When the Press Perpetuates Ignorance


Quebec doesn’t have a very big appetite for politics. Being totally bilingual, I get to compare the content from the English Canadian media outlets to their French counterparts, and this lack of interest for politics is something that you get to notice pretty quickly when you have a standard to compare it to. On weeknight TV at stations like CBC, it seems (and I’m going by gut on this one) that much more time is put on actual important issues like local, provincial and national politics, and less on silly human interest stories (hrm hrm, looking at you TVA!). Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but we French Canadians don’t have shows like RMR or 22 Minutes to make politics less dry, and when our stand-up comedians mention the subject, it usually just ends up in politicos bashing using overworked stereotypes.

As a person who enjoys learning about politics on all levels and humanities in general, I am greatly disappointed that my community puts so little interest in the system that makes our nation work. So just imagine what I feel when I see an atrocity like this in the paper:

Journal de Quebec, March 26th

That’s not journalism, even by the Journal de Montreal/Journal de Quebec’s low, low standards. That’s outright anti-journalism. Dumbing down the masses, polarizing cynicism and encouraging the stagnation of politics in our nation. The “It’s on!” part I can get. But, for sensationalism’s sake, they just HAD to include the “again” part, that perpetuates the idea that elections are unwanted, for reasons that Vincent Marissal did a fine job of underlining in last week’s La Presse. From the very start of the campaign I’ve had to deal with this kind of cynic crap. The complaint on cost is very popular apparently, as I’ve had the “another couple hundred million dollars down the drain” type of talk many times since the campaign started. People, get it straight: a federal election 3 years into a minority government is not something out of the ordinary, and the mechanism surrounding the fall of the government is ESSENTIAL to democracy in that it prevents the undue preservation of power by the executive against the will of the people, via the opposition.

This front page tells loads about the Journal’s prime target audience: cynics, ignorants, people who always want more but never do more, who have an opinon on everything yet have nothing to back it up. I kind of want to hate Quebecor for this (despite the fact that their flamboyant victory over the STIJM made me pretty giddy), but after all, who’s to blame? The population, they’re the ones who chew up that kind of crap; come to think about it, JdM and JdQ reader’s appetite for garbage is the only thing that kept the papers afloat on such a long strike.

You want a government that’ll last five years? Give tories a majority, I guarantee they’ll squeeze out every last drop of their mandate. Just don’t be signing petitions to kick out the PM 3 years from now.