Part of me still can’t quite believe it. Sure, journalists have been appointed to meaningless ceremonial posts by politicians before, but to poach English Canada’s biggest name in political journalism (well, political TV journalism anyway) and just make him a politician (from P.E.I.?) seems strange.
Sure, technically there’s nothing wrong with a journalist becoming a politician. It’s the other way around that’s a problem (except on RDI). But it just feels wrong.
For what it’s worth, the National Post explores the ethical issues in play here. There are questions about how Mike Duffy may have acted toward the Conservatives while mulling this appointment, even if he says he’s not a partisan.
I don’t think Duffy’s journalism was biased, and will probably for the most part stand the test of time. But I still think it was a mistake to accept a senate appointment. Just as it was for Jim Munson or Joan Fraser or any of the other journalists who went to the senate thinking it would raise their profile and whose names have been forgotten by average Canadians.
Then again, this Margaret Wente column alone almost makes the appointment worth it. Not to mention the fact that there’s so little news otherwise this time of year.
It should perhaps be mentioned that neither Jim Munson nor Joan Fraser went directly from journalism into senate appointments.
In Jim Munson’s case, several months after he was abruptly cut from CTV, he went to work for Jean Chretien as communications director. It was after doing that job for a while that he was named to the senate.
Joan Fraser left the Gazette then went to head a research group. It was only some time afterwards that she was named to the Senate.
In both cases, the senate appointment was unlikely to have any impact on their coverage since it came a while after they had left journalism and was quite possibly based in large part on their post-journalistic service.
This is true. Same with Pamela Wallin. Which makes Duffy’s appointment all the more unique.
I don’t get what the problem is? Having a TV show is like having any other job. It’s an asset to him that he has political knowledge prior to being in the Senate. Congratulations Senator Duffy!
Duffy’s journalism wasn’t biased?
If you watched Mike Duffy regularly it was plain to see he was a conservative. I have to wonder about Mike Duffy’s journalistic ethics in using his position in the media to obtain a senate seat.
I would have to agree with Democracy Watch that appointing a political journalist raises question about the independence of the media. How long has Mike been vying for a senate seat and using his position to influence the Canadian public in the conservatives favor? Is this legal? Who will be the next political journalist to be courted for a seat on the senate? I guess we can only wait and see.