Saturday, September 13, 2008

Harper and the Graspers

The near-fawning coverage of the Harper Tories in most of the Asper-family controlled Canwest press raises the question: what's in it for them? There's the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, a Winnipeg(?!)-based family project that is well on its way financially, thanks to you, me, and every other Canadian who pays taxes. But to avoid big-time financial trouble, the Aspers really need some sort of legislative bail-out. You see, as it stands now, it's against the law to sell newspaper companies and TV networks to foreigners. At the very least, the Aspers need to unload their newspaper chain, which doesn't fit into the family business of buying Canadian rights to American dreck TV and re-broadcasting the crap to Canadians. (The Liberals set that system up, and the Aspers did show them a couple of decades of loyalty for it. But times change). Since there's no one in Canada in the newspaper business who has the money or the inclination to buy the chain, the Aspers need foreign ownership changes to allow Americans or Murdoch to buy the papers.
In fact, just the possibility of foreign buyers for the Aspers' media properties would light a fire under Canwest's moribund stock and save the Grasper family farm. And this week, Harper made some interesting comments in that regard. The travelling press corp, limited to poll-driven reporting, missed the nuance. My old roomie Lise Lareau, the head of Canadian Media Guild, which represents most CBC employees, did not.

No comments: