Journalists can be a council watchdog


Media jobs are evaporating like water puddles on a hot tin roof, but journalists don’t garner much sympathy. Reporters, auto workers, Bay Street traders — the economic carnage is everywhere so complaints about cutbacks at newspapers and broadcast outlets are generally dismissed as self-indulgent whining.
Then somebody like York University professor Robert MacDermid comes along with a powerful reminder of why dwindling media scrutiny matters. MacDermid, an expert in political campaign financing, recently released his latest analysis of corporate contributions to municipal election campaigns in the Greater Toronto Area. Once again, his research suggests the development industry — most obviously in the suburbs — picks its candidates, co-ordinates financial support for the chosen and usually ends up with friendly faces on council.
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