(Disclaimer: Sorry if this entry is totally incoherent - I'm not sure it makes sense or that I'm getting my point across.)
A new gameshow started a few weeks ago in Quebec called Le Banquier (The Banker), which is, apparently, our version of an American show called Deal or No Deal - which someone told me is actually a version of a Dutch show.
Now, seems, from the 15 minutes I watched that you don't need any particular knowledge to play this game. No skills other than the ability to jump up and down and act insane on TV. Basically, it's just a question of odds, and ogling pretty models, so meh, whatever.
You can win up to $500,000 I think. What can I say, we're cheap in Quebec, no million dollar jackpots here.
And yes there is a point to this post. I think.
It's the whole convergence thing that freaks me out on this. Quebecor owns a TV network (TVA which airs the show), as well as numerous newspapers the Journal de Montréal, the Journal de Québec, the Ottawa Sun, the Toronto Sun, the London Free Press, the Winnipeg Sun, the Edmonton Sun, the Calgary Sun*, the free commuter dailies in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver as well as nine local dailies in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta). It is the largest magazine publisher in Quebec. It owns Videotron, the Quebec cable company, which also provides internet connections and phone services. It owns Archambault, one of the biggest bookstores in Quebec as well as most of the major publishers.
The host (and producer) of the show, Julie Snyder, also happens to be the wife of the guy who owns this whole passel of media outlets. Surprise surprise. I'm not sure her production company doesn't belong to Quebecor too.
Now, on Le Banquier one evening a lady won $25,000. The next day she was in all Quebecor's newspapers, and a bit later in all their weekly magazines, and more freakishly, on the 6:00 pm news. Not on the morning shows, not on the entertainment shows. Nope. On the "serious" news.
I have no problems with empire builidng as such, I mean more power to Pierre Peladeau and his son Pierre-Karl, who took over when his father died.
And I do realize that it's the same everywhere, in every sector. I do, however find it distrubing that these conglomerates own all the news outlets and basically are in a position to dictate today's news - even if it isn't news in any way, shape or form. It somehow feels just wrong. I find it troubling how these companies basically "make" the news. What, are there no more famines? have all the wars been ended overnight and there's no news other than how this woman won $25,000? Should we care? Why? So we can try to get on your show or watch it and help the ratings soar?
Another example. A couple of weeks ago, a radio station (98.5 FM), a TV network (TVA) and a newspaper (Le Journal de Montreal) - surprise surprise - had a survey done on Quebecers and racism. It was splashed across the news media for a week, with an "in-depth" analysis of a particular aspect of the survey each day. Thing is, was it news? I don't happen to think so; it was fabricated because, I suppose, someone figured we hadn't had a good kerfuffle in a long time.
Besides, a survey is so easy to fix, just ask the questions in order to get the answer you want. And there seems to be more and more of this going on and it annoys the hell out of me. I basically forego the news because, well, what's the point really?
How much of it is news?
Rant over, and to paraphrase the immortal Evil Spock:
* I can't help thinking, seeing all these Suns how bizarre it is to name a paper the Sun. Why? As for the Free Press, that's sort of debatable too, I guess.