Media Think


185 pages
ISBN 1-55164-054-6
DDC 302.23





Reviewed by Jay Newman

Jay Newman is a professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph. His
most recently published works include Biblical Religion and Family
Values: A Problem in the Philosophy of Culture, Competition in Religious
Life, Religion vs. Television: Competitors


Explaining the title of this attack on Canadian media, the author
alleges that “the media not only report on, but seldom stray from, the
policies, statements and spin of the U.S. administration and its client
governments in Canada, Britain, and elsewhere. This may mean simply
overlooking some things, or suffering from apparent historical amnesia,
or adhering to what George Orwell called the ‘prevailing orthodoxy.’
This is what I have chosen to call ‘Media Think.’” James Winter, a
communications studies professor at the University of Windsor, focuses
on Canadian media coverage of persecution in East Timor and Kosovo,
feminist concerns, and a 1994 shooting death in Toronto. A staunch
leftist, Winter shares with counterparts on the Right an unveiled
contempt for mainstream media culture regarded by most of its producers
and consumers as politically moderate and balanced.

Winter assumes the philosophical underpinnings of his invective to be
transparent and reasonable to anyone who is neither corrupt nor obtuse,
so he expends little effort in persuading those who are not already true
believers. However, some leftist ideologues may not be gratified by
Winter’s analysis, for even apart from the inclination of ideologues
to find fault with their comrades over minor details, Winter may
irritate those on the Canadian Left who are convinced that the Canadian
media generally are morally superior, qualitatively, to their American
counterparts. Winter’s attitude to media figures ordinarily regarded
as left-leaning—such as Rick Salutin, Michele Landsberg, Michael
Valpy, and John Stackhouse—is problematic; when not ignoring them
completely, he is compelled by his position either to dismiss them as
without significant influence or to expose them as unreliable. Yet
despite his continual attack on “the media,” Winter acknowledges the
value of “alternative” media, so that difficulties arise here for
him primarily with respect to journalists and broadcasters willing to
compromise their integrity by associating themselves with media
controlled by large corporations. Even so, a publisher’s blurb at the
beginning of the book informs us that Winter’s earlier work has been
praised not only by Now Magazine but by the Ottawa Citizen and The Globe
and Mail.


Winter, James., “Media Think,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,