Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Sorry State of Political Reporting

I do not know why I bothered but I read the most recent article today in the Globe and Mail by Jane Taber and the only thing I could think of was "no wonder mainstream news organizations in the Western world are having difficulties".

I am a political animal and I found that article to be boring and pointless beyond belief. I had to force myself to finish it. I could only imagine the reaction from those who do not care about politics.

That article really sums up the MSM's troubles. They publish articles that the vast majority of their consumers will not read and they are doing it with increasing regularity and then wonder why their readership and ratings are down across the board.

The alternatives to that article are many, the agreement on the changes to pensions reached by the country's finance ministers being an obvious one. As someone who is middle aged I read the story about it and I will read any analysis of it in the future because it will actually have an impact on my life at some point.

An article about Conservative election strategy, not so much. Particularly since the article was unadulterated BS. Somebody should tell these "political" journalists that political parties generally do not make their election strategy public as they do not want their opponents to know what it is until an election is called. So, if a source within a political party calls you up and wants to talk to you about such a strategy all sorts of red flags should go up in your head and you should be a little more critical of what the source is telling you instead of taking it as whole cloth truth.

For instance the obvious question is why would you be making any part of your election strategy public? I am certain that you would not get a straight answer but you should at least give it the old college try.

One obvious answer.

The Conservatives want to give the impression that they have the "Big Mo" going into the Spring. The target audience for that message is not the electorate but the Liberals. The Conservatives know that Stephen Harper will be fighting his fourth election. They know that his esteem amongst the electorate is at its lowest since he was elected to government. Certainly Mr. Ignatieff is lower but he is the Leader of the Opposition so that is to be expected. They know that a large majority of Canadians now believe the country is heading in the wrong direction and that number has been growing steadily for about a year. In short, they know that the next election will be a crap shoot that they could very well lose so they want to postpone it as long as possible. So, they come up with some bullshit story and peddle it to any journalist that is willing to take it at face value.

The MSM in the Western world is having difficulties and the big brains in their head offices are attempting to come up with all sorts of ways to reverse the trend. Here is a little bit a free advice on how you may be able to contribute to such a reversal; Stop allowing your news organizations to be manipulated by political parties and remember that the main reason why people consume the news is to find out what is going on in the world that will directly effect their lives and their livelihoods. Until you do that you can expect the downward trends in readership and ratings to continue.


Blogger marie said...

Hi ottlib...Good post and so very true. I hoped you mailed this thread to all the medias so that they would understand what there job really is and that if they ever hope to pick up new subscribers, they had better change their tune quickly before they all go belly up.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.


December 21, 2010 10:27 PM  
Blogger marie said...

Good morning ottlib. Is it not time for you to write a new thread/ I really do love to read them. They are very informed and one lkows that you are credible and follow issues closely.

THis is not the first time that I have read an article here.http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1223469.html

At the very bottem of the article is a promotion for a CON candidate. I wondered if that was legal to do so as it is blatently campaiging for a political party. Free advertisement?

Have a great day and am looking forward to your next thread on your blog.

Cheers, Marie.

January 23, 2011 12:19 PM  

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