06.14.2011 06:12 AM

In today’s Sun: stop the presses! Or, not.

[One point: the Star favoured the Grits and endorsed the Dips. The overall point remains: the media in this country are massively conservative.]

I’m not really a media person. I type up a column a couple times of week for Sun Media, to be sure, and I appear on the ever-growing network pretty regularly, too. But I wouldn’t consider myself a journalist.

That said, I think I have a pretty good idea how real reporters and editors felt when they heard about that speech by former Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day at the Conservative convention last weekend. In it, Day more or less served notice the Conservative Party now regards the Fourth Estate as its real adversary. Not the New Democratic or Liberal parties.

Journalists.

20 Comments

  1. New Craig Chamberlain says:

    All together now: “That’s supposed to be news? Poof-poof!”

    The market doesn’t seem to care. We knew that. We hoped the election could cut through it. It didn’t.

    • New Craig Chamberlain says:

      (So, when will the supposedly “not-conservative” media dial down on the NDP’s socialist elements?)

  2. Richard says:

    Their paranoia is pathetic, which is not to say it’s not dangerous for freedom of the press in Canada.

  3. So Stockwell Day sums things up accurately for once then? They don’t fear the NDP nor the third party, and remain at war with the press? Clearly there is nothing new in that stand, except that they voiced it openly.

    Enjoyed your article in The Walrus. I wonder what it’ll take to bring together compatible-enough, like-minded partisans and regular folks of the same temperament?

    • Cath says:

      Michael – just finished reading it too WK – it’s very good.

      Not sure I agree with your column today. Just went back to “Kicking Ass” and reminded myself of “Kinsella’s Report Card on Political Journalists” which dulls your argument in your column a bit.

      Actually, I think we’re due in this country for something grander along the lines of your “Report Card on Journalists” as an update.

  4. Jon Powers says:

    Yes, John Moore and John Downes are total Conservatives. So is Mr. Fatah. Evan Solomon must be a conservative too? Both C’s in CBC stand for Conservative. Are Mike Stafford (who is hilarious) and Arlene Bynon Conservative? And you – you contribute to Sun Media, I guess you must be Conservative too! Shock, horror! Please, Warren. You’re not convincing me. Also, GO BRUINS!

  5. Philip says:

    Not really surprising from this lot. Internal dissent has never been a hall mark of the CPC. At some point one of the mental heavyweights decided that dissent = weakness. If internal dissent is as welcome as a protest march in Syria, what then about outsiders questioning the CPC’s revealed wisdom? Warren, you mentioned before how thin skinned Conservatives are and I see this hatred of the press as an adjunct of that thin skin.
    If I were a cynical man, a man who would see only the venal side of the War on the Press, I would say it’s about money. The CPC needs a new external enemy to frighten the faithful into more donations. The old stand-by LPC is gone. The NDP is temporarily off the table as they try to make Parliament “work”. That leaves the Fourth Estate wide open. It’s a good fit too. Further my points above, the faithful already feel defensive and unloved, so turning them on their imagined persecutors works a treat. Keeps the rabble quiet and obedient and fills the Party coffers.

    Conservative Party Deep Thought of the Day:
    “Thought begets heresy.”

  6. Dave Roberts says:

    Owners and publishers in Canada definitely lean Conservative. By and large the editorial bias favours the left.

    I think the Conservatives should befriend the media to the best of their ability and expect absolutely nothing in return in the manner of favourable coverage. A less petulant attitude towards the media would at least dull some of their sometimes over the top criticism.

  7. Wayne Strong says:

    Warren, just read your column in the London Free Press.

    No one can contest most of what you say, if there ever was a Conservative media outlet Sun Media would certainly be it.

    However one needs to point out what and who you do not mention.
    I doubt even you will contest that the CBC is far more or just as Liberal, as Sun Media is Conservative – in both English and French TV and Radio programing. And let us not forget to mention such notable media as Canadian Press, Metroland Media Group, Star Media Group, Torstar Digital and the 100 or so local newspapers owned by TorStar Corp.
    We also would need to examine CanWest Global, Asper and Liberal connections and leanings in order to evaluate media political leanings fairly, not to mention the former Tomas newspaper holdings.
    You do mention the Toronto Star, in passing, and that they endorsed the Liberals in the last election. That should come as no surprise to anyone as TorStar and their affiliates would endorse Wiley Coyote for PM, providing he was the Liberal Party Leader.
    You must also surely also be aware that a substantial number of Liberals are in fact the small c Conservatives to which you refer.

