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The people and the press


 

The Boston Globe compares what Barack Obama was asked about during yesterday’s Twitter town hall with what journalists asked during the last two weeks of White House press briefings.

A similar experiment here would likely produce similar results: comparing, for instance, what Michael Ignatieff was asked about during his various town halls with what the departed Liberal leader was asked about during scrums would probably find the same disconnect.

You could theorize all sorts of reasons to explain that disconnect, but it is perhaps worth wondering whether something should be done to shrink the gap.

From the American standpoint, Matthew Yglesias sees the “leading failure of the press”


 

The people and the press

  1. The press is obsessed with process questions.  In times of elections and minority governments, the PPG members are also fixated on the latest scandale-du-jour.  This is because many in the press gallery tend to see themselves as the “unofficial opposition”, rather than as a tool to inform the public about important stories and issues that are not trending in Ottawa political circles.
     
    Generally speaking, the Canadian public is ill-served by a press obsessed with inside-Ottawa stuff to the virtual exclusion of many important issues that concern the populace.

    • Agreed.  A perfect example:  pensions and retirement savings.  A huge issue that lots of Canadians are extremely concerned about.  The PPG couldn’t care less.  But did Harper eat or hide that wafer?  Now THAT’s important.

      • That’s a good example.  I daresay many important issues get overlooked by the press because there’s no immediate payoff (i.e. they can’t be used to criticize the government.)

        • What about obsessing about the plane, the verbal tangle in responding to that horribly worded question from that Murphy fellow, etc. during election 2008.

      •  … of course … Harper could have shut that down very quickly by being honest. 

        • Aaron, is that you?

  2. I heard that the questions were very well screened. The disconnect might be the fact that there was a ‘filter’ in place here that isn’t placed over the reporters.

    The twitter deal was a staged way to gather twitter accounts to hit up during the coming campaign. Brilliant, really.

  3. 1) Msm is professional job now – have to go to university to become journo. Only certain types of people become journalists and they don’t remotely represent all Canadians. Canadian msm is very white, not very reflective of Canadian society. Msm too busy hectoring everyone else to notice their own industry not very diverse.

    2) North American msm tries to be neutral – listen to pols and others talk bollocks and rarely challenge them. Msm is not allowed to have view or opinion – or not much of one – and so journos listen to pols talk nonsense and don’t call them on it.

    3) Who reads papers? I would have thought people who buy Globe daily would have interest in more detailed coverage of political process compared to someone who starts their day with Canada AM or Dean Blundell morning show, for instance.

  4. It’s probably because members of the public generally would ask fairly facile questions about why Obama doesn’t wave his magic wand and fix the economy and give everyone jobs, while eliminating the deficit without cutting services or raising taxes.

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