Thursday, December 09, 2010

Decorum and Newsworthiness in Politics

When I decided to write about this topic, I had just listened to Don Cherry rant and rave about Pinkos when introducing Rob Ford as the new mayor. The media reaction when from outraged to mocking, but no one mentioned the fact that Cherry's speech was totally inappropriate for the type of event he was at. I would expect some class and dignity in a swearing in ceremony. Instead we get name calling and ramblings from a beloved hockey commentator who should stick to talking about hockey.

I think the 24 hour news cycle, and political news shows has done more to derange the narrative politics in this country then anything else. It has become who can be the most outrageously partisan, and most snarky rather then debating points on merit of their ideas. The Conservatives have been the masters of the snarkiness, and when I see Vic Toews, or Peter Van Loan on Powerplay I watch for a few minutes and tire of their "liberalitis" aka everything bad is Liberals, we are not Liberals. The tv hosts are no better, in letting these clowns get their bully pulpit and often just end up using it to spout talking points rather then have a discussion about the issues.

A big part of the problem is the Prime Minister, who controls his MPs through fear and intimidation, when was the last time we saw a Conservative talk contrary to the PMO without any consequence? This leads the other parties to cry foul, and they try to message in a similar form in the media. Why was Julian Fantino hiding during his by-election campaign. The media tries to hold them accountable, but they get caught up in their collective ADD (its hard to get a quote when you can't answer a question), brought on by the trickle of information and opportunities to find a potential scoop from a cabinet minister.

This ADD is often caused by the various polling companies, who make money somehow on changes in the views of the electorate which are often in the margin of error. Polls create a permanent spin cycle, when there is no news often the only thing to talk about is polls. Lets be honest, any poll coming out in November and December as winter starts, and Canadians prepare for the holidays, will have no bearing on an election in the next spring. Polls are snapshots of a time period. I think their revelence often only applies to panelists on Powerplay, and Power and Politics. To the rest of us, its barely a barometer.

On this tangent, i happened to read an interesting article by David Akin, talking about reporters (with the public) and politicians (with reporters) being distrustful and cynical even in the off hours. It was an interesting observation by David, to note that both Politicians are subject to scrutiny and snarky intrusion in this age? Is there a way to change it? Probably not, but we have to ignore non news days, and maybe then politicians and journalists will try harder to spin less, and be more "normal". Negativity, random speculation, and snarkiness is what I see a lot of in political news by everybody. Do we really want children watching question period? or even a debate on P and P? Think about it?

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