, but also in emanations from the pulpits of most religious persuasions, and from seats in all political corners of the House of Commons. In 1931, the federal government responded by imposing a tariff on imported magazines (in effect, on American magazines) scaled according to volume of advertising content. It's rather amusing to recall that an early version of the measure (abandoned when its essential illogic was recognized) would have based the tariff on the weight of a given periodical; the assumption being that heavier imports likely would be more freighted with advertising and less desirable content elements2.

5Undesirable mass media content, including violent content, is thus demonstrably to be seen as a matter of longstanding public concern in Canada. (It's also helpful to emphasize at an early point in any paper treating these themes, that if there is a single aspect historically distinguishing the general Canadian concern about inappropriate representations of violence and other forms of presumed media dysfunction from similar concerns elsewhere, then it has to be the not entirely inaccurate popular perception that a great amount of the mass mediated violence and other presumably dysfunctional forms media content which Canadians absorb comes from the United States).

  • 3 Paul Rutherford, The Making of the Canadian Media. (Toronto, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1978), p. 119.

6Third, Canadian scholars and policymakers concerned with such matters seem to have demonstrated that they recognize, perhaps more than colleagues elsewhere, that if one is to have any hope of understanding the presence of the mass media in society, and of recognizing and dealing with whatever consequences may prevail as a result of that presence, then these media must be seen and dealt with (perhaps in Ellulian fashion) as the integrated phenomena that they are. The Canadian historian Paul Rutherford has given a rather typical Canadian scholar's recognition to this point about the integrated nature of the modern media, and the ultimately integrated nature of their content. The "multimedia", he explains, must be seen as a "single institution" which had become recognizable by the early 1960s, its collective origins to be found in the evolving efficiencies of advertising and consumerism, and in increasingly sophisticated technologies. Rutherford describes the consequences of the multimedia in society in these words: "The import of the mutimedia lies in society's dependence upon the process of mass communication for images of life. People live in a common ideological environment which is sustained by a continuous flow of information. Nothing momentous, not politics nor the economy nor leisure, can function properly without this flow"3. Implicit in this line of reasoning is the notion that those studies which seek to examine a single medium or genre of content to the exclusion or near exclusion of others, run the risk of being limited in their usefulness.

7Finally (really a corollary of the third point about the multimedia) the Canadian scholarly imagination has demonstrated a rather clearer recognition than seems ordinarily to be discernible elsewhere, to the effect that journalism cannot be seen as something separated from other media elements. There is a committed recognition in Canadian scholarship of the central place of journalism at the core of the mass media, including its role as a contributor to whatever processes of social dysfunction may be found to lie there at any given point in time.

The Device of the Royal Commission

  • 4 This is not to suggest that there was a vacuum. By 1967, W.H. Kesterton had produced his A History (...)

8An interesting and even paradoxical point to be made about Canadian media scholarship, especially when set against the sort of general background provided here, is that it probably would appear to any outside scholar looking in at the scene for the first time, that independent mass communication scholarship was very slow to develop in Canada. Independently published book-length works of scholarship in the field were still rare as late as the mid-1970s. The output of journal articles was less than impressive, and in fact, for many years there were no dedicated refereed journals in which Canadian communications scholars might publish their own theoretical and empirical writings. Of course there was the philosophical legacy of Harold Innis and the always challenging stimulus of Marshall McLuhan (still a living stimulus in those days, of course) to which Canadians could turn in preparing their lecture notes. But other than these iconic sources (who perhaps more properly belonged even then to the breadth of Western culture, than specifically to what McLuhan might have described as the Canadian margin), there was rather little. Or so it might seem4.

9In fact, there was (and continues to be) one important scholarly venue in which Canadians have been quite remarkably prolific for many years. A very significant amount of the founding literature of mass communication studies in Canada is to be found in reports and briefs, either commissioned or voluntarily submitted to one or other of many royal commissions set up over the years by various governments, along with occasional less formal study groups or task forces which function comparably, to examine aspects of the place and purpose of the media in the national life.

  • 5 J. E. Hodgetts, The Canadian Public Service: A Physiology of Government 1867-1970. (Toronto: Unive (...)

10The royal commission has evolved since Confederation as a device of quite special consequence in the dynamics of most aspects of Canadian public life. Whereas in most jurisdictions where the Parliamentary tradition prevails research and inquiry into issues of public concern has tended to fall into the more partisan patterns and practices of legislative committees and the like, in Canada, as J. E. Hodgetts has noted, "royal commissions appear to remain the chief source of ... inspiration for longer term programme development". They have become "temporary research institutes, assembling the best available outside (non-governmental) talent to carry on the sophisticated analysis of complex social and economic problems"5.

  • 6 "Who needs a TV cop?", The Globe and Mail, Toronto, June 7, 1994. In this editorial, The Globe sug (...)

11Public policy formulation in Canada, especially in culturally sensitive areas such as broadcasting and the mass media, has been routinely formulated in a political environment circumscribed by dilemma. The Canadian reality is that the fundamental assumption of ancient freedoms (perhaps especially freedom of expression and media) does not always blend harmoniously with the obligation imposed upon the state to guarantee the integrity of the national culture in the extraordinary Canadian cultural circumstance of a powerful and always distracting American mass media presence. While Canadian public philosophy of course stands irrevocably evolved from a wellspring of British and French tradition pertaining to individual rights and freedoms in person and property, such fundamental concepts can only have continuing meaning and vitality in a national context where they can be held reasonably secure. This often has been interpreted in Canada as requiring State intervention, and thus the ingredients of dilemma. Perhaps such matters are changing for all of us, and the concept of a national "cultural integrity" dilemma is becoming less and less supportable in this amazing age of "death star" technologies and the like. A very recent decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to license 10 further Canadian-programmed specialty pay-TV cable channels has been quite widely interpreted as a rather forlorn last effort to hold back offshore media saturation when the 500-channel "universe" of direct satellite feed comes on-line in the very near future, presumably more or less beyond national regulatory control. Some observers have even expressed a sense of being offended by the CRTC's continuing efforts to maintain some semblance of order from a perspective of the national good, perhaps a measure of how far we have already moved in some of these new directions6.

  • 7 An entirely arbitrary list of a few of the more important of these would include, (with the names (...)

