I pick on shows like Power and Politics, because these shows in my opinion have chosen to give up their journalistic integrity, but are still passing themselves off as a serious news provider who are following established journalistic principles and practices. In choosing to do so it is my belief that these programs are hurting Canadians. In other words shows like this piss me off, because they are:
- Passing themselves off as honest news shows that Canadians can trust to hear the truth about all things political on, but in truth are guilty of knowingly misrepresenting known political facts on issues critical to Canadians and in so doing intentionally misleading Canadians, for high show ratings.
I know that Canadian politicians think that Canadians just do not care about their behavior, or would not do anything about it even if we did, but that political shows like Power and Politics with host Rosie Barton and her assorted array of guests seem to do all that they can to reinforce that thought and make Canadians believe that the statement is true irritates me. I believe that those hosts, political analysts and guest commentators are no better than politicians like Brad Butt when it comes to telling the whole truth.
- Brad Butt is the Conservative Party of Canada MP who stood up in both the House Of Commons and in a parliamentary committee and lied saying that he witnessed residents in his building collecting election identity cards and so followed them down to the local polling station and witnessed them voting illegally using the stolen cards as proof of identity, but this was all a big fat lie. Brad Butt lied to the house, and to a parliamentary committee, because he wanted to show why all Canadians needed and should support the measures found in his party’s, Fair Elections Act, but didn’t have any real evidence? When challenged as to why he an elected member of parliament did not do anything to stop the fraud he was finally forced finally to admit that he had not seen what he stated and was forced to retract his lie.
- A female political analysts said, “I have talked with the mothers in the school yard where my kids go to school and I can tell you that the other mothers do not even know about the Mike Duffy scandal” and those that do know about the scandal say, “Who cares, isn’t that how all politicians act?” That this panelist would tell such an obvious lie about a conversation that never happened just to strengthen her point of view proves to me that political shows like Power and Politics, their hosts, political analysts and guest commentators are no better at telling the truth than the politicians the likes of Brad Butt.
Not much difference between how Brad Butt’s truth and that of the truth offered up by these type of shows when it comes to the offering supposedly factual evidence intended to back a point of view. Canadians are not apathetic when it comes to how honest and how transparent our politicians are, but get confused I think with all of half-truths that they are being bombarded with instead of news that follows sound journalistic practices.
To knowingly allow obvious lies to go unchallenged with the exception of everyone on the panel occasionally laughing, leads me to believe that no one on shows like this one believes that they have an obligation to their viewers to ensure that the evidence that they put forward to back up whatever political point of view they are trying to sell is actually factual. When a political show’s primary function is to allow its hosts, political analysts and guest commentators to get as many Canadians to understand and accept their point of view about their political party or politician of choice even if they have to lie to accomplish it, I would suggest is a disservice to their viewing audience.
I listened to a discussion on Power and Politics to the ads the Conservative Party of Canada were running on television promoting the announcements Stephen Harper’s campaign promises for more funding for BC salmon research and help for Canadian middle class families as host, political analysts and guest commentators all laughed and agreed by the end of the discussion that it did not matter that the salmon in the ads did not have to be a Canadian species, the people being portrayed in the ad as the Canadian middle class family that was going to be helped with the promise was actually Canadian.
- As one guest panelist cynically put it, “Only people who watch shows like this care if the salmon, or the people in the ads are Canadian and I doubt if any votes will be lost because the salmon is not Canadian.” In other words those responsible for doing the research and other work of creating political ads feel that so many Canadians are tuned out as far as political ads are concerned that they do have to make sure that what is being portrayed is accurate; like the Canadian salmon actually being a species found in Canada, or the Canadian middle class family really being Canadian. This type of political show seems to agree that Canadians simply do not care about being lied to on any level when it come to their political party of choice and that transparency, honesty and integrity have little to do with the political party, candidates that they are going to vote for and seems to go out of their way to encourage this way of apathy as okay and just being “Canadian”.
I do not think that Rosie Barton’s Power and Politics is the only show that insists on painting Canadians as not too bright, tuned out as far politics are concerned and apathetic at best when it comes to the honesty, transparency and integrity of their politicians, but I do believe that it is the worst. I would suggest that shows like Power and Politics are no more representative of real political news shows than the salmon and that middle class family in those Conservative Party of Canada ads were Canadian. What I do not understand is why political shows like this one feel that they have to choose to give up all journalistic integrity by becoming little more than soap boxes for any host, political analyst, guest commentator and now even politician who wishes to promote their brand of political rhetoric, to maintain good ratings. In my opinion when those charged with presenting the political news become unconcerned and refuses to seriously challenge its hosts, political analysts and guest commentators who increasingly become guilty of constantly misrepresenting the known facts, they become part of the lie and conspiracy to cover up the truth in and in doing so are doing their viewing audience a disservice by deliberately misleading them.
I believe that holding politicians to account is every Canadians responsibility and that it would be so much easier if the news shows would get on our side and tell us the truth, or at least stay neutral and stop bombarding us with what they know are lies 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Note: Today on Power and Politics, Rob Silver a regular on Power and Politics and political pundit said it best when he threw up his hands in frustration and said, “It is impossible to have a conversation on policy on this show.” With that statement from Rob Silver I guess Power and Politics cannot even call itself a show of informative political debates.