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Are you ready for some character assassination?


 

First, I’d like to thank the Conservative Party of Canada for running their newest attack ad approximately 2.96 million times during Monday Night Football. Weeks from now, when we reflect on the first weekend of the 2009 NFL season, the memories will surely blur together and we’ll all recount New England quarterback Tom Brady completing a thrilling game-winning pass to Michael Ignatieff’s mercenary recklessness. Final score: Patriots 25, Canada’s Awesome Economic Recovery That Ignatieff is Totally Ruining With His Ambition and Effete Hand Gestures 24.

Second, here’s my favourite passage from this morning’s Globe (though, full disclosure, it doesn’t quite top the recent passage about the horse being sexy):

Amid the drama yesterday, Mr. Ignatieff delivered what was being billed by the Liberals as a major speech about Canada on the international stage. However, his message about Canada’s place in the world was lost in the all the breathless speculation about an election.

This is an all-time classic media move: when reporters write about how one event was overshadowed by another, but do so in a way that completely overlooks their pivotal role in the whole overshadowing part.

The passive voice is critical here – Ignatieff’s message “was lost.” Got that? It “was lost,” like a kid’s homework or Stephen Harper’s capacity to feel. This sounds better than resorting to the more honest “What’s-his-nose Liberal guy gave a speech or whatever but we were all too busy squealing girlishly at rumours that Steve and Jack were holding hands behind the portable.”

And did you catch the above-it-all tone in the passage? – the mildly condescending use of “breathless speculation.” It’s the print equivalent of the TV reporter who rushes to stake out some devastated, in-the-news family – then has his camera operator pan across the assembled media horde as he gravely intones something along the lines of, “Check out all these guys. Vultures.”

The worst part is that Iggy’s speech was actually big news. Check it out: “Under this government,” Ignatieff told the Canadian Club, “Canada is becoming the country that dares not speak its name.” You heard him, ladies and gentlemen: under Stephen Harper, Canada is becoming the Lambada of the global community – the forbidden country!

Let us all now arch our backs and grind our pelvises in shame.


 
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Are you ready for some character assassination?

  1. There's also an innuendo about being in the closet…

    • That was the oddest statement wasnt it….given its origins.

      Kind of thing one might say at a faculty party and get some chuckles.

  2. yes, i thought about the oscar wilde angle – but it's just not plausible that this country has gone gay under stephen harper

    • Not if Tony Clement has anything to say about it.

  3. Excellent points. I swear the Op-Ed section is just copied and pasted each day and then put up a different head shot for 'change'.

    Now, can you make the Ottawa Citizen STOP WRITING ABOUT DANY HEATLEY? He's gone and he still takes up more space than the classifieds. And while you're at it, slap the letters editor for printing a minumum four letters a day on bikes vs. cars vs. pedestrians. They all hate each other. Got it. Please report on something else….

  4. "This is an all-time classic media move:"

    That and "why are Canadians so obsessed with…" when, as far as we all can tell, it's only who are obsessed.

    Andrew Coyne does this a lot.

  5. "it's only who are obsessed. " should "it's only the media who are obsessed."

  6. Scott wrote,

    "This is an all-time classic media move: when reporters write about how one event was overshadowed by another, but do so in a way that completely overlooks their pivotal role in the whole overshadowing part."

    Oh oh, now Inkless and ITQ are going to go medieval over your credibility for daring to suggest that there is media participation in a story. Better get your sarc shields up Scott.

  7. Scott,

    There may have been otehr reasons for teh medai lack of interest.

    The problem with Ignatieff's speech was that it didn't really say much. It was also rather mean spirited for a guy desperately trying to prove the other guy is mean spirited.

    Much of the speech seemed like an attempt to bring Mike Pearson and Pierre Trudeau back to life. Ignatieff's father would have been comfortable with that, but I doubt if many voters, who have to deal with the issues we face in 2009, would have recognized themselves.

  8. Scott,

    There may have been other reasons for the medai lack of interest.

    The problem with Ignatieff's speech was that it didn't really say much. It was also rather mean spirited for a guy desperately trying to prove the other guy is mean spirited.

    Much of the speech seemed like an attempt to bring Mike Pearson and Pierre Trudeau back to life. Ignatieff's father would have been comfortable with that, but I doubt if many voters, who have to deal with the issues we face in 2009, would have recognized themselves.

  9. Scott,

    There may have been other reasons for the media lack of interest.

    The problem with Ignatieff's speech was that it didn't really say much. It was also rather mean spirited for a guy desperately trying to prove the other guy is mean spirited.

    Much of the speech seemed like an attempt to bring Mike Pearson and Pierre Trudeau back to life. Ignatieff's father would have been comfortable with that, but I doubt if many voters, who have to deal with the issues we face in 2009, would have recognized themselves.

    • But his Grandfaher Grant would have hated it…

      "Much of the speech seemed like an attempt to bring Mike Pearson and Pierre Trudeau back to life"

      I knew we could get Zombies into this political cycle somehow.

  10. Ignatieff's message “was lost.”

    Yah, it was lost on Canadians why we should hang our heads in shame.
    Seems to me, MIs speech was about changing Canada so he can 'feel' proud of this country.
    Maybe he was more proud to be an American.

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