12New technologies and all that they may bode notwithstanding, the political awkwardness associated with the circumstance of dilemma remains an historic and continuing fact of Canadian national life. It is in response to this that Canadian political leaders learned to use the royal commission as their device of choice for dealing with areas of particular sensitivity touched by the dilemma. This would seem to be especially so when matters arise pertaining to the mass media. Since the first Royal Commission on Broadcasting was called by Order-in-Council in 1928, (it reported in 1929), there have been many significant royal commissions and similar though less formally structured task forces, ad hoc committees of the non-elected Senate, and so forth, which have addressed media-related areas of concern7.

13While some may argue that the arms-length nature of such bodies makes it possible for political cynics to avoid the obvious awkwardnesses generated by the continuing fact of the Canadian dilemma, in fact it is precisely because these commissions typically come into being in an arms-length relationship with the governments that establish them which may be their most useful attribute. Governments are free to consider the political ramifications of whatever recommendations as may emerge — to accept them with enthusiasm, to damn them with silence or faint praise, or to assume some intermediate position. And of course these expensive commission reports (they are always expensive) may incur editorial and public displeasure on those occasions when nothing immediate appears to come of them.

14Paradoxically, it is precisely because all of this is true; because royal commissions always face the very real possibility of having their reports and recommendations politically abandoned (and even demeaned or ridiculed on occasion) that makes them so useful. Among the often less-evident benefits, the investigatory processes of these royal commissions have proven to be both merit-oriented in terms of the selection of their personnel, especially their commissioned researchers; and at the same time, remarkably democratic in their style. It becomes possible for them to approach their assigned tasks in an experimental, exploratory and occasionally outrageous manner, and to do so in a spirit that is usually quite remarkably non-partisan. It also becomes possible for their researchers and other key personnel to be routinely selected in a non-partisan manner on a basis of perceived merit, as has been said, and usually from outside the civil service. Not only is formal scholarly research typically and usefully commissioned and generated in such an environment, but in the same spirit briefs and other less formal submissions (both solicited and unsolicited) tend to reflect the widest possible range of opinion from concerned organizations and individuals in the community. Thus the analyses and recommendations ultimately generated in the reports of these commissions have a way of springing both from the best available sources of expert knowledge, and from widest practicable public participation.

15Again, it is also precisely because of the arms-length independence most royal commissions enjoy that their reports and recommendations can experience any number of possible fates. Though not always immediately obvious, this, too, is essentially beneficial. In a few rather rare instances, recommendations are seen to move directly to political acceptance in the form of early enabling legislation or regulatory change. In other instances, reports may go virtually ignored by the political arm, and pass apparently abandoned into seeming obscurity, with perhaps a few editorial obituaries, as it were, remarking on their expense and futility. The experience of most royal commission reports lies somewhere between these extremes, a mingling of public praise and criticism, inevitable complaints about the cost of the exercise to the taxpayer, and some evidence of public policy influence in the form of adjustments to laws and regulations, often much watered-down from the enthusiasm, intensity and occasional impracticality to be found in the original proposals.

16The first Royal Commission on Broadcasting (chaired by Sir John Aird and which reported in 1929), provides an early example of a media-related commission whose recommendations were quite immediately and visibly well-received at the political level. Its proposals relating to the need for a powerful national focus on public broadcasting were given early effect, first with the creation of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission in 1932, and in 1936 with its permanent successor organization, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (the CBC). Some years later in its 1951 report, the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts Letters and Sciences in Canada (chaired by Vincent Massey) recommended that the CBC be further mandated as the nation's exclusive television broadcaster. This proposal was one of many from this commission which were acted upon virtually immediately. The CBC was effectively granted political support for its entry into the television field, with substantial public funds quite quickly voted by Parliament. Within a very few years, the basic components of the country's first television network —a public network, of course— were in place, all directly traceable in the public mind to the Massey recommendations.

  • 8 These measures were given effect with the passing of Bill C-58, the so-called "Cullen Rule" after (...)

17On the other side of the coin and among those reports fated to be damned in the first instance with faint political praise and with an attitude approaching contempt on the part of editorialists, was that of the 1960 Royal Commission on Publications. This commission proposed that the federal Income Tax Act be amended in a manner that would protect Canadian periodicals from powerful American competition for advertising dollars in the domestic market. (The commission proposed, among other things, that Canadian taxpayers, especially corporate taxpayers, be allowed to deduct their print advertising costs as a business expense only for advertising in periodicals owned, published and produced in Canada, and with 80 per cent, of their non-advertising content Canadian in its sourcing). The proposal was swiftly condemned by the American publishers of such periodicals as Time and Reader's Digest, and in what stands historically as rather a low moment in Canadian cultural politics, the government of the day responded with a lip-service amendment to the Income Tax Act which reduced the Royal Commission's recommendations to an ineffectual state. Domestic public criticism of the government for its swift capitulation to external pressure was swift in coming, but so was a wave of editorial contempt for a royal commission process which seemingly could be so easily and cynically abused. What is not always remembered by critics of the process is that the recommendations of the 1960 report eventually were given effect in law with necessary amendments to the Income Tax Act in 1976, fully 16 years later8. Again, powerful offshore winds of condemnation were felt in the land, but this time the domestic interest prevailed, and the powerful long-term influence which royal commissions frequently have on evolving public policy was amply demonstrated.

The LaMarsh Commission

18All of this brings us to the Ontario Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry (the LaMarsh commission). In retrospect, LaMarsh continues to provide us one of the more interesting examples of a commission which had little evident immediate impact on public policy; which received considerably more public criticism than praise at the time its report and related research documents were published; but which also seems to have had a considerable, subtle and growing influence in the longer term.

  • 9 "Probe into violence ran up $2-million bill", London Free Press, December 14, 1977.

19The commission was appointed by provincial Order-in-Council in May 1975, in response to public debate which had arisen with some urgency that year in a number of quarters, both in and out of the Ontario Legislature, speculating upon possible undesirable consequences of mass media violence, especially in the content of television. The commission delivered its report two years later in June 1977 in eight volumes, one of which was a book-length bibliography, and six containing the 28 reports of commissioned research. The principal first volume of the report (in addition to conveying the commissioners own observations and their set of 87 recommendations) was largely devoted to the provision of an edited summary selection from the 700 written briefs, and transcripts of oral presentations, offered at 61 public hearings across Ontario, in other parts of Canada, and on visits to the United States and to several European capitals. The final total cost of the exercise was CDN$ 2,026,2459.

