Today’s MediaScout column from Maisonneuve magazine implores the country’s news reporters to resist the urge to perpetuate a negative campaign this winter:
“MediaScout would like to issue a challenge to each and every journalist who will be covering this campaign. If you actually care about the interests of Canadians, if you actually value the role of a responsible press in a democracy, you will walk away from the mud. Every time a politician starts a personal attack on his or her opponent, put down your pen, turn off your tape recorder and walk away. When Stephen Harper talks about the Liberal link to organized crime, go get something to eat. When Paul Martin accuses Harper of having a hidden agenda, go for a smoke break. A negative campaign needs coverage to survive. By walking away from it, maybe the politicians will realize that Canadians want ideas, not name-calling.”
Sounds nice, but I think it’s one of those easier said than done scenarios. When your editor sends you out to get the most compelling stories of the day, when every other reporter in town is going to report that Scott Brison said Peter MacKay dresses in women’s underwear, what reporter who values her job will fail to write about it? Nice try, MediaScout, but wishful thinking.