The corporate media’s half-hearted, unconvincing endorsements of the B.C. Liberals do more to damage their own credibility than they do to bolster the Clark government’s flagging fortunes.
As expected, The Vancouver Sun and Province, and the Globe and Mail, published editorials urging voters to keep the Liberals in power for another four years. The uninspired prose and clichéd arguments are testament to the pure cynicism of the ruling elite in Canada.
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They are also an insult to these newspapers’ own hard-working and dedicated journalists, many of whom have done important investigations exposing the dynamics of the housing affordability crisis, and the staggering corruption and cronyism that has come to define political and economic life in the “Wild West” under Premier Christy Clark and her right-wing Liberals.
Whoever drafted the Globe and Mail editorial urging a vote for the B.C. Liberals didn’t even try to disguise their lack of enthusiasm, limply concluding, “No, the B.C. Liberals aren’t perfect. But on Tuesday in British Columbia, perfect’s not on the ballot.” Believe it or not, the Globe's editorial's ran under the headline, "In B.C., hold your nose and vote Liberal." You can't make this shit up.
Then there’s Postmedia, whose support for Anybody But the NDP is like a rainy day in winter on the west coast: no less dreary for its utter predictability.
The Vancouver Sun’s editorial endorsement ran with the banal headline, “Good managers of economy, Liberals deserve to be re-elected.” B.C. voters might well conclude that if they want their province managed as well as Postmedia, they should vote Liberal. Postmedia’s top executives have been cashing in, even as they slash and gut newsrooms across the country, notably including here in B.C. (The latest wave of job cuts took place right before the election campaign.)
Like Postmedia, Clark’s Liberals are good at stripping assets, rewarding those at the top of the hierarchy while making things harder for all those at the bottom.
The owners of Canada’s dying and increasingly discredited corporate media are evidently completely out of touch with the big majority of the population. In B.C.’s supposedly well-managed economy, the cost of living has spiralled out of control in recent years due to rampant speculation in the housing market, proliferation of user fees, and wage stagnation. Under the Liberals, B.C. doesn’t even have a poverty reduction plan, even as child poverty persists and homelessness has reached record levels in Vancouver and throughout the province.
Finally, the Province (whose newsroom has been merged with the Sun to cut costs) also urged a vote for the status quo, evoking the ghost of NDP governments past: “The Liberals, under the leadership of Christy Clark, should continue to govern despite some errors, especially related to support for disadvantaged citizens who rely on government supports. All governments make mistakes and the NDP made many when in power in the 1990s.”
No one reading these editorials would have any sense of the shocking scale of corruption and inequality that scars B.C. In the long run, these endorsements hurt the newspapers who make them more than anything. But, in the short run, given that it’s such a neck-and-neck election, they may be enough to help the Liberals cling to power for another four long years.
Compared to the rest of Canada, B.C. has a relatively thriving independent media ecosystem. But that still pales in comparison to the influence of the big, corporate legacy media. Needless to say, and regardless of Tuesday’s election results, building the reach of independent media should be a priority for anyone who wants to see progressive politics thrive.