  • 10 "Violence probers urge radical TV changes", London Free Press, June 16, 1977.

20The Commission's recommendations (some of which are summarized in fuller detail below) were quickly condemned in the popular press for being too radical, and for constituting a threat to the established order. The commission also was seen as stepping across appropriate constitutional limits for a provincially-appointed royal commission, thereby treading upon powers properly allocated to the federal government. Of course, the cost of the two-year exercise also was roundly condemned. One daily paper, in addition to expressing its outrage at the cost of the exercise, condemned it as "a radical and often startling attack ... almost Orwellian in scope"10.

21There were those who saw much that was worthwhile in its report, but for the most part this royal commission was conveniently abandoned by the politicians who called it into being, and generally it fell into the obscuring pattern of neglect and dismissal which we have seen to be a fairly common short-term fate shared by a good many of these temporary research organizations. Only later did the subtle and continuing influence of the exercise become rather more evident to those who cared to observe.

22In fact, the LaMarsh Commission and its report fall quite classically into the pattern of delayed and subtle influence. It is often forgotten that Judy LaMarsh who chaired the commission, and died at age 55 just three years after the report was published, was the influential federal Secretary of State in the mid-1960s whose ministerial responsibilities included oversight of revisions to the national broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory Systems. Her ministerial initiatives led, first, to the publication of the important 1966 White Paper on Broadcasting, and later to the passing of the Broadcasting Act of 1968 (to remain in place as the principal element of broadcast legislation in Canada for the next 25 years), and with it the establishment of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, (CRTC). Thus LaMarsh must be recognized as having been deeply influential in matters pertaining to media policy development long before she accepted the chairmanship of the Ontario royal commission that bears her name. If the recommendations and proposals contained in her report were seen by many, especially many media people, as "radical and often startling" (as expressed in the newspaper account cited above) then it also must be kept in mind that this was the radicalism of a remarkably knowledgeable person who, for a number of years, had been influentially placed at the very centre of Canadian media policy development.

  • 11 Report of the Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry, vol. 1, "Approaches, Co (...)

23Among the radical proposals11 for which Miss LaMarsh and her fellow commissioners (Lucien Beaulieau, a judge of the family court in Ontario, and Scott Young, a Toronto newspaper columnist) were so roundly dismissed by various critics, especially from within the media System, were these:

  1. Television Broadcasting. Elimination in Canada of all off-air television reception (including all existing broadcasting entities) and replacement by a multi-channel cable transmission and reception technology which would be operated by a federal agency to be called Television Canada. All content (including all foreign content) would be sorted and distributed on cable channels according to subject themes such as light entertainment, sports, public affairs, children's programming and so forth. Foreign content in particular would be subject to "stricter control of violent content". News programming would be produced by Television Canada itself, but (one of the more truly radical aspects) all other domestic programming would be purchased from independent producers, effectively proposing the elimination of network structures, including the CBC. (Summarized primarily from the content of Recommendations 3 to 6 inclusive).
  2. Film. That because "the making of Canadian films is of paramount importance not only to the cinemas but in supplying Canadian material for television", it was proposed that a powerful new umbrella agency, Film Canada, be established which would incorporate all important existing government agencies such as the National Film Board of Canada and the Canadian Film Development Corporation. Through various devices, it was proposed that Film Canada be mandated and empowered much to "stimulate and encourage the growth of an independent film industry". The most radical aspect of the overall concept, however, was the recommendation that the new film agency acquire (presumably by expropriation) a major cinema chain to ensure wide distribution for the first time of Canadian-made feature films within the domestic market. While such a protective measure might seem only reasonable and appropriate in other parts of the world, Canadian movie-going habits have long been dominated by American interests. This proposal to so assertively and dramatically effect a departure from conventional practice was radical indeed. (Summarized front the content of Recommendations 25 to 42 inclusive).
  3. Press. Here the commissioners recommended a Freedom of Expression Act, as they chose to call it, rather an Orwellian label for what would in effect have been press control legislation. While the proposed act would have been "written specifically to outlaw pre-censorship by government authority", it also would "define the limits of free expression: libel, obscenity, breach of the Official Secrets Act, matters affecting the defence of Canada, treason, sedition, or promulgating information that leads to incitement of crime or violence". The act would include provision for the establishment of a national Media Council headed by a National Media Ombudsman. This agency and its head would have the power to order corrections and/or retractions in media content. The council and the ombudsman were both to have been funded by Parliament, and responsible to it. The commissioners also recommended that the Media Council be charged with establishing and enforcing a national code of journalism ethics "emphasizing four main elements of news responsibility: fairness, accuracy, relevance and completeness". (Summarized from the content of Recommendations 44 to 60 inclusive).

24Some have wondered if Miss LaMarsh, being aware her illness and its implications, perhaps did not come to see the commission and its report as something of a personal testament. Whether or not she intended it as such remains a matter for conjecture. However, it can be said that her final illness become public knowledge within about a year of the publication of the report, and regardless of any personal motivations she may have had, the exercise certainly came to be viewed by others as having something of an aura of testamentary summation about it. It's also true that, no longer active in federal politics as a result of a political falling out with Pierre Trudeau during the Liberal Party leadership convention which elevated him to the prime ministership in 1968, Miss LaMarsh quite simply was free to enjoy the luxury of being publicly outspoken, occasionally outrageously so; this regardless of whether or not she had any awareness of the fact that she had only a few years left.

25In any event, one can see a legacy of lasting influence in a number of places, and three of these immediately suggest themselves.

26First, it is appropriate to note that a large number of academics made important contributions to the research process. There can be no doubt that the exercise contributed to the coalescing of a sense definition and purpose which influenced the shaping the then-emerging discipline of communication studies in Canada. Lifetime personal research agendas were certainly influenced; and unquestionably all that the report contained has had a central curriculum influence in university classrooms across the country.

  • 12 Similar concepts are expressed, for instance, in Recommendations 61-69 inclusive of the Report of (...)

