(Aneta Rebiszewski/Ryersonian)

“The cheese slipped off the cracker with these guys and they just went far-left,” said Premier Doug Ford at a conference last week in Ottawa, addressing his concerns with mainstream journalism.   

Last weekend, the Ontario premier was at the annual Manning Network Conference, speaking with conservative thinkers, strategists and politicians, stating that mainstream journalism has become irrelevant because of social media, according to Global News.

Last year at the election, Ford said he drove journalists crazy by going to outlets such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to talk directly to the public.

However, what Ford does not understand is that being able to go directly to social media makes journalists even more necessary. Social media has made it easier for people to create fake news and bad journalism.

It is the same journalists who Ford criticizes who will usually be the ones to call out bad journalism and fake news.

Yes, all journalists are human beings with some political opinion.

However, a journalist’s job is to acknowledge their own bias, but still be objective. All journalists at mainstream news organizations are expected to follow these rules.

That is different from so-called journalists who live on social media and aren’t trying to be fair and balanced in their reporting.

And with social media, it has allowed people to curate what news they want to read.

Ford’s argument stating that most mainstream publications are “far-left” isn’t inaccurate.

In fact, in the summer of 2018, the Columbia Review of Journalism reported on a study that found many journalists are left-leaning.  

But, that is partially because journalism has diversified in recent years and some of the new voices are more progressive.

Even though there are many left-leaning voices, they adhere to an ethical code. The Canadian Federation of Journalists has its own ethical guidelines that are followed by many mainstream publications.

That is not always the case with so-called journalists on social media, who don’t follow an ethical code.

If Ford really believes that all news outlets are left-leaning, how does he account for the Toronto Sun, who often supports him and right-wing ideas? How does he account for conservative columnists in the National Post?

If people believe all journalism is far-left, there is a tool called Google they can use to search for information pertaining to their beliefs.

Due to social media, the public needs mainstream journalism more than ever to help decipher between the fake news and accurate news.

Mainstream journalism is needed to help the public understand the implications of what the government says and does.

The purpose of journalists is to understand the community they serve.

If Ford chooses to ignore the efforts of journalists in Ontario then he doesn’t understand journalism.

This is a joint byline. Ryersonian staff are responsible for the news website edited and produced by final-year undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Ryerson University. It features all the content from the weekly campus newspaper, The Ryersonian, and distributes news and online multimedia, including video newscasts from RyersonianTV. Ryersonian.ca also provides videos, images, and other interactive material in partnership with the School of Journalism.

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