I’ve been fairly critical of the media’s role in this election. From the consortium threatening to pull Conservative Ads on false copyright pretenses, to political favoritism in the Munk Debates, and now the situation with the former National Post editorial editor Andrew Coyne when the post refused to post his endorsement of a political candidate.
I called last nights big win for the Liberals hours prior to the election taking place. From the looks of things, the Conservative progressive vote (which is based around civil liberties) and the anti-conservative vote went to the NDP at the very beginning of the campaign as a result of the Liberal support for Bill C-51. I think the tipping point for the Conservative progressives was the Liberal policy on TPP and trade in which the Greens and NDP wanted to kill. All of the poll numbers suggested to me that’s when the NDP and Conservative vote started to go down, and Liberals went up at the time of the signing of the TPP. Last night the anti-conservative vote, voted strategically and rallied behind the Conservative progressive move to the Liberals and oust Harper.
Besides getting screamed at for hours after my call for a Liberal win from my conservative friends on Facebook (too which now owe me a bottle of rum), this was a big shocker to some. Did big media have any pull in the election? It’s quite clear throughout this election that the consortium has been acting inappropriately. The Globe debates were some of the most horrible debates I’ve ever seen with Conservative leaning questions, and statements from the editor of the Globe (who’s editorial board ended up supporting the Conservatives days before the election). Not to mention the lack of coverage Elizabeth May’s responses to debate questions on social media as a result of her being left out of several debates. I think it may be too soon to tell to see if traditional media had the impact they were hoping for.
I think traditional media’s role here really depends on the break down of voter engagement. If the youth voted in big numbers, than traditional media and poll results had very little pull with voter intentions. Most in this age group get their media online and through social media. The Liberals had a strong social media presence in this campaign. I ran into it a few times, especially with MP Wayne Easter (which I congratulated last night on his re-election) debating C-51, not to mention many other potential Liberal MPs on the bill. The Liberals weren’t shy on social media, and came out fighting (and most without per-scripted talking points), unlike most of the NDP and Conservative hopefuls.
If the voter engagement was more balanced, than I think there needs to be questions put by Canadians on exactly how the media and/or lobby groups played a role in trying to intentionally sway voter intentions to the benefit of one or more parties. Do you think traditional media played a big role in the Liberal election win? Post your comments/observations below.