27Second, and easier to observe with some precision, many of those seemingly radical LaMarsh recommendations found their way in subsequent years (often in other language, and in altered forms) to places where they received more serious hearings, even to a point of incorporation in legislative and other public policy instruments. By way of example, from the cluster of television-related recommendations, it has been suggested in several later places that emphasis should indeed be shifted away from broadcasting and toward production; that even the venerable Canadian Broadcasting Corporation should be reduced in scale as a broadcaster, while efforts to enhance a globally competitive content production output be given place instead. Similar patterns may be seen with reference to the LaMarsh recommendations relating to an enhanced national focus on film production and distribution12.

  • 13 Report of the Royal Commission on Newspapers. (Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1981), pp. 237- (...)
  • 14 The draft legislation was announced by the Hon. Jim Fleming, the federal minister responsible, in (...)

28From this writer's point of view, however, it is of particular interest to note that those much condemned concepts relating to journalism, especially to a proposed national Freedom of Expression Act with a national Media Council reporting to Parliament, re-emerged, primarily altered from the LaMarsh original only in that they were much more powerfully presented, in the recommendations in the 1981 report of the federal Royal Commission on Newspapers13. More importantly, a reduced version of the 1981 recommendations found their way to the House of Commons in 1983 in the form of a draft Daily Newspapers Act14. The legislative measures were not strong ones; they never passed beyond first reading in the House of Commons; and even if they had passed, they were so reduced from the original Kent (and LaMarsh) proposals that in and of themselves they probably would have had little immediate impact on the conduct of the nation's journalism. They were remarkable, nonetheless, because they made the concept of a general media law governing journalism politically viable in the Canadian democracy where no such acceptance previously had existed. The sourcing of all of this is clearly to LaMarsh.

29Third, Importantly, and perhaps (one might speculate) because something of a "critical mass" of younger academics undertook personally formative work in the collegial environment of the LaMarsh context, much was done to identify problems and define their circumstances, to establish longer term agendas, and to explore approaches to research which proved to have a Canadian style, and to have had a lasting influence in the development of Canadian communication studies.

  • 15 Eugene D. Tate and Kathleen McConnell, "The Mass Media and Violence" in Benjamin D. Singer, ed., C (...)

30Reflecting recently upon his personal LaMarsh experience as a principal researcher, Eugene Tate described the LaMarsh exercise as quite simply "one of the most complete mass media research projects (ever) undertaken". In terms of its influence on the then-emerging milieu of Canadian communications research and scholarship, Tate (an American by birth and education) credits the LaMarsh experience, first, with having collegially demonstrated that Canadian media users can behave differently in their response to media content from people living in the United States. Canadians scholars learned, as he put it, to be "very careful not to generalize from research conducted in the United States to Canadian populations". Second, Tate sees in LaMarsh and its subsequent influences an innovative quality in approaches to research, and a greater willingness on the part of Canadian researchers to accept global perspectives on communications issues, than perhaps is to be found in the United States. Importantly, as his third point, Tate notes that the LaMarsh Commission sponsored research "into all forms of media, thus making it more comprehensive than for example, the (U.S.) Surgeon General's Report on Television Violence15.

  • 16 The commissioned LaMarsh studies touching the place of journalism in the larger media context incl (...)

31Tate's third observation is particularly helpful in the context of this paper. Not only were all media included and the entire media environment treated, as Tate points out, but journalism was given an important and central place in this holistic context. In fact, journalism was seen in the LaMarsh research context not only as being an important aspect of all media content (and an important contributor to the multi-faceted problem of media violence) but journalism also was seen as being an entity in its own right, a phenomenon with its own definitions, sense of place and purpose, and elements of content and content dynamics applied universally (admittedly touched by the ambient technology) in the various media. It has been the experience of many of us that research conducted elsewhere often tends, first, to ignore the "fact" of journalism altogether. Or, when journalism is permitted to be present, it tends to be seen as a thing which, chameleon-like, changes colour and definition beyond recognition as it moves from one medium to another. The writer's own work in two major studies perhaps contributed to the place given to journalism by the influence of the formative LaMarsh research context. So did that of Benjamin Singer and Donald Gordon, and Anthony Doob among others16.

32The perception of journalism as a multi-media phenomenon properly central to mass media effects analysis, has remained, I believe, a LaMarsh legacy helping to shape Canadian communications research. Something of an epistemological base upon which a possibly unique Canadian journalism research perspective may be seen to have developed here, then, and there are ancillary aspects which also have sourcing (not exclusively, of course, but importantly) in the LaMarsh context.

An Approach to Journalism

33Some of these are not particularly remarkable. For instance, we developed a basic definition of news for the purposes of the research findings described in one of our the reports cited above, "A Descriptive Study of Perceptions and Attitudes Among Journalists in Ontario", which in many respects simply affirmed what had been said elsewhere by others. In it we noted that news information typically contains such informational elements as immediacy in time and place; concreteness which readily lends itself to graphic descriptive processes as opposed to more abstract qualities of information; richness in those empathic psychological properties which journalists traditionally understand as "human interest", and (in last place, and optional to all intents and purposes, if other components are strongly present, we felt), we derived a sense from our interview subjects that news information should be important for people to know about in some absolute sense of the word.

  • 17 J. Herbert Altschull, "What is News", Mass Comm Review, December, 1974, pp. 17-23.
  • 18 Andrew M. Osler, "A Descriptive Study of Perceptions and Attitudes Among Journalists in Ontario", (...)

34Our study was quite similar in its approaches and in conclusions drawn to those of other works of the period; that of Herbert Altschull in the United States comes to mind, for instance17, but the exercise obliged us to recognize that the definition of news lends itself remarkably well to the selection of violent information scenarios. When one considers the ingredients of news as journalists understand these, "information about human and natural violence makes nearly perfect news ... the news person, therefore, tends to gravitate toward violent information, not because it is violent per se, but because all his instincts and traditions tell him it is intensely newsworthy"18.

  • 19 Ontario Psychological Association, Intervention in Report, the Royal Commission on Violence in the (...)
  • 20 Benjamin D. Singer and Donald R. Gordon, "Content Analysis of the News Media: Newspapers and Telev (...)

