Sorry Globe, you’re due

Well, we’ve tossed out mad props to the Globe on more than one occasion on this blog for their election coverage. It’s time to take them down a few pegs.

Like many media outlets, the Globe has been running a series of “reality check” articles during the election campaign (the CBC even uses the same name for theirs). They’re interesting features that take a second look at campaign promises and stump speech claims (why such reportage can’t be included in the hard news coverage is beyond me, I guess context is a special, election-only feature).

Today’s reality check, however, falls flat. Check it out here. Rather than refute or support the claims in the Liberal advertisements, they simply offer up the Tory rebuttal to each.

Now, back in journalism school, oh so many moons ago, we were taught to cover all possible sides to every story. So why weren’t the Tory rebuttals included in the original story? Were the Liberal claims presented unchallenged?

Furthermore, how does offering the Tory spin constitute a reality check of any sort? Shouldn’t a reality check consist of, I don’t know, reality? Facts? Granted, many of these claims are subjective – there’s no clear answer or conclusion – so then why label this a “reality” check.

Election campaign allegations are often he-said, she-said affairs. It’d be nice if reportage elevated itself to a higher plain, but at the very least, call a spade a spade. This isn’t a reality check, it’s the spin cycle redux.


  1. This is really a terrible piece. Not only should newspapers being providing this context in their news stories, but this kind of partisan bickering does no real public service.

    Firstly, the Liberals had to pay for their advertisements. The Globe and Mail just gave the Conservatives free ad space to refute all the claims (except, of course, the points they concede too – that part is really funny).

    Secondly, some of the rebuttles contain unchecked attacks on the Liberals. Which Liberals supported the Common Sense revolution? Who tells the Council for National Policy that the conservative mvement is an inspiration to the people in this world – and says it SARCASTICALLY? I wouldn’t walk into a convention of journalists and say “Freedom of speech is REALLY important to democracy” using SARCASM. I’d be penned to death (journalists being opposed to swords and all).

    Also unchecked, they deny late-night meetings because Harper “isn’t a late-night person” and say “we’ll run a surplus.” Has the Globe had an independant accounting firm verify this? Or at least have they looked INTO THE FUTURE TO MAKE SURE THIS IS TRUE?

    Read the Globe tomorrow, where the Liberals refute the Conservative refutations!

  2. Thanks for following up man, you finished all the thoughts I didn’t get around to typing (puppy to take care of, I don’t get long at the keyboard).

    The Reality Checks are frustrating enough to someone who thinks context belongs in every story. This one takes it to a whole new level by offering more spin to spin.

    This team blogging thing is great!

  3. I have to agree with Joe and Jacques. (wow, I agree with Jacques and it doesn’t feel dirty) Anywho, the Globe piece is good journalism calling the Liberals on some obvious bull shit is a good idea.
    You know when that should have happened? When the Liberals first released the ad. You know who shoud have done it? The Globe not the Conservatives.
    On a related note, The CBC pieces with Neil MacDonald have been excellent. He has been calling everyone on their bullshit. It has been non-partisan and factual. MacDonald takes the figures runs them with experts and gets the facts behind the spin.
    Kudos CBC.

  4. An update to the Conservatives rebuttles. It seems the Globe and Mail didn’t do all its homework – or, perhaps, there’s another problem with their story.

    The CBC website has a story with Harper’s comment on his speech to the Council for National Policy .

    He says, “I was the leader of a conservative organization addressing another conservative organization. And obviously we admire values of freedom and democracy and the promotion of our traditional values and I think we all understand that.”

    That was in response to the accusation that Harper said “your conservative movement is a light and inspiration to the people in this country and across the world.”

    BUT – in response to saying Canada was “a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term,” Harper said THAT was tongue-in-cheek.

    The Globe story quotes the Conservative rebuttle TO BOTH QUOTES as being “tongue in cheek.”

    The Globe attributes the quote to “party officials” and not to Harper. The CBC quotes Harper directly. It appears the Globe was a bit sloppy in their reporting and the Conservative “rebuttle” isn’t so much a refutation of the argument (as the Globe claims) as it is an agreement with the Liberal statement. So, the exact opposite.

    This makes me wonder about the sourcing in the Globe story. There are some anonymous sources, which are troubling, but Monty Solberg, William Stairs and Gordon O’Connor are also quoted. Only Monty Solberg’s quote has a date attributed to it – Wednesday (it says “yesterday” and the story ran on Thursday). Did the Globe seek out all these sources to give rebuttles to Liberal ads? Or did the Globe borrow from previous Conservative announcements? Or, in what would be the most troubling scenario, did the Conservatives approach journalists with rebuttles of the ads and the Globe just ran them verbatim.

    I think the Globe has some explaining to do.

  5. A quick note, and not just because it was Jacques who made the mistake, it’s Monte Solberg. Back when you were in first-year J-school weren’t they still hitting you guys with rulers for stuff like that?

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