Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Media Manipulation

I want to urge some caution when dealing with the media this federal election. Be aware of media manipulation.  Here's what to watch for.

1. Using Anecdotal evidence  
This is the method where reporters use a single example as "evidence".
2.Providing only one side of stories Most journalists seem to forget there are two sides to EVERY controversial issue, otherwise it wouldn't be controversial!
3.Choosing only certain stories to run or emphasize A media source shows it's bias not only by how it presents it's stories, but also in what stories it chooses to run.
4.Cherry-picking research & statistics
5.Using biased polls or selectively reporting results If you're a regular watcher of cable news shows, can you remember a day when some new poll wasn't presented? Polls open a whole new set of possible biases and manipulations. Polls can use leading questions, a small or unrepresentive sample size, sloppy recording methods, and dishonest poll-takers.
6.Using out-of-context quotes and clips
7.Choosing other poor sources as "evidence"
    a) "Anonymous" or unnamed "expert" sources 
    b) Remote sources or those with questionable credibility
    c) Citing secondary sources that use one or more of the other manipulations techniques
8. Controlling the timing of stories to do maximum political damage  
9.Using "critics say" to express their own beliefs Beware whenever you read or hear the words "critics say". A reporter will often use these words to stir up controversy or to express their own beliefs.  

So when watching the main news channels or reading the papers keep these points in mind.. When you have journalists and news outlets out there who want to set the agenda, you have to examine their reporting closely.  Check other sources.  Listen directly to the words of the candidates and make up your own mind based on those words. Take the media's interpretations with a grain of salt. It's all about how be an informed voter.

Ottawa Notebook

Coalition Wiggle Room

Ezra Levant says that even if Michael Ignatieff if loses the election he can still seize power. All Ignatieff needs to do is take a page from the 1985 Ontario election.
 Asking Michael Ignatieff if he’s going to form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc is the wrong question.
Because even if Ignatieff loses the election (as early polls suggest), he doesn’t need a coalition to seize power. He can do what the Liberals and NDP did immediately after the 1985 provincial election in Ontario: Just grab power with an immediate non-confidence vote. No coalition needed, to hell with the voters.
The 1985 Ontario election was won by the Conservatives. They won more seats than any other party — but they still had a minority. Instead of accepting that result, Bob Rae, then leader of the NDP, phoned up David Peterson, the Liberal leader, and made a deal to grab power.
They didn’t make a formal coalition. A coalition is a specific deal where cabinet seats are divided up and more than one party becomes an integral part of the government.
The Liberals and NDP just agreed that, as soon as Ontario’s legislature met, they’d join forces to vote non-confidence in the Conservatives and propose the Liberals should rule with the NDP’s support.
Being lawyers, they called it an accord, not a coalition. But it was a deal. The Liberals promised to implement a series of NDP policies. And in return, the NDP agreed to sink the Conservatives, and keep the Liberals in power for two years.
So there you have it. The question that should be asked of Ignatieff is whether he would do what the Liberals and the NDP did in Ontario in 1985 by agreeing to an accord like Bob Rae and David Peterson did

Remember this too regarding the coalition between the Libs/Dippers/Bloc,it would exclude everyone from the winning party  which would be the Conservatives. Since most of the Conservative seats come from the west, the west would be shut out.  Can you say western separation anyone?

Update: H/T Kate at SDA,  Why Michael Ignatieff Won't Form A Coalition