Federal Election 2011

News Coverage Favours Major Parties

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 12, 2011

From the Election Coverage Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Dept:

A report in today's Spectator on last night's all-candidates debate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale ran 663 words.

546 words, or 82% of the total, were dedicated to an exchange between incumbent Conservative candidate David Sweet and Liberal challenger Dave Braden.

Just 40 words, or 6% of the total, were reserved for NDP candidate Nancy McBain. A mere 28 words, or just 4% of the total, were left over at the end for Green candidate Peter Ormond.

The other 52 words (more than either McBain or Ormond received) conveyed general information about the debate.

The A-D-F-W candidates will have another debate on April 18, 6:00 PM at McMaster University.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

24 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By mrgrande (registered) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 09:55:19

Let's face it, Ormond and McBain don't have a snowballs chance in hell in ADFW. It makes sense that Cons and Libs get the most coverage ther.

If this was the case in the Hamilton Centre debate, I'd be more surprised.

Permalink | Context

By Voterr (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 10:12:29 in reply to Comment 62086

Attaway to prove the author's point, since when does the Media decide who does or doesn't have a chance to win a riding? Cover all the candidates and let the voters decide!

Permalink | Context

By Eddie Barzoon (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 10:25:04 in reply to Comment 62087

...to stay home in record numbers. ;)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Smithers (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 10:22:27

And I'd say those 40 words on Ormond or McBean were wasted at that.
I'd sooner the reporter had spoken about Braden's clear conflict of interest in presenting a personal opportunity for himself as a cause that should be championed by governments. If he is elected, will he pursue this self serving cash grab?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted April 12, 2011 at 10:59:22

What is the solution?

As journalists we work with limited space, limited attention spans, and limited resources. These limits force us to prioritize.

I will propose that one solution is for journalists to provide full recordings of these events for those who seek further knowledge.

Thoughts?

Permalink | Context

By Newsie (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 17:26:57 in reply to Comment 62092

insult spam deleted

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 11:07:37

comment from banned user deleted

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 11:09:35

This is one of those situations where I don't see "media", I just see one reporter's version of an event. It's a 'report' not an article so you allow a bit more leeway for personality. It's certainly a strangely written, unfocussed piece, like the reporter blogs you see more and more of. That reporter is coming from the traditional two party model, but also as MGrande points out, there are two candidates here. That's not bias, I don't think, it's coverage.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 12, 2011 at 12:13:36

Face it, we have a two-party system, and none of the major national parties - not even the NDP - has made fixing this a major part of their platform.

Honestly, until anybody makes this a top priority, I have no interest in listening to their opinion because the system means that supporting them actually means sabotaging my own agenda.

We had a wonderful NDP candidate for years here in ADFW in Dr. Guyatt, and he never managed to beat the musical chairs of Liberal candidates. I don't expect newcomer McBain to improve on that.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted April 12, 2011 at 12:25:21

I find it amusing...having spent time recently in the US in the middle of the 'budget crisis' (and the Japan earth quake/tsunami crisis and the Charlie Sheen crisis, yadda, yadda, yadda) that somewhere along the way, we've come to see MSM as being The Great Protector of Our Interests. Which is funny, when you consider that this kindasorta abrogation of personal responsibility flies in the face of the equally disturbing aspect of 'entitlement' our society has been fostering for so very long.

MSM doesn't 'owe' anyone anything.

It's a consumable.

If people don't want to consume it anymore...buggy-whips and men's hats and cassette tapes, anyone?...then they don't, and they move on. Why do people see MSM any differently? What's with this 'MSM has certain obligations!' thinking? 'Life's not fair; it's just fairer than Death.'

(Mind you, the bizarre attitude towards what 'should' be covered by news sites...complaints in the Comments sections about an online article's validity to be on the 'front page'...make me do constant spit-takes.)

I heard similar complaints about the 'fairness' of coverage during our last municipal election, and found them just as...well, befuddling.

As with so many 'battles' these days, I think that what's called for is an honest assessment of the situation (this alone is often an unsurmountable barrier) in combination with an equally honest assessment of what's really desired...and whether the variables at hand can reasonably provide the longed-for goal. (I'm seeing the proof of this take on things unfolding with Phase Two of the US budget crisis: 'The Debt Limit: Us vs Them vs All of Us'. Oi-friggin'-vey, it's partisan politics on HGH.)

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-04-12 12:25:55

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Question (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 14:11:53

Joey, who exactly are you referring to when you say, "As journalists we work with limited space..."

Surely you jest?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 14:27:31

It is basically a 2 party system because all the fringe parties have not support. The overwhelming majority of the people are competently represented by the 2 main parties. The NDP managed to win an election in Ontario and look at how horrible they were. They abandoned their supporters and their platform. The populace was so ticked off that their support plummeted. If not for the charity of the conservatives the NDP would have lost their party status. I know I am not likely to ever vote for them again.

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 12, 2011 at 15:12:45 in reply to Comment 62107

It's a 2 party system because of mathematics, not popularity. FPTP means that voting for the party you really really want means sabotaging your own agenda throwing your vote away.

Permalink | Context

By nobrainer (registered) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 15:20:19 in reply to Comment 62113

Depends on where you live, I live right downtown and my NDP vote won't be wasted.

Permalink | Context

By Newsie (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 17:28:50 in reply to Comment 62114

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-04-12 17:29:43

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted April 12, 2011 at 15:41:54

The problem with major media outlets reporting only on the Liberals and Conservatives as "viable candidates" is that it's a self fulfilling policy. If the NDP and greens are always painted as "fringe" parties, that's what they'll be.

Honestly, until anybody makes this a top priority, I have no interest in listening to their opinion because the system means that supporting them actually means sabotaging my own agenda.

I really couldn't agree more.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 16:21:48

On wasted votes, I live in West Niagara-Glanbrook where the Conservative candidate (Dean Allison) won the last election by taking 52% of the votes. I am really struggling with a decision on this one. Do I cast my traditional NDP vote knowing there is no hope in hell for them in this riding, do I vote for the Liberals who have a long-shot chance in the riding or do I vote Green as a protest for the debate snub. And yes, I have voted Conservative when I was younger but that will never happen again as long as Harper is their leader. A Conservative win seems obvious at this point but I pray that it is a minority, this may cause the Conservative party to realize that Harper is the issue that is holding them back.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Newsie (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 17:25:09

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-04-12 17:28:31

Permalink | Context

By Newsie (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 17:29:39 in reply to Comment 62131

insult spam deleted

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 17:59:07

May's "debate" workaround starts in about an hour, if my math is correct.

http://www.vancouversun.com/Greens+join+debate+vancouversun/4601789/story.html

Permalink | Context

By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 19:41:26 in reply to Comment 62136

Is it working for anyone? I just see a little box of May typing. How can I watch/read/hear her??

Permalink | Context

By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted April 12, 2011 at 19:46:50 in reply to Comment 62144

It's working for me now.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted April 13, 2011 at 10:31:42

If you missed last night’s English-language debate, YouTube has it in its entirety thanks to @CanuckPolitics. http://bit.ly/hc6lKO

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 13, 2011 at 10:40:15 in reply to Comment 62186

Thanks for finding the link. We've posted it.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds