Cyberwanderer’s Blog

September 26, 2008

Questionable pro-Harper conduct by CBC and CTV

Filed under: Canada,election,Politics — cyberwanderer @ 10:18 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve been following the election on various channels. I felt Peter Mansbridge and some of CBC report seems to be too accommodating and less critical of Harper. Back then I dismissed it as just an isolated incident. But few weeks on in the campaign and from observation and growing blog about instances of questionable and not so balanced reporting, it turns out they are not isolated cases. Today, a reporter asked Harper what he thought of media’s coverage. He reportedly looked over to his staff with “a hint of smile” and said he think it is balanced this time around. (h/t Far and Wide blog). Now we all know that Harper get riled up over being questioned by the media. So it’s not hard to imagine what Harper’s definition of balanced media is.

The problem with getting complacent is we tend to miss the subtle things and news report that tend to sway our opinion. We take media report as fact and easily believe them. Case in point, U.S. media report favorably about George Bush Iraq war claim and majority of Americans bought into it. Now here in Canada, CBC reporting on several occasions leave me feeling like something is not quite right.  And judging by opinion expressed by others, there has been more than one occasion of questionable reporting.

Today, Harper in true Bush fashion accused Dion of praying for a recession. Dion was emotional and talked passionately about Canada hitting back at Harper. That speech got good review and show a passionate side of Dion. It made headline on most news. However, CBC ignored it while it was being reported as headline news on other networks. (h/t Liberals Arts and Minds blog). I know it’s an image Harper would not want people to see. But what is CBC’s motivation? There are other instances which are more subtle but CBC’s action today cannot be tolerated. CTV reporter Robert Fife have been accused by a maritime radio host of acting like he’s been bought and paid for by Harper. Robert Fife has been criticized for having pro-Harper bias long before the election. But tonight, watching Mike Duffy, I can’t help but observed that Mike Duffy’s line of questioning seems to fall in line with some pro-Harper paper. They are expounding the line that Liberal is in such bad shape that NDP is about to become the opposition. This is called creating a perception contrary to the facts. The facts being that poll after poll have showed Liberal well ahead of NDP. But the perceptions that pro-Harper paper is trying to create is that the Liberal is in disarray and disintegrating. What people don’t realize is how little bias reporting like this create a perception of a sinking ship. We live in a connected society and tend to follow what seems to be popular. So by creating a perception of a Liberal sinking ship, people would tend to join the bandwagon of abandoning what they thought is becoming unpopular. So in tonight’s Mike Duffy Live, pushing that same line, he heap praise on NDP for rising to almost claim the position of opposition. And on asking his Liberal guest a question. He asked about NDP gaining on Liberal with hand covering his mouth as if there’s some dire event occurring. The Liberal guest wisely shot back and said he is not sure why Mike is saying that when polls shows otherwise. But when the news host, which ordinary Canadian thought knows more about politics than them, said the Liberal is sinking, then he must know something they don’t.

There are lots of other cases that I’ve observed but have not noted them down thinking it’s just isolated incidence. But from now on, I will be observing every instances closely and put them here if time allows. I call on everyone to be vigilant. We don’t want what happen to U.S. to happen to us. Some people like to claim that Americans are stupid. I disagree. Americans are not stupid, but they become too complacent that they took their media word and got fooled.

Whether the news people are letting their personal political bias influence them, or as the maritime radio host claim that they’ve been paid, does not matter. What is important is we stay vigilant and question what the media feed us. Seek out information in the internet from other sources. I wished I have more cash and time then I would create a new “media bias watch” website to document any questionable conduct and archive video of proof.

My appeal to everyone, just as a citizen from Peterborough put out a poster appeal (h/t One Woman One Blog), is to be vigilant. We should all pay close attention, post any proof of bias and post video on youtube when possible. We can only maintain a healthy democracy if we don’t become complacent and get manipulated easily.



  1. “The facts being that poll after poll have showed Liberal well ahead of NDP.”

