Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Right Wing Media

Lots of introspection going on these days, with one glaring omission- our mainstream media- which just soldiers on as though serious reflection isn't warranted. Maybe it's because votes aren't cast on media performance, although whenever we do see public sampling, the verdict is anything but kind. Maybe it's because of political bias, of which a now ALARMING body of evidence has been amassed, over several elections. Maybe it's the stubborn human flaw of pointing fingers at everything but yourself, esoteric isolation that allows for some detached free pass.

I finally read one piece this morning, which speaks to the decline of "real" media. It begins so optimistically, actually questioning why the media has allowed Harper to treat them with such disdain, and get away with it. Unfortunately, it devolves into another slam on social media types usurping good, old fashioned reporting, as though citizens are to blame for journalistic failures. Important here, this is a GENERALIZATION, there are many outstanding scribes, who do great work, and really contribute to our political process. That said, maybe a moment in front of the mirror is required, because if any vacuum is starting to exist, it's simply a testament to coming up short.

I firmly believe now, moving forward, that the Liberals- and the NDP for that matter- should operate as though the media is the enemy, not a way to get messaging out, but something that largely must be overcome. Any attempt to reconnect with Canadians must entirely bypass the mainstream media, the evidence suggests it hostile, it's corporate nature and centralized ownership, uncovers a clear conservative bias. That's right I said it, no not a left wing bias, but a RIGHT WING bias. That's the reality here in Canada and center, left types, better darn well digest that reality, because it is now entrenched. Again exceptions abound, but pull back in totality, the BLUE HUE is unmistakable and empirically validated, unlike the delusional machinations from the right.

It is imperative for the Liberals moving forward that seize social media in aggressive fashion, because traditional forms translate to a stacked deck. The Liberals have one advantage now, so decimated that media scrutiny starts to look like overkill, the gaze will now be trained on the NDP for the time being. This development doesn't mask reality though, because any sense of return will also bring the unyielding negativity, in conjunction with the enabling qualities that have allowed Harper to basically marginalize traditional media. As well, the Harper template is now a rousing success, so the notion that one "needs" the media has been challenged in unprecedented fashion. We have the most remarkable circumstance wherein outright SCORN for the entire profession is met with overwhelming SUPPORT from said profession. Amazing, but also a glimpse into underlying bias, because by any objective measure this type of compliance equates to validation.

Again, where is the media introspection in the aftermath of this election? Yes, Liberals had a dreadful result, but my goodness, this election was no crowning achievement for our media either, and yet I'm reading nothing on the topic. Maybe, that's where social media comes in, the only vehicle available that allows for scrutiny of the "final" presentation, we don't accept it, we don't condone it, we don't have to lap up the crap on our own shores. It's time for non-Conservative types to wonder aloud how we recalibrate a slanted presentation, how we find ways around a corporate media that largely condones, even runs cover, for one side of the spectrum. There is something profoundly wrong in this country, outlets/entities that are nothing more than party propaganda extensions, on television, in print and all over the radio. The game is changing before our eyes, and it's a THREAT, with no powerful counter balance readily available. The question for non-Conservatives moving forward, what is our strategy for going around an obstacle, getting messages out to the Canadian people that aren't bastardized by majority presentations with agendas? Rather than get continually frustrated, demanding something that NEVER comes, we have to be creative, innovative and forward thinking to counteract and reach people.


rgl said...

Well stated - MSM is the issue and social media may be part of the solution though the promise of surveillance is another looming issue to fit into the equation. It devolves back to meetings face-to-face over a period of the next four years to reconnect and rekindle hope and trust bypassing all of the media. We don't have much choice between the face-to-face model and perhaps the use of samizdat.

Sean Cummings said...

So it's the media's fault then. Good. Glad we have that settled. Strange thing, though, Conservative supporters, indeed the Conservative Party itself has held for years that Canada's mainstream media is a left-wing media. Who are we to believe then if Liberals are saying the media has a right wing agenda and Tories are saying the exact opposite?

Good news! If Liberals and Conservatives are saying the media has a bias that supports their political opposite, then it would seem to me the media isn't biased at all.

Odd, though. Canada's largest daily newspaper and a bastion for pro-Liberal viewpoints endorsed the NDP in this election. In most circles, the Toronto Star is known as the official organ of the Liberal party ... and yet ... they endorsed the NDP.

