09.15.2016 09:03 AM

Snippet from next week’s column: I am media, hear me squeak

Three – and this key, in the Era of Trump and Leitch – to affect public opinion, the mainstream media needs to have an understanding of public opinion. But, increasingly, we don’t.

The reasons for this are myriad. Polling – to which we are hopelessly addicted, like fentanyl – is flawed, and makes many more mistakes than it once did. Also: social media has distorted the aforementioned social consensus that used to exist about was “important.” And, finally, technology has enabled citizens to become their own editors, rendering the likes of Peter Mansbridge completely irrelevant, like totemic relics from a forgotten epoch.

Up here in McLuhan’s homeland, we saw the truth of all these things recently. Kellie Leitch, a Conservative MP desperate for both attention and her party’s leadership, declared that she would screen immigrants and refugees for “anti-Canadian values” (whatever those are). On cue, and as Leitch clearly hoped, lots of politicians and media folks were apoplectic. They condemned her and wrote stirring editorials about values (whatever those are).

And then, the Toronto Star – the paragon of all progressive values and Atkinsonian principles, no less – sheepishly released a poll showing that, um, two-thirds of Canadians agreed with Leitch. Oops! So much for manufacturing consent. So much for an omnipotent, all-seeing media, per McLuhan, “investing our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.”

Personally, I don’t give a sweet shit about whether two-thirds, or three-thirds, agree with Leitch or not. Her questionnaire stunt was a naked appeal to latent bigotry, one designed to draw out the very worst in people. It worked. 

 Good for her, shame on us.


  1. Bill Templeman says:

    Lots of false gods to worship these days, for sure. One problem with people becoming their editors is that they don’t read stuff that they don’t agree with. Some they can live in their bubble, and before too long, their bubble becomes their world. For example, ask any teacher or instructor or college prof and chances are she/he will burble out some tripe about the marvels of the computer revolution in education, all with study or evidence. Apparently we have been sold a pile of poop by the hi-tech companies. Screens in schools don’t help kids learn. This wisdom from, all places, our friends at Time Magazine. People tend to agree with what supports their prior beliefs, and reject contrary evidence that doesn’t fit: This is wishfulness in action.


    Screens In Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax

    • Cynical says:

      Interesting article you refer to. I spent the last 15 years of my career in public education as a teacher, consultant and eventually manager of IT. I was tasked with implementation of “technology in the classroom” and gave it my best shot. I got a good and interesting career out of it. And I came to the same conclusion as that article, based on no data whatsoever apart from my own observations.
      Not on topic regarding the original post, but ….

  2. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I am coming to a view that the worst in voters is making inroads not only in the United States but also worldwide. A case in point: Hollande’s vote defecting to the Front national. All of us, up shit creek together…

    • Bill Templeman says:

      A good point, Ronald. Canadians have this grand reverence for democracy, but what happens when “the voice of the people” votes for something stupid and/or wrong? Hitler was elected, etc….Then there is the view that democracy and voting is not for everyone, that some are not qualified to vote. Hmmmm….

    • monkey says:

      It’s true it is making inroads in many places although in Canada we seem to be bucking the trend as right wing populism is not enjoying the success here as it has in the US or Europe. Perhaps the bad experiences with the Reform Party and the Rob Ford saga is why people are wary of it so maybe after seeing it first hand elsewhere people will think twice, at least I hope. In addition we really entrench in our identity that we are a nation of immigrants so I think most understand unless you are First Nations, you are being a hypocrit to exclude anyone whereas Europe was not built by immigration while the US and Australia were but unlike Canada they put a lot less emphasis on it and often forget who settled there first. That doesn’t mean such politics won’t ever come here, but I think we are less susceptible to it than most countries.

  3. Greyapple says:

    Leitch’s ideas may be popular, but I doubt they would do her much good if she became Tory leader. The terms of the PQ’s “Secular Charter,” and Harper’s proposed ban on niqabs at citizenship ceremonies also polled well, but the outcomes of the 2014 Quebec election and last year’s federal election show that they are not necessarily vote-getters.

    • Cory says:

      The Quebec Liberals also promised their own watered down version of the secular charter which I understand is being examined by the legislature right now.

  4. Jay Currie says:

    “The Media” in Canada and the US is no longer trusted. The internet provides alternative opinions and, perhaps as importantly, coverage of particular news events without the liberal bias of the MSM.

    The further shores of SJWs and BLMers, fawningly covered by the media, just tend to annoy ordinary people. So do leftie arguments consisting of “racist”.

    The rise of the popular right in the UK, France, the US, Germany, Sweden, Denmark are all driven by decent, ordinary people fed up with elite opinion telling them what they are allowed to think and calling them bigots if they think otherwise.

    When Trump wins in November there are going to be a lot of well educated, well wired, well off people wondering what the Hell happened. And they will wonder this because their super-zip bubble is oblivious to any information which does not come from the NYT, the Washington Post, NPR, MSNBC or CNN. Which means that they are entirely in the dark when it comes to what is actually happening in America outside the super-zips.

    Leitch, in her own small way, is positioning to reflect what is actually happening in Canada rather than what TorStar and the CBC would like us to believe is happening.

