Thursday, April 01, 2010

Liberal media bias? Not according to Tom Flanagan

Is the Canadian media a big, bad Liberal monolith out to get the Conservatives? Not according to Tom Flanagan, the University of Calgary political science professor, former senior adviser to Stephen Harper, former Conservative campaign manager, and the man oftem described as "Harper's Brain":

1:23 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

Dear Mr. Flanagan Do you feel the Conservatives have to work extra hard to sell their proposals because of a more-than-usual hostile press?

1:28 Tom Flanagan: Our situation in Canada is very different from the USA, where the national media are definitely liberal (except for Fox News). In Canada both the Sun chain and the CanWest papers tend to be sympathetic or at least open-minded toward the Conservatives. The Globe and Mail sometimes indulges in quixotic crusades against the government (e.g., prorogation) but is pretty fair overall. The Toronto Star is relentlessly hostile, but nobody ever said you could make friends with everyone. I would say that, compared to most countries with which I have any famiiarity, the Conservatives in Canada actually have friendly media to work with. It was different in the past, but that's the way it is now.

Of course, this confirmation from their own camp, or even an objective analysis, won't stop the Conservatives from playing the media bias card at every opportunity. It's a strategy itself, of course, probably hatched with Flanagan's input back in the day: bang the media on the head regularly for being biased, they'll work extra hard to make sure they're not by bending the opposite way instead.

I've long maintained the only bias most media have isn't for the Liberals, the Conservatives or for Natural Law: it's for a good story. They won't bend things for any one party regularly, but they will bend things for a good headline -- the party involved is really irrelevant to them.

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CanadianSense said...


many of us think the media are lazy and doing a very poor job in digger deeper vs soundbites.

Susan wrote a piece on groupthink with PPG.

Concentration of media worse or better in last twenty years?
Funding cuts and layoffs have created a reliance on fewer people.

Many view CTV as a right wing vs CBC as left wing.

Did the CBC report Climategate or dismiss it?

Do you remember the single mother trapped suing Federal Gov't for $ 2.5 million, she is married has a sister a height of six inches reported by media or have we framed the gov't as racist?

CBC can't afford to investigate and visit the sister or husband after spending weeks on this story?

We have moved to tabloid TMZ style reporting with TV 15 seconds soundbites on recycle.

Gothcha politics and gotcha journalism.

Gayle said...

And of course political pundits love a minority government because people are more engaged.

But you are correct, the conservatives and their supporters love to play the victim card.

Frunger said...

Their most obvious bias is for lazy journalism. Regurgitate all parties talking point memos and press releases, write 8 inches, go home and call it a day. Rinse, repeat.

lyrical said...

I guess TF didn't read the whole book on that.

tim gueguen said...

Commercial media outlets ultimately are beholden to whoever their ownership is no matter what the supposed bias of the staff is. Just imagine how long a reporter or producer in NBC's news department would last if they frequently produce stories critical of corporate owners General Electric.