Media / Media Bias

CTV wastes no time going after Tories

By Arthur Weinreb

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

It is no secret that the mainstream media just loves going after the Conservative Party of Canada. Divisions within the Liberal Party are downplayed while socially conservative Liberal MPs such as Pat O’Brien and Tom Wappel are ignored. The media simply salivates over any excuse to show that the Conservatives are divided and therefore doomed.

CTV was first off the mark after the Conservative Party began their policy convention in Montreal last week. Early Friday morning, mere hours after the convention got underway, the network reported the story of how pamphlets containing remarks made by socially conservative MP Cheryl Gallant. The pamphlet asked "Is Christianity under attack?" and recited remarks that Gallant had made last year about Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) and Calgary Bishop, Fred Henry. After the Bishop took a strong stand against same sex marriage, he was approached by CCRA and told that his church’s tax exempt status could be in jeopardy if he continued to involve himself in political matters. Apparently CCRA feels that any issue that it is relevant to the Church becomes political if the Liberals decide to legislate upon the same subject matter.

CCRA’s veiled threats against not only the Roman Catholic Church but Evangelical groups as well had been reported at the time they took place. There was nothing new in the pamphlet that was being circulated. But CTV seized on it as proof positive that the Conservative Party was being run by right wing wackos.

So what does CTV do after reciting the facts of the pamphlet? Well, they go running to Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla to get a comment. And Dhalla, who was attending the convention as an observer, doesn’t disappoint. She says "the statement put out by Cheryl Gallant is absolutely ludicrous and it’s really a reflection of the extreme views held by the Conservative party."

The next day, Licia Corbella of the Calgary Sun contacted Dhalla who said, "I think it’s a completely crazy and ludicrous statement to say that tax collectors threaten the charitable status of churches." As Corbella pointed out in the headline of her piece, "Facts don’t matter to this Liberal", Dhalla didn’t seem to care whether or not what Gallant said was true. The reality is that allegations had been made by churches about discussions that Canada Customs and Revenue Agency had with them about a possible loss of their status and these allegations that had not been denied by, as Ruby Dhalla calls them, "the tax collectors".

Much like the kiddie Ontario Liberal MP, CTV was totally unconcerned about whether the facts that were set out in the pamphlet were true or not. Facts were not as important as making fun of social conservatives and highlighting divisions within the party. CTV’s reportage was a perfect example of the bias that the mainstream media has against anyone (other than a Liberal, of course) who holds conservative views.