35We thus recognized (with a certain focused urgency not always seen in comparable reportings and interpretations of research findings from outside Canada), that journalism must be recognized as being absolutely central to all that the media do, but also that the journalism of the mass media is remarkably violent in myriad overt and subtle ways. An important brief submitted by the Ontario Psychological Association set an unequivocal tone in suggesting that the frequency of media depictions of violence (including frequency of depiction in the news) exceeds social reality. Media content, including news and sports content, "contains a higher proportion of violence than is found in the normal daily lives of individuals". Furthermore, "it seems clear that in the eyes of many media people a major function or purpose of the media is for entertainment ... Media people also seem to assume that violence is entertaining"19. And in reporting the results of their commissioned content analysis of news in 10 Ontario daily newspapers and nine television stations, Benjamin Singer and Donald Gordon found that nearly half the news items carried by these media dealt with violence-related subjects. In the language of the study: "News items carried on television and in newspapers focus on violence-related and conflict topics in almost half the news items carried (48.4 per cent for television, 45.3 per cent for newspapers). This figure is probably lower than many would suspect, but still is clearly in excess of the actual experience of most individuals and communities"20.

  • 21 Report, the Royal Commission on Violence, vol. i.

36Reflected in interpretations of the research done by all of us in the LaMarsh group whose focus was journalism, was the notion that we were dealing with a complex phenomenon; that violence could be present in the content of journalism in a number of subtle ways. The commissioners themselves noted that among its many and varied aspects, violence can be as much psychological as physical; it may be real or symbolic; it may be sudden or gradual. They also noted that "things not violent in reality may be violent in their media portrayal; and that the media "may use many artificial devices to lessen or to amplify" the effects of violence21.

  • 22 Andrew M. Osler, "An Analysis of Some News-Flow Patterns and Influences in Ontario", in Report, th (...)

37Among the subtleties which we noted in our newsflow study were these: That news often contains secondary violent themes, even where the principal theme in a news item is not inherently violent. For example, a story chronicling an entirely peaceable labour-management contract negotiations scenario will not likely be violent in respect of its principal theme. It may have a secondary theme, profoundly violent in nature, however, if (in order to liven up the story) two or three paragraphs or minutes into the piece, the journalist turns to reflections on past strife, or to speculations about the potential for violence on some possible future picket line. We found, for instance, that in a sample of the main national newswire of Canadian Press (the national news cooperative in Canada) that 15.0 % of all items had principal violent theme, but that the number rose to 35.4 % when items with secondary violent themes were included. Comparable figures for the national news service of CBC television were 20.3 % and 44.4 %; and for a sample of six large and small daily newspapers publishing in Ontario, 17.5 % and 39.3 %22.

  • 23 Andrew M. Osler, "Some Problems in the Flow of Foreign News into Ontario", an invited paper presen (...)

38Another subtlety which we later derived from our LaMarsh data, was evidence suggesting that news "gatekeepers" may tend (purposefully or unintentionally) to select for violent content. We noted that 56.3 % of the foreign dateline news items carried by CP in its English-language service originated in a feed from the Associated Press at New York. We measured the violence content in this original AP source material; again in that portion of the AP material selected for transmission by CP (about 19 % of available items); and finally we measured the violence percentages in the residue of AP material (about 11 % of the AP items carried by CP; less than 2 % of those in the original New York source) actually achieving publication in our set of six Ontario newspapers. We found (predictably) that 15.5 % of all AP items at the New York source had primary violence themes, rising to 39.2 % with secondary violent theme items included. Of that AP material selected for inclusion in the CP national wire, however, the figures increased to 25.3 % and 52.2 % respectively; the averages in our sample of six daily newspapers rose to 41.0 % and 61.6 %23.

  • 24 Joseph Scanlon, "Canada Sees the World Through U.S. Eyes: One Case Study in Cultural Domination", (...)

39Two further brief observations. There had long been an appreciation (given that worrisome volume of offshore news from foreign sources) that Canadians were largely obliged, as one scholar has put it, to view the world "through U.S. eyes"24. In addition to this, LaMarsh research certainly implies, at least, that through their media, Canadians may have a more violent perspective on the world than perhaps many others do.

Moving Forward

  • 25 Robert Martin and Stuart Adam, A Sourcebook of Canadian Media Law. (Ottawa: Carleton University Pr (...)

40Whatever else one may say about a Canadian media perspective and a presence or lack of particular elements of violence in it, there is an important point upon which most people will agree, and it's this: in the decade and a half since the LaMarsh Report was published, Canadian society has changed considerably in that it has become remarkably litigious, some would say quite unpleasantly so. As part of the complex process of patriating historic constitutional instruments from Westminster, the Canadian Parliament in 1982 chose to imbed a Charter of Rights and Freedoms as Part I of the national Constitution Act. In effect, this meant that the largely unwritten English precedent approach to defining and protecting rights in person were now more formally described. A new emphasis on society-defining processes of judicial review thus assumed an unprecedented place in Canadian constitutional law; as Martin and Adam have pointed out: "judicial review now embraces the whole field of fundamental freedoms, civil liberties and human rights"25. A founding Canadian presumption of Parliamentary supremacy is thus diminished, and the courts assume markedly increased powers. Since the arrival of the Charter, Canadian society has become much divided into factions of all sorts, each seeking protection or status of one sort or another under the Charter's provisions. This has touched journalism in two important ways.

41First, journalists as a group have been much encouraged to seek protections for themselves under the Charter. Section 2(b) provides specifically for "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication". Like the other three fundamental freedoms, (touching conscience and religion; peaceful assembly; and association), Section 2(b) is limited only by the wording of a general guarantee in Section 1 in which it is noted that fundamental freedoms are "subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society". It has been popular among journalists to rather cynically describe this latter provision as a "weasel clause", but this has in no way dampened their enthusiasm (like that of many other identifiable groups in society) for seeking new definitions, refinements and protections from the courts.

  • 26 Murray Goldblatt, Affidavit. Supreme Court of Ontario, (Divisional Court), 1989. In the matter of (...)

42Most of journalism's efforts thus far have had to do with challenges to rulings from courts or quasi-judicial bodies requiring journalists to reveal their sources. Journalists have argued that they must function in an environment of freedom from prior restraint, and as a part of this, they further argue that they must be able to protect the anonymity of their sources. The courts have generally rejected such claims, arguing that journalists must function by the same rules as any other group of citizens, but this has not stopped a sense of what might best be described as litigious outrage from evolving among many members of the craft. Their arguments tend to focus upon the notion that society needs a constitutionally unfettered journalism to protect it and its members from those (including society's own established institutions) who would do harm. Thus journalism begins to see itself, not only as a great moral source, but necessarily as standing aloof and apart from society's other institutions, including the courts themselves. Consider this recent argument from a very senior Canadian journalist in defence of a colleague facing contempt of court charges for refusing to reveal certain sources and related information to a judicial inquiry: "It is counterproductive for journalists to be terrorized (in the courts) by the fear of easy exposure of their work product ... The editorial process and journalist's work product ought to be available to the justice System only as a last resort"26.

43Second, and really an integral part of the process, journalists have come to see themselves (as they always have, but now much more intensely) as the protector of those groups within society which perceive of themselves as being abused. In far too many instances (in a process which seems fundamental to the nature of Canada's litigious new constitutional polis) the legitimacy of such arguments can be very difficult to appreciate or discern; in a few others, many of the complaints of Canada's native communities, for instance, validity can be only too obvious. Perhaps this makes it all worthwhile.

44In any event, these new dynamics (perhaps not so much new as evolved from earlier sources) clearly influence the agendas of contemporary media research into questions pertaining to journalism and journalists. One can see here a perspective and general sense of things already made familiar to many scholars in the LaMarsh research process, especially such elements as the sense of journalism's central place, both within the media System itself, and within the greater social order; the focused concern regarding violence and its consequences in the journalism milieu; and the ever-present concern regarding offshore pressures on the system. By way of bringing this paper to an appropriate conclusion, let us briefly consider (in a "case study contenxt", to all intents and purposes) two further factors of contemporary interest. Both tend to provide affirmation of the LaMarsh perspective, especially regarding our understanding of the place of violence in a journalism seen as central to the media environment.

45First, there is a developing tendency, wherever information circumstances allow, and more so than has hitherto ever been the case, to describe crime scenarios in extreme and graphically violent detail. Evolving television journalism with its well-documented attraction to the graphic, and its general tendency to intensify all of journalism's news values, may have some responsibility here. More likely, however, it is print responding to television's competitive challenge in the news marketplace which, in itself, has inclined all journalism toward these newly intensified values.

46Second, there is a developing tendency in modern Canadian journalism (one suspects with some element at work here again of an escalating marketplace competition between print and television) not only to select the violent news scenario when it arises, but increasingly as well where such elements are not so readily identifiable, to turn to those natural surrogates of violence, namely confrontation and controversy. Increasingly, political news is presented in this context of surrogate violence.

471) New Intensities in Violence Coverage: The first of these concerns, the tendency toward increasingly graphic presentations (one might say violent presentations) of the fact of violence where it arises in the reporting of criminal matters, is dramatically evident at the moment in a complex set of related matters currently before a courts in Saint Catharine's, Ontario, near Niagara Falls. Paul Bernardo, a young man of 27 years, is on trial there on a variety of sex-related charges, but especially murder charges stemming from the horrendous deaths of two young teenage girls. Bernardo's estranged wife, Karla Homolka, 24, has already been sentenced to 12 years in prison on manslaughter convictions relating to these crimes.

  • 27 D'Arcy Jenish, "Unspeakable Crimes", Maclean's, July 19, 1993.

48Interestingly, at the moment there is little more that a Canadian journalist or scholar can say, because the judge in the case, Ontario General Division Judge Francis Kovacs, has covered the proceedings with a more or less blanket ban on publication of most information relating to the case. His reasoning is ostensibly to guarantee Bernardo a fair trial in light of the fact that his estranged wife has already been tried and convicted, presumably based on much the same evidence relating to the murders which occurred in 1991 and 1992. Interestingly, Judge Kovacs has also expressed his concern about a potential negative impact of the information on the public, were it fully released and published in the manner one might anticipate from contemporary journalism. Several media organizations have attempted, thus far unsuccessfully, to appeal the ban27.

49Until fairly recent years, journalists generally abided by the circumstances an unwritten working relationship with the judiciary in which more horrendous details available from police investigation reports, and even from sworn testimony offered in court, simply were not included in the journalistic product, or were softened with euphemism.

  • 28 "One acquitted, two convicted in murder of shoe shine boy", London Free Press, March 11, 197.

50Though few recognized it as such at the time, the newspapers changed the ground rules in 1978. In that year, the larger newspapers applied an unprecedented frankness in publishing testimony in graphic anatomical detail, regardless of its inherent prurient qualities, from the murder trial of three Toronto men charged in the sex-linked murder in 1977 of a Toronto Street boy, Emanuel Jaques28. A qualified privilege applied indirectly to the journalism of this situation as sworn testimony was being quoted, but nothing this frank or graphic had been published previously in Canada's mainstream daily press. There was no legal challenge, and a breaching of new territory was thus achieved, leading directly lo more recent concerns.

51There are two further aspects to the media's role in the Homolka-Bernardo murder trials which are important in the context of this discussion. First, the ban on publicity imposed by the trial judge has been widely ignored and even ridiculed in some instances by foreign media. Newspapers and television news and commentary programmes in Buffalo, New York particularly, but elsewhere in the United States as well, have published or broadcast forbidden details with considerable prominence. So have a number of periodicals in Europe. Much of this content has found its way back to Canadian readers and viewers, of course, and Canadians connected through personal computers to several of the internet facilities are only a few keystrokes away, as it were, from all they might possibly wish to know to satisfy forbidden curiosity.

52Finally, it is important lo keep in mind that Canadian media generally have been outraged at the court ban which, thus far, has kept them away from the apparently appalling detail of the sworn testimony of these trials. Journalists have increasingly argued not only their right, but also their moral obligation to report all criminal proceedings that interest them from investigations and arrests, through the entire judicial process to ultimate disposition in a guilty or not guilty verdict, and on to any appeal that might lie beyond. The claim is made of to a public right to know, interpreted as knowing in fullest and most complete detail.

53Given the increasingly litigious social environment of recent years as discussed, it is only to be expected that several challenges would have been launched, though none of these has yet reached the higher courts where constitutional aspects would be considered. In the meantime, it has to be ironic that the news media, temporarily prevented from publishing horrendously violent information of very doubtful broad public value, have turned to the highest moral arguments relating to free expression and the public right to know in defence of their position.

54In summary, then, we have a set of concerns which clearly follow in the tradition of definition interpretation of the LaMarsh experience of nearly two decades ago. First, all of this is set against the recognition in LaMarsh of journalism's important and central place (be that journalism inherently functional or inherently dysfunctional) in the overall content of the media, and therefore in the shaping of public opinion, values and attitudes. As we have seen, not only scholars, but journalists themselves, clearly hold this sort of perception of place. Second, it is very clear that the perceptions developed a decade and a half ago of news as being not only remarkably violent as understood and defined by journalists now stand enhanced by the new intensity described. Finally, we have the continuing and ever-present concern relating to offshore influences, so prevalent in the La Marsh agenda of concerns. Not only do we have a situation where external media seemingly set Canadian agendas, but the requirements of domestic institutions —in this case the courts of the land— find themselves frustrated in their efforts to conduct their proper business according to internally reached decisions and standards.

  • 29 Andrew Osler and Andrew MacFarlane, "How Eleven Newspapers Reported Oka". An invited paper present (...)

552) The Mohawk Crisis and "Surrogate" Violence: As part of a cooperative research venture involving colleagues at four universities in 1991, several of us content analyzed press behaviour during 1990's summer of hostility and confrontation involving members of the Mohawk communities at the Kanesatake (Oka), and Kahnawke reserves south of Montreal29. Longstanding frustrations among the region's Mohawk people relating to territorial claims, and to other matters in their relationship with provincial and federal authorities, boiled over when officials al the non-Indian community at nearby Oka on the Saint Lawrence River sought to enlarge a municipal golf course using land claimed by the Mohawks. Tempers flared, and the inevitable tragedy followed: a police officer died in an exchange of gunfire in mid-July, and the whole affair quickly escalated into a major confrontation. Variously, members of the Sureté du Québec (the provincial police force) and, later on, units of the Canadian Armed Forces confronted militant Mohawks, members of the so-called Warrior Faction. The standoff lasted until the dying days of September when the army, which had effectively laid siege to the Mohawk communities, forced the Warriors to lay down their arms and surrender. While there was much posturing and brandishing of weapons during those hot and dramatic summer months, thankfully there was only one directly attributable death, that of Sureté Corporal Marcel LeMay who died in the initial golf course challenge.

56Our work involved a fairly straightforward quantitative content analysis of 11 daily newspapers, including four francophone ones from Montreal and Quebec City. All four Montreal dailies, Journal de Montréal, La Presse, Le Devoir and the Gazette were included. So were the three Toronto dailies, (the Globe and Mail, the Star and the Sun); the Ottawa Citizen and Le Soleil from Quebec City. More distantly, the London (Ontario) Free Press and the Winnipeg Free Press also were analyzed. All non-advertising material (news, features, editorials, letters, background articles) relating to the Mohawk crisis was subjected to analysis for each of 18 sample days through the crisis period from July 12th until September 29th, 1990.

57Among other procedures applied, each item was catalogued according to a set of 11 subject themes. These included:

  1. Military, paramilitary or police action where physical confrontation or manoeuvring is involved between the primary disputing parties.
  2. Violence and/or Criminal Activity. Real or threatened or otherwise described, but not appropriately covered by Cat. 1 above.
  3. Political activity of any type, including negotiations involving any official body including native or mainstream political, organizations, or the military or police or paramilitary organizations.
  4. Community wellbeing. Any information not touched upon in 1 or 2 above, but involving social concerns; the physical, psychological wellbeing of members of the Indian communities involved.
  5. Native Religious and/or Cultural concerns. Any item not more appropriately categorized elsewhere, (especially in #3, #4, #5 above), and touching an issue of religion or culture, or both, including matters relating to the longhouse and native cultural tradition.

58By far the larger number of individual items fell into one or other of these categories, especially the first three. We chose to look particularly at hard news items in this aspect of the research, and found that percentages among the six representative papers described in Fig. #1, for instance, ranged from a high of 60.1 % of all relevant hard news items in the case of the Montreal Gazette, to a low of 54.8 % in the case of Le Devoir. Typically the largest number of these news items treated themes of violence or direct confrontation. The second area (numerically the first, actually, in the case of Le Soleil, and marginally so in the cases of the Globe and Mail) treated political matters, with all the potential this category holds for the development of themes of confrontation and controversy.

59What is especially interesting is the fact that in the case of each newspaper, only a relatively small fraction of news items was devoted to the rich potential array of non-violent, non-confrontational themes having to do with Mohawk life, religion and culture.

60In another aspect of our analysis, we created profiles of the work of eight journalists (two for each of four major newspapers) who were involved in coverage of the crisis from its tragic beginning in mid-July until uneasy peace finally was restored at the end of September.

61Almost without exception (Fig. #2) these profiled journalists stressed violent/confrontational and political themes at the expense of a wide potential range of cultural and other non-violent and non-confrontational thematic possibilities — (precisely the sorts of information media consumers surely needed most if they were to have any hope of reaching a deeper understanding of the social context of the Mohawk rage).

62Moreover, as Fig. #2 also indicates, there was an overwhelming tendency among these journalists to use the dramatic Warriors, and to a somewhat lesser extern members of the Canadian military, as their primary news sources. In the meantime references to non-militant natives, and to other important players not directly involved in violent or confrontational scenarios was significantly downplayed or even ignored.

63These were images of violence, confrontation and drama. But at the same time they were shallow images which left us with little in the way of real information, not just about what was happening but also about what it all meant.


1 Isaiah Litvak and Christopher Maule, Cultural Sovereignty: the Time and Reader's Digest Case in Canada. (New York: Praeger, 1974), p. 19.

2 Litvak and Maule, p. 23.

3 Paul Rutherford, The Making of the Canadian Media. (Toronto, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1978), p. 119.

