Friday, May 26, 2006

Guilty as charged

I usually try to avoid the topic of media bias. To me at least, it is largely self evident that the Canadian media has it in for the Conservatives and its predecessor parties.

Of course, non-conservatives will argue that it all depends on your perspective. Jeffrey Simpson makes this point in today's column (behind subscriber wall):

Conservatives are no different than other media consumers: They read into the media what they want. They remember only a fraction of what they read or see. They tend to remember those bits that confirm existing beliefs – in the Conservatives' case, that the media is hostile.

Nonetheless, I feel fairly qualified in making this judgment. I used to be a Liberal before I came to my senses. At the time, nothing gave me more pleasure than to gloat at critical media coverage of Brian Mulroney. He had good reason to distrust the media. Even his purported friends in the media would stab him in the back when given the chance.

There is nothing more hilarious than the media defending itself against Harper's charge that they are biased against his party. In its editorial opposite Simpson's column, the Globe and Mail pleads (again behind subscriber wall) that:

This kind of petulance might be excusable if there were any evidence that the media really were out to get him. In fact, he has pretty good press. A recent poll gave him an 18-point lead over the Liberals, hardly evidence of a media conspiracy.

If I understand their argument, the fact that the Conservatives are now ahead in the polls proves that the media are not biased. Such hubris. But then, does that mean when the Conservatives were behind in the polls (i.e., for most of the previous decade) it was because the media was against them? You can't have it both ways.

Having dug that hole, the Globe then has another go at it with an op-ed piece by Mark Entwistle entitled Even Brian Mulroney met the national press (also behind subscriber wall). While the Globe notes that "Entwistle was press secretary to Brian Mulroney," it conveniently omits that he has also served as a hired gun for CPC turncoat Belinda Stronach. One would think even the Globe could come up with a more credible defender than that if it really had a case.

How pathetic. Guilty as charged.