Twitter flags the CBC, Australian Broadcast Corporation, and other state broadcasters as 'government-funded media'

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Twitter has gone farther to highlight the cozy linkages between various media outlets and the governments in their respective countries after recently labeling NPR and PBS as statist media outfits.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Radio New Zealand (RNZ), and the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC News), along with other media outlets, have been tagged on the platform as "Government-funded Media." Although initially flagged "government-funded," the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has since been rebranded as "Publicly-funded media."

Conservatives who have long criticized these media outfits for their apparent lack of distance from centralized power have lauded the decision, whereas some liberals have derided Twitter's efforts to increase transparency as an attack on democracy and the public trust.

\u201cNEW: Twitter media labels have been added in the following countries:\n\ud83c\udde8\ud83c\udde6 Canada: CBC\n\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa Australia: ABC \n\ud83c\uddf3\ud83c\uddff New Zealand: Radio NZ\n\ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7 United Kingdom: BBC\nThe labels note that these outlets receive public or government funding. They now join the ranks of US media outlets CBS & NPR.\u201d
— TexasLindsay\u2122 (@TexasLindsay\u2122) 1681700926

Degrees of separation

According to Twitter's definitions, these labels "provide additional context for accounts heavily engaged in geopolitics and diplomacy."

Whereas a "state-affiliated media account" is defined as "outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution," a "government-funded media account" is "defined as outlets where the government provides some or all of the outlet’s funding and may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content."

Finally, for publicly funded media accounts, "Publicly-funded media refers to media organizations that receive funding from license fees, individual contributions, public financing, and commercial financing."

Canadian state media, 'government-funded'

Just as NPR and its devotees took issue with its new designation on Twitter, going so far as to quit the platform, the CBC lashed out in a statement obtained by the Toronto Star, itself a government-subsidized paper.

"Twitter’s own policy defines government-funded media as cases where the government 'may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content,' which is clearly not the case with CBC/Radio-Canada," said the statement. "CBC/Radio-Canada is publicly funded through a parliamentary appropriation that is voted upon by all Members of Parliament. Its editorial independence is protected in law in the Broadcasting Act."

Canadian psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson responded, tweeting, "A Twitter triumph for @JustinTrudeau and, indeed, all Canadians! @elonmusk has awarded @cbc the prestigious government-funded media designation! Our humble local broadcaster joins luminaries such as @NPR in receipt of this singular honor. Veritable shades of Pravda!"

Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, wrote, "CBC officially exposed as 'government-funded media.' Now people know that it is Trudeau propaganda, not news."

\u201cBREAKING: CBC officially exposed as \u201cgovernment-funded media\u201d.\n\nNow people know that it is Trudeau propaganda, not news. \n\nSign here to save $1 billion & defund the CBC:\u201d
— Pierre Poilievre (@Pierre Poilievre) 1681689197

Rachel Gilmore, a reporter for Global News — which also receives money from the Canadian government — denounced the move by Twitter and its celebration by Poilievre, writing, "This is beyond disturbing. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling a national Canadian news organization 'propaganda' and 'not news.' This is a craven attack on the truth, democracy."

The CBC admits on its website that it received over $1 billion in operating funding, $109 million in capital funding, and $4 million in working capital from the Trudeau government this year alone.

Despite 100% of the population funding the CBC, as of 2020, less than 4% of the population tuned in, reported the Globe and Mail.

While its viewership appears to be ever shrinking, the Liberal government has repeatedly promised to boost the state broadcaster's funding. For instance, in the 2015 election, the Trudeau Liberals promised to throw an addition $150 million in taxpayer funds to the CBC, extra to its $1.1 billion in base government funding, reported the Toronto Sun.

In addition to its leadership openly badmouthing and waging lawfare against conservatives, the CBC, promised support by leftist politicians, reportedly undercuts private media outlets and competition, in part by distorting the ad market. Additionally, the CBC, like the Liberal government, has been accused of utilizing government funding to advance identitarian and other woke programming.

Poilievre is actively campaigning to get the CBC defunded. An Angus Reid poll conducted in March 2022 found that there is strong support among Canadian conservatives for cutting the CBC loose.

Although not the full measure he seeks, Poilievre nevertheless pressed Twitter in an April 11 letter to "apply the Government-funded Media label to the CBC's various news-related accounts, including @CBC, @CBCNews, and @CBCAlerts."

At the time of publication, the primary CBC account had been flagged as government-funded, but @CBCNews and @CBCAlerts accounts have yet to be tagged.

Jeffrey Dvorkin, a former managing editor at CBC Radio and vice president of news and information at NPR, told the Toronto Star, "Public broadcasting is under increasing criticism and attack these days because the very idea that there may be some connection to government funding is seen by some people, especially on the conservative side of things, as a bad thing."

