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Pink in the face

Jody Vance: This Pink Shirt Day, think of the reporters being yelled at, threatened, and even assaulted.
We need to talk. (Kevin D Jeffrey /

Since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a broadcaster, part of the media, someone who found interesting stories, checked facts or stats, and shared them with my community. At first in my high school, and then my hometown, my country, and more recently to a worldwide audience.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my chosen career path would become one targeted by harassment or hate.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined “The Media” would become a slag.

Pink Shirt Day is about putting a stop to bullying, and for those of us in the media, this year it’s time to take a stand. This will take a mammoth shift from the rhetoric out there. It’s on each and every one of us to protect the freedom of the press.

In this week’s Middle, the pink shirt is on for everyone working their tails off in the name of truth and information.

I’ve sat at dinner parties where “the media” was sneered at, and the person tossing the jab realizes too late who they are talking to. When I point out “you’re talking about me, my life’s work,” they pause then say, “oh…well, I don’t mean YOU!”

Yes, you do.

Even those who don’t say it like a swear word, it lands like one.

The scoff. The eye roll. The big fat paintbrush that puts me and my hardworking colleagues in the same universe as those who mislead intending to disrupt and cause chaos.

If you listen closely enough, you will hear how that rhetoric spreads. It starts with a buzz, then normalized, which certain politicians cash in to solidify their base, and then it’s clincher time: when members of the media use the term “the MEDIA” in a derogatory way.

It’s gross how slagging The Media became a tool for certain US cable news outlets. Maybe that lulled Canadians into a false sense of security, thinking that cannot happen here. NEWS FLASH: it is happening here.

It’s dangerous, not because it’s insulting, but because solid journalism is crucial for holding power to account, uncovering the misdeeds of the powerful. Interesting how some of the most corrupt created this narrative.

Without a knowledgeable and informed society the loudest in the room wins the vote rather than the one with best case and intentions.

Like millions of Canadians, journalists are overworked and underpaid (believe me) and committed to making our country better, to creating an environment where citizens are truly informed. In return, we are being harassed, abused, spat on and worse. Some of us receive death threats for doing our jobs.

How did we get here?

It’s distraction. It’s divide and conquer. It’s part of a plan by those who want us all to fight while they do the things that will give them power, money, or both.

Imagine the amount of news that ACTUALLY HAPPENED while a small slice of Canadians - fringe - blocked border crossings and occupied downtown Ottawa?? Imagine.

This is gut check time. Do we want to spiral down the drain of disinformation, anger and even insurrection – or do we draw the line here? At the end of the day it’s on us all to be mindful of our words and ensure the meaning of “the media” reverts back to meaning a trusted source to keep us informed while we go about our lives in this glorious and free country.

Those who would harass, berate, even physically assault members of the media should be left pink faced with embarrassment as they are walked off to face consequences. Enough.