    I didn’t know that “well ahead” was the same as “within the margin of error”. Because in most every poll I’ve seen for a good 10 days now, the Liberals and the NDP are within the margin of error each other.

    You may want to marginalize the NDP in this election, but the facts are that they’re in this thing – and have a chance to win (better than Dion’s if you ask me).

    Comment by Partisan Non-partisan — September 26, 2008 @ 11:34 pm | Reply

  2. I think its fair to say that Peter Mansbridge, for one among the CBC, has a self-interested bias. Harper fully intends to privatize the CBC if he gets a chance. The winners in any public property that is privatized are always the ones who are there on the day it happens. Maybe thats why George on The Hour was rude to Stephane Dion last week. I believe the reports from the CBC National should be discounted entirely during this election – they’re in it for the pay-off, plain and simple.

    Comment by Deb Prothero — September 27, 2008 @ 12:29 am | Reply

  3. Hi Partisan Non-partisan, I am not sure which poll you are referring to. But from the poll that I saw, if the difference between Liberal and NDP is considered a margin of error then the pollster should be fired. Speaking of polls, Nanos research pollster commented that poll number could easily be skewed to say whatever a party wants to say. He said this election is so volatile and there’s a lot of switching around. One poll would show Liberal closing in on Conservative while another shows a bigger margin between the two. Then the parties can easily play with the poll numbers. He cited one example of Layton being able to truly claim he is leading the Liberal. But that is only true in Quebec. A fact he would leave out no doubt. There’s also the question of who is behind the polling and how do they get their sample. The sample used is very crucial in determining whether the poll result is reliable or not. Anyway, the way polls keep changing and with high percentage of undecided voters, they are pretty much useless right now. Just vote with your heart and mind and not simply believe misinformation campaign of a party who have the most cash, and able to put out the highest volume of distorted ads.

    Comment by cyberwanderer — September 27, 2008 @ 1:28 am | Reply

  4. Interesting to stumble upon this article, now in the next election.

    I am finding honestly, that journalists are giving the worst media coverage of elections that they have ever given, and it has only gotten worse from 2006 through 2008.

    The problems are twofold: a) adjectives, and b) polls. Journalists chase around pollsters like university sports majors chase around sophomore girls in swimsuits. They then manage to take the (questionable) results of those polls and tie a bunch of adjectives around them, and attribute them to the candidates/leaders.

    Take for example, the 2008 election. Dion and the Liberals were slipping in the polls under relentless Conservative attacks. The election results bore out that the polls werent entirely inaccurate, although they predicted that the Conservatives would take a majority.

    What were the headlines? “Confident Harper stages rally”, “Beleagured Dion Campaign Stumbling”. If you saw the video of either of the two rallies the reporters were reporting, you would have seen that Harper was his usual self, and Dion was absolutely charged. You have to wonder if the reporters even attended the events, of if they were so feverishly thumbing at their Blackberrys that they werent even paying much attention to what was happening around them. They then pick the picture that suits their headline from the hundreds of shots taken by their photographers, and click “Submit”. Done.

    2006 was no different. In what was actually a pretty close race that had the Liberals pegged to win, one tiny surprise notch up in the polls flipped the “Drained Guy” from Harper to Martin. If you review previous coverage and contrast it with the headlines, you will see what I mean.

    Journalists these days are feverish with trying to get out the emotions and side with the winners, rather than report the facts. The entire media-complex is as much at fault for this as the reporters themselves; it’s hard to report on the facts of a health-care platform plank, for example, in a 30 second ad spot.

    This election has seen this failing, at times flailing, coverage of the campaign. The recent “NDP Surge” is the cream of the crop and has me, a very politically active individual, turning off the coverage altogether, regardless of the network, journalist, or program.

    In effect, in some sampling of 1000 to 2500 randomly selected people showed what could have even been a glitch in NDP support. What happened? Did we see reporters note that these are tiny samples, did we see reporters talk about how we would need to see several more polls before this trend was established? No. We saw front page headlines: “NDP surges ahead of Liberals”. The headlines have gone on, day after day, which reinforces to the public that what the media is saying must be true. However we know little about the polling methodology. Who is being called? Are they landlines or cell phones? Are you calling people in the same areas?

