On of the more interesting dynamics surrounding the Green/Liberal agreement is the apparent disconnect between the punditry and the grassroots. Obviously, the politicians have all articulated typical responses, based on their own partisan consideration, so those conclusions are largely irrelevant. However, I am struck by the fact that traditional media has almost universally condemned the Dion/May pact. In contrast, I would describe the online response as far more balanced, whether it be bloggers, commentators on online news items or the more traditional letters to the editor.
If I were limited to traditional media, I would have to conclude that Dion is a foolish, misguided and dangerous leader, who hasn't a clue. Finding a positive piece on the May/Dion agreement, is akin to finding a needle in a haystack of negativity. That isn't to say there doesn't exist a myriad of less than glowing reviews online, but for every thumbs down, you readily find supportive arguments. If someone is trying to wade through all the ramifications of the Dion/May saga, it would seem the best source for balance clearly occurs beyond the professional journalist class.
Let's say you hear about the Dion/May agreement during a local newscast. You think to yourself, "that doesn't sound like a bad idea", but you're not sure. You don't go online for information, so you read a few papers, watch the National, whatever, trying to get a better handle on what actually took place. I would argue that any positive thoughts you might be inclined to have would be challenged, and you would surely be influenced by the mountains of disdain raining down. In other words, we are all impressionable, particularly as it relates to the storytellers, so your opinion might be altered.
Contrast that form of dissemination with what we have seen online, and it is clear, whatever your viewpoint, you can find ample evidence to support, confirm or revise your own sensibilities. A more open process, more engaging, less likely to accept the words of the anointed, critical thought. You read all the same papers, the same news telecasts, but you have the added oasis online. "Hey, not everybody thinks Dion is a complete moron, who toils in the backroom, usurping democracy. Who knew?" In this instance, the only real debate seems to be occurring with ordinary people, the professionals haven't really participated.
The bad news, from my perspective of support, most people still get their information the traditional way, which means I won't be surprised if some poll shows an unfavorable impression of the May/Dion pact. The good news, at least there are avenues available to pierce through the spoon feed streams, that too often tell us what to think, without our input. On this issue, it has almost been like two parallel worlds, that show no resemblence to each other. I choose the one where the people live to wade through it all.