Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Sport of Politics

Ever notice the way the media covers the ongoing political battles on Parliament Hill?

Rarely do journalists ever weigh the pros and cons of a policy. Instead they focus on the political tactics supposedly behind those policies.

For instance, is Senate reform a good idea?

Who cares.

What fascinates the media is the behind-the-scenes strategy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, we are told, is only using Senate reform as a clever trap to ensnare Liberal leader Stephane Dion. Countless articles are then written explaining and analysing Harper's moves and Dion's counter-moves.

In other words, politics is presented not as a clash of ideas, but as a sporting event. And the media takes on the role of colour commentators providing the fans with all the inside dope of what's really going on in the field.

And we wonder why the electorate is become more cynical about politics.


Iain G. Foulds said...

... Two reasons- A) the mainstream media- being uneducated in political philosophy- sees only the personalities.
... B) The Liberals- being without any party principles or policies- can only focus on personalities.
... Which is why, the Conservatives should not be beating on Mr. Dion, but should be laying in philisophical foundations.

Anonymous said...

it's worse than a sporting event Gerry. It more closely resembles KINDERGARTEN than government.

The Liberal in Ontario is heaping on the old Character Education lessons for students. I'm thinking gov't's at all levels and all stripes need to to their homework in this respect.

I've pretty much been turned off politics as a serious consideration, but as sport and entertainment that's all that's left.

Anonymous said...

I think it was in a book called "Breaking the News" I read an explanation for this sort of journalistic behaviour. The media fixates on the process of politics rather than the substance or policies because the reporters then feel that they themselves are part of the process, "insiders," which feeds their egos, a phenomenon fuelled much in part because of television news with its performer/presenters and its need for "action" all the time. "Process" reporting feeds the need for "action" even when nothing of substance is happening.

NB taxpayer said...

For years, the PPG has always taken the easy way out by focusing on the political human side and the drama of the game rather than ideas and policy.

Anonymous said...

Senate reform should be a no brainer.

Senate reform would be good for the country -- only an active senator might think otherwise.

Wait... Is one allowed to use the term "active senator?" -- I mean these guys must be tired after having actually last vetoed any legislation in... 1987, was it?

That the senate is stacked with Liberals and Quebec is vastly over-represented (I have heard 45% of the senate) are the only reasons that anyone actually objects to reform.

We have turned this country on its ear to appease roughly 2 million Quebec nationalists -- at the expense of 30 million people who consider themselves Canadians!

Harper has not really distinguished himself in this process in the viewpoint of most Atlantic Canadians either.

But I guess everyone here knows that already.


Concerned in Halifax

NB taxpayer said...

Sports and politics? I thought you were getting at having Harper's advisors march him out in front of the PPG in a speedo and get him to do a cartwheel off the low board in his basement. That is what socialist do in Canada, no?