Home | Cover | America | World

Bias, Liberal agendas

CTV's obsession with puppygate

Belinda stronach, Peter Mackay, puppygate

By Arthur Weinreb

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CTV, at least at first blush seems absolutely obsessed with the exchange that took place last week between Liberal MP David McGuinty and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mackay. While Environment Minister Rona Ambrose was answering a question about the government's Clean Air Act, McGuinty began heckling Mackay. He said something to the effect that if Mackay didn't care about the effect of climate change on people, "What about your dog?" The reference to Mackay's dog stems from what Peter Mackay did after girlfriend Belinda Stronach dumped him at the same time she dumped the Conservative Party. Peter did what most of us would do in a similar situation; he sought solace in the middle of a potato patch with his trusted dog. He just needed to be alone with his dog and of course a reporter from CP and a CBC camera crew. As taunts in the House of Commons go, McGuinty's was excellent; if only Ontario Premier Dalton had his brother's quick wit, but I digress.

In response to McGuinty's statement about his dog, MacKay allegedly pointed to Stronach's empty seat and said "You've got her now". MacKay denies ever making the comment.

Had Peter MacKay been beheaded by Islamofascist jihadists in a Nova Scotia potato patch, it is hard to imagine that CTV would have given that as much coverage as they devoted to what is now being referred to as puppygate. An episode of Mike Duffy Live (hosted by Jane Taber) devoted not one, not two, but THREE segments to MacKay having allegedly called his former girlfriend, former Conservative MP, former a lot of things, Belinda Stronach, a dog.

MPs, Belinda Stronach, Helena Guergis, Olivia Chow, David McGuinty, and Jason Kenney, along with the Globe and Mail's Gloria Galloway and CTV's Craig Oliver all appeared to discuss what is surely one of the most horrendous occurrences of our times. Belinda was called "a dog".

CTV's purpose in giving so much air time to the Question Period exchange of course had nothing to do with the incident itself; CTV simply went overboard with the non-story in order to help their Liberal friends with their agenda. The Liberals of course are anxious to do anything that they can to take attention away from their leadership race where the candidates are taking positions that are all over the map. Every minute of air time that is devoted Peter and his dog is one minute that cannot be devoted to the incredibly shrinking Iggy.

Of all the guests on Mike Duffy Live, only the NDP's Olivia Chow thought that the purpose of the program was actually about how terrible Peter MacKay's "doggy" remarks were. Trembling as she recounted how she had been compared to a Chow Chow dog by a Liberal Party hack during the election campaign, Chow linked the alleged comments made by MacKay to the actions of men who assault women and sometimes kill them. Even Belinda understood that the issue was not really about her as she dutifully regurgitated Liberal Party talking points about how the Conservatives don't like women, how they made cuts to the Status of Women and the Courts Challenges Program, yada, yada, yada. Good girl, Belinda.

In their zest to aid their friends the Liberals, CTV posted a couple of questionable items on their website. One was the Liberal Party's tape of Question Period when the exchange between Mackay and McGuinty supposedly took place. For those of us (probably all of us) who can't quite make out what is being said in the background as Rona Ambrose is answering a question, the Liberals very kindly flashed the words on the screen at the time that they say the comments were made. It's hard to remember another time when a political party's propaganda was so proudly displayed as news by the media.

An article appeared on CTV's site about how some bloggers who belong to The Blogging Tories posted comments agreeing that Belinda Stronach is in fact, a dog. While the network conceded that the Blogging Tories "have no official ties to the Conservative government", they nonetheless referred to them as "the official Blogging Tories website." "But in recent weeks, the sites have run the same media talking points as those issued by senior officials in government." Does CTV not see the hypocrisy in this? They are castigating the bloggers for following Conservative party talking points while they (CTV) blindly use their website to link to the Liberal Party's propaganda machine and push that party's agenda. The bloggers are criticized for having mounted "fierce public-relations campaigns against government programs that later wound up being axed or downsized, including the Court Challenges Program". In other words it is fine for a network like CTV to push the Liberal Party's agenda but it is not appropriate for bloggers to advocate a contrary position.

While media such as the Toronto Star and the CBC have a Liberal/liberal bias, at least those organizations still retain their journalistic integrity when they put their biases into action.

At least one good thing came out of CTV's massive coverage of puppygate; we now know why Peter MacKay made those comments. According to CTV's Craig Oliver, it was because of MacKay's "Scottish stubbornness." Even the Liberals wouldn't go that far.