Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
News organizations have turned their own journalists into WWF cheerleaders.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed published a three-part exposé about violent goons, funded and equipped by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who persecute indigenous communities. In the words of the BuzzFeed journalists, the WWF
works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people. As recently as 2017, forest rangers at a WWF-funded park in Cameroon tortured an 11-year-old boy in front of his parents…
UK politicians have called on the government to respond to these “appalling and deeply disturbing” allegations. US senator Patrick Leahy has likewise demanded an “immediate and thorough review” of the support the WWF receives from American authorities.
BuzzFeed reports that the UK Charity Commission will be asking the WWF “serious questions.” Also in the UK, explorer Ben Fogle has stepped away from his public relationship with this organization, due to these “very serious human rights allegations.”
Longtime WWF supporter, actress Susan Sarandon, says she expects an “in-depth investigation” to take place.
Likewise, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has called on the WWF to “provide the public with a full and transparent accounting of their findings.” (In 2016, DiCaprio – who sits on the WWF’s Board of Directors in the United States, symbolically ‘shared‘ his 2016 Golden Globe award “with all the First Nations peoples represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world.”)
Despite the celebrities, the prominence of the WWF brand, and the serious nature of these allegations, much of the media has chosen to ignore this story. Could that have anything to do with the fact that news organizations have spent the past decade turning their own journalists into WWF cheerleaders?
Think about that cozy, inappropriate relationship – and then ask yourself why The Star has yet to tell its readers about the WWF torture scandal.
Since its Australian beginnings, Earth Hour was a deliberate media creation. Rather than reporting neutrally on current affairs, rather than applying an equally skeptical eye to all large multinational entities (WWF, come on down), news organizations instead promote certain events, certain entities, and certain environmental perspectives.
The flip side of that pathological arrangement is that these same news organizations also have the power to decide what isn’t news. Every single day, they decide what not to tell the public.