    • Kelly says:

      Leitch is following the advice of an unethical, censured, push pollster in a crass attempt at getting attention. She is sowing disunity in a selfish grab for the leadership of the Conservative Party. She rails against elites, yet she is a medical doctor with a BA from Queens, an MD from U of Toronto and an MBA from Dalhousie. She is a former cabinet minister in the Government of Canada. She is an elite herself. And now, without a doubt, a political phony. Contrast her dog whistle soundbites with the wise words that our PM said today in meeting with the Mayor of London…

      “Italians and Greeks who settled in the northern part of Montreal and in other Canadian cities “faced tremendous discrimination, tremendous distrust.”
      “This country didn’t happen by accident,” Trudeau continued. “And it won’t continue without effort. When we think about integration and success we can’t be overly impatient.”
      He said citizens should “keep a solid pressure” to ensure human rights and the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms are respected by all Canadians.

      Those are the words of a real leader. By her words and actions Kelly Leitch has confirmed that she isn’t fit to do Mr. Trudeau’s laundry.

      What a sad bunch of misfits the Conservative brain trust has become. I want the Joe Clarks and Hugh Segals back.

      • monkey says:

        Michael Chong although not quite as Red a Tory as Joe Clark and Hugh Segal has a strong level of decency. Certainly Leitch is disgusting. As for the rise of the right in Europe, so what, we are not Europe and have always generally been one of the most tolerant and progressive countries on earth. It’s probably true that in just about any other Western country, Harper would have beat Trudeau, but because we are different that is why the outcome was different. While we had our racist past, it seems we are one of the few and perhaps the only country who has largely moved past it and thank goodness. If the Tories want to win in 2019 or at least cut into Trudeau’s lead, focus on economic policies, not social or cultural ones which not only has zero appeal outside their base, it even offends many conservatives.

  5. Ridiculosity says:

    Shame on us all for giving bigotry a soapbox to stand on.

  6. Charlie says:


    Good ol’ Canadian values.

  7. godot10 says:

    The media and the elites are rightly outraged with Leitch and her values test, but are strangely silent when Justin goes to speak at a “men-only club”…i.e. a gender-segregated mosque.

    He could have spoken in the women’s section of the mosque, or at least he could have addressed gender equality when he was speaking to the men in the mens-only room.

    • monkey says:

      Islam does not allow men and women to pray together and so out of respect for the religion he follows their rules. The reason they are gender segregated is so pray is about one’s relation with Allah not distracted by anything sexual. One can criticize the rule, but it is required in Islam the genders pray separately. And note Christianity has its issues, after all women cannot be priests as Catholics while for the Greek Orthodox church, Mount Ethos which is most holy site is off limits to women altogether including visitors. I am no fan of Trudeau as I am a fiscal conservative, but with Islamophobia at an all time high, I am glad to see him reaching out to the Muslim community. That was a leader should do and yes even those on the right can do so too. After all George W. Bush visited a mosque shortly after 9/11 to reach out to the Muslim community rather than try to whip up hatred towards them as Trump would have done.

      • godot10 says:

        The prime minister says he is a feminist. That means if one goes to a gender segregated place, one MUST address the elephant in the room (gender equality), or go to another room.

        If Trudeau speaks at a gathering of Catholic priests, I would expect him to also address the issue of gender equality also. “Religion” is not an acceptable excuse for an elected official to NOT address the issue of gender equality.

        It appears Justin Trudeau is a feminist for rich mostly white women only.

        • The Doctor says:

          Yes, I guess that means monkey would be ok with JT giving a speech at Bob Jones University.

        • monkey says:

          Easy to explain. Liberals are for the disadvantaged and since both women and Muslims have in the past suffered much discrimination and still do, it makes a lot of sense he would naturally want to reach out to both.

          • The Doctor says:

            I guess you’d have to explain to me how prominent Liberal Jacques Corriveau was acting “for the disadvantaged” when he misappropriated $8,000,000 of Canadian taxpayers’ money.

          • The Doctor says:

            Of course I meant allegedly misappropriated. . .

  8. Maps Onburt says:

    Leitch hasn’t said anything worse than that we need to make sure that only people who belive in the same core major values as Canadians e elites go nuts. (ie no to female genital mutilation, stoning adulterers and homosexuals, promoting the equality of men and women, freedom to worship what ever religion (or lack of) you want, non-support of terrorism, and the supremacy of the rule of law are easy examples for those of you more challenged) Most Canadians yawned and would agree with her common sense position. This has nothing to do with racist tendencies. Our good old constitution that you progs love to trot out when convenient starts off with: “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:”. They didn’t mean stoning women or putting bags over their heads. Not hard folks. The ONLY reason she’s still in the news, taking away precious space from Mr Selfie is that you Prog elites can’t stop foaming at the mouth over it. Same reason why Trump has only had to spend as fraction of what Hillary spent on media coverage. You make things so easy when you complain over things most Canadians agree with at their core.

    • james elder says:

      Fuck Leitch and Trump. We are all immigrants and some are more ignorant than others.

      city of immigrants. Steve EArle.


      • Maps Onburt says:

        My ancestors were here long before there even was a Canada so I’m not nor have my people ever been “immigrants” to Canada. They fucking made this country along with the French, Metis, and Aboriginals (who by your logic were also “immigrants” too since the original Beringia people’s who first travelled to Northern America have long since died off. This is the most stupid fucking argument there is.

        By your twisted logic anyone who lives in Europe, Asia are also immigrants since they displaced the Neanderthals.

        If you were born here, you aren’t an immigrant no matter where your parents came from – full stop.

  9. BillBC says:

    ” “anti-Canadian values” (whatever those are).”

    Can’t you think of any? Racism, sexism, homophobia, religious fanaticism–just to start the list…

  10. Tired of it All says:

    In the era of algorithms ascendant, everyone is right; reason is dead.

  11. mow mow says:

    Kellie will not get any traction for this. Bernier will be the next leader.

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