Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More Sun News Blatant Bias

Researching the piece yesterday on Sun News Network's evident complicity in knowingly airing a false and misleading story to Canadians, I came across this, by QMI's Mark Dunn, carried by Sun News:
OTTAWA -- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty opened the door Monday to new stimulus spending to help the economy weather what many economists fear is a looming global recession.
Ok, as far as it goes.  In fact, I'd call this mild good news, Flaherty is surprisingly Keynesian and willing to eschew conservative economic nonsense in understanding that some kind of European economic collapse might necessitate further stimulus.  Go down a few paragraphs:
The official Opposition NDP did not mention the worsening economic picture during question period Monday, nor has it raised the potential loss of union jobs in Oshawa. It was more concerned with smoke stack monitoring and a budget implementation bill it opposes.
Wait, what?  This is an ostensible news piece, and by what evidence do we conclude that the NDP is "more concerned with smoke stack monitoring" than job losses or economic conditions?  Based on their questions on one day's QP?  Even the bit noting the NDP "did not mention" the economy or job losses in Oshawa is of course highly dubious.  Is it normal journalistic practice to list arbitary things that politicians or political parties don't discuss on some particular day's QP?  I bet the NDP also didn't mention that they disapprove of child pornography and slavery.  Better get on that scoop, Sun.

It should go without saying that the NDP has made a stink over the job losses in Oshawa and the poor economic conditions. Just not today.  If Sun News wants to run some kind of statistical analysis of topics the NDP raise in a long series of Question Periods, and make hay of that, that at least might indicate some legitimate preference of certain topics to others on the part of the NDP. 

But wait, there's more:
In its most recent budget, the government announced controversial changes to old age security, employment insurance and other measures to sustain the economy in the long run and prevent the kind of budget problems many European countries are experiencing.
Behold the perils of the passive voice.  Is the author stating that the controversial measures actually do sustain the economy and prevent European budget problems?  Or just noting that the government claims they do?  Hard to say, but that's where honest journalism would require a more explicit note that these are the government's claimed justifications for these things, but really this is stated as if it is fact (it's not even close to true that European debt crises are generally about pensions and employment insurance anyway, mostly it's completely about their collapsing economies not supporting sufficient tax revenue.  Spain was running government budget surpluses prior to the crisis)

It also makes a part of the paragraph above quite ridiculous, where he describes the NDP as opposing "a" budget implementation bill.  There's only one.  It's "the" budget implementation bill, and the NDP's opposition is about the controversial matters like changes to OAS he is describing in such factually glowing terms.  It's not some strange arcane matter that has journalists scratching their heads, it is in fact the sort of thing the opposition is supposed to focus on, and frankly, to oppose.

I often challenge conservatives complaining about CBC's supposed liberal bias to provide examples and they never do.  They usually get sputtering mad or feign amusement over the notion that anyone challenges such an "obvious" truth.  Well, here's a pretty good example of the reverse.  I found it just reading Sun News' front page, picking an article I found interesting for its own sake.  If that's par for the course there, I may have to revise my view of them as a pale shadow of Fox.  They seem right in the running in the competition for most egregious bias.

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