Monday, October 08, 2007


Lawrence Martin had an interesting piece on how the media breathlessly follows Harper, in spite of how he treats them.

This is an observation that I've alluded to often here, only to be told by the right-wing kool-aid crowd, that I've got it all wrong and that all media is decidedly liberal.

What helped Mr. Trudeau get good press in his day was the liberal bias of the media. What helps Mr. Harper today is the conservative bias. Much has changed. The press in Canada is much the philosophical opposite (arrival of the Sun chain, CanWest etc.) of what it used to be.

Precisely. This isn't news to most of us, but it is nice to see someone in the industry actually put that in print.

In my mind, whenever there is absolute bias on any side, "we the people" lose. I understand that there will always be some fringe bias publications and that's fine, but when it becomes part of the fabric of all the media we consume, there is a problem.

What's most interesting to me, is how the current media is creating a singular narrative. That is, "Dion is not a leader". Are there problems in the party right now? Yes, I think so, but are they outside the realm of what may have been expected given what Dion inherited? No, I don't think so. We see few objective observers here. He must take some responsibility and work to repair and renew what is wrong and that which is lacking. I think he's doing that. How does that get reported? Words like, desperate, drowning, imploding, etc., always precede any action being taken.

On the other hand, Martin points out how Harper is covered:

To look at the recent coverage, you would think his government is on a roll. Breathless reports follow breathless reports on how he could destroy all opponents in an election this fall.

That's not bad for a governing party stuck at 33 per cent in the polls for months, one that has fallen six or seven points since it tabled its last budget in March, one that has lost more support in that time than the Liberals or NDP, both of whose numbers have remained stable.

No kidding! Have you seen those points inserted into any article, op-ed, news report? If it is somehow referred to, it's quickly countered by how horribly Dion is doing. It's a kind of, "follow the shiny object" exercise, which is not only insulting, but obvious.

Here is what is humorous to me though. As Martin points out through polls, it's not working. That tells me that it will take on a new rancour. The question is, can this group hope to "convert", what is a traditionally liberal nation? The "right" is quick to point out that support for the Lib's and Con's is tied, but the fact remains, that over 60% of voters are progressive and that includes Liberals.

On Cross Country Check-Up yesterday, the subject was Dion and leadership. Murphy, (no Liberal he), laid out the predictable narrative. He opened the show with Don Martin, a bit later he spoke with L. Ian MacDonald. Incredibly though, most callers, (who are often very Conservative, despite what is said about the CBC), rebuked the premise. The number of those who spoke to media bias, was stunning. Those who supported Dion and the Liberals, specifically contrasted with Harper, doubled those who thought Harper was a star. Those who thought Harper was a star had little else to offer than what they've read or heard. In other words, repeating the kool-aid lines. Murphy later on interviewed Janice McKinnon, NDP and finally Patrick Gossage, Lib. We know the NDP stance but she was pretty fair. Gossage, is perhaps, past his prime. He's so non-committal that I suspect Murphy's crowd, sought him out. That was not a contemporary Liberal voice.

NDP and Liberal callers, were honest about what they were seeing. They saw bias in the media, they saw how Dion was playing out in their community and offered insight as to what is going right or wrong. What was most telling to me, was the fact that some who didn't necessarily support Dion, still felt the accusation in the media, was unfair. Perhaps the NDP is seeing how the media will work against them too?

Bottom line, Martin is correct and more people in his industry should have his courage. Sadly, I'm not sure how many are still out there.

Good news though, we have shown that we are smarter than those who feed us the pap.


sassy said...

Speaking of the press and PMSH - Diplomats face communications crackdown from today's G&M.

Steve V said...

Great post knb :)

knb said...

Sassy, I thought I saw that story yesterday, but I'm with you.

That coupled with the furor in the the Environment group (gov't), tells me something.

I saved the articles and more to come. Call me nut's, but I want to be honest about this stuff, so I research it, budgets and all. Tedious stuff, lol.

Good call Sassy. We'll get there.

knb said...

