Thursday, October 16, 2008

The MSM Seems Fixated on the Dion Demise While the World is in Turmoil

So here we go through the mainstream media silliness of the Dion demise and death-watch. Of course Mr. Dion is done as Liberal leader. Nobody with a three-digit IQ will likely misunderstand that reality. But the competitive MSM seems to be panting to be “first with the story.” That race to be rapid rather than right means they sacrifice facts and accuracy for being able to claim they "broke the story."

The classic reporting is of rumours from anonymous sources about when Dion will announce something. This is promulgated in a pack-journalism culture as if it was “news.” It is not even pedantic infotainment. It is pure gossip. Dion is going to consider and consult because he is a team player and that kind of momentous decisoin takes time and attention. This change of leadership has to be done right for the good of the country and not just the benefit of the Liberal party and in consideration of Dion's future role.

We all need help to understand the implications of the Dion demise to the effectiveness of the Liberal Party functioning as the Official Opposition in this minority Parliament. We need to have some analysis on the reality surrounding the timing and process of a leadership change. This is critical for the Liberals and for what it means for our Canadian democracy and the political culture of the country.

Thankfully the Globe and Mail is on the job. The great columns in today’s newspaper by Jeffery Simpson ( “There is Life After Leader) Lawrence Martin (“The Forecast: Dion out by year’s end, Harper before the next vote.”) and the thoughtful comments (that I disagree with in part) on the state of our democracy by Ed Broadbent (“21st Century Canada, Home of 19th-century Democracy”).

Depth perception and dialogue from authoritative and knowledgeable news sources seems to be missing in action these days. We need to move beyond the hardball hyperbole of the recent election. The 24 hour news cycle and the instantaneous and viral nature of the internet all tends to dumb down the news into a culture where quickness trumps quality. Facts get framed to fit into sound bites and analysis is mostly anal and listless. We have never had more communications but with less information.

As I write this the TSX has dropped below 9000, oil is down over $5.00 on the day and is under $70 - and more big banks are getting taxpayer bailouts in Europe and the States. At least hurricane OMAR is moving towards open water and not likely to hit land. Time to get focused and serious about the economy, the environment and our society.