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BC media 'cheating' for Campbell Liberals
--see ROBBINS report--there is no inventory of police officers TO hire--  Apr 24, 2009

Commentary
BC news media—should drop ‘the Bong’ and pay attention.
Handicapping any election is difficult at the best of times. In the United States, despite the criticism about its media---the punditry is sharp—the media is on the bit. This is because in the United States-for every tough ‘right wing’ media outlet—there is a ‘left wing’ one to offset it. There is media which tends toward Democrats and others which are more Republican.
The major media outlets—are never too right wing or too left wing, they wouldn’t find the advertising base otherwise.
In Canada—we have a partial media. There is CTV (Bellglobal-Toronto), there is CanWest Global (Winnipeg) (which owns Vancouver Sun and Province and along with Gordon Campbell’s friend David Black-owns all of the local newspapers) and CBC (national public broadcaster). Most of the major advertisers are companies that are national. In some instances regional elements may use regional broadcasters. For the most part however, advertisers are corporations—and corporations are more inclined to support audiences which have more income. Automobile manufacturers sell cars—generally you require a job to buy a car.
In Canada—only the Liberal party and Conservative party (progressive conservative) win government. The federal New Democrats are considered distance runners-up in perpetuity---and don’t factor into the equation.
In British Columbia we have a unique situation. Two of the three major media in the province—including the aforementioned CTV and CanWest have head offices back east—. It is well known that neither wants a BC New Democrat government whose leader Carole James has already made it clear that she will reduce taxpayer subsidized advertising for media. Neither CTV nor CanWest (the latter particularly) can afford any more hemorrhaging on this account.
B.C. also has one major radio station CKNW (Corus/ Toronto) which has political talk radio. CKNW is particularly bias toward the BC Liberal in the province. There are a number of reasons for this. I have already discussed the advertising situation, the second-and this is obviously important to the radio station---the demographic listener is mostly centre right—more inclined to vote for the BC Liberals.
Where this media bias runs into trouble is during an election campaign like the BC Election before us today. There is little interest in the campaign from voters who distrust and dislike the Campbell Liberals to those who don’t feel much better about the New Democrats.
The BC Liberals have been in power for eight years and could lose. In the last provincial election in 2005, most pundits dismissed the New Democrats outright following an electoral beating they had received in 2001. Only ROBBINS predicted a close race in 2005 with the BC Liberal receiving 46% of the vote and the BC New Democrats 42%.
Most so-called experts had predicted the New Democrats to win around 20 seats—ROBBINS predicted 34—they won 33 of a 79 legislature.
In this 2009 provincial election the two main contenders Gordon Campbell (BC Liberals) and Carole James (BC NDP) are holdovers from the previous election in 2005. Carole James remains the Opposition leader—she was close in 2005. After eight years of watching Gordon Campbell government-two terms—after barely winning in 2005 in a strong economy—Gordon Campbell confronts Carole James with the economy-his (apparently) strongest issue—in the shitter. To any properly functioning handicapper of politics BC election 2009 would seem like Carole James opportunity.
The media knows this and is fighting back. It isn’t subtle—and it’s highly unethical.
Take the example of CKNW radio debates including Gordon Campbell (BC Liberals), Carole James (BC New Democrats), and Jane Sterk (BC Greens) on April 23, 2009.
The media release from the station and from other ‘kissing cousin’ news—hollers about Carole James inconsistency relating to the construction of the Port Mann Bridge. A year ago she said “no” to the expansion—now she says “yes” with a caveat that bridge construction clearly accommodates public transportation.
Gordon Campbell and his friends in media crow about Carole James ‘flip flop’ on this transportation issue.
But let’s look at the facts. In Gordon Campbell’s media including the Province newspaper the same morning of the debates—a group of lower mainland mayors including very popular Surrey mayor Dianne Watts and Port Moody’s Joe Trasolini are seen on the front page making demands for money from carbon tax for their municipalities.
Included in this reporting was the fact that Dianne Watts-whose city (Surrey) is on one end of the Port Mann—claiming that she is 500 buses short for a city of 400,000. 500 buses short—not 100, not 200—imagine 500 buses short under the Campbell government.
Here are these leaders on a radio show discussing a transportation issue—the construction of a multi-billion dollar bridge—when the largest city on one end of it—is short 500 buses. That is one helluva lot of public transportation that is missing in Surrey.
Both Gordon Campbell and Carole James support the construction of the bridge with public transportation. Gordon Campbell went one step further---he talked about the importance of Surrey residents ‘working where they live’—in Surrey.
No-one in the media picks up the elephant in the room. The mayor of Surrey—a centre right politician—same as Campbell is screaming that she is short 500 buses in her city—and the Premier is talking about building a bridge that accommodates public transportation (buses) and living and working in their city---advocacy which anyone with an IQ over room temperature would presume to require public transportation.
The Premier doesn’t mention anything about the shortfall of buses. Neither does the media. In fact, both CKNW and the province news—only talk about Carole James flip flop on the issue.
Where is the common sense in this news reporting? Where is the balance?
There are a number of reasons the citizens of British Columbia aren’t excited about BC election 2009. First, many are sick of Gordon Campbell. He’s been around provincial politics since 1996, he’s been Premier for eight years—and frankly he’s painful to watch.
Second, neither the BC Liberals nor the BC New Democrats have inspirational records.
The third is our institutions including the courts, problems with police accountability---governments—don’t have the confidence of the people---they are compelled to live with the situation because they know there is really little they can do.
Last, but not least---the reason British Columbians aren’t excited about the BC election is because the news they read, watch or listen to either skews stories---omits obvious elements of issues—or just generally cheats.
BC shows as a bona fide provincial democracy---but it isn’t. It’s a banana republic owned and operated by a few wealthy people—whose minions talk about, write about, and report—what they are told. The media cheats—it’s out of balance—dishonest—it’s that simple.
Should Carole James win—on behalf of British Columbians everywhere ROBBINS will hold her to her promise—to stop subsidizing these ‘foreign’ media outlets in our province with BC taxpayer advertising dollars.
Glen P. Robbins

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