4 This is not to suggest that there was a vacuum. By 1967, W.H. Kesterton had produced his A History of Journalism in Canada, and Frank Peers published his Politics of Canadian Broadcasting in 1969. The first edition of Benjamin Singer (ed.,) Communications in Canadian Society had appeared in 1972. Other scholars such as Donald Gordon, Thelma McCormack, Gertrude Robinson, Florian Sauvageau, Joseph Scanlon and Michel de Repentigny were contributing to the periodical literature. By necessity, however, much of this latter work was published offshore. No scholarly Canadian journal dedicated to communication themes was available until the founding of the francophone Communication Information at Université Laval in 1976. In English, the Canadian Journal of Communication emerged in about 1980 from Media Probe, a non-refereed and popularly-written antecedent which began publication in the early 1970s.

5 J. E. Hodgetts, The Canadian Public Service: A Physiology of Government 1867-1970. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976), p. 217.

6 "Who needs a TV cop?", The Globe and Mail, Toronto, June 7, 1994. In this editorial, The Globe suggests that the time has come to end Canada's broadcast regulatory effort; that we have "reached a point where market forces can and should dictate who broadcasts what to whom".

7 An entirely arbitrary list of a few of the more important of these would include, (with the names of their chairs and the years in which they reported indicated in parentheses): The Royal Commission on Broadcasting (Sir John Aird, 1929); the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts Letters and Sciences in Canada, (Vincent Massey, 1951); the second Royal Commission on Broadcasting (Robert Fowler, 1957); the Royal Commission on Publications (Grattan O'Leary, 1961); the Special Senate Committee on the Mass Media (Keit Davey), 1970; the Ontario Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry (Judy LaMarsh, 1976-7); and the Royal Commission on Newspapers (Thomas Kent, 1981).

8 These measures were given effect with the passing of Bill C-58, the so-called "Cullen Rule" after its political author, then federal Revenue Minister Bud Cullen. Bill C-58 was passed by Parliament as an amendment to the Income Tax Act late in 1975, and came into effect January 1, 1976. A good discussion is in Geoffrey Stevens, "The Cullen Rule", The Globe and Mail, Oct. 28, 1975.

9 "Probe into violence ran up $2-million bill", London Free Press, December 14, 1977.

10 "Violence probers urge radical TV changes", London Free Press, June 16, 1977.

11 Report of the Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry, vol. 1, "Approaches, Conclusions and Recommendations". (Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1977), pp. 54-66. 07. 2.

12 Similar concepts are expressed, for instance, in Recommendations 61-69 inclusive of the Report of the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee, (the Applebaum/Hebert committee), (Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1982), pp. 353-4 2. Similarly a central proposal contained in the Report of the Task Force on Broadcasting Policy (the Caplan/Sauvageau committee) Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1986) calls for the creation of an organization called TV Canada which was envisaged as supplying mandatory Canadian programming to cable Systems on a multi-channel basis, entirely similar to the LaMarsh proposals in this area. There are other similarities.

13 Report of the Royal Commission on Newspapers. (Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1981), pp. 237-255

14 The draft legislation was announced by the Hon. Jim Fleming, the federal minister responsible, in paper "Government Proposals on Freedom of the Press in Relation to the Canadian Daily Newspaper Industry", presented at the Graduate School of Journalism, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, May 25, 1982. It was introduced by Mr. Fleming in the House of Commons on July 6th, 1983.

15 Eugene D. Tate and Kathleen McConnell, "The Mass Media and Violence" in Benjamin D. Singer, ed., Communications in Canadian Society, 3rd ed. (Toronto: Nelson Canada, 1991), pp. 310-11.

16 The commissioned LaMarsh studies touching the place of journalism in the larger media context include particularly: Benjamin Singer and Donald Gordon, "Content Analysis of the News Media: Newspapers and Television" in vol. 3; Donald R. Gordon and Lynn Ibson, "Content Analysis of the News Media: Radio" in vol. 3; Anthony Doob and Glenn Macdonald, "The News Media and Perceptions of Violence" in vol. 5; and the author's two studies in vol. 7, "An Analysis of Some News-Flow Patterns and Influences in Ontario", and "A Descriptive Study of Perceptions and Attitudes among Journalists in Ontario".

17 J. Herbert Altschull, "What is News", Mass Comm Review, December, 1974, pp. 17-23.

18 Andrew M. Osler, "A Descriptive Study of Perceptions and Attitudes Among Journalists in Ontario", in Report, The Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry, Vol. vii. (Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1977), p. 10.

19 Ontario Psychological Association, Intervention in Report, the Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry, vol. i. (Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario), p. 145.

20 Benjamin D. Singer and Donald R. Gordon, "Content Analysis of the News Media: Newspapers and Television", in The Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry, Vol. iii. (Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario).

21 Report, the Royal Commission on Violence, vol. i.

22 Andrew M. Osler, "An Analysis of Some News-Flow Patterns and Influences in Ontario", in Report, the Royal Commission on Violence, vol. vii, pp. 60-61.

23 Andrew M. Osler, "Some Problems in the Flow of Foreign News into Ontario", an invited paper presented at the Annual Conference, Association for Education in Journalism, Seattle, Washington, July, 1978.

24 Joseph Scanlon, "Canada Sees the World Through U.S. Eyes: One Case Study in Cultural Domination", Canadian Forum, September, 1974.

25 Robert Martin and Stuart Adam, A Sourcebook of Canadian Media Law. (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1991), p. 73.

26 Murray Goldblatt, Affidavit. Supreme Court of Ontario, (Divisional Court), 1989. In the matter of the Public Inquiries Act, R.S.O. 1980, c.411, and in matter of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Niagara Regional Police Force.

27 D'Arcy Jenish, "Unspeakable Crimes", Maclean's, July 19, 1993.

28 "One acquitted, two convicted in murder of shoe shine boy", London Free Press, March 11, 197.

29 Andrew Osler and Andrew MacFarlane, "How Eleven Newspapers Reported Oka". An invited paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Communication Association, Kingston, Ontario, May 30, 1991, and subsequently at Journalists and the Mohawk Crisis -- Summer 1990, a colloquium at the Université du Quebec à Montréal, June 1, 1991. The Osler-MacFarlane research was part of a larger project involving a television content analysis directed by Professor Ross Perigoe at Concordia University, Montréal; and in-depth interview project directed by Professor Armande St. Jean at Université du Québec à Montréal; and a study of radio hotline shows by Professor Florian Sauvageau at Univeristé Laval, Québec.


Graduate School of Journalism, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

© Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1997

Conditions d’utilisation :