Thursday, September 16, 2010

Liberal messaging and the media

For years the Liberals have assumed that they can talk directly to the public. They are wrong. First all of all, the Liberals are not in government and so much of what they have to say is not newsworthy. Secondly, most of what the Liberals say is such thin stuff it is lucky they get any news coverage at all. The Liberals are boring. Not only is the party not coming up with interesting policy proposals, but the Liberals stubbornly refuse to talk about any issue intelligently least they offend someone. This holds true even for issues they do support. Take the gun registry. Beyond pointing to the fact that police forces around the country access the gun registry x number of times every day, the Liberals have not said a thing.

Another mistake the Liberals have made is they have been slow to realize one does not need to be on the right side of public opinion to make political gains. The public often do not care deeply about this or that issue. What is important in these cases is that parties speak intelligently about the issue. After all, being on the right side of public opinion in these cases does not have much upside. Worse, if the talking points are badly crafted, stating a popular opinion badly may actually hurt a party. Such was the case with the census. The decision to dump the voluntary long form was popular enough, but Conservative talking points were so asinine they became media fodder and punchline to various jokes.

Yet another mistake the Liberals make is that they do not spend nearly enough time poking holes in their opponents arguments. To expand on what was said above with regard to the census, the Liberals spent virtually all of their time talking about how various interest groups make use of the census. Given the fun the media were having with Tony Clement and the fact some Conservatives were saying that denying funding to special interests was exactly the point, the Liberal approach was utterly misconceived. Never mind giving credence to a Conservative talking point. Tony Clement was digging a big hole for himself and Liberals should have been gathered around and pissing in it. A good reductio ad absurdum is one of the most deadly weapons in an opposition's MPs arsenal. The Liberals do not seem to realize this.

Finally, the Liberals need to realize that not much of their message reaches the public unfiltered and much of what the public knows about the issues the Liberals care about is what they pundits have to say about them. Least they continue to give various conservative pundits free reign, something that they have done since Trudeau stepped down, the Liberals have to go to the trouble of putting out detailed arguments. These arguments might never reach the public, but the pundits will have to deal with them and what the pundits say does reach the public.


ridenrain said...

For years they have, and stil do speak directly to Canadians.. through the CBC.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The Liberal get more than a billion dollars in taxpayer funded research and media support from the CBC.

CTV executives are also Liberals-big L and many of the so called opinionistas and political reporters in Toronto based media are either married to or related to or dating Liberals.

What more do they need and they still can't get their message out? Maybe it is because the Liberal message is so out of touch with reality and has more to do with just wanting power for the sake of power and their backroom friends who are missing pulling the strings for personal gain.

The same Libs from AdScam days are lurking-we don't trust them. And Ignatieff is so weak that he can be manipulated by powermongers.

No way can we allow this country to be hijacked by the ratty red tent. Not until they clean house.

Koby said...

It must be a full moon.

"CTV executives are also Liberals-big L and many of the so called opinionistas and political reporters in Toronto based media are either married to or related to or dating Liberals."

I know what you mean. The guys at CTV always had a thing Dion and Mike Duffy was about as partisan a Liberal as they come.

As for the notion that media in Canada as a whole has a Liberal bias, the various mcgill media study should have put that little ditty to bed long ago. However, like as one time Conservative candidate Rondo Thomas said "the facts don't matter" to Conservative supporters. Kill off a bad argument and you can be sure that they will trout out that zombie the next time you encounter them.

CanadianSense said...

You are one of a few bloggers critical of mistakes. Good for you.

Dion was blood in the water moment. It was a question about economics and Liberal alternative.

Contrast Tabloid Media Highlight:

PM arriving 120 seconds after Obama arrived for a G8 group photo.

What is the real problem?

Dion was tired, partially deaf, verb tense by interviewer?

He flat-lined by not being able to answer a very basic question for CTV.

The exact question is still a problem for Ignatieff.

This is "not my budget" moment by Ignatieff reinforced Liberals are a party of slogans and props.

My job is "set up the right questions to evaluate the budget"-Ignatieff.

He bet wrong that Canadians would reward him for refusing to join the Federal government in dealing with the global recession.

His personal numbers started tanking in May 2009 and his honeymoon ended with Time Is Up rhetoric.

Too many lines in the sand.

He makes Dion look better.

Koby said...

"You are one of a few bloggers critical of mistakes."


"He flat-lined by not being able to answer a very basic question for CTV."

This was the question asked of Dion. "If you were prime minister now, what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that Mr. Harper has not done?" There is nothing basic about it. The meaning is ambiguous. Did Murphy mean to ask Dion how he would have tackled the crisis diferently? Alternatively, did Murphy mean to ask Dion what he would do differently going forward?

Dion started to answer the question and then stopped and rightly asked Murphy what he meant.
Despite this Murphy still aired the response.

To add insult to injury, Murphy promised the whole thing would not be broadcast and restarts are common place.

Canadian Broadcast Standards Council was right to rule that Murphy violated basic industry codes.

CanadianSense said...

The criticisms and motives assigned to CTV to Dion is fair.

It does NOT change the fact CTV acted like most media outlets and ran with it for shock and awe.

I included the photo op story. I could have pointed to the fake holy host story at the state funeral.

The media are boobs! Some are nice and some we want kept out of sight.

Dion had a platform, I did not agree with it. He was passionate but was not given enough time to make the changes to stop the infighting.

Dion could have restated how his platform would have been able to deliver (A, B, C) what S.H. failed to do. Going forward his A, B, C would mean improved D, E, F.

The balance sheet and membership narrative have not resolved. The public are not engaged in props and stunts.

We don't have a credible alternative and the media is being tuned out with the repeated fake crisis on a monthly basis.

Last note, it was a terrible mistake for the war rooms to state the CPC ridings were getting more funding.

(Think it through, as a voter do you want results, action in your riding or empty promises if your party wins one day)