It was an eventful Wednesday afternoon outside the Times Colonist building on Douglas Street, as protesters from the group Extinction Rebellion rallied with signs and a mock gallows to protest the local newspaper.
At 3:30 p.m., the group started setting up outside the Douglas Street building in a symbolic demonstration of how global warming is tightening the noose around the necks of humans and a million other species.
Two people stood on ice blocks with nooses around their necks while Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Mark Nykanen and others delivered speeches about the importance of climate action, and how they believe the Times Colonist’s coverage of the climate crisis is tainted by their affiliations with parent company, Glacier Media.
Glacier Media also publishes oil industry periodicals such as Oilweek, Daily Oil Bulletin and Pipeline News.
“They [Glacier Media] have cut the paper’s staff, they have cut the newsroom, they sold the building. These were not unilateral decisions made by the executive editor of this newspaper. And now they’re selling the front page,” says Mark Nykanen pic.twitter.com/VbriPN1Jcm
— Brishti Basu (@brish_ti) November 14, 2019
While there were no rush hour traffic disruptions as a result of the event, multiple motorists honked their horns while driving past the demonstrators.
Counter-protesters also showed up at the start of the event with a bull horn chanting “long live the TC” to drown out the Extinction Rebellion speakers.
Other than one man allegedly being pushed to the ground – it is unclear whether or not this was accidental – the protests were peaceful.
— Brishti Basu (@brish_ti) November 13, 2019
Back and forth
According to Mark Nykanen, an Emmy-award winning journalist, the group has not received a direct response to their allegations from the Times Colonist.
TC editor Dave Obee issued a statement to Victoria Buzz on Tuesday, arguing that all editorial decisions are undertaken by the Times Colonist and not by their parent company.
“We have published more items on climate change this year than any other newspaper in Canada. During the election campaign we asked all party leaders to submits opeds on climate change, and all complied. We are doing what we should be doing, covering climate change fairly and accurately,” said Obee.
Mark Nykanen responded to this statement with the following:
“Obee wants people to believe that the tail wags the dog, that the Times Colonist stands up to its corporate overlords. That’s absurd. If the Colonist were really concerned about the climate crisis it would report the very news that is not in the interest of Glacier Media—that promoting the sale and use of fossil fuels, which Glacier Media also does in international conferences, is a death sentence for the human species.”
“We know the paper has published many pieces on climate change, a good number of them by the likes of Gwyn Morgan, who consistently downplays the looming threat from global heating. Among those ‘items’ is not a Colonist investigation into the insidious subsidies, paid for by taxpayers, that the government hands over to the fossil fuel industry every year. And why would the Colonist extend itself to question the status quo? Those subsidies go to an industry that the Colonist’s owner, Glacier Media, profits from immensely. It’s not the number of ‘items’ published, it’s what they say. That’s Journalism 101. It’s time Obee learned the basics.”