Media plays teenage boy gamer while politicians flunk their humanity
By: Bruce A Stewart
Just once I’d like to see politicians do the right thing.
Do it, that is, without having to poll first, test the waters, try out six approaches, debate endlessly, squeeze the life out of it.
Danielle Smith and the Wildrose party unveiled their campaign bus this week. By now everyone coast to coast knows that her photo was positioned above the wheels.
And that, in the puerile minds of our news media, that’s a story, because the wheels now represented her breasts.
Funny. I saw the picture and I saw wheels. Bus wheels.
This sort of nonsense is what passes for news these days.
Parties, in turn, live in fear of these outbursts. It’s (drum roll, please) an uncontrolled message!
Can’t have that, say the strategists. So the bus will be taken care of.
But where were the other parties?
Where was the Premier? Certainly a simple “I don’t see it that way, get your minds out of the gutter” would have been appropriate?
Where was the Liberal leader? The Alberta Party leader? The New Democrat leader? (Keep going, there’s more to choose from.)
All of them have a vested interest in putting a stop to this sort of nonsense. Any of them could be the next victim of “bad news” and “uncontrolled messages”.
Your bus never breaks down? You’re sure about that?
But, no. Don’t do the humane thing and speak up. There’s points to be gained!
This sort of trashy behaviour has to stop. It, more than anything else (forget “robocalls”), suppresses voter turnout.
Oh, yes, I forgot: parties like voter turnout to be low. Get the “controlled” voters out: the ones you know will vote for you. The independents who actually make up their mind rather than reacting? Better if they stayed home.
So goes the thinking these days in politics.
The media’s not going to rein itself in. This story had everything they like: a visual (essential for television), an easy story to tell, hours of follow-on chatter amongst talking heads (cheapest thing to air on radio or television) available, and column after column of tongue-wagging possible.
Real news? Who needs that when you’ve got scandal?
So it’ll be up to party leaders to fix this.
Danielle Smith should have stood her ground: “what are you, thirteen?”
Alison Redford should have been in there: “Get your minds out of the gutter. We disagree on policy. We stand together on this.”
Do you think one vote would be lost by doing the right thing?
It’s called acting ethically. It’s also called taking the long view: acting strategically instead of tactically.
The next “invented crisis” in the media may affect your party. You should speak out and put an end to it now.
And you should do it because treating Danielle Smith this way was inhumane.
Political opponents are people, first and foremost.
Throw the media under the bus, instead.
Bruce Stewart is a consultant, educator and philosopher with a passion for public affairs currently located in Toronto. He is well known across the Internet for his blog Just a Jump to the Left, then a Step to the Right and for his daily stream of snarky comments on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.