Articles by Wade Rowland on communications technology, philosophy of science and religion, travel and other topics, including some scholarly articles.

Why the CBC Isn’t an Election Issue and Why It Should Be

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Articles-Blog | Comments Off on Why the CBC Isn’t an Election Issue and Why It Should Be

It took a tragic photograph of an innocent’s death to finally raise the question of Canadian values in an otherwise petty, parochial election campaign centred mainly on divvying up the spoils of a sputtering economy. Suddenly, we were talking about the kind of country we once were, about the discomfort and even shame we feel in realizing how mean and self-centered we have become. We began to talk about values, the kinds of higher aspirations we have for our country, beyond maxing out GDP and reducing the tax “burden.” Our government’s lack of compassion in the face of an enormous...

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An Essay on the Roots of Morality

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Articles-Blog | 0 comments

Where does morality come from? How can we know which actions are good and which are bad? How do we recognize a good person, a good life? Are there moral rules or standards that apply to everyone, everywhere, all the time? Or are moral standards merely rules of behaviour and customs adopted by a given culture, so that what is right in one society can be wrong in another, and vice-versa. Since René Descartes and succeeding generations of rationalist thinkers, we have attempted to answer questions like these in terms of reason, which Enlightenment philosophers (aggressively rejecting many...

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The CBC Must Demand Access to Leaders Debates

Posted by on Aug 12, 2015 in Articles-Blog | Comments Off on The CBC Must Demand Access to Leaders Debates

In an election campaign that is extraordinary in so many ways, one of the more noteworthy changes is that there could be as many as five English-language leadership debates. More surprising and perplexing still is the way the CBC has abdicated its obligation as our public broadcaster to provide coverage of these events. Numeris estimates the audience for the first of the debates last Thursday to have been about one-third that garnered in 2011, when the events were produced and distributed by the usual consortium of CBC, CTV, and Global. The average per-minute television viewing audience was...

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A lame Senate report on the CBC’s future

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Articles-Blog, uncategorized | 0 comments

Early in the twentieth century, the American journalist Walter Lippmann and the philosopher John Dewey butted heads over how a modern democracy could possibly govern itself, given that so few citizens had the time, ability, or inclination to study the complex issues of the day. For Lippmann, the only non-violent answer lay in governance by an intellectual and technical elite that would rule, in the public interest, on the basis of “manufactured consent,” a consensus built around “necessary illusions” created at election times using the tools of modern propaganda. Dewey...

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Are broadcasters on the web “unfair” competition for newspapers?

Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 in Articles-Blog | 0 comments

Bob Cox’s editorial on the CBC’s new strategic plan is a welcome contribution to the dialogue concerning the future of public broadcasting in this country.  (Mr. Cox is Publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press and Chair of the Canadian Newspaper Association.) It raises issues that have been the subject of debate in Europe for some time, and which need to be resolved if the inevitable restructuring of the CBC is to have the support of the country’s newspapers. Some context will, I hope, further clarify the issues. When the BBC was took to the airwaves in 1922 as the world’s first national...

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What Bill Chambers Needs to Know About Public Broadcasting

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Articles-Blog | 0 comments

What Bill Chambers Needs to Know About Public Broadcasting

CBC brass, apparently stung by criticism of its plans to pull out of production and focus on digital, mobile media, have taken to lashing out at critics in an unseemly way. The latest example was posted Thursday night on the corporate website, and it is highly revealing. In an otherwise mostly ad hominem attack on one of the many critics of the corporation’s survival plan, Bill Chambers—who bears the title Vice-president, Brand, Communications and Corporate Affairs, CBC/Radio-Canada—makes the following statement: “There is no archetype of public broadcasting. Public broadcasters...

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