Friday, June 23, 2006

In an age of blogging, why does the press do it?

In a previous era (2001), the press could pretty much print whatever they wanted. And that gave them great influence and power. They could make, or break, any politican they wanted. Fast forward to 2006, and the media now has thousands of watchdogs, ready to pounce when their reporting is not balanced or accurate.

Case in point, this article...

At the end the reporter says relations with Iran were strained by comments by Stephen Harper about an erroneous report that Iran was going to require non-Muslims to wear identifying colours (ala Hitler's Germany). The report was false (and yes, it was reported by the main stream media). But ever since then, the media (feeling a little peevish that Harper is not willing to feed their ambush journalism) is looking for something negative to say. They can't quote the polls, because the polls show Canadians like the changes Harper is making. They can't complain too much about Afghanistan, because 2/3 of Canadians support our role in Afghanistan. So the press keeps on trotting out this story about how Harper shot off his mouth about this false story from Iran. The only problem with this story about Harper shooting off his mouth is that it is wrong.

I heard the full interview on the radio. Harper was asked by a reporter about this story. He said that he would preface his comments by saying, "if it is true" and then went on to say it would be a terrible thing. But he was very careful in his comments not to condemn Iran on heresay, but made it perfectly clear that he didn't know whether the story was true or not.

But I guess that doesn't matter. A couple of days later a report quoted Harper without the cautionary preface, and said that an aide to Mr Harper said that there was a cautionary preface. Maybe the aide did say this, but it wasn't an aide putting a spin on the story to try to protect the PM. If the reporters were doing their job they would have reported the preface themselves. But I guess they still want to add their spin and pretend they are still the influential power they once were. Likewise for this article in the Globe and Mail. It's easier to say relations are strained than to accurately report was Harper actually said.


Anonymous jgriffin said...

Why do they do it? Because most people do not read blogs. The papers know they can still get away with it so they do. Papers will have spouted all kinds of almost libelous trash in the past and will do so again in the future. I can see the election headlines now, "Harper Abandoning Original Five Priorities?", "Why is Harper Building up Military?", "No Evidence Found for Conservative Secret Agenda", "Respected Gay Rights Goups Critical of Conservatives". I hope the Conservatives have a good communications strategy for the next election.

4:09 p.m.  

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