Australian state media, 'government-funded'

After getting the "government-funded" branding on Twitter, the ABC pushed for the "publicly-funded" tag that the BBC ultimately secured. It has yet to seen any change in its status.

The Australian state broadcaster wrote on Twitter, "FYI: The ABC is a publicly funded broadcaster, governed by the ABC Charter which is enshrined in legislation. For more than 90 years the ABC has always been and remains an independent media organisation, free from political and commercial interests."

Unlike NPR, the ABC indicated it would continue posting to its Twitter account after receiving the label.

A spokesman for the state media outfit told Crikey, "The ABC doesn’t currently have any plans to shut down all its Twitter accounts. ... We’re liaising with Twitter regarding changes to account verification and labels."

Some critics have suggested that ABC News' favorable coverage of the Australian government's quarantine camps, COVID protocols, and clampdowns on lockdown protesters was indicative of government ties stronger than the organization lets on.

\u201cThank you @elonmusk for labeling @abcnews a government-funded media group.\n\nHere is an Australia throwback when they were rolling out quarantine camps.\n\n\u201d
— An0maly (@An0maly) 1681706952

New Zealand state media, 'government-funded'

RNZ, which reportedly receives nearly $50 million a year from the government, has threatened to leave the platform over its new label.

Megan Whelan, head of content for the state broadcaster, said in a Twitter statement Sunday, "RNZ’s editorial independence is enshrined in our charter and editorial policy. Twitter’s own policy defines government-funded media as cases where the government 'may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content', which does not apply to RNZ."

"Not only is our editorial independence protected by the law, we guard it vigorously. Over the next few days, we will be considering our options," continued the statement. "Including talking to Twitter to have the label removed or revised, or as other public media around the world have done, leave the platform," continued the statement.

British state media, 'government-funded'

Although the BBC persuaded Twitter to change its designation from "government-funded media" to "publicly-funded media," the British government has highlighted that it has directly funded counter-information campaigns at the BBC.

For instance, on March 24, 2022, the British government stated that the "BBC gets emergency funding to fight Russian disinformation" to the tune of £4.1 million. The purpose of this funding, which was extra to the so-called public funding raised by the mandatory license fees imposed upon the British citizenry, was "to help it increase trusted and independent content to counter disinformation about the war in Ukraine."

The BBC contended last week that it was "independent," and Musk, in turn, said that the state media broadcaster was one of the "least biased" outlets.

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Doctor tells Canadian state media that after flu season comes 'stroke season'

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A Calgary-based family physician and urgent care doctor appeared on Canadian state media earlier this week to explain the alleged link between influenza, infection, and stroke.

When explaining the linkage, Dr. Raj Bhardwaj of the University of Calgary noted his recent surprise at discovering that there is now reportedly a "stroke season."

What are the details?

Bhardwaj told CBC Calgary News that a stroke is ultimately when "the blood supply to the brain is compromised for some reason. It's basically a plumbing problem in the pipes that supply blood to your brain. And there's two things that could go wrong with pipes, right: they can get blocked or they can burst."

Systemic inflammation resultant of influenza can reportedly help trigger these plumbing issues.

"It can make the inside of the pipes stickier. It can make your blood a little bit thicker, especially if you get dehydrated. And it can even put the heart into a weird rhythm called atrial fibrillation," said Bhardwaj. "All of those things can increase your risk of having a stroke."

While Bhardwaj was cognizant of the potential link between flu and stroke, he was nevertheless caught off guard by the alleged existence of a "stroke season."

"I didn't know about this either until last year, but it turns out that after flu season, about three or four weeks later, there is a stroke season," he said. "Most of Canada is getting down off of a big hump of flu, so now we're starting to see more strokes."

Bhardwaj noted that he was not the only doctor in the dark about so-called "stroke season."

"One of my colleagues actually mentioned that at work the other day and said, 'Have you noticed how many strokes we're seeing? It's a lot more than usual it feels like,'" said Bhardwaj. "Anecdotally, we're starting to see that."

\u201cHoly shiat\u2026 \u201cI never knew there was a stroke season after flu season, until my bosses & big Pharma told me there is a stroke season after flu season\u201d. \n\nSo am I now allowed asking if people collapsing on air is a stroke? It\u2019s the season, after all, right?\u201d
— Viva Frei (@Viva Frei) 1674316228

Bhardwaj claimed the "good news is that getting your flu shot reduces your risk of stroke," citing a study from the University of Calgary where he works as a clinical assistant professor.

The study in question, published in the Lancet in November, noted that influenza "is a common respiratory infection that precedes stroke."

Dr. Michael Hill, one of the authors on the study, told Global News, "There’s a longstanding history between infections and stroke — upper respiratory tract infections are associated with stroke — so it was sort of natural to start to look at this."

