Monday, November 21, 2005

Does the media ACCURATELY report on public opinion?

Shown below is an e-mail I just sent to my favourite afternoon show on CKNW. Let me provide you the context: The host wanted to discuss the aftermath of the BC Provincical Government backtracking on its plans to give themselves and the opposition party members a sizable raise. So he interviewed Adrienne Carr, the leader of the B.C. Green Party. If you're unfamiliar with BC politics then you need to know that the Green Party has never been successful at achieving even one elected seat. In fact, I don't even think that Ms. Carr has come any higher than 3rd place in any election in her own riding! Immediately after the interview a listener wrote in to ask why she was being interviewed on this matter.


I agree with what your e-mailer had to say about Adrienne Carr but let me express my thoughts in a different way . . .

Who is that Ms. Carr purports to represent? The Green Party, of course, but which segment of society does she represent? Looking at the recent provincial election results I see that the Green Party obtained 161,842 votes, or 9.17% of the popular vote. In electoral terms this is practically nothing! I could easily gain more votes than the Greens by forming any of the following political parties:

  • The Dog & Cat Owners Get a $500 per Year Rebate on Pet Food Party
  • The CKNW Listeners Get to Spank Philip Till When He's Naughty Party
  • The Husbands Must, By Law, Do ALL of the Housework in the Summer Party

Seriously though, I think the media does its listeners/viewers a disservice by always putting on the same old folks that happen to be in their Rolodex or on their Speed Dial. Does Mr. So & So REALLY represent the views of EVERYONE in the Chinese community? Does Ms. This-Hyphen-That REALLY represent the views of ALL women? I think not. Yet with all forms of broadcast media we keep on seeing the opinions of perhaps no more than two dozen people occupying the airwaves of Vancouver.

Not only is this disingenuous, but it comes nowhere close to representing the diversity of opinion out there. I think a much better and more accurate use of your airwaves would be to expand your show to include much more time for callers to express their opinions. Though Dave from Surrey and Terry from East Vancouver and even yours truly from Kitsilano may provide input more often than others, surely such opinions better represent the views of Greater Vancouver than Adrienne Carr?!?

Most sincerely,

Robert W.
Citizen & Informed Listener

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