Sunday, March 27, 2011

How will this election play in the media?

The Main Stream Media (MSM) in this country is not objective or balanced. That is a journalism school fallacy. This is particularly true of political reporters.

In a few cases it is because of ideology, with the Sun and the National Post being the best examples. In most cases though the media chooses the side they believe will win.

The reason is simple, money. Ownership of our MSM is pretty much concentrated in three large corporations. Those corporations want access to government (taxpayer) funds and the best way to do that is not to piss off the party that is governing or looks like it is about to become the governing party.

We saw this throughout the Liberal years. With the exception of the Sun and the National Post the MSM largely ignored or downplayed some of the more outrageous actions of the Chretien government, focusing on the positive instead. At the same time they nitpicked the Reform Party/Canadian Alliance relentlessly. This reached its peak during the 2000 election when they hounded Stockwell Day for even the most minor gaffe. Certainly he provided them with alot of content but I have always believed that the media was extremely unfair to him and the Canadian Alliance in 2000.

We saw this again in 2004 but when Stephen Harper reduced the Liberals to a minority things began to change in the MSM. They were still hard on the Conservatives but they were not as easy on the Liberals as they had been just a few years before.

Since 2006, we have seen the same thing with only the players changing. The Conservatives have enjoyed a rather easy time of it compared to the Liberals.

So which way will the media jump in this election?

That will all depend on how the election goes. I think the corporate bosses in the media will hedge their bets this time because this election is a crap shoot for both the Liberals and the Conservatives. They will want to be able to point to whoever wins that they treated them fairly during the election so they deserve a place at the public trough.

The Liberals will not enjoy an easy time of it as demonstrated by the hounding about the coalition the day before the writ was dropped but neither are they going to be nitpicked about every little thing happening in the Liberal campaign. (Remember the MSM reaction to the trouble with the campaign plane the last time?) However, the Conservatives will not receive the easy treatment they received during the 2008 election either, as demonstrated by the fact the media actually asked Mr. Harper about his coalition letter of 2004.

Both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff are going to have to work hard to impress the MSM this time and it will be interesting to see how each one of them handles that reality.


Blogger M. Arthur Douglas Daley said...

what's your take on certain facets of the media (both mainstream and independent) that are pulling out the extreme scare op-eds that somehow everything will go to hell if harper gets a majority? not that a conservative majority is something i want, but these articles make me just roll my eyes...

March 30, 2011 11:18 PM  

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