Posts Tagged ‘CTV’
While Ontario was poised to discover whether or not our provincial minority government would be converted to a majority in today’s By-Election, we looked at TV news to see what was happening. It’s been years since I’ve had television; normally I get me news online, but I was away from home so we tried it out.
CTV has a 24 hour news channel. Unfortunately it wasn’t running anything about the election.
Granted, By-elections usually don’t change the status quo, but this was different. One seat could make a huge difference to all Ontarians, by transforming a Liberal minority government into a majority.
With our winner-take-all electoral system, minority government is the closest we get to democracy.
The results of this By-Election will impact on the whole province. So there is a lot of interest in this one. So why wasn’t CTV’s news channel covering it? Maybe they think Canadians aren’t interested in politics?
Okay, there was one little factoid squib floating across the ticker along the bottom periodically, but the news they were covering? Well, they kept cutting back to Jo Biden droning on and on live from the American Democratic Convention. This wasn’t news, this was filler. Although the outcome of the American Democratic convention will likely have impact on the rest of the world, this wasn’t it.
And it certainly wasn’t more important than the actual breaking news of an important Ontario election in Ontario.
CBC has a news channel too. Although they had a piece on the Quebec provincial election, they weren’t actually covering the breaking news of the Ontario election results ~ they were cutting back to the American convention as well.
Maybe they think we aren’t interested in Canadian politics?
Poppycock. Maybe the “news media” isn’t doing the job we think it is.
Breaking out my computer I popped into Twitter and lo and behold, breaking news.
Turns out that the Liberal Candidate Steven Del Duca won in Vaughan as expected.
But the Kitchener-Waterloo riding was a different story: NDP Candidate, Catherine Fife won big. Here are the unofficial results
The television part of the mainstream media has certainly failed us; it is, at best, entertainment, not news. Real news lives online.
Just as our antiquated 18th Century electoral system fails us every time.
Although I am quite pleased with Catherine Fife’s win in Kitchener-Waterloo, the disturbing reality is that, although she won the vote handily, 59% of Kitchener-Waterloo voters did not vote for her.
In spite of all that, I’m sure she’ll do an excellent job, so I’d like to congratulate Catherine Fife, Kitchener-Waterloo’s new NDP MPP.
You know, as a Canadian growing up north of the 49th parallel, I learned an awful lot about freedom of speech from American Movies. Films like
The Hollywood community knew all about censorship, you see. The Hollywood fight to prevent censorship from without by creating their own censorship in the form of the Hayes code is legendary. For decades film makers tried every ploy imaginable to sneak things past the Hays Office.
My own personal brush with industry self censorship was when I was working on Hot Shots and Night Heat, which were Canadian-American co-productions. I was never aware of any such directive from CTV, the Canadian network that ran the shows in prime time. But even though CBS ran the series’ as part of CBS Latenight (at a time when all the children ought to be asleep) although I don’t believe it was written down anywhere, I certainly recall the verbal ground rules we writers had to abide by. A 1 hour episode was allowed to contain as many as ten “hell”s and/or “damn”s, and one of either “bitch” or “bastard. All bets were off if a character could be legitimately talking about a female dog, or an ‘illegitimate’ child.
It always boiled down to the idea that self censorship would prevent externally imposed censorship. And films get banned in different places anyway, as can be seen from this Wikipedia list of banned films. (The most bizarre to me is the Manitoba ban on comedies.)
Free speech is something many Americans value in the extreme.
But it’s awfully hard to have either creative freedom or free speech if there is external censorship. The unique aspect of the proposed American SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) law isn’t that it allows the state to censor, it sounds as though it will allow anyone to censor anything. Some people think this is a good thing, because they will be able to stop the the free speech of others, speech they disagree with. Of course, they never realize that it can also be used to silence them.
If the American “Protect IP” or “SOPA” law passes by Christmas, as intended, the Internet as we know it will be over. I have to wonder, too, if the rush to get our Canadian DMCA, Bill C-31 passed by Christmas is connected.
The Irony, of course, is that all of this censorship, and all these repressive measures are being driven by Hollywood, the former champion of free speech.
This little (non-Hollywood) film explains it better than I can:
If you have video issues, you can watch the webm version here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/fftf-actionkit/Protect_IP_Act_Breaks_the_Internet.webm
You can also follow the grass roots Occupy Wall Street Movement all over the interwebs (at least until they get shut down) at http://www.ustream.tv/TheOther99
In solidarity with our American friends trying to convince their government not to break the Internet with IP Protect, I have also posted “Stop Censorship” on my personal blog, the StopUBB blog and my family website.
