Saturday, October 23, 2010

I am not happy with media coverage of the Toronto election

I am not at all happy with how the media has been handling this Toronto election.

I think the electioneering started far too early, and I'm not happy with how the media was complicit in this by scheduling televised debates seven fricking months before election day.

I'm not happy with how the media has deemed the candidates of its choosing frontrunners and then practically ignored all other candidates. We have 40 mayoral candidates, and I have only seen 8 of their names in my newspapers, with only 5 of them treated like serious candidates! My ward has 4 city council candidates, and what little media coverage we've gotten has arbitrarily deemed only 2 of them viable.

I am not happy with how the media has allowed the candidates rather than the people to define the issues and narrative. Nearly every day for the better part of this year I've opened the newspaper to find someone trying to win my vote by lying to my face about what I want and need from my city.

I'm not happy at all with how the media has given me absolutely no information whatsoever to help me make an informed vote for my school board trustee. There are no current, past, or future TDSB students in my household. I don't even actually know what the issues are, and the media has done nothing to help me in this area.

What I want from the media is extensive objective information. I want all candidates and their platforms profiled and given equal space, and to be allowed to decide for myself which ones are viable. I want newspapers to track down that one candidate in my ward who doesn't have a website and profile her just like all the other candidates, not completely ignore her. I want an objective overview of the issues, as defined by the people, not the candidates. I want factual information readily available - What does the city's budget currently look like? What are the cost and capacity per kilometre of LRTs vs. subways? - and zero spin. I want objective primers on how to decide how to vote for people who haven't voted in Toronto or in their ward before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with mayoral/councillor/trustee issues. And I don't want any of this to start before Labour Day.

I can make snap judgements based on the loudest elements of candidates' reputations myself. I can ignore candidates I've never heard of myself. I can sit passively by as the candidates define the issues and take their every statement at face value myself. If I wanted to do this, I wouldn't need the media. I'm going to the media because I want more than I can do myself. And it's time for them to step up and deliver.

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