237 words on the election

I care more about the institutions of government in this country than the political parties. These institutions are generally structured to protect the citizens and the country, while politicians work within them for their ideological ends.

In my mind, the greatest existential threat to Canada is any government that disregards or undermines our system of government. We can bounce back from most external things, but slow-boil systemic changes will shift the structure of Canada in ways we don’t even realize today.

In this current government I’ve seen a continued and increasing disregard for Parliament and the Supreme Court, including the Prime Minister publicly trying to convince us not to trust those institutions because they have challenged him for breaking or ignoring various laws. There are also the personal attacks to discredit the head of Elections Canada for defending our election laws (i.e. doing his job). And the huge issue of the lobotomizing of our collective public knowledge (see “Vanishing Canada”, in Maclean’s), which, intentionally or not, serves to undermine decision-making in government. (If we don’t have scientific research and data to base decisions on, we’re only making decisions based on political ideology.) Before considering the short-to-mid-term policies that everyone is promising, I had to eliminate Stephen Harper’s Conservatives from the options, because it’s evident to me they do not respect — and are actively undermining — the long-term system we are ultimately electing them to uphold. .:. Cross-posted to Facebook.

the media game

You might not know the names, but the story is universal.

In an eight-minute segment, ABC’s Media Watch deconstructs how reporting on Twitter rumours and the subsequent denials actually affects the ability of governments to govern.

This isn’t advocating for not reporting on news breaking on Twitter, but like all reporting, it needs to be responsibly done.

When the story is actually that a journalist’s claims have been proven wrong by the laws of space and time, that’s as far as the story should go:

Ben Fordham, popular afternoon radio host on 2GB, and former presenter on Channel 9’s Today show, made an unsubstantiated claim on Twitter today in an apparent attempt to stir up the political troubles surrounding Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s leadership. Fordham’s specific claim was promptly and irrefutably proven incorrect by all parties in the claim. In light of this, this network will apply greater scrutiny to claims from unnamed sources put forth in Mr. Fordham’s future reporting, before we bring those stories to you. In other news…

Maybe there was some merit to this story — maybe the meeting was over the phone, or text, or they made plans to meet a different day.

Even if that turns out to be the case, it doesn’t vindicate anyone.

Asking “what if” and connecting the dots between allegations, denials, and evidence is part of a reporter’s job, to be sure. But if that’s the whole of the story, then all we’re really doing is watching an episode of How It’s Made where the widget actually failed all the quality measures and never made it through the assembly line. And then happily forking over our money to buy one.