Monday, September 29, 2008

CTV NewsNet Refusing to Talk Issues, Treating Election as Just a "Horse Race"

This has nothing to do with climate change as such, but it's a great example of the mainstream media wilfully refusing to talk about the issues in this election. I just couldn't resist blogging about it. Here's a copy of an email that I've sent to CTV NewsNet:
To the editor of CTV NewsNet:

I like some aspects of your election coverage, especially the fact that you put detailed video clips on the web. But I am deeply disappointed with your recent refusal to focus on the issues.

Two Recent Examples:
  1. Your Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife today ignored the substance of Stephane Dion's latest speech. Fife was covering the election as if it were just about polls, leaders' poularity and tactics (the video clip is at It was also the perfect "set-up" for the next segment.
  2. A CTV NewsNet anchor (Kate Wheeler?) interviewed Susan Smith, a Liberal strategist. The video clip is at All the anchor asked about were polls and tactics. After responding to this, Ms. Smith also talked about Dion and the following issues (starting around 00:30 mm:ss):
  • Representation and status of women,
  • Child care
  • Poverty
  • Education
  • Seniors
  • Economic policy.
The anchor responded,

"Sure, and those are all issues that are important to many voters, but I guess my question was more specific, I guess why this last-minute addition for him to appear at this rally?"

(See around 01:45 mm:ss; my transcript.)

Your journalists sure knows how to stay "on message", and the "message" is that important issues are not worth discussing! It's all about the "horse race".

I'm not a Liberal party member. I strategically support the local Liberal candidate for action on climate change (I would have supported the Liberal, NDP or Green candidate, depending on who had the best chance to win the riding: see this blog entry for reasons).

But this goes beyond just climate change or party politics. It's about responsible journalism in general.
This election is a debate about the future of Canada and the world. Please treat it as such.

Thanks in advance for considering this feedback.

Note: The above represents my personal views only, not those of my employer or any other person or organization.
Stephane Dion's actual speech in Toronto is here: video, followed by a Q & A with reporters: video. Both clips are well worth watching. As Susan Smith pointed out,
"Stephane Dion came to an event with 500 people today. He had stood at a raucus rally, a fantastic rally, that demonstrated not only the depth of his candidates but of the women in his caucus."

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