Media

Media Selling LRT Controversy

By Jason Leach
Published February 17, 2010

This whole LRT discussion has really shown how much our media rely on controversy to sell papers.

The Spectator recently published some opinion pieces from their editors praising LRT, but the actual news articles always have misinformation about LRT to try to drum up controversy.

Today's piece says that if we get BRT east of Ottawa Street it won't mean restricting left-turns along the route. Um, yes it will.

Whether it's BRT or LRT, the median, transit-only lane design will be used and cars won't be allowed to drive in the transit lanes. Left turns will still be available at signaled intersections.

Has nobody at the paper actually read the transit study reports on the RT website? Is it intentional spin as a last-ditch effort to sell papers?

I know I'm only one person, but their strategy backfired on this former subscriber. I canceled my subscription when this sort of misinformation become commonplace and will never renew it unless the paper becomes relevant again - and I love newspapers. I would choose a newspaper over online media, TV or radio.

Speaking of radio, today on CHML Bill Kelly had some hilarious calls from residents who clearly know nothing about LRT (or Hamilton).

He was happy to listen to comments stating that all of Hamilton's jobs are on the Mountain in business parks and nobody works downtown; or that without a massive free parking lot at McMaster there would be zero riders getting on and off there.

One caller said (I'm quoting from memory), "There's nowhere to park at Mac, so who do they expect will be getting on the trains there? There won't be any riders."

Another caller said, "Their ridership projections are pure bull. I work downtown and don't know a single professional who takes the bus."

Kelly didn't issue a single correction, even though he knows that our downtown houses more jobs than anywhere else in the city and that McMaster will in all likelihood be the busiest piece of the corridor in the same way it currently is with our bus system.

He asked repeatedly, "Where are all the pro-LRT people?"

We may be listening, sir, but we're not taking the bait. I'll happily engage in thoughtful discussion, but I won't be a pawn used to drive up ratings.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

16 Comments

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 12:14:22

His producers probably didn't allow any of the Pro-LRT 'People' onto the show! Just the craziest of stay-at-home elderly folks who hate change more than life itself!

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 13:47:10

I cannot stand Bill Kelly and I wish they would pull him off air forever. He was rude and obnoxious in shows that I watched years ago and still he is there.

I heard form someone yesterday that on a radio show, that they heard poor bashing going on and I find this behavior propogated by MSM as disgusting.

You have responsiblity to this community to have fair and reasonable forums, not stirring up would one could deem as hate mongering towards those who are marginalized in our community.

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2010 at 14:56:26

"You have responsiblity to this community to have fair and reasonable forums, not stirring up would one could deem as hate mongering towards those who are marginalized in our community."

Naive!! Commercial radio is all about listeners and ratings. Controversy means listeners - at whatever cost. Seeing CHML as a 'community service' is just not realistic.

Now, what happened to that CBC station...?

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By see bee cee (anonymous) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 15:12:19

"Now, what happened to that CBC station...?"

Stephen Harper happened to it. :P

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 15:28:41

Naive!! Commercial radio is all about listeners and ratings. Controversy means listeners - at whatever cost. Seeing CHML as a 'community service' is just not realistic.

Yes and no. In Canada, we still consider our airwaves to be publicly owned and though private stations are predominantly about listeners and ratings, they still have to be responsible and adhere to basic standards.

grassroots, if you hear 'poor-bashing' as you put it, complain to the CBSC.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 16:24:51

Bill Kelly, sadly, is a washed-up, bitter, voted-out Civic Politician. Mr Kelly has no sense of community as he holds Hamiltonians responsible for voting him out of office/a job, and he's going to use his current job to make his 'point'.

That, combined with a mandate to attract listeners through controversy, is a very dangerous combination which ultimately results in the uneducated/under-informed individuals having (what seems to be) a bigger voice in Hamilton.

If politicians weren't so afraid to lose their seats, and Hamilton had more than one Media per Outlet, maybe this City wouldn't be so full of under-informed citizens who are scared to death of change/progress!?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 16:38:38

again, I'll repeat my preference - TERM LIMITS. A two term limit would be fine, although in many cases I'd like to see a 1 year limit....or 1 month.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-02-17 15:38:53

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 17:05:45

Fixed Terms (4-year) would be ideal. If it were one year (or one month) the same poeple would most likelu get voted in over and over. 4 years is jussst enough time to screw up ;)

Too bad Stevie got too comfy eating Perogies & stuffing the Senate with Conservatives rather than implementing his promised fixed terms. ...wait... Wasn't the point of appoiting more conservatives to the Senate to actually implement fixed terms? Wasn't he worried the current Liberal Sens would vote it down?

Guess what, Stevie! You've got a majority of Senate seats; Now Stop Eating Perogies and GET BACK TO WORK!!!!

Comment edited by Really? on 2010-02-17 16:06:26

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By MarkWhittle (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2010 at 18:02:41

I found this at the CHML web site respecting Mr. Kelly. Maybe he will air a show from one of the numerous collapsed buildings downtown?

Coming this March - Bill Kelly is hitting the road every Friday and broadcasting from your neck of town and talking about the issues that matter to you. Its Bill Kelly Unleashed! Shining a spotlight on the community! Tell us what location you want Bill to visit, and what issues he needs to be talking about. He could even be coming to YOUR HOUSE!

http://www.900chml.com/BillKellyUnleashe...

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2010 at 18:08:44

"Now, what happened to that CBC station...?" Stephen Harper happened to it. :P

CBC had a bureau in Hamilton until 1992-- rather, Brian Mulroney happened to it.

Comment edited by Michelle Martin on 2010-02-17 17:12:17

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 18:39:18

Rusty: Yes I undersatnd your comment but that does not make it right by any stretch of the imagination and maybe this is the problem with our society as a whole, if you ask me.

Thanks Highwater for the info, I did not know you could actually lodge a complaint.

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2010 at 21:31:29

He asked repeatedly, "Where are all the pro-LRT people?"

Umm...working? Busy? Even when I was a stay-at-home mom I didn't listen to talk radio, or if I was listening to the radio it was while doing something else, so I didn't have time to phone in.

The pro-LRT people are here and other places where they can post a thought-out comment when the day's work is done, or when they're on a coffee break, rather than dropping everything in the middle of the day to wait in a phone queue because their topic of interest has come up at someone else's whim.

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By balk radio (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 08:00:30

>> He asked repeatedly, "Where are all the pro-LRT people?"

Not listening to Bill Bloody Kelly on the Radio, I can tell you that. They bet the farm on stoking right wing fear and chauvinism which means they've just written off everyone else.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:34:36

Yep. There are lots of opportunities to engage opponents and low information seniors. The Bill Kelly show is not one of them. Engaging his show would just give him credibility that he doesn't deserve. Leave them to stew in their irrelevant echo chamber.

Comment edited by highwater on 2010-02-18 09:34:54

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By frank (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 20:20:01

While I usually would agree with highwater, perhaps it's time to do the opposite? Go on the offensive? What better way to take it to an opponents' lack of education than going into their arena and soundly educating them repeatedly if necessary?

Comment edited by frank on 2010-02-18 19:20:21

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted February 19, 2010 at 09:36:03

I don't want Bill Kelly to come to my house...(!)

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