The media is in a tizzy about a new conservative TV network in Canada. They need to be a little less self-absorbed argues Joseph Quesnel…
Recently, on the editorial pages of the New York Times, William Kristol argued that the biographies of candidates will play only an ancillary role in determining the next President of the United States this fall. [i] Reading his editorial, my thoughts turned to the central role that biography is currently playing in determining the Democratic nominee. Absent a meaningful divergence between the candidates on a substantive policy issue, the media (induced by the candidates themselves) has turned Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton into living symbols of the aspirations of a race and gender respectively. Voters, however, seeking to evaluate whether these candidates are truly capable of representing these communities, have turned to their autobiographies, hoping to find stories within that commune with their own tales of hardship.
“The facts of life are conservative” said Margaret Thatcher. Perhaps, but the facts never speak for themselves, which is especially problematic for any Canadian mildly interested in ideas. Too many newspapers have hollowed out their editorial, analysis and comment sections; the number and length of book reviews have been slashed; in both newspapers and on television, investigative reporting is often absent (there is no Canadian television equivalent of John Stossel for example); and the Canadian media is more monolithic than the American media, in part because our smaller population makes diversity in staffing and the sheer number of outlets less possible.