What’s with CBC Radio news (and perhaps even the TV news, except I never watch it) and elections? Guess the fact that incumbents and challengers, political parties and causes are clashing throughout any campaign isn’t exciting enough. Perhaps since so much of what passes for political and campaign coverage is of faux-actions, carefully crafted for the camera, the drama has leached away from these mercifully rare events. With handlers and speech writers, decisions by poll and the dreadful fear of making a gaffe (or blurting out the truth) everywhere, what is often portrayed as a horse race is often as exciting as a three-legged sprint at a senior’s home.
Might that be why in two recent elections here in Canada the CBC made a disproportionate focus of their coverage the risk to the incumbents. They completely overplayed the challenge posed by political rivals, in one case touting dubious polls that promised a landslide and proved worthless and in the other zeroing in on CBC News’ perennial stand-by issue, gender.
It’s poor reporting, lousy agenda setting and betrays an unhealthy inclination to drama rather than accurate coverage. It’s the usual CBC method but seldom is it so starkly evident.
So, during the next democratic contest deemed to be of national consequence (which means elections to Ottawa, provincial races only in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta and Aboriginal and women’s campaign group matches) ignore the new coverage method of manufacturing excitement through an unwarranted concentration on challengers. In that way we’ll all learn something from the last Alberta race in which the Wildrose party was utterly trounced by the conservatives and from the Assembly of First Nations contest in which the incumbent got more than 60% of the votes, and the women who were supposed to have toppled the male tyranny…. hmmm.