The study suggested that after adjusting for demographics and comorbidities, "recent influenza vaccination significantly reduced the hazard of stroke"; an association that "persisted across all stroke types."

Stroke was found to have been reduced across all ages and risk profiles with the exception to those without hypertension.

A spike resultant of lifestyle choices, weather or something else?

CTV News reported in December that one Canadian hospital had, like Bhardwaj's colleague, observed a "15 per cent increase in the number of stroke patients arriving ... in the first six months of this year."

"What we're seeing is that there is this measurable increase in in the risk of strokes, and not only that, but also just poor outcomes for patients that have strokes during the winter time," said physician George Dresser.

Dresser suggested that regular exercise, reduced sodium and alcohol intake, and a potassium-rich diet could help remedy hypertension and, in turn, deter stroke.

Christmastime sloth and treats may not be the only triggers of spikes in stroke, however.

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases suggested that "lower average temperature and larger diurnal temperature variations were associated with stroke hospitalizations."

Dr. Roberto Alejandro Cruz, a neurologist with DHR Health, told KRGV in May 2021 that he had noticed a spike in patients 30 years and older who had suffered strokes since the start of that year. The CDC noted that over 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the United States by April 21.

While this particular study might help explain a wintertime or early spring "stroke season," researchers behind a 2019 study published in the Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases suggested hot temperatures might otherwise trigger strokes.

They observed "an increase in [ischemic stroke] rates relative to [intracerebral hemorrhage] during the summer months with higher solar radiations that cannot be explained by physiological measures suggestive of dehydration or hem-concentration."

Seasonal weather patterns might account for strokes, but not necessarily an significant uptick in cases.

The New York Times recently reported that data from the "Vaccine Safety Datalink, a federal safety surveillance system, hinted that Americans aged 65 and older might be at increased risk of an ischemic stroke in the 21 days after receiving" the bivalent booster shot.

The CDC — which the majority of respondents in a recent Rasmussen Report poll indicated they want investigated by Congress for its handling of vaccine safety — has announced that it is investigating whether the Bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech has increased some recipients' risk of stroke. Despite the investigation, the CDC maintains that the risk posed by the booster is "very unlikely."

Days after the CDC announced its investigation, Kate O’Brien, WHO director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, claimed that "the best evidence is that there is no true association between the booster doses of Pfizer in the older adults and strokes."

A scientific review published June 2022 in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases noted that "Most of the evidence pertaining to stroke following COVID-19 vaccination are case reports, therefore, the incidence of stroke after COVID-19 vaccination is not precisely known."

The review added that "Most patients who suffered from stroke after COVID-19 vaccination were women, under 60 years of age, and after the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine."

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Congressional Black Caucus blocks black conservative Republican from joining: Report

Florida Rep. Byron Donalds won his first election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020. Donalds, a black lawmaker, has been asking to join the Congressional Black Caucus for months, but he hasn't heard back from the group, BuzzFeed reported Wednesday night.

Donalds' apparent problem? He's a Republican.

Black Democratic members of Congress who won election in 2020 were inducted into the CBC six months ago, but Donalds was not included in the group.

According to BuzzFeed, Donalds has been trying to join the CBC, which purports to be a nonpartisan group of black lawmakers, but the organization has refused to respond to his requests. In fact, he made it clear to Politico back in February that he wanted to join the CBC.

"Obviously, the dominant voice in the CBC tends to be Democrat or liberal voices, and I want to bring change to that," Donalds said, Politico reported.

"Yes, I'm a conservative Republican, but I think in the Black community, we have a wide range of political thought," he added, according to Politico. "It doesn't always get talked about, but it exists."

The lack of response is due to the fact that the CBC is "blocking" Donalds' membership, a source familiar with the group's plans reportedly told BuzzFeed.

The lawmaker's office told the outlet that Donalds has spoken with at least three CBC members about joining, but that he hasn't received an answer and the odds of his becoming a CBC member don't look good.

"Congressman Donalds has expressed interest in joining the CBC, but has yet to receive an official invitation," a Donalds aide told BuzzFeed. "If given, he'd gladly accept."

BuzzFeed said the CBC did not respond to questions about the status of Donalds' membership or why he was not being let in.

According to the outlet, the "snub" is an example of the divide in Congress following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol when a mob stormed the building during the certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Donalds voted against certifying Biden's win:

The snub highlights the divide between Democrats and their Republican counterparts since Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol during the certification of Joe Biden's presidency.

Some Democrats have refused to partner with Republicans on legislation since the mob attack, especially if they voted against accepting the election results. Donalds was one of the Republicans who voted to deny Biden's win.

The CBC currently has zero Republican members.

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