Canadians: tell our government not to pass Bill C-11, which will have much the same effect on Canada.
* All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Ordinary people may be able to make such comments as calling on Presidents to assassinate people as a “joke,” but people with strong ties to a sitting government should not be making such statements on news magazine programs that are being broadcast across Canadian’s national television broadcaster, CBC.
No doubt Mr. Flanagan was on the program in question because of his strong ties to the Canadian government.
For a political scientist employed at a Canadian University professor teaching young Canadians it was an unconscionable thing to say.
This reflects badly on all Canadians. I do not want my government either condoning (if serious) or trivializing (if not) something as heinous as assassination. If nothing is done about it, the implication left with the world is that this is how Canada is run. Not my Canada.
But it’s an unusual case, so no one really seems to know how to proceed with it. And it was couched as a “joke”, so some people don’t take it seriously.
Yet the man whose assassination Tom Flanagan has called for is under attack from all sides right now. Other threats to his life and liberty and his family have been leveled at him. I doubt he finds it a laughing matter. I am horrified at the thought that my country would condone such a thing.
Yet nothing is being done about it. No one seems to want to do anything about it.
I wrote to Gail Davidson of the Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), the lawyer who made the complaint. Ms. Davidson initially tried to report to the RCMP, but they referred her to the Vancouver Police Department, where she made her complaint, which was assigned a file number (10-206617).
464 Except where otherwise expressly provided by law, the following provisions apply in respect of persons who counsel other persons to commit offences, namely,
(a) every one who counsels another person to commit an indictable offence is, if the offence is not committed, guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the same punishment to which a person who attempts to commit that offence is liable; and
(b) every one who counsels another person to commit an offence punishable on summary conviction is, if the offence is not committed, guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Gail Davidson has since learned that the Calgary Police Department (Tom Flanagan’s current location) has opened a file. From the RCMP, to the Vancouver Police Department to The Calgary Police Department, no one seems to want to do something. Is it because they don’t know how to proceed? Or is it that there is no law to cover it?
equal before the law
Yet the authorities managed to arrest and charge Canadian businessman Byron Sonne on the basis of Twitter remarks protesting the G20.
Byron Sonne is currently being held without bail, and may remain so incarcerated,
deprived of his liberty maybe for years pending trial.
Without having been convicted of anything.
The question then becomes: is it that there is no will to proceed because Mr. Flanagan has strong ties to our government? Charges are not even brought against one man, while another man without such ties is deprived of his liberty.
Maybe a court would find one or both guilty. Maybe not. I don’t know. The point is this issue is serious enough that a court must try.
How does it look to the world?
Canadians engaging in peaceful protest are arrested and brutalized during the G20. Citizens expressing dissent like Byron Sonne are punitively incarcerated.
While a University Professor calling for the assassination of Julian Assange – on National television – in an infamous clip seen around the world, is given a free pass.
Canada looks very very bad indeed.
Making it even worse:
According to this CTV article a Toronto woman received threatening email from Mr. Flanagan, but the police in Calgary will not do anything about it unless she makes a complaint in person:
To lend your support to the complaint against Tom Flanagan, you can contact:
Part II: Party Advertising
The news media will report what they say.
That’s called “news”.
Political parties don’t need to buy advertising. Or at least they shouldn’t have to.
Why do the political parties expend so much energy fund raising to purchase advertising when they can get news coverage for free?
What’s the difference between media news coverage and advertising?
is supposed to present the facts. News coverage might cover a press conference and select key statements made by a politician to put in the broadcast, or perhaps make a documentary about an issue, candidate, party or a campaign. They might include a panel discussion, a public consultation, or a political debate.
What is covered and the focus is decided by the news media editorial department, not the political party.
Realistically, the news media is at least partially entertainment, and like anything else carries bias. The bias may be an official policy of the news outlet, or it might be handed down from on high, or it may have developed based on the bias of the people in editorial department, or even informed by the readership. When there is bias, and there is always bias (it’s only human) how the politician or issue is presented will be influenced by that bias to a degree. If the media takes a shine to a politician, they will be careful to present them in a good light, but if they dislike someone, they have the power to show only unflattering angles and emphasize verbal stumbling or contradictions.
