October 05, 2008

Campaign Notes: And Talking About the Media and Politics (Re-Redux)

(Note: Updates can be found at the end)

Extremely early this morning, I raised a question about CTV and their wireless news feeds. Something about sending out Conservative-related feeds fairly fast while dithering on the the opposition parties'. To continue with the theme of the media and politics, I wanted to look at Metroland Durham Region Media Group, a subsidiary of Torstar and who publishes my local paper, Clarington This Week and the website durhamregion.com.

To anyone in the region, it doesn't surprise when they shill for the Conservatives. During the 2007 Ontario Election they published an 'editorial' written by the local Conservatives. How do I know this? I called the paper during the election to ask where it came from and they told me. So it's no surprise that when Bryan Ransom's response on manufacturing wasn't included in the Sept.13th paper, local Liberals cried foul.

I decided that we should inquire and I wrote the editor. He replied that the piece was misplaced and then overlooked but that the paper would print it ASAP with an attached apology. They did just that on the 17th. For the next response, the paper asked for positions on Afghanistan. Bryan Ransom's reply went in and it was published on Sept.18 - as were all the candidates' responses. Online, all the responses were about Afghanistan. In print, however, all but Bev Oda's responses were about Afghanistan; her's was about industry and it differed from her manufacturing response.

I inquired with the editor once again but this time was not given a reply. Yet, I'm still hearing from others that there is going to be a printing of Oda's Afghanistan response sometime this week. A cynical person might look at this as an intentional mistake to appease Oda's campaign. Afterall, when the paper printed Ransom's manufacturing response it was essentially a stand-alone article, despite the editorial apology. And now Oda is going to have her very own stand-alone piece. I'm interested to see if her industry piece turns out to be the same as her economic response that comes out in two weeks. If not, then there will be some questions about why she had a random industry response on file with the paper.

On the other hand, this could be just the poor work of an editorial team. Two big screw-ups with candidates' responses, missing headshots above articles even though the required headshots were on the previous page, etc. leads one to wonder about the editorial team.

Update (09/24/08): So I was correct. Oda did get her very stand-alone piece with an editorial apology. However, the best part was that her response was printed right above her brand-spanking-new election ad! A double Oda bonus brought to Durham by the good people at Clarington This Week. I also noticed on their durhamregion.com site that even though Ransom's manufacturing response was eventually printed it has yet to appear online.

Update (10/05/08):Once again Clarington This Week has possibly shown its true (blue) colours. Just to clarify; this week's candidate response was on the economy. Now, Oda had already kind of had an economy piece that was printed 'by accident' where her Afghanistan piece should have been. At the time I questioned whether or not this was an accident because it seemed strange that she would have a random response on industry printed that differed from her manufacturing one. I was willing to wait to see if maybe she handed in an economy piece early, that focused on industry, so her campaign wouldn't have to worry about doing it later. Turns out that her economy piece turned out to be very different from her random industry response. Obviously this begs the question, 'why did the paper have a random industry response on file from Oda?' None of the campaigns were asked to print an industry piece and her response wasn't a press release. So where did it come from? Me thinks something stinks...

I've written the editor in hopes of getting an explanation. I doubt my letter will get printed or placed online - they print very few and most end up online - but I also stated that doubt and only asked for the explanation. I'll update this post again if I get a response...

1 comment:

Deb Prothero said...

good on you for trying to keep the local paper honest.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)