A Canadian's perspective on domestic and international issues. Independent coverage of Canadian federal, provincial and municipal elections and anything of interest in Canada.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Canadian media bias in favour of BIG

I find it very amusing how so many Conservative hacks, when realizing that blatant attacks on the Liberals only make them look bad, choose to blame the “liberal media”.
As a former member of the so-called “liberal media” I have to say they are not so “liberal” as they are populist. Look in almost any newspaper in this country and count the number of times you read the words liberal, conservative, Dion and Harper. Then look in the same paper and add up the number of times you read the words Green, NDP, Layton or (What’s the name of the new Green leader, it appears so infrequently I can’t recall what it is).
The point is this, the media tend to play the two big parties off against one another, like they were covering a boxing match or a hockey game. This serves to further marginalize the other parties. When you hear the NDP mentioned, it is more often as an afterthought. When the Greens are mentioned it is most often as an “also ran,” and in many cases you do not hear mention of them at all.
Worse yet, there is seldom any comment from the Independents, who unlike the Greens, actually hold some seats in the house.
If there is a bias in the Canadian media it is neither pro-Liberal or pro-Conservative but pro-Big Party.
In most newrooms, at election time, the senior reporters are assigned to cover the big parties. The newbies and interns get sent to cover the smaller ones. When the coverage is printed, the big headlines are assigned to either the Liberals or Conservatives, and the smaller ones to the “also rans”.
Facts is: the newspapers realize that most of their readership is middle of the road so they cater to the middle of the road, giving the lions share of space to the two big parties.
For anyone, Liberal or Conservative, to accuse the media of having a pro-Liberal or pro-Conservative bent is nonsense. If anything, the media has a pro-status quo bias. One example of this is right here in this whole kafluffle about the recent Conservative attack ads and the responses to them. Its all ‘what do the Conservatives think’ and ‘what do the Liberals think’, and there is so little attention paid to what the other parties and the independents think, one would swear that there are only Liberals and Conservatives, and no others.
If Canadian voters really want to do something to change the way political campaigns are managed and reported on in this country, then we need to ignore what both the big parties and the media are selling, and go out there and vote for people who are not members of either big party, and unrecognized by the media.
These attack ads, and the response to them by the media and party hacks, makes clear what is really wrong with Canadian politics. Us!
If we really want to stop all this negative BS then we need to stop rewarding it with our votes and our patronage. We need to stop buying and reading the papers, watching the TV, and lapping up the mudslinging. Then, when the election comes around, we need to vote for someone off the radar.
Maybe then the parties and the media will get their come-uppins and come around.


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