    Another dark truth about media coverage of elections is this stupid coverage of advertisements made by the political parties. They are so gullible that if a party releases an advertisement on their website they will run it, or segments of it, fully free of charge, call in pollsters and pundits, and a whole raft of “experts” to evaluate the effectiveness of the ad. There was a time when the advertising and news departments were wholly separated by a chinese wall within the organization. That time is most certainly not today.

    We now see primary election coverage focusing on polls, secondary coverage focusing on ad buys, and tertiary coverage focusing on the supposed energy level of the leader, which is usually just an adjective picked to match the poll data which has no relevance whatsoever to the story they are reporting. Issues and facts come dead last.

    Note in the current 2011 election – the first blitz of news reported was that this was “quickly shaping up to be a two way race”, between Harper and Ignatieff. If you look deeper why was that? Well Harper had 37% in the polls and Ignatieff had 31%, the NDP was where it always was at about 16%. News? No. The NDP has been third place in every federal election save for when the PC party was decimated, once the Canadian Alliance came along they were back in third place. Eventually this “two way race” thing got really boring really fast, because the constant jabs back and forth were bubbled down to mere talking points repeated over and over. They drifted to Quebec, where both the Conservatives and the Liberals are weak, the NDP made some strides because the BQ are separatists and there are a lot of federalists in Quebec; BOOM, headline coverage of the Jack-o-mainia, and wondering if it will sweep the country – which, if you beleive the media, it now inevitably has. The self-fulfilling prophecy – now it’s not only a three way race like it’s always been, but now it’s a two way race between the 2nd and 3rd place parties, screw the guy who is probably going to form government, lets talk about these guys.

    What has been the most upsetting is that throughout the run up to, and commencement of, and execution of, the current campaign is that there has been more than plenty of fodder for some real substantiative news and coverage that could have been of service to the public. It’s practically been hand-delivered to them.

    There was the contempt ruling, the Bev Oda affair, the nothing-budget that during a campaign became a whack of promises spun out to take effect one day after the NEXT election, the stupid incessant talk of coalitions, Harper’s avoidance of the media and refusal to take questions, 20 year old girls being thrown out of rallies by police and people’s facebook pages being scanned. Bruce Carson and his tittilating fiancee who is 40 years younger than him, a former escort, his fraud charges, influence peddling charges, and the fact tha he was a top level PMO staffer, we have four senators charged with electoral fraud, the CPC in hot water with Elections Canada, and if you go back a bit further, the Census shenannigan where they put words in a guys mouth making him quit, the boondoggle with hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked to reduce border congestion being sprinkled away by a hotel manager, a mayor, and a Conservative Cabinet minister in his riding miles away from the G8, the biggest deficit in history, the most spent on a G20 in history, riots, citizens placed into outdoor jails, a monstrous chasm between the $75 million figure quoted by Lockheed on F-35s that probably wont have engines, weapons, or avionics and the $150 million per plane figure estimated by the people who are actually bankrolling building them.

    The problem is that the list goes on, and on, and on. Journalists dont have to do much digging to find out these “important” stories and find answers and write about them, yet they dont bother. They spend more time on polls in each broadcast than all of these issues combined. The problem is that the journalists dont report on them, and the editorial boards of the various networks and papers dont give them any space.

    So, they go on talking about who’s tired and who’s peppy, extrapolating every margin of error movement in the polls as though the election has been decided already, doing their best to pick the winner, and thoroughly ignoring everything that actually matters.

    In the process, doing a great disservice to the public, and eventually rendering themselves irrellevant. If what they’re selling is junk, will people continue buying it? Or will they read something like what the original author wrote on this page, or what I have written as a mere comment, and realize that there is far better news to be found elsewhere.

    Comment by K Taylor — April 27, 2011 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

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