There's a new news channel on the block. It's called Ontario News Now. It is owned and operated by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party -- and funded by Ontario taxpayers. Amara McLaughlin writes:
The Progressive Conservative government's production of a TV-news-style video under the banner of "Ontario News Now" is a "pure example of fake news" that aims to undercut the pillars of democracy and muzzle media, political policy experts say.
"Having a separate news channel kind of corrodes the function of the democratic media, because it assumes that the media isn't able to fulfil the function that is assigned to them," said Jonathan Rose, a political science professor at Queen's University.
The partisan channel launched on Monday via social media with a minute-long video that served as a highlight reel of Ontario Premier Doug Ford's photo ops during his first month in power and chronicled his alleged campaign successes.
It's an extension of one of Ford's chief campaign tools, Ford Nation Live, which featured Lyndsey Vanstone -- Ford's former executive assistant -- posing as a reporter:
McLaughlin reports that, "in just three days, the sole Ontario News Now video racked up thousands of views and generated considerable engagement online — something which shocked news and policy experts."
Chris Waddell -- a professor of journalism at Carleton -- says, "The underlying message in doing this is clearly that the Conservatives think the public is stupid. The Conservatives are relying on the assumption that the public is too stupid to differentiate between information, advertising and propaganda."
It's a sign of our times that those who yell and scream loudest about fake news are the biggest purveyors of it.