The news media will report what they say. Good and bad.
Thus the politicians and/or the political party can not dictate the “spin”.
To sell a product: in this case, the politician or the party, nothing works like advertising.
Facts are not necessary, the only goal is to make the politicians or the party look good.
Political Party advertising doesn’t have to actually say anything. In fact it is probably better if it doesn’t.
You want your candidate to look their best, and because you can take as long as you need to get it right, your candidate WILL look their best. Photo Ops are good… baby kissing, cuddling pets, whatever works.
Then there are attack ads designed to make the opposing candidate or party look bad. I think the assumption is that if the other guy looks bad, our guy looks good. Unfortunately, these ads don’t come across as “whistle blowing”, they look much more like bullying. I guess that might work for the bullies of the world, but I think this kind of advertising makes the party paying for it look bad.
I don’t need you to tell me what the other party has done wrong, I need to know what you will do right.
Advertising must be paid for. So yes, the parties need to find the money– this is what they are fund raising for.
Because they pay for the ads, they are the client. Thus the politicians and/or the political party have control over the “spin”. Advertisements only tell us what the party wants us to know. So advertising is good for the party, but not necessarily good for the voter.
Is this really how we want to select our government? Based on how good their advertising campaign is?
money and money
There are two different ways advertising money needs to be spent. The obvious part is the money that is spent on the creation of the advertising materials… the writers, producers, actors, camera men…
We don’t often think of the other place advertising money goes… to the media outlets. Space has to be purchased from magazines and newspapers to run print ads, while time slots must be bought from radio and television in order to broadcast commercials.
Political advertising represents an enormous revenue stream for media outlets. The income generated is what pays for the news media. Do you think maybe a TV network that receives a great deal of advertising revenue from a particular political party might be influenced in what news coverage that party receives? Is it unreasonable to think that large advertising budgets may lead to more favorable news coverage for the political parties?
Those are scary enough prospects to begin with, but the one that bothers me the most was the article I read in yesterday’s The Hill Times:
Right now the party is working on solidifying its policy positions, and boosting revenues from fundraising. The Liberals raised $9.6-million in 2009, which is vastly improved from 2008 when they brought in only $5.6-million. But while the Tories’ fundraising haul declined from $21-million in 2008, they were still light years ahead of the other parties, bringing in $18-million last year.
When Mr. Apps became president of the party last year he pledged to match the Conservatives in fundraising by June 30, 2011, and he said the party is on track to meeting that goal.
“In one year we’ve cut the gap in half. If I can cut it in half again this year, so the gap instead of being under $8-million it becomes $4-million, I think it’s very achievable to meet that goal in 2011,” he said.
But the Liberals are not there yet, and after four years in opposition, they have learned to fear the Conservative machine, said one insider.
The upshot certainly seems to be that The Liberal party is afraid to challenge the Conservative party and possibly trigger an election.
Not because they don’t think they are in the right. But for one reason only: they don’t believe they have enough money for advertising, and therefore believe that they cannot win.
Is it really true that our Canadian democracy boils down to the party with the biggest advertising budget will win?
More than anything that is a sign that political advertising needs to be stopped.
If I ran the Zoo er Country…
the only advertising I would allow political parties to engage in would be lawn signs. If the party wanted to appear in the media the candidates would have to do something newsworthy.
Maybe if we got beyond sound bites we could find out what the different parties actually stand for. Instead of throwing all their creative juices into fooling us into voting for them, maybe they could really find out about the issues, and maybe even engage in public consultations and come out with workable platforms.
That’s what I would do if I ran the zoo country.
Write to your Member of Parliament and tell them what you think about premature prorogation or anything else! You can find your MP with this lovely link – it will also help you find out who your MP is if you don’t know. It’s time that Canadians started letting them know what we think about how they represent us.
Find your Member of Parliament
Write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and tell him too!
Prime Minister/Premier Ministre Stephen Harper <email@example.com>
The government gives more weight to postal mail: you can mail your comments without a stamp!!:
The Right Hon. Stephen Joseph Harper, P.C., B.A., M.A.
1600 90th Avenue Southwest, suite A-203
Canada badly needs electoral reform. Take a peek at the Non-Partisan Fair Vote Canada site to get information some ideas of electoral reform. All Canadians need to join in these non-partisan discussions.