Thursday, October 15, 2009

Craig Chandler: Martyred Again?

Craig Chandler, Mark Dyrholm complain of media bias

As the Wildrose Alliance creeps closer still to their leadership convention some have speculated that Danielle Smith's momentum may be insurmountable.

With few options and less time, Smith's opponent Mark Dyrholm and his campaign strategist, Craig Chandler, are resorting to an unfortunately popular tactic among conservative politicians: blame the media.

Dyrholm and Chandler have fingered a broad rogue's gallery amongst the Albertan media: CanWest Global executive producer and managing editor David Moretta (who is also Smith's husband), Global Calgary news director Jeff Bollenbach, Calgary Herald columnist Nigel Hannaford, Nanton News editor Sheena Read, Troy Media Corporation columnist Doug Firby and 630 CHED commentator Lesley Primeau.

Chandler and Dyrholm sound as if they're alleging a mass conspiracy in Smith's favour -- one that includes the husbands and wives of various news commentators, including Smith herself.

And while Dyrholm and Chandler are both entirely right to note that journalists ought to be removed from situations where their personal biases may influence point-of-fact news reporting, they seem to be largely off target.

As Bollenbach notes, Moretta very much has been removed from decision-making regarding the coverage of the Alliance leadership campaign.

Meanwhile Hallaford, Firby and Primeau are opinion journalists. It's their job to present their individual viewpoints. While accounting for the source of their bias is certainly laudable, that bias itself is part of their job. Complaining about bias in commentary is actually rather insipid.

If Chandler wasn't so fixated on identifying enemies within the media perhaps he would be able to assess his own skills in dealing with the media. For example, minding one's own appearance when dealing with journalism is generally considered to be a good idea. In the SE Calgary News video Chandler appears unshaven.

Chandler has a long history of discomfort dealing with the media. One would think that, at some point, he would invest in his public relations skills.

The truth is that Danielle Smith's campaign isn't outperforming Mark Dyrholm's because of media bias. Rather, she's outperforming Dyrholm because her campaign and her ideas are more appealing.

Media martyrdom may serve to energize one's base. But it generally makes for poor politics.

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

Someone Who Looked Into the Toilet and Screamed - "Premature Sour Grapes"

Banner, Sword and Shield - "Media Mix Up or Why Try and Do Some Googling

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