Friday, May 29, 2009

We Got Your Media Bias Right Here!

Canadian Broadcast Standards Council gives Stephane Dion something to whine about

According to a spokesperson, former Liberal party leader Stephane Dion thinks a recent decision by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council "speaks for itself."

Certainly, it does. But not in the way the perpetually-whiny Dion seems to think.

The decision was in regards to a complaint over the broadcasting of an interview between Dion and CTV Halifax News Anchor Steve Murphy in which Dion asked for the interview to be re-started on numerous occasions. The CBSC also claimed that Murphy failed to explain the question to Dion when it became apparent that he didn't understand it.

Yet the question, as it turns out, was actually rather simple. Murphy had asked Dion "if you were Prime Minister now, what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper has not done?"

Dion responded by launching into his party's campaign platform. After Murphy took significant pains to explain the question to Dion, Dion again flubbed the question. It took the intervention of one of his aides to explain to Dion, in french, the question.

The interview revealed two basic facts about Dion's candidacy for Prime Minister. First, it revealed that Dion had no idea, whatsoever, what he would have done to avoid the economic crisis and subsequent recession (a crisis that began in the woefully under-regulated financial markets of the United States and spread abroad). Second, it revealed that Dion's language skills were simply not up to snuff to be Prime Minister of this country.

Canadians would be rightly alarmed at the election of a Prime Minister who doesn't speak French. Canada's Official Languages Act designates that Canada has two official languages, not one. It isn't unreasonable to expect that the Prime Minister should be able to speak both languages.

Just as a Prime Minister who cannot speak French cannot be expected to function effectively in the Province of Quebec -- and thus be hampered in his ability to address key responsibilities -- no Prime Minister who cannot speak English could be expected to function effectively in the rest of the country.

Canadians understand this. There's a good reason why Canada hasn't elected a functionally unilingual Prime Minister since Lester Pearson.

Beyond this detail, if a federal party leader doing everything he can to saddle the incumbent government with a looming recession that he knows full well that government isn't responsible for cannot explain what he would do differently that leader's credibility in terms of managing the economy is naturally called into question. Canadians have a right to know if an individual who may well become Prime Minister of this country doesn't know his economic ass from a teakettle.

The CBSC's decision seems to hit all the bases that a politially-motivated decision would reach, counter-factually insisting that Murphy's question was "confusing, and not only to a person whose first language is other than English."

Yet the millions of Canadians who realized that Dion's ability to offer any kind of constructive alternative to the Conservative government's management of the economy was precisely is understood the question. Canadians got the question. The CBSC, we're expected to believe, didn't.

But if CTV's handling of Stephane Dion's inability to answer a basic question in English was truly so terrible, one may wonder where the CBSC was when CBC reporter Christina Lawand was caught red-handed dishonestly editing footage of Stephen Harper to make him appear callous.

Oddly enough the CBSC had nothing to say about that, a case in which disinformation was deliberately broadcasted by a Canadian news agency. Apparently, we're to believe, that is A-OK.

Naturally, CTV President Robert Hurst takes issue with the CBSC's decision.

"We are deeply concerned by the tone and content of the council's decision as it is not the CBSC's role to police the nature of the questions any news organization chooses to pose to a public official," Hurst mused.

Nor, apparently, is the CBSC's role to address the deliberate broadcast of disinformation -- unless, apparently, that politician is a Liberal party leader.

Other bloggers currently writing about this topic:

Dan Shields - "158...Thought Police Strike Again; Poor Stephane"

The Not So Much News - "Making fun of Stephane Dion or journalistic integrity?"

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