Thursday, May 25, 2006

Harper Insults Local Media

Harper's anti-national media strategy will probably backfire for obvious reasons. However, I also think Harper's statements show little respect for local media. Harper states that he will talk over the national media, directly to local outlets to "get his message out". This belief pre-supposes a relatively benign local press, that simply jots down the propaganda and disseminates it to the masses. Translation, Harper prefers the less "sophisticated", or accomplished media to be his faciliator.

Harper's tactic may actually alienate some local media, and backfire in the sense that they will now see it as duty to be more critical, lest they look like government patsies. It is also impossible to isolate the media into distinct quadrants, because overriding locale are the general tenets of journalism. If Harper ignores part of the press, it is logical that other journalists will fill the void. Harper could find himself with a bored national press (the last thing you want is a press corp looking for stories), as well as an empowered local press.

Harper insults the local media, implying a pro-government bias. The national media is against me, but these guys will do what I ask. There is some merit to the belief that local media coverage is more favorable, simply as a function of the "event" when a high profile politician comes to visit. However, the media tends to react to any charges of negative slants by bending over backwards to look objective, which translates into overly favorable coverage(see last election). If there exists a belief that local media is government hand-maiden, these outlets may go out of there way to be critical to avoid a perception of bias. Coupled with the fact that you can't carve the media into neat sections, the medium bleeds back and forth, and Harper has a strategy that is destined for blowback.


Meaghan Walker-Williams said...

I would agree with that assessment. In my experience local media outlets are far more sassy and eager to ask hard questions and so on, because reporters in such outlets are eager to make a name for themselves and thus drive themselves up the media food-chain.

Certainly, were Mr.Harper to appear to recieve questions from the two local papers in Duncan, he would get a grilling of intensity that he may not be expecting since the papers here are both left-leaning.

SkylarKD said...

"Harper's tactic may actually alienate some local media, and backfire in the sense that they will now see it as duty to be more critical"

God, I hope so!!