Monday, April 04, 2011

Lizzie May vs The Media

Green Party leader offers windfall to CBC on one hand, attacks media with the other

As Green Party leader Elizabeth May continues to fight for what she considers her rightful place in the televised leaders' debates, she's chosen to make the media itself an issue in her campaign.

May promises to juice up the CBC with an additional $450 million per annum.

May seems to see the CBC as the only bulwark against what she sees as the steady degeneration of the Canadian media, a degeneration that she intends to put a stop to. She even infers that this may be why May has been excluded from the televised leaders' debate.

"Concentration in Canadian media, corporate control of news content, slashing of local news content, and the slow funding starvation of our national broadcaster — these are the issues the corporate TV executives would rather not see come up in this election," May remarked. "These are issues Canadians will not hear discussed if I am excluded from the national leaders' debate."

Not that May approves of all the CBC's decisions. In fact, May seems to think that the CBC has not been nearly antagonistic enough to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"I think the willingness of the CBC to be less than diligent in pursuing some of the things the Harper government has done, speaks to a concern and a fear of losing more funding,"

Frankly, this is the kind of statement that makes one think May hasn't paid attention to any of Terry Milewski's recent work.

Moreover, there's no evidence that Harper has threatened to cut the CBC's funding if he didn't like what was being broadcasted. Not at all like what Pearson-era cabinet Minister CD Howe threatened.

Then again, these kinds of hanging details are precisely what Canadians have come to expect of the Green Party leader.

For her own part, May is confident that she'll manage to win her battle with the consortium (which involves the CBC, and decided unanimously that she would not participate in the debate). For her own part, it's all about "fairness".

"I think in the end I'll get in the debate, but the media consortium has got to recognize they have done something that offends fundamental principles of fairness in a democracy," May remarked.

Elizabeth May could well be right about that. Her exclusion from the televised leaders' debate wouldn't be nearly as controversial if she had no argument.

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