Friday, November 23, 2007

Look In The Mirror

One of the most interesting dynamics in political discourse, the way the media perpetuates a story, while simultaneously commenting on it as though distant observer. Watching the CBC round table today, the political pundit panel was consumed with the Mulroney affair, for the entire 20 minute segment, to the exclusion of every other issue. Susan Delacourt, whom I usually enjoy, made the following comment (paraphrasing):
"This will dominate the agenda, because it will be a media circus."

The relevant part, Delacourt makes the circus statement, while commenting from the center ring. It was though Delacourt failed to realize that she is the circus, the participant, not the passive observer merely acknowledging the conduct of others. A group of journalists, speaking as though detached, when they are the vehicle. Nobody made the panel spend the entire time on Mulroney, it was conscious decision, they give it importance.

The average Canadian isn't talking about Mulroney at the water cooler, but I guarantee every newsroom is consumed. The media decided we need a steady diet of Mulroney, non stop, nobody is demanding it from the hinterlands. Sometimes, the media needs to realize that if they want to lament the circus, then maybe they should drop the tent poles and get rid of the clown paint.

9 comments:

Joseph said...

Speaking of media, when is Chatal finally going to get of the kick of, um, kicking at Dion at every opportunity? The whole column today is about how Dion is a drag on the liberals. Yes, you could argue that. But it is like an obsession in Chatel's columns. And today's column is really based on NOTHING. There really is nothing there, just deciding to make a claim that the tied polls are just a fluke and that Dion's second year will be harder than his first, if he even lasts that long . . . because, um, it's written in the column???

I mean, you could easily write a column that says after emerging from a shaky first year, he'll have Harper eating out of his hands by spring.

I don't expect that to happen, by the way. But, hell, if my business is to write a column in dream-world and I have no need to base anything I say on facts or reality, I could etch-a-sketch whatever fictional future I want to spin.

It's just strange to me how any of these glorified pundits - in this day and age - still get to define every issue (or create issues) with no counter-point and yield such strength by just having the readership.

Get a blog, Chatel, so someone can question your premise every once in a while. Heck, at least allow comments on your columns. You're not the omniscient royalty you think you are.

Steve V said...

joseph

That column today was out of nowhere. It's like she had nothing to write about today, so she just reverted to her usual storyline.

pogge said...

Every once in a while I'm reminded of Declan's Media Failure Two-Step. It's every bit as incisive now as when it was first written. Of course that was only two and a half years ago.

Gayle said...

I suspect her column stems from the "At Issue" panel discussion yesterday. She called Dion a loser and everyone else just stopped. It was an awkward silence. If she ever had any objectivity it is hard to see it.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! SteveFeller, I ain't got a water cooler but I have seen evidence that Mulroney-Schreiber is on the minds of everyday Canajuns. Maybe the media coverage is gettin' through to 'em.

Media is in the business of attracting readership in order to attract ad revenues. The public loves a juicy scandal; especially, when it involves an unpopular former PM who is still saddled with the "Lyin' Brian" moniker.

I'd also posit that the blogosphere does plenty to perpetuate certain stories. Indeed, one of the main strong points for blogging is that it keeps certain stories alive after their perceived reader interest and commercial value to the MSM have expired.

What's a bit disconcerting is that teh public needs to be dragged into a media circus before they start paying attention to important matters. Whether it's the Mulroney scandal, the climate change scandal, the detainee scandal, the Khan scandal or AdScam, the public only starts to notice when the MSM saturation is sufficient.

I reckon Mulroney-Schreiber needs to be a media circus. Otherwise, it'll be swept under the rug... again.

JB

Steve V said...

JB

Fair points. I guess my criticism is more a question of balance. People might be talking about because they can't avoid it, myself as example ;)

Anonymous said...

Susan Delacourt is a gossip whore. She can actually be a circus with a straight face because it is her job. No one actually thinks she is a political columnist. When Duffy and Newman and Mansbridge et. al spend time on it, they are the circus and should focus ono issues and policy instead such as the non-environment policy of the Torys etc.

wilson said...

Circus = Question Period.
Libs have spent a week asking question after question, about Mulroney/Schreiber and trying to smear PMSH.
Dippers trying to smear Libs.
One big circus act.
The media reported it.

As was pointed out in QP by Baird, McGuinty has not asked a single question on the environment for 160 days, and finally he asks 'why can't I go on the nice trip with you'?

My point is, if the question doesn't smear the Cons (and the military/RCMP), it isn't asked.
You guys suck in Opposition.

Keep it up and Jack's Dippers will replace you.

Scotian said...

Wilson:

How many of those 160 days you cite was Parliament sitting in, hmmm? I strongly suspect that if you were to look at that you would find at least 50% and more likely around 75% of those days Parliament was not sitting and therefore no questions of any sort could have been asked. Nice talking point Wilson, but once context is added it is clearly far less than it appears as tends to be the case with most rhetoric, especially CPC.