Poilievre, "Terrorism", And Media Failure
On Poilievre's Fox News Failure
On Wednesday Pierre Poilievre claimed in the House of Commons that the car that crashed and exploded in Buffalo, right by the border, was a terrorist attack, based on Fox News reporting.
To find this out as of writing, you’d have to skip the websites of both the CBC and the National Post, go to the Toronto Star, and scroll to the 15th paragraph to find reference to it. Hell, the Post doesn’t even lead with this on the site, it’s an opinion piece about Justin Trudeau. Now, Power & Politics did cover it on TV tonight, but not great that the national broadcaster has no reference to it on their site.
CTV doesn’t have any reference either, but their newser on this does include this great bit of performance art. “Both Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh expressed early concerns about Canadians' safety and those impacted.” I mean, sure, if we’re just deciding words don’t mean what they mean anymore.
This is the same day after Pierre Poilievre had his MPs vote against the Ukraine Free Trade deal for “imposing a carbon tax” on Ukraine, which is once again only true if we decide that words don’t have meaning. And I’ve gotta say, if so many in the media have decided that he’s the presumptive next PM, then maybe they should fucking act like it, and point out that Poilievre is acting less like an alternative government and more like a dimestore Ben Shapiro.
We have, right now, a leader of the Opposition who has lied in the House twice this week about important shit. Whatever you think of the Liberals, this is really, really important. (For those who want a better explainer on the Ukraine stuff, you can watch this, but the long and short of it is that Ukraine’s committed to a carbon price by dint of wanting EU membership and a vague aspiration in the FTA about working together on it isn’t in any way an imposition of anything on them. Also, given that the Ukrainians fucking want the deal, maybe shut up and listen to them instead of telling them what they should want?)
My problem with all of this is that what we need is actually quite doable. We’ve seen what tough questioning and a willingness to tell the self evident truth. What we need is not some form of left hysteria in the form of that on the right, but a media that is willing to report what people say accurately instead of either watering it down or just straight up not covering it.
This isn’t just about Pierre Poilievre, or just about the right – the coverage from Sarah Jama failed for a similar reason, which is that her actual reason for being booted from caucus got written up as “support for Palestine”. It wasn’t – she lied to her leader. When it came out that she said that the Zionist Lobby “control[led] an entire government operation”, that quote was neigh impossible to find in the mainstream press. It certainly wasn’t mentioned in the article in the Hamilton Spectator, but I’ve done that rant already.
What some want in response to Poilievre is for the institutional media to become essentially MSNBC North, or to elevate something to that level, as a way of fighting back against Postmedia and their clear editorial biases. It’s an understandable frustration, but the eagerness to blame the bad polls on Postmedia are laughable. Their coverage was as mediocre/bad/hostile/slanted/biased (delete as preferred) in 2019 or 2021 and that didn’t do shit to stop the Government’s re-elections.
(Also, no, it didn’t stop the government losing their majority. In 2019, the Liberals lost their majority because they could not make back inevitable, always going to happen losses in English Canada with enough Quebec seats, and the number of people who read Postmedia in the average LPC-BQ battlegrounds is probably 3 figures. And anyways, any Gazette reader in Sherbrooke already votes Liberal.)
What we need is the center to hold, and that includes calling out the left when they are legitimately at fault. Jagmeet Singh is a punching bag in these pages but he’s a punching bag because he is saying legitimately braindead shit all the fucking time If the media is to have any credibility, they can’t turn into cheerleaders for the left as some seem to want, or to play down errors and fuckups of the government. But at the end of the day it’s also the case that Postmedia ran a trumped up story about Justin Trudeau’s personal days that amounted to Trudeau taking less personal days than the total number of weekend days since he took office. Shocker: father of 3 is a father occasionally.
The problem with so much of the coverage is that it treats scrutiny of Poilievre as a choice. I’m not even getting at the Post, which ran an Op-Ed by Doug Ford in the paper on the day after the AG reported about his Greenbelt landswaps and gave the Op-Ed higher placement on the NP site than the hard news piece. We have a media that is supposed to be better than Postmedia who are mostly failing us. The reason we’re where we are is that there’s a reluctance from far too many to say in public what they readily admit in private.
Poilievre is still the same politician who cannot fucking stop swinging at every single Goddamn pitch even when shutting up and doing nothing would make the most sense. It’s perfectly fine to point out that he announced he’d back a bill to ban all vaccine mandates because he missed one vote in the House and Patrick Brown put out a press release. It’s sensible to link that to this week’s nonsense vote against the Ukraine FTA or him calling David Akin a Liberal reporter or any of the other nonsense he’s spouted in the name of winning the day.
It might be working, but it’s also more than the media’s responsibility to point out that the polls are good. It’s their job to fucking inform their fucking people that their leader of the Opposition is acting less like an Opposition Leader and more like a fucking ambulance chaser. He needs to be exposed to scrutiny but more importantly he needs to be exposed to scrutiny of the kind his polling demands, but Justin Trudeau calling Peter Kent a piece of shit as a third party backbencher got more media coverage than Pierre Poilievre parroting Fox News’ incorrect reporting warrants.
We deserve better. Anything less is a failure of epic proportions that will haunt this country for years.