Marvin Rotrand, a perennial city councillor from Snowdon who won re-election under the Union Montreal banner on Sunday, gave an interesting quote to audio podcaster Adam Bemma:
“When the media refuses to publicize what a political party says when it holds press conferences to publicize its programs, I don’t think democracy is well served.”
The media hasn’t, of course, “refused” to publicize party platforms. But they did focus more on scandal than vision.
So, is Rotrand’s comment a justified criticism of the media’s coverage of the campaign, or is it whining by a politician annoyed that the party’s carefully-planned manipulation of the media failed because there was a message out there they couldn’t control?
After sex, the thing that sells the most papers (I’ll use “papers” as a synonym for news media content, whether it is TV, newspapers, magazines, radio, etc.) is conflict. Since the media wants to sell advertising, then why in their right minds would they ignore scandal in favor of the dry, uninteresting details of a municipal party platform?
It’s the same reason that the papers love to report on polling data and the “horse race” aspect of a campaign. Or they like to report what Politician A said about Politician B, and then work their fingers into a blur on the phone, trying to get a reaction from Politician B about what Politician A said about him/her.
If people bought papers and watched the TV news because they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the nitty-gritty details of party platforms, cost analyses, and long-term budget implications of campaign promises, then papers would report on that. But the media knows where their bread is buttered, and act accordingly. Who can blame them?
And yet, they want to be taken so very seriously, when they’re really pretty much the same as People Magazine and Perez Hilton, except that they use elected officials and candidates, rather than movie stars, as their subject matter.
The media wants to have it both ways – to be respected as “serious journalists,” yet they always appear to be emphasizing scandals, hearsay, allegations, counter-allegations, rumor and innuendo.
(That’s an old mugshot. Marvin the Martian looks at least 20 years older than that nowadays)…
Marvin the Martian starts to get “entitled”… That’s the sign of an (advanced) middle-age long-term (sorry, “perennial”) politician…
Democracy is badly served when few people get off their steaks and go voting. But again, you certainly can’t blame the incumbents for liking the system as it is now…
It’s not old. It’s actually just an airbrushed photo. Union Montreal seems to “airbrush” all their politicians’ photos to make them look younger. Just take a look at Tremblay on their homepage.
If we could actually believe the programs they’d be worth discussing. They rarely are.
I didn’t read Union Montreal’s program but I did read Vision’s and Projet’s. When you see something like Union had about increasing public transit use by 20% and then the only real thing they suggest for doing so is buying newer reduced-emission buses… you know they don’t believe in it themselves. They write their program the same way a highschooler does his homework: because they have to. They’d skip it if they could. The same goes for much of the political parties’ literature. Unless it’s a grassroot movement, you have no reason to believe the program has any incidence on the politicians or what they’ll do once elected.
So yeah, forget the spin they’re throwing at you. They’ll be the first to forget about it once elected.
“The media hasn’t, of course, “refused” to publicize party platforms.”
I think Louise O’SULLIVAN might beg to differ.
I won’t disagree with Rotrand.. It must be frustrating when the media has its own agenda walking into a press conference.
But Rotrand & Co. are naive and self-serving to think that what a party – especially one that has been in power for 8 years – SAYS it WANTS to do is particularly newsworthy. What a party-in-power has or hasn’t done is more of interest to the electorate.
Oh yes, there was also that matter about Marvin’s colleagues: Zampino, Senecal, Labonté (yes, they were in the same party for years).
Most of what I read about Marvin in recent years (except for his apologias for Zampino) was differing from his party, not supporting them. Has he become one of those politicians who says one thing at election time and another when it’s convenient?
“Just because local politicians are speaking, and just because a reporter spent an hour listening to them speak, doesn’t mean we need to report on it.” – Daniel Victor, The Patriot-News
Rotrand was given an hour to yammer away on CJAD along with two others but rather than elucidate anything positive he just tried to slander the Projet Montreal candidate. He has nobody but himself to blame.
Has Marvin the Martian jumped the shark???
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I listened to the clip of Marvin Rotrand. I think there might be some truth to what he is saying. Afterall; attributing these “scandals” to Mayor Tremblay personally is kind of silly (or even to one minicipal party for that matter). Beyond that he is right – there was much more sensationalism than a more complete coverage of the different platforms (including the platform of Union Montreal).
Truthfully, the only whining that I see going on here are the people who are making ad hoc remarks and comments directed at Marvin Rotrand on this forum.