I’m through with CTV’s Question Period, the hour-long political gab fest held each Sunday. The show’s bothered me for years with its barely contained conservative biases (symptomatic, of course, of CTV’s biases.) There have been moments of fairness and objectivity, but overall the show has always profiled the state of Canadian politics through the narrow prism of the centre-right. Rarely have serious investigations into things like health care delivery, poverty, climate change or social justice found their way onto ‘Question Period’s line-up. Instead, the show has almost exclusively focused on the bogus games, scandals and inside baseball antics of Ottawa that have turned off so many Canadians from politics in recent years (which plays into Stephen Harper’s playbook quite nicely, as we know.)
During yesterday’s panel discussion between co-hosts Jane Taber, Craig Oliver and journalists Joel-Denis Bellavance and Mercedes Stephenson, there was a key moment in which Taber’s anti-left biases shown through her journalistic facade.
Taber and Oliver have been talking up the possibility of a NDP-Liberal coalition as a possible outcome of this election for weeks, sometimes using tongue-in-cheek tones (and despite Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s ruling out such an arrangement.) But in yesterday’s show, Oliver brought up the possibility again, this time musing it could be led by the NDP if they come in second in the vote count. Taber’s reaction was priceless and undeniable:
It could be going even to the extent if this momentum continues…we could even be seeing an NDP-led…
(Her eyes dart open in a look of horror)
Agreement with the Liberals, yeah.
Taber also mentioned in yesterday’s broadcast that she had voted in the advanced polls this weekend. That sent a shiver down my spine as I could imagine her putting her X next to the Conservative party candidate, then running off to host her weekly political show.
With days to go in the 2008 campaign, CTV showed its biases when they betrayed their word and broadcast the false starts of former Liberal leader Stephane Dion during an interview about what he’d do as Prime Minister yesterday to fix the economy tomorrow, or something like that. Shortly thereafter, CTV host and now Conservative Senator Mike Duffy went on air questioning Dion’s basic comprehension and competence.
I’ve been worried CTV would also go to bat for the Conservative Party in this election. Oliver raising the spectre of an NDP-led coalition could just be the kind of trick the Conservatives are hoping for from their beloved network. If enough Ontario voters get scared by such a prospect (kind of like how Taber reacted to the notion), perhaps CTV figures it’ll help swing more voters behind the Conservative Party and hand that party its majority.
All of this makes we wonder how successful Sun TV will really be. Sun TV puts it pro-Conservative bias up front. But why would Conservatives need to watch the amateur coverage on Sun TV when they already have a very powerful and clearly Conservative broadcaster in CTV?
If you’re watching CTV this final week of the campaign, be very aware of the pro-Conservative biases you will no doubt be witnessing.