Sunday, January 22, 2012

Traditional, and New, Media Weigh In on 3rd Party Money in Campaigning

I did my best to ignore Tanya Talaga's nonsense in The Toronto Star the other day, but Parker Gallant's response inspired me to post some other current articles on the topic of third party influence on election campaigns.
The Toronto Sun's 'Attack ad double standards' , reminded readers of previous totals on third-party advertising in the McGuinty era
As Maclean’s reported Sept. 20, 2011 at the height of the Ontario campaign:
“As of last week, all six third-party advertisers registered with the province’s election watchdog were either labour organizations or coalitions who have in the past run attack ads against Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak. Meantime, an array of environmentalists, NGOs and green entrepreneurs have joined forces in hopes of saving (McGuinty’s) two-year-old Green Energy Act, with plans for unprecedented forays into the ground-level campaign. Leaders of the ad hoc group deny they are acting for or against specific parties or candidates. But Hudak is the only leader committed to undoing the act’s key provisions.” During the 2011 Ontario election, McGuinty and the Liberals didn’t have to run ads attacking Hudak because the WFC and others did it for them.
In the 2007 Ontario election, Maclean’s reported, 90% of the $2.3 million raised by third-party advertisers went to groups opposed to Tory policies.
The National Post's Andrew Coyne remained on the periphery of the fray with "A less comedic balance in the political marketplace",  but Ontario earned a specific reference there too:
 We don’t have to look to the States for examples of unregulated third-party spending run amok: in Ontario, whose electoral laws are nothing like as strict, the Working Families Coalition — a front for the province’s unions, and by implication the governing Liberals — spent millions of dollars before and during the last election attacking the provincial Conservatives.
So far the MSM has not addressed the existence of a newspaper itself as political advertising.
The Toronto Star did sidestep a potential controversy, of David Suzuki's personal endorsements of actions of the McGuinty government casting doubt on the charitable status of his foundation, by teaming Suzuki with Mike Holmes, of Holmes on Homes fame, for an editorial just prior to October's provincial election.

The Star also provided editorial space for a prominent German politician to interfere in Ontario's election.  Presumably they had good reason to give Jurgen Tritten the space to support the Liberal party Premier, aside from the Atkinson principles being applied to the word "Liberal" instead of the philosophy. Tritten was not only the German politician to enable the first nuclear phase-out plan, but Spiegel Online has credited him with creating billionaires:
"... the founder of the wind power  company Enercon is now a multibillionaire and one of Germany's richest people. Thanks to former Environment Minister J├╝rgen Trittin, companies that got their start in garages were able to earn millions upon millions during the years when Germany was run by a Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Green Party coalition government.....”
As contemptible as inviting rain-making foreign politicians to determine Ontario's election, particularly one dedicated to the destruction of the 70,000 jobs related to Ontario's nuclear companies, the Star can overlook their own appalling transgressions by pretending a billboard in a distant field is more impactful than the drivel they print.

On that point, I hope they are right.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely tied together but we need a complete overhaul of the system as suggested by Coyne for Ontario and perhaps for the country. The other issue that should be addressed is the status of exactly what a "charitable" institution is and a more definitive set of rules they should abide by.