Odd, that.

Steve V said...

"Strange thing, though, Conservative supporters, indeed the Conservative Party itself has held for years that Canada's mainstream media is a left-wing media."

Except we actually have facts on our side. Study up Sean!! Your ignorance is embarrassing, as is your mention of endorsements, considering that over 90% were Conservative. Nice reference point!

Steve V said...

As well, when people like Sean cherry pick one example, while simultaneously ignoring the TOTALITY, it really speaks to their own bias, rather than true reading of objective evidence. In other words Sean, you go in the "useless" folder :)

A Eliz. said...

Harper pays some of the media,... is why it is so Conservative.
I read a good article in the Toronto Star today. surprisingly by Persichilli. whom I do not usually read. It is about the Liberal party trouble since Trudeau...the upper echelons have to go. A good read!

Jerry Prager said...

More than 80% of Canadian media is owned by 3 companies, all conservative.
The fifth estate is a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Business, which also supplanted the church's position in the four estates, because the religion of this Age, is money.

This is the state of affairs Keith Davey's warned about in the 1970's re concentration of media.

I still firmly believe that because most corporatist media was on the verge of bankruptcy during Prorogue, the only thing that kept them afloat was what I call Action Plan Spin Cycle Scam.

No one in the media picked up on it, no one has investigated the hundreds of millions of dollars Harper has transferred through the PMO to the Big Three Con Media.

Canadian media are suffering from the Stockholm syndrome, individually they still think they are a free press, they are anything but,

The corporate media is corporatist, it is ant-democratic. I have known since Prorogue that We are the Defenders of Democracy, Canadian media is full of great journalists spinning anti-democratic narratives.

It is more than just naming them as enemy that is required now: we need to free the Fifth Estate from Corporatism. We need policy.

The Quisling media needs to be recreated.

We need alternative, democratic media.

This is a war of democracy, and we are getting the shit kicked out of us. Corporate journalism cannot and will not defend democracy.

That is our job. Even if it means taking on the Consortium and all it's servants.

Jerry Prager said...

What we need are democracy forums in all 308 ridings, ways of by-passing Big Business spin.

Free press movements.

You nailed it before about SunTV Steve: most of their viewers are
people who hate them: don't 'vote' for them by using them/referencing them.

Boycott corporate media, stop linking to their pages, their articles.
In e-commerce the companies make money off every hit and link. Stop funding people intent on destroying democracy.

gingercat said...

I don't know if I can call the media biased. I would call them lazy and really incaple of independent thought. Herd mentality comes up as well when I think of it.

I enjoyed reading this:

There are many factors in why the media sucks, not only their bias.

Jerry Prager said...

Sean:for the record, even Torstar is owned by one of three con media chains. They are a bone thrown to liberal democrats, and they are the only chain that can survive without propaganda subsidies from Harper.
At the same time as the Star itself is still allowed to function as a liberal-democratic paper, Torstar destroyed independent, locally owned media, most of which they turned into wrapping paper for mass junk advertising distribution and syndicated columns.

Sean Cummings said...

What am I cherry picking, Steve?

Tell you what ... let's have a Skype debate. I'd like to pick apart your argument of media bias.

Sean Cummings said...

Jerry, when it comes to the Star, I'm simply pointing out the historical record in its endorsements. I suspect, though, that were you to ask most journalists in Canada if The Star had a pro-Liberal bent, they would agree.

I'd like to explore Steve's hypothesis on the great media conspiracy because at it's heart, it assumes that journalists in Canada would allow themselves to work under conditions that would promote a bias.

You see, that's the flaw in Steve's logic, just like the flaw in the logic of people like Charles Adler or right wing talk radio hosts - it assumes that journalists would actually submit to that kind of editorial control. An interesting phenomenon occurred during this election - the media was on Twitter - live blogging, reporting live from events. They were unscripted and unedited - I'd ask Steve if that right wing media conspiracy applies to reporters on the scene reporting into their Blackberries.

Steve V said...




I would advise all Liberal representatives, MP's, advisors to boycott SunTV, no appearances, no participation. I've heard Libs have appeared, and it's an utter waste of time, plus it gives a perverted validation. You aren't winning anyone over, so don't bother appearing. Liberals shouldn't condone propaganda arms, nor should my contribution money go for ads, which end up in the pocket of the right wing media.

Sean Cummings said...

Steve, there's no need to boycott Sun TV. Nobody is watching it and it actually sucks ... like, a lot.

Jerry Prager said...

80% media quebecor shaw CTV

Any semblance of liberal democracy that still survives is because Liberal democracy defeated corporatism during WW2, and post war period was liberal democratic: free press is by definition, liberal and democratic.

Doesn't exist anymore. Liberal democracy won the war, corporatism won the peace.

Steve V said...

"What am I cherry picking, Steve?"

90% of endorsements went to the Cons, Harper received an overwhelming advantage on coverage, as detailed by McGill University. Ownership of media is well known. You ignore it all and point to one example, to make a tortured counter. It speaks volumes.

There is no logical flaw, unless facts are an obstacle in your world Sean. If you want to be an apologist have at it, but I don't need your biased seal of approval here. Yawn.

Steve V said...

I'd also add, before people spout off, a review of the 04, 06, 08 campaign coverage is available and it shows a distinct reality that supports my thesis.

sharonapple88 said...

I enjoyed reading this:

Interesting article. The fact that it's on the internet as opposed to a newspaper or a magazine speaks of some of the problems in the media today.

Jerry Prager said...

Our twittering press has no courage, incapable of investigating the biases of its bosses and their own limitations.

They remind me the Farm Rabbits in Watership Down, they know they are being killed and eaten one by one, but live so comfortably that they can't bring themselves to run off with the Wild Rabbits.

We have a Farm Rabbit press.

Three weeks before our election 100,000 pro-democracy demonstrators brought Wisconsin to a stand still: corporate media north and south of the border buried the story, no live footage made it to corporatist media.

Subsequent rallies across the US protesting the Republican agenda - Harper's agenda - have likewise been ignored. Some day Canada is going to wake up to discover American is the midst of a revolution and most Canadians won't know anything about it.

We are alone people: we have no allies in the media beyond a handful of journalists. The rest live in the same bubble that Harper lives in.

Time to redefine the Radical Centre.

Steve V said...

Here's an easier way to link to the article. It is a good read indeed.

sharonapple88 said...

An interesting phenomenon occurred during this election - the media was on Twitter - live blogging, reporting live from events. They were unscripted and unedited - I'd ask Steve if that right wing media conspiracy applies to reporters on the scene reporting into their Blackberries.

Sometimes the news need analysis, otherwise tweets and live blogging just amounts to pass along propaganda.

The article that Gingercat linked has some interesting points on this:

"Do we really care whether Dominic LeBlanc is succinct or another MP has his name tag taped to his I Pad? Did we have to know all of this trivia immediately or could it have waited till a regular newscast that might sieve some wheat from the chaff. This blog, which takes up the same time and resources as a journalist doing real work, does nothing to address one of the main issues surrounding the F-35 purchase—the fact that there is little credibility in the government claims about how much work Canadian aerospace companies may get.

The Globe is now pouring large resources into its web site, actually several web sites, believing that is a big part of our future. If you click on the “politics” subhead on the website, you will get the Ottawa bureau blog led by Jane Taber. To respond to the perceived need for immediacy, it is updated several times a day but a lot of it is recycling the spin that comes out of the party media rooms. For example, the Conservatives frequently send out “Talking Points” on a hot or breaking issue, supposedly confidential coaching to their MPs and political operatives, including the talking heads you see on the various news networks."

Clearly Jane, Susan Delacourt at the Star and a half a dozen other reporters in the Gallery are also on those email lists. It is often mildly amusing, if you like spin, such as the day that Dimitri Soudras, Mr. Harper’s spokesman, said we needed the new F-35 fighter jets to counter Russian bombers, until it was pointed out that our existing F-18s can fly more than twice as fast as the old turboprop Russian Bears.

Amusing yes, but is it serious journalism?

I could offer many more examples but I’ve already gone on too long. I have been tough on my journalistic colleagues but they are dependent on their clientele. So, I will conclude with Pogo and say the real enemy is us. It is often said citizens get the kind of government they deserve. The same could be said for media consumers getting the kind of media they deserve. If people would rather watch Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune than the Fifth Estate, if they prefer Tweets and snip-its to longer and more complex stories, and they are prepared to believe belly-button blogs over edited, evaluated news stories and commentary, then they shouldn’t count on us to be the watchdogs of civil society.

Steve V said...