    I am old enough to remember such fair and balanced media reporting as Stanfield’s football abilities and the massive Joe Who campaign by Canadian media. But to be fair, media ownership and leanings, like the political views of a lot of Canadians, has changed since the 60’s through 80/90’s.

    While Day may be exaggerating a little bit, if you scan through a typical days headlines in the Canadian media, you start to understand why he may be so paranoid.

    Oh – and as for you being a Proud Liberal – well to each their own, I just wouldnt put it in print (tongue in cheek).

    • Warren says:

      Thanks. The Aspers were prominent donors and supporters of the Conservatives.

      • Wayne Strong says:

        Wont argue the Aspers donating practices as I am not familiar with their finances. You would be more in tune given your past positions in the Liberal Party. Having given that, you can not surely deny the close personnel relationships between Izzy and Chretien, and between Izzy and Martin. (Notice I didnt say Izzy, Chretien and Martin, would not want to mislead anyone).

    • JenS says:

      The Metroland Media Group IS owned by the Star. But that doesn’t sway editorial stance. The Durham group, for example, which has papers in all eight Durham municipalities, has a long, long history of endorsing Conservatives, federally and provincially. That is not to say its reporters are overwhelmingly conservative – that wouldn’t paint a fair picture at all. But those making decisions on editorial stance certainly are.

      There’s a huge difference between reporting and editorial stance, and I think that’s often overlooked in these discussions.

  8. MLukas says:

    Sure, just look to some Conservative members of the Senate now providing “sober second thought” for Canadians. Of course they certainly were always impartial when they were reporters….

    • Patrick Hamilton says:

      Yes, I remember time Hilll reporter(now Senator) Mike Duffy talking of Stockwell Day’s “warm Alliance breeze” blowing across Canada….you could just see he was giddy with excitement…..fortunately

      for Canada(with a little help from Mr. Kinsella), the “warm breeze” turned out to be a wet fart……

      That, followed by his releasing the tape of Dion having difficulty answering a reporters question, made it obvious that Mr. Duffyy was anything but impartial, and he was rewardeded handsomely for it.

  9. bza says:

    I agree with your article, it is a pretty weird fund-raising campaign when the entire mainstream media in Canada is entirely Conservative.

    Just one correction to note, the Star actually endorsed the NDP in the last election.

  10. JH says:

    I really have to defend the CBC’s Solomon as I think he’s trying more to be provacative given his CTV competition. I do wish though he’d get Capstick and Monk especially, to stop interrupting. It’s very annoying when you can’t hear people speak. I also get a kick though out of Don Martin’s grimace when he can’t get a guest to say something negative about the government.
    I also thought it was hilarious when someone in the Conservative camp turned to Terry Milewski in Halifax and told him he was going to win the election for them. He must still think about that one, given the results.
    Looking at the CBC as a whole, despite claims to the contrary, I find most of their political shows to be pretty balanced affairs. CBC Quebec (Francaphone) now that’s a whole other matter. There’s one place the taxpayer has a right to complain that they are funding a broadcaster whose on-air personnel are primarily devoted to the break-up of the country.

  11. CQ says:

    “Same goes for the Globe and Mail, and its broadcast side, CTV”. Except for CTV’s flagship Question Period program and the G&M’s Ottawa Notebook section with Jane Taber etc.

    Gotta wonder what’s up with Bell Media? Taber was left off CTV’s election night coverage and promotions; two weeks straight she had gushed about riding on the Ignatieff campaign bus. Then, Rinaldo is being passed over while Robertson and Oliver have each stayed on full-time beyond the age of 72 – let alone the retirement age of 65. I like how Robertson himself was closer to Mackey Frayer’s estimatible age than LaFlamme’s when he arrived at the big chair AFTER already being the CBC’s national anchor for six(!) years.
    Or there’s competitor Mansbridge at the CBC who’s now older than when Nash stepped down and has worked in that leading on-air role for more than twice as long. In time, the newer generation of national reporters will have their own biases to sort out.

  12. ben burd says:

    Name them Gord none are on talk radio. Who’s in print apart from the Star crowd?

  13. John says:

    its obvious talk radio is right wing in Toronto….Oakely, Adler, Bynon, Stafford, Agar, John Tory……Rob Ford had his own radio talk show spot for years on the John Oakley show….he basically campaigned for 7 years…..

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