Thanks Steve...I'm just about to wander over to your place.

Steve V said...

Don't mind the mess ;)

knb said...

You do make me laugh, in the very best way Steve.

Steve V said...


Scotian said...

Good catch KNB, I'm glad I made a quick stop into the online world today before my errands force me away from my computer. As you know I have been most contemptuous of the liberal media myth and refuse to debate anyone that professes a belief in it no matter how rational they may sound otherwise because anyone believing in that myth is only going to accept info from politically approved sources and dispute anything that disagrees with their views in the MSM. After all, if one cannot agree on the facts and whether things are facts in the first place meaningful dialogue becomes inherently difficult to impossible depending on how serious the faith in the myth is.

Hopefully I'll be able to check back on this later today/evening. Meanwhile though I am very gratified to hear you plan on researching this issue in such detail, I am sure I will find much worthy of using for source material.

Anonymous said...

Other than in your line "In my mind, whenever there is absolute bias on any side, 'we the people' lose", I don't see you coming clean on the years of Liberal media bias that this country has endured. Are you accepting Lawrence's admission that the media in the past has been liberally biased? Whenever a Right-wing poster made mention in these blogs of liberal bias on the CBC or elsewhere, they were met by cries of "Oh, the old liberal-media bias song and dance again. Why don't you give it a break..." Yet one left-leaning journalist has said there is currently a right-leaning bias in the media, and you buy the premise 100 percent. But you can't take one half of the premise without the other, which means I guess you agree we have had a liberal media bias for the last many years. How about a line in your post saying "Hey Rightoids, I see what you have been talking about all this time. You weren't crazy after all."

kursk said...

Scotian, good to see you (as a liberal) will have no truck in believing that the media is inherently liberal biased...

As a small c conservative, i can only ascribe that position to not being able to see the forest for the trees..

In all the years growing up, i never saw my views reflected in the mainstream media, in fact it was decades of anti- conservative screeds, when they were not blowing smoke up the rear end of whichever deity of the liberal party was in favour that year..

Do you also reject as arguement the statements from editors and reporters that they do have an inate bias? I try to be fairly objective when it comes to these things, but it is as patently absurd to say there is no liberal bias in the media as it is for one of their biggest boosters to say there is now a conservative bias

Absolute rubbish.Next time you see Adrienne Clarkson or Michelle Jean (not to mention the myriad of liberal biased reporters elected to plum patronage positions..)ask them if they feel their positions were not in part granted to them as reward for years of towing the party line?

ottlib said...

The political views of individual journalists is not really relevant any more because they all work for large corporate entities. And large corporate entities are generally conservative in bent. There are exceptions but they are few.

The managers of those large corporate entities are the ones that hire the publishers and the editors/news directors of news organizations and they are the ones that give them their marching orders. Some like the Aspers are blatant about it while others are more circumspect about it.

It is the editors/news directors who decide whether to approve a particular angle on a story submitted by the working reporter and if that reporter wants to keep his job he will make the editors happy. And so it goes up the line.

knb said...

Anon (of course): yet one left-leaning journalist has said there is currently a right-leaning bias in the media, and you buy the premise 100 percent

No, if you've read this blog, Lawrence didn't sway me, he simply said what I've been saying for some time.

It's obvious and to not see it, is to be obtuse.

Anonymous said...

No, if you've read this blog, Lawrence didn't sway me, he simply said what I've been saying for some time.

Have you been saying that for years there used to be a liberal media bias and now the pendulum has swung and it is becoming a conservative media bias? That is what Lawrence said.

knb said...

Anon, get over yourself.

Was the media more liberal in the past or was it naturally more reflective of the direction of the country?

That direction hasn't changed, but ownership of the media has. The more they push, and push they do, the less receptive they will find their audience.

The masters of their own demise.

Anonymous said...

To requote the article:

What helped Mr. Trudeau get good press in his day was the liberal bias of the media.

I don't see any of your spin about the media actually representing the direction of the country or any other such BS you attribute to it.