I agree entirely, voters need to take responsibility here. I will say however journalists are viewed beside auto mechanics and lawyers in terms of sentiment expressed, so there is a sense of less than resounding opinion. It is also true that traditional media is waning badly, so perhaps people are speaking by their increasing indifference, lower readership. However, until voters become more sophisticated, then they will be susceptible to distortions and triviality.

Yes, one neat point in that article was these online updates with the big media, wherein they just repeat gossip in the name of content, as well as being used by warrooms to put out talking points

sharonapple88 said...

It is also true that traditional media is waning badly, so perhaps people are speaking by their increasing indifference, lower readership.

As for decling readership... I remember a magazine editor noting that the problem with magazines is that they flatter their advertisers more than try to cater to their readers. If people would rather not pay, it's because the product's not worth anything in the first place, he argued. It was one reason he argued for unbiased reporting. And copyediting.(Harsh, but there may be some
truth to it. ;) .)

Steve V said...

It's also true there is less money available for true investigative journalism, which explains why cheap Rona Barrett type columns in a former respected paper like the G and M now dominate. I just find it a bit odd to see an industry dying before our eyes and hardly any introspection. They say we don't want issues, but they sure as shit don't want this poll obsessed, gotcha nonsense we get daily either, so...

Dana said...

"Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors."

Ralph Walodo Emerson said that over a hundred years ago.

weeble said...

What concerns me is that the results have validated the script. As you reflected Steve, the media allowed Harper to get away with scripted appearances, controlled rallies and a refusal to take questions. I would be interested to learn how many all-candidates sessions were skipped by the Tory candidates.
In my own riding, Vancouver South, the minute Wai Young got into trouble with accepting an endorsement from Malik, she disappeared. She complained to the Chinese media (the only outlet she would talk to) that people kept asking her about the issue.
Well of course, duh???
The point is that us electorate allowed this to happen. The raft of unqualified NDP candidates in Quebec who were elected, some without visiting their ridings...nor even being aware of the issues to which they should speak.
It is going to be a tough 4 years, but we should be demanding more from our government. However, each election Harper says less...and gets more votes. He will continue this, and will mandate all of his candidates do the same...until we stop him. The media obviously won't....we need to.

Steve V said...

"the media allowed Harper to get away with scripted appearances, controlled rallies and a refusal to take questions. I would be interested to learn how many all-candidates sessions were skipped by the Tory candidates."

One, it show other parties the path to power. Two, what does it say about a medium, wherein the Cons walk all over it and they STILL give favourable coverage. Harper has basically said "you people are irrelevant" and he's proven it, with your compliance. It's absurd when you think about it.

Joe said...

Without trying to rain on anyone's pity party the fact is the media IS. Quite often it appears Liberal friendly when it isn't Conservative friendly when it isn't NDP friendly. As more and more sources of information become available the Media has become less and less relevant. Gone are the days of Walter Cronkite authoritative voice that formed the direction of the nation. However the twitter/facebook 'revolution' is stillborn. It serves only as an echo chamber and has virtually no impact on voting intent. The fact remains is that what truly matters is the zeitgeist of the decades formed by elector's experience, hopes and promises. The 'liberal' zeitgeist reached its zenith in the 1970s and the Liberal party has done nothing to update its position since.

Steve V said...

Rather than a pity party, a recognition of a reality, how to move forward. At the moment social media is confined, to think the future remains as limited, a serious miscalculation.

weeble said...

When parliament resumes I will be interested to discover what happens with the contempt report.
With a house controlled by Harper we will never have the right to see this report.
I would suggest that the days are numbered for our current Auditor General, as well as the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
I will be most interested in who, or whom is appointed Speaker as well.
I expect not to ever hear from my elected MP, I will miss Ujjal who was extremely active in my community.

Kirk said...

Social media will only get you so far.

Harper used paid ads to get his message out. This allowed him to say things that he could never, even in a pro-Conservative media environment, get away with. He can say them unchallenged in ads. Articles tend to a least contain a rebuttal comment from the other side.

SunTV exists to allow him to say these things without having to pay for it. Foxnews puts out attack ads stories/narratives without the Republicans paying ABC, NBC etc. to do it.

Now people like Sean Cummings like to say it's whining to talk about attack ads or govt funded Con positive advertising but we must ignore his ego. easily wounded, from seeing anyone say anything that contradicts his Con partisan world view.

Just as we need to take a clear look at how the Liberal Party has lost 22% of the electorate since the Chretien years. No deluding of ourselves on our faults or on the barriers we face in the media, in fund raising and everywhere else.

Deno said...

I have a question, if the media is so right wing then why is SH always at war with the PPG? After all, since SH and the Tories pays them like A Elize says is it not a waste of money to pay the media then ignore them,

Again I asked, if the media is so rightwing and on board with the Tories like Steve.V says then why are all the Tories MP`s and candidates during this election were under a gage order not to talk to the media.

If the MSM was on board with the Tories as you liberals believe then SH is smart enough to use them to get his message out as much as possible. The Fact that the PPG and SH are always at war and that they hate each other is proof that there is no rightwing biases and you guys are looking for a scapegoat to blame for the Liberals worst loss in their history.

The more Liberals look outside the party for why Canadians are supporting them with fewer and fewer votes the longer the Liberal Party will stay in the political wilderness.

This is one right of centre Canadian that held his nose and voted Tory this election to prevent the NDP from gaining power. Since I will never vote NDP, as long as the Liberal Party is blaming everyone but themselves for their current low standing with Canadian voters people like me will be stuck voting Tory for many elections to come.

Get back to being the party that slayed the deficit and cut taxes and generally ran a good competent government and quit this blame game so millions of right of centre Canadians like me will have a choice on who to vote for in future elections.


Steve V said...


Again, ignoring the coverage facts. On your questions, they avoided because its a gotcha environment, leading why take the chance.


Only part of the equation. As for money, with per vote subsidy smaller, then elimination, it will be years before we can compete.

Scotian said...


There is another reason Steve V did not mention, it is called "working the refs" to produce favourable coverage as well as to continue the myth within the CPC base that anything in the media which makes the CPC look bad or unfit to govern has to be because of media bias and conspiracy against them not because it might actually have a factual basis or even *gasp* be true. When you discredit all information sources but your own approved ones to your base then you don't have to waste resources trying to convince them to stay with you, which in turn allows you to focus on getting those you need to shave off to gain your majority.

In the pre-Harper days I would have been classified as a soft Liberal/Red Tory swing voter. My economics tend to be classic Canadian conservative in basis and my social welfare and justice values liberal to in some areas trending hard left/NDP in places. I am a conglomeration of political views with no one aspect being dominant save one: I do not trust, support, and especially want to see any ideological and/or extremist government, which was why I have always been so hardcore about Harper.

Now, unlike most unaligned voters I know what Harper is because I actually do my own research instead of relying on the media to tell me things. The problem with the media regarding Harper is that they swallow almost totally without critical thought what comes out of his mouth when it comes to political rivals, and without a lot of critical thought and more importantly critical examination in their media forums Harper government POLICY. Indeed, the Harper government got less critical policy examination than any prior government in my lifetime and that profoundly terrifies me, because the whole point of a free press/media in a democratic society is to hold those in power under close scrutiny WHOMEVER they happen to be! When that is lost then the voters lose a very critical tool in being able to form informed judgments when they vote!

I hate to have to agree with Steve V but the actual evidence is there, the media in Canada is clearly biased towards the Harper
CPC overall. Are there individuals within it who are not and try to be heard? Of course, but we are not talking about narrow examples here we are talking about overall broad outlines, and it is clearly there that the blue tinging is indeed most noticeable. Indeed the only consistent media studies on coverage during elections all show that the Conservatives do much better than anyone else, and is the ONLY actual hard evidence that shows ANY media bias.

Not to mention the ownership aspects already discussed here which has always been a problem in waiting in this country. It used to be though there was a belief in the need for fairness and balance within those groups, but over the past quarter century or so that began changing. No Deno, there is a real problem within the media these days for bias, and the hard facts actually show that the bias as far as one exists is clearly blue in colour, not red or orange.

Möbius said...

I find amusing when my righty friends accuse the media of bias. Same with the lefties, apparently.

The media only cares about what will sell ads, i.e., controversy.

Steve V said...

I find it amusing you lack the sophistication to distinguish between fantasy and fact.

Jerry Prager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Prager said...

We need to re-define the Radical Centre
through our own Creative Commons-based social media,

We need democracy forums in all 308 ridings for grounded political action discussions and planning and socials.

We need our own University Radio news and analysis shows.

We need our own cable TV news and analysis shows.

Weekly "broadcast" of national discussions, with follow up, internal voting/polling systems to determine common choices and opinions.

We need to bring together the network of all Canadian Liberal Democratic associations, clubs, societies, etc from the Council of Canadians to Fair Vote Canada to Democracy Watch to etc etc etc.

Jerry Prager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Prager said...

The statement about Right Wing Media bias DOES need to be made within the context of what do we do about it. So here's my policy proposals.

Altering Corporations and Freeing the Fifth Estate

Koby said...

28 papers endorsed the Conservatives
2 papers endorsed the NDP
1 paper endorsed the Bloc
0 papers endorsed the Liberals

Three points:

One Liberals also have to "attack the refs". I said this prior to the election -- indeed I have been saying it for years. "The Liberals need to start developing additional talking points aimed not at a broad audience but at political pundits, and political junkies. Above all else the party needs to challenge the legions of conservative columnists least various conservative position become received wisdom. Factual errors need to be pointed out, non sequiturs need to be mocked and detailed arguments provided. Again the party needs to be vicious. Ignatieff talks about wanting to the be the party that bases its decisions on sound reasoning and science. A good way of establishing such a reputation is take a conservative pundit out to the wood shed on occasion. When a conservative columnist retires the Liberals should share Trudeau's lament: "I'm sorry I won't have you to kick around any more." Special attention needs to be given to the following papers: Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Winnipeg Free Press, Ottawa Citizen and the Montreal Gazette.

Two, of course for such a strategy to be effective the Liberals actually need take stand on issues. A lot of the success Conservatives have enjoyed stems from the fact that however, stupid their arguments and policies, they are the only ones willing to put forward some. When pundits talk about policy or arguments used to buttress it; they deal with Conservative policies and arguments. The Liberals give them nothing to talk about. The Liberals have abandoned the field altogether; they do not put forward polices; they do not put forward arguments; they do not refute arguments. They might tut tut and promise to "compromise", but this only hurts them. The former makes them appear to be the effeminate wimps the Conservatives claim them to be and the later makes it appear that the various Conservative arguments polices have some validity when in actuality they have none. At best, the Liberals will sometimes take a stand in defense of the status quo. The gun registry is a case in point. However, do not expect them to say much of anything when they do take a stand. They might note that the experts support them, but they will not repeat the expert's arguments least someone take offense to what the experts are saying and want to shoot the messenger.

Three, for years the Liberals have believed that they could use the media to faithfully disseminate their message and so talk directly to the Canadian people. They are wrong. Trying to use the media as a vehicle for getting your message out is like trying to pass a message to someone across a large room by having a series of people whisper in the ear of the person next to them. What message is eventually received is seldom the same as the message given.

Steve V said...

Just so people don't think the endorsements were a one off:

2008 endorsements:,_2008

2006 endorsements:,_2006

Kirk said...

I think Koby makes good points about challenging the bias especially among pundits. Factual rebuttals even satirical ones distributed in whatever way possible can't hurt. And pump out those "talking points" because the media loves to report on them.

Jennifer said...

How I love when the conspiracy theorists start in on the "MSM" as if the media is one large amorphous mass, showing their ignorance of the difference between a newspaper's editorial stance and its reporting, and acting like there's some big blame game to play. Get a grip, folks. The issue is that the party just assumed it would remain in power forever, and did no future planning or regenerating.

Clue in, Steve et al. This isn't about media bias. It's about a party on desperate need of repair. And pretending it's somehow the media's fault shows exactly how it got that way.

The last week's whining and moaning and blaming external forces and talking about merging shows me a party that is not only broken, but has no business being in power until it figures out what it is. No one seems to give a damn about how to do that; with Michael Ignatieff's exception, they are all just looking for others to blame and the easiest route to winning - not the best way to become a viable party again. Right at the moment, given what I'm reading here and elsewhere, it is far less than the sum of it's parts.

Steve V said...

"Clue in, Steve et al. This isn't about media bias. It's about a party on desperate need of repair. And pretending it's somehow the media's fault shows exactly how it got that way."

Honestly, this shit is getting tiring. I've blogged forever about the internal problems of this party, so spare me the freaking lectures. When I've pointed to flaws in the past, people like you drop in to tell me I'm not a "good Liberal". Give it a rest.

As for the media, it isn't just editorials, the 04, 06, 08, 11 campaigns all show more favourable coverage for the Conservatives, more negative for the Liberals. Liberals need to understand the landscape, nobody is saying we lost because, but it sure isn't an asset. As Koby articulated, Liberals have assumed they can get their message out through the media, they CAN'T, so lets figure out constructive ways to work around. You want to ignore that part of the equation, that's your prerogative, but it's also denial.

Again, if you're getting some general sense and what to get all pissy here FINE, but your preaching to the choir. You also sound "whiny and moaning", which is funny given your thrust.

Don't worry, I don't think we fix the media all is good, FAR, FAR from it. Please, it really is tiring.

William said...

Interesting comments today... most miss the mark, but some have a smack of justice to them.

The reality is that the Cons were treated more gently than the Liberals.

I personally think that perhaps that is because the MSM had a higher, albeit unrealistic set of expectations of Iggy.

In the end a large segment of the media, particularly in Ontario and Montreal, considered the Liberals the natural governing party as much as the Liberals did, and they conducted themselves on the assumption that the rest of the nation thought the same, and it bit them in the ass.

Personally I think he was doomed to failure regardless of the media. As has been mentioned, the CPC did a pretty good job of demonizing him, but by the same token, the media inadvertently supported that by presenting the softer, gentler side of their own reporting on him.

They should have gone after Iggy harder, with a nastier attitude, which would have had the benefit of forcing Iggy into watching himself much earlier on.

His lack of a backbone in the earlier days of his leadership didn't do him any favors (The LPC won't support the CPC plan for this, that, and the other thing... until it's time to actually vote on them), and the media actually supported his flaccid stance on so many subjects by actually not pressing him.

Pressing him would have achieved two very significant things:

1) he would have been forced to defend himself, and in the process shown Canadians that he cared enough to rebuke the media and the press.

2) he would have learned earlier on to keep his mouth shut until he loaded his gun, and not pay attention to the jack offs advising him, but rather listen to his own not inconsiderable intuition.

Regardless, it's done now, and in the last 7 years the devolution of the media has become complete. They are a pack of ravenous dogs, looking for the next tidbit of a headline so they can get a dutiful pat on the head from their publishers and their contemporaries, who love and hate each other, one and the same.

Today Jack's pres-schoolers are the subject of the day, tomorrow it will be some twit leaning to far to the right under Harper, the next day it will be Quebec bemoaning the fact that their votes counted for bugger all again, because unlike the past, Ontario didn't follow suit, but instead left Quebec holding the NDP bag with a Harper government and no strings attached to hold him to their needs.

Irony is a bitch eh:)

The campaigns were nasty, the attack ads even nastier, each party trying to out do the other, and the Liberal Party screaming blue (no pun) bloody murder about it, all the while forgetting that it was they themselves which built this boat that sailed without them.

Or do you all forget "Soldiers in the Streets", as the Martin Liberals sought to adopt American Style attack ads.

That's right kiddies, the Liberals were the architects of their own doom when it came to attack ads, by opening a Pandora's box and forgeting they didn't know how to close the lid.

Put another way, the Martin Liberals carried the ball down to the 10 yard line, went for a pass, and got intercepted, and the Tories ran the ball right back down your throats.

You give the voting mass' too little credit if you think the general population doesn't remember that. They may by and large be sheep, but they’re a comparatively highly educated flock, and to forget that is to stand in front of the herd when it charges or bolts.

All that aside, because it is just water under the bridge now, I think Steve you actually postulated a question. What to do to revitalize the party?

William said...

That is exactly the right question, because you can't change the past, you can only look forward now.

I took out a Liberal Membership today for that very question, and my own desire to help bring the center back.

That said, you need to really ask yourself, did the center actually go away?

Remember Steve, the muddled middle, the teaming mass', the most eccentric voting population in the world, simply because they aren't eccentric.

This is the moment for people like yourself to shine Steve, because with renewal will come great possibility.

First start small... never run on a big tent idea. Run on small, easily digested concepts that appeal to a broad spectrum.

For example, Daycare.

Personally, I'm against it, but that isn't because I'm all about having choice for my children. It's because I'm a cheap bastard who doesn't have children and doesn't want to pay for yours. Others want choice, and fear a big tent concept.

For example, Sweden's system is always touted by the NDP, and the Liberals, but because these parties think the voting population is inherently stupid, they don't bother to contrast the reality of the Swedish system, which is that after 35 years even the Swedish government admits publicly that it was a really bad idea.

That doesn't mean it has to stay a bad idea, and the Liberals could have worked hard to show the voters how National Daycare could have been improved to avoid the pitfalls the Swedish are suffering from now.

Lesson number one for the Liberal party: Stop assuming the electorate are stupid... by and large they are, but not nearly as much as the MSM and the Liberal party think.

Most of the really stupid voters vote NDP... which is why sans a Quebec rebellion against the bloc, they will always be a fringe party... unless the Liberals screw up over the next five years.

If your agenda, for example, is to achieve National Daycare, well start smaller.

How about a national lunch program for students first.

There is over 1 million children in our nation not getting enough food every day. That is something a cheap bastard like me can vote for, and virtually everyone else as well.

Then, when you are in a majority situation again, you simply expand the existing program.

Read about our social nets... see how they grew into what they are today, and you'll see that I'm dead on in this regard.

Healthcare wasn't the program it is today when it was initiated... we simply aggrandize and romance that it was.

Pensions, EI (formerly UI), and virtually every other national program started small and grew over time.

Why? Because it's easy to get people to support small measures. Large measures generate to much debate and are devisive by nature.

That's rule number two: Until you are in a majority, with 4 to 5 years to help people forget, never campaign on concepts that polarize the voters.

WesternGrit said...

Since 1993 I listened to the Conservatives/Reformers/Alliance talk about the "left-wing media" bogeyman. Nothing of the sort existed then (perhaps a free local paper or two).

Fact is, corporations have interests that tend to best be aided by the conservative/right wing side of the spectrum. Media in Canada is in the hands of 4 or 5 very Conservative families and their corporations. It's beyond just corporate ownership... The media is "powned" by individual families.

We simply need to repeat the Conservative Mantra:
1) Include a slam of the Conservative Party in EVERY sentence ad infinitum.
2) Include a shot at the "right-wing media" in EVERY sentence.

Eventually, the media - out of defensiveness - or simply to avoid public scrutiny - MIGHT start throwing a few tidbits our way.

William said...

Western Grit, if you run on that concept, your just perpetuating the very shit that got the Liberal party its ass kicked in the first place.

Voters want to know why you are different, and getting into the mud in the next election won't do that.

Don't take shit lying down, but don't shovel shit either.

Ack! Look at the time. Have a nice night.

William said...

Besides which, by the time the Tories are done 5 years from now, most of the crown corps will have a very different face on them.

Particularly the CBC... it's about to get back to its roots like never before.

Kirk said...

Or do you all forget "Soldiers in the Streets", as the Martin Liberals sought to adopt American Style attack ads.

I remember that that ad never ran. It was rejected by leaked to the media by someone.

And your idea that the Conservatives somehow were only copying the Liberals is overlooking how they have adopted most of the Republican playbook from naming legislation with warm and fuzzy names to robo-calling to suppress voters to every other Rovian tactic we've seen down south.

The Liberals haven't lead this move. They've been too late in seeing how the Conservatives have been charging full ahead with such tactics.

Koby said...


you keep on referring to a 2006 attack ad that was never aired as proof that the Liberals were the first ones to adopt Republican style attacks in Canada.

You such a funny guy. Hyperbole and demagogy Conservative is my middle name.

"Today, Martin says he's against child pornography. But his voting record proves otherwise,"

Stephen Harper of course never apologized, but the press release was retracted. Stephen Harper: "What's in bad taste is the Liberal Party's record on child pornography.

The following went out at the same time and was never retracted. "The NDP Caucus Supports Child Pornography?"

This only goes to prove the Conservatives only retracted the first because of the media firestorm.

Jerry Prager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Prager said...

Oh, and just wanted to say, Liberals shouldn't NOT deal with the Big Three Con media corps,just deal with one person from each, draw attention to the structure of the Big three; talk about Keith Davies and his 1971 concentration of media warnings, talk about what they own, who they control, no point in talking to more than three people, draw attention to the the fact that the Big three are essentially the majority of the Consortium too, so, no more debates controlled by the onsortium, go to parliamentary channel for debates, gongs for lies in debates. Bring it all into focus.

Saskboy said...

Welcome to the